Giraffe centre Nairobi

12 Best Things to See & Do in Kenya

Kenya is one of the most diverse countries in the world.

Whether you’re looking to go on an authentic African Safari, experience the array of cultures, hike mountains, swim in crystal blue waters or witness the Great Migration – this country has it all.

Having spent 10 days travelling across the country, I often get questions about the best things to do. So, I am going to give you a list of the 12 best things to see & do in Kenya.

The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Nairobi

The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi is home to one of the most wholesome experiences you will have in Kenya. You get to interact with baby elephants as they get fed and bathe themselves in mud. The orphanage has about 33 baby elephants who have come into their care for different reasons.

Some have no mothers due to elephant poaching and they are orphaned, others have been left homeless due to humans encroaching into the wild lands.

Since its inception, the orphanage has rescued over 270 elephants and a few Rhions from different areas of the country. Each animal stays in the orphanage for at least 3 years and leaves after 5 or until they have been fully rehabilitated and are ready to be re-integrated back into the wild.

During their time at David Sheldrick, they follow a strict routine – spend the day in the forest from 6 am and drink 18 – 24 litres of milk every 3 hours.

This was my first time seeing elephants so naturally, it was one of the highlights of my trip. To have this same experience, you have to book a time slot and arrive 30 minutes before the time and for $20 or Ksh 2,000 – payable in cash or Mpesa at the gate – you can spend 1 hour with these beautiful animals.

The Giraffe Centre, Nairobi

The Giraffe Centre gets you up close to Rothschild Giraffes. You get to encounter these majestic animals in their natural habitats, feed, pet and take selfies with them. This experience is unmatched, this was the first activity I did in Kenya and it really set the bar high.

Giraffe Centre, Nairobi

The Giraffes are on a diet so for $15 or Ksh 1,500, you get one bowl of pellets to feed the Giraffes and spend as long as you want with them. There is no time limit but 30 minutes in my opinion is long enough to feed them and take all your videos and pictures.

There are particular giraffes you can’t take selfies with because of their temper – they’ll headbutt you if you get close to them without food and some even walk away.

If you want to have closer interactions with Giraffes, you can stay at the luxury Giraffe Manor where the Giraffes interact with the Manor guests. However, if you’re not ready to break the bank, the Giraffe Centre is a fantastic option and it’s located just 40 minutes outside the city centre.

Nairobi Nightlife

Nairobi nightlife

Kenyans do not sleep! When in Nairobi we had to experience Kenya’s famous nightlife for ourselves and went to 2 different locations – Nairobi Street Kitchen & Mercury Lounge.

The Ultimate 10-day Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary

Begin your night at Nairobi Street Kitchen, grab some dinner and pre-cocktails, the service here isn’t the best, however, the vibes are immaculate. The house DJ has a set list that creates the best start for the night. After 2 hours, end your night at Mercury Lounge – this is where you should spend the bulk of your night out and ensure you arrive no later than 11 pm so you have a table, any later than that and you’ll be standing all night.

Maasai Market Nairobi

The Maasai Market is the best place to shop for souvenirs, like any other market, they sell everything under the sun, from outfits and slippers to jewellery and accessories. As tourists, the first price given has been tripled so make sure you haggle to get a great bargain.

Tips for shopping in the Maasai Market:

  • Don’t buy from the first stall you see because chances are you’ll find another vendor selling the item at a cheaper price.
  • Build a rapport with the sellers (joke with them), this will increase the odds of you getting a good price.
  • Create a shopping list and have a set budget beforehand so you don’t go overboard (I would know, I lost my head and spent $100 in this market).
  • Go with a local who speaks Swahili to bargain better.

Snorkelling on Diani Beach

Did you know swimming is not a requirement to snorkel? I had no idea, but I was pleasantly surprised when I found out because I can’t swim. This activity was the highlight of my entire stay in Diani!

On our second day in Diani, we went out during low tide (9 am – 12 pm) to snorkel on Diani Beach and spent 3 hours in the crystal blue waters, feeding fish, spotting starfish and seashell hunting for just $15 or Ksh 1,500.

During low tide, the water is very shallow and only waist deep making it easier to spot fish, you are also given a mask and snorkel to make your vision and breathing underwater easier.

Tip: Wear water shoes to protect your feet from the prickly sea beds and urchins.

Sunset Dhow Cruise in Lamu, Kenya

Dhow boat at sunset in Shela, Lamu

A sunset Dhow Cruise is the most popular activity to do in Lamu, Kenya. If you google Lamu, the first thing that comes up are images of Dhow’s – traditional Swahili wooden sailing boats – so when in Lamu, take a Dhow out and cruise around the idyllic town of Lamu.

Sunset is the best time for a cruise because the water is calm and the sky is bursting with different colours, most Dhows are designed for large groups of people – up to 12 – so for a 2-hour cruise, it costs at least $250 (Ksh 5,000 – 10,000).

If you’re on a budget or travelling solo, you can go on a shared cruise and split the cost with others.

Reach out to Hakuna Matata Lamu on Instagram – they run a boat taxi service and offer sunset dhow cruises.

Old Lamu Tour

Lamu Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the heart of Lamu, it has a rich history and culture and it cannot be missed when visiting Lamu. I had the opportunity to take a 3-hour tour of this stunning cobblestone town and was immediately transported back in time.

In Lamu, there are 4 cars – 3 of which belong to business people and 1 to the county commissioner – 4 tractors for garbage collection, a few TukTuk’s which serve as ambulances and a handful of Boda Boda (Motorcycles) used as personal vehicles. The main form of transportation are donkeys, walking, handcarts and boats and during this tour, you really get to see the “real Lamu”.

With a population of 15,000, most people are woodcarvers, fishermen, merchants and tour guides and all live and work in Lamu Old Town or Shela (often described as Lamu’s prettier sister). Locals live in the old town where things are cheaper compared to Shela which is more tourist centred.

Lastly, during the tour, you cannot skip a visit to the town square, coffee shop, jewellery store to buy some silver and the donkey hospital where sick and injured donkeys are nursed back to health.

Tip: There are over 10,000 cats in Lamu. It is also 80% Muslim and 20% Christian so keep this in my when picking your wardrobe.

Evening at Majlis, Lamu Kenya

Majlis is a well-known beach resort in Lamu and spending an evening here to watch the sunset is a bucket list activity. It’s a luxury resort so the prices of rooms are not for anyone travelling on a budget, however, you can have lunch here and spend your day lounging by the pool before heading back to your villa.

Budget about $25 for lunch then end your night with a swim in the ocean while the sun sets, surrounded by dhows. It’s truly magical.

Full-day cruise to Manda Island

Another day in Lamu, another Dhow cruise, this time over 7 hours. This is a must-do activity in Kenya, Manda Island, a small island just a 2-hour boat ride off the coast of Lamu.

From 9 am to 4 pm, spend the full day cruise along and swimming in the Indian Ocean, sleeping under the sky and eating a traditional Swahili lunch of rice, tomato curry, grilled fish and salad, cooked on the Dhow by the captain.

After 9 am and before 12 pm, the dhow docks on the island during low tide when sandbanks are visible, allowing you to take full advantage of the experience.

The ride back is a relaxing 2 and a half hours when you can sleep off the lunch and bask in the setting sun.

Reach out to Hakuna Matata Lamu on Instagram to book your full-day cruise to Manda Island from $400 upwards for at least 10 people.

Tip: The Lamu sun is hot and unforgiving so take sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours (be generous with it) to avoid getting sunburnt.

Beachside Camel ride in Diani Beach

This activity is a nice addition to your Diani itinerary. At $5 or Ksh 500 for a 10-minute ride, it’s relaxing and fun to do after snorkelling. The backdrop of the white sand against the blue waters is stunning and just makes for a memorable experience.

Paradise Lost: Ziplining & Horseback Riding in Kiambu, Kenya

If you’re looking for a quick day trip from Nairobi, Paradise Lost in Kiambu County where tea is grown in the Northern part of Nairobi, is the perfect destination. It’s about a 40-minute drive from the Nairobi city centre and has everything that makes for a peaceful and adventurous day (strange combination, I know).

Paradise Lost is a recreational park where you can picnic and camp. The general entry fee is Ksh 1000 ($10) for non-residents and if you want to do any additional activities like hiking to the waterfall, zip lining, archery, horseback riding or fishing, you’ll need to pay extra.

The main reason we came here was to zip line 650 metres across a dam and back. This of course was the most exhilerating thing we did on the trip and I 100% recommend it if you looking for adrenaline-pumping activities.

Their restaurant also serves traditional Kenyan dishes like Ugali, so make sure you eat a meal here for as little as $4.

Tip: Kiambu County is very cold (17 degrees or lower) so dress appropriately.

Safari in Nairobi, Kenya

I can’t believe I went to Kenya and didn’t do the number 1 activity – a game drive in Nairobi National Park. I was on a group trip and unfortunately, a safari wasn’t part of the itinerary. However, if you are planning a trip to Kenya, this is an activity you cannot afford to skip.

Kenya is one of the most popular countries for safaris and game viewing with the opportunity to spot “The Big 5” animals. It will make your trip all the more memorable.


I hope this post helps you plan your trips to Kenya. Please leave any questions you may have in the comments below.

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. If you end up booking a trip, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you!

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