This is the ultimate 10-day Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary. Kenya, Lamu in particular, had been on my bucket list of places to visit for the longest time, and I finally got the opportunity to visit. I spent 10 days travelling across Kenya with 7 other women, visiting 4 counties along the way.
I knew I wanted to visit Nairobi, Lamu & Diani, but I wanted it planned for me, so I joined a girls’ trip planned by Shesuthmantravelexperiences. Everything from accommodation, transportation, activities, and some meals were included in the package.
If you want to plan a trip to Kenya and don’t know where to begin, this Kenya travel guide will give you the direction you need. If you enjoy an activity-packed itinerary with some relaxation, keep reading!
Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – Getting there from Nigeria
Ethiopian Airlines was the only fairly affordable choice from Nigeria, but all its flights arrived in Kenya at 1 am. I spent 10 hours flying from Lagos to Nairobi with a 2.5-hour layover in Addis Ababa.
Other airline options, like Kenya Airways, have direct flights from Lagos to Nairobi; however, this option is very expensive. Also, landing in Mombasa is a much cheaper alternative to landing in Nairobi. So, consider all of this when booking your flight.
TIP: If you book a flight that arrives in the middle of the night, ensure you have your transportation sorted. The best way is to book airport transfers with your hotel; this removes any anxiety about arriving late.
Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – Entry Requirements for Nigerians
If you’re a Nigerian planning to travel to Kenya, there are a few entry requirements you need to be aware of:
- Nigerians need a valid e-visa for Kenya, you can apply for a single entry visa online for $51, and it takes 3 business days for it to be approved. Ensure you have at least 6 months validity on your passport, or else your visa could be rejected.
- Ensure that you are vaccinated with the required number of doses before travelling.
- You will also need to present your COVID-19 vaccination cards for authentication and boarding.
- Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative PCR test 48 hours before departure.
- You will need your Yellow Fever Vaccination Card to pass through immigration.
- Present QR codes of completed health declaration forms for authentication.
Please research before travelling because entry requirements are constantly changing.
Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – Getting to Lamu & Diani from Nairobi
Kenya is so much more than Nairobi, and I had the opportunity to visit 3 other Counties, Kiambu, Diani & Lamu, during my 10-day trip. Kiambu is a 1.5-hour drive from Nairobi, tea plantations surround the county, so it is very cold. You can easily book an Uber or Bolt or take public transportation.
On the other hand, Lamu & Diani are a 1.5 and 2-hour flight from Nairobi, respectively. We flew out of Nairobi Wilson Airport with Skywards Express, a much smaller airport than Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Skywards Express only allows 15kg for checked-in luggage, so keep this in mind when packing. To get to Lamu, the flight takes off from Nairobi and stops at Mombasa to pick up people, then continues to Lamu.
From Lamu, you can take a flight to Mombasa and then a 30-minute ferry to Diani, an island off the coast of Mombasa.
All the counties in Kenya are very well connected, and there are numerous travel options whether you want to go by plane, road, boat or train.
Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – Safety in Kenya
My flight in Nairobi, Kenya, arrived at 2 am, and I was picked up by my host by Uber, which we then took to the hotel – that’s how safe it is. People walk the streets freely at all times of the day and night without any fear, so this made me feel very comfortable.
Just make sure you take the necessary safety precautions, like sharing your rides, so people always know where you are.
Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – Getting around
It’s very easy to get around in Kenya. In Nairobi, ride-share apps like Uber and Bolt are widely used, safe, and affordable. For public transportation, you have the option of boda boda’s (motorcycles) or matatu (buses).
Diani is a small island, so the main form of transportation is the tuk-tuk. You can easily get around the island in one of them, which is very cheap. Hail one from the side of the road or ask your hotel security to call one.
If you are a fan of boats or walking, Lamu will easily be your favourite place (it’s mine). The island of Dhows and Donkeys places Lamu in the top spot of the easiest counties to navigate in Kenya. It is surrounded by water, and the only way to get around is by walking or by dhow that is easily accessed at the docks.
Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – The best time to visit
The best time to visit any country depends on what you want to see and do during your trip. Here is a little insight on the best times to visit Kenya based on different factors.
July to October is peak travel in Kenya. This dry season is the best time to experience a Kenyan Safari and Wildebeest migration, where herds move from the Masai Mara in Kenya to the Serengeti in Tanzania. Temperatures are much cooler, making it the most favourable weather for game drives. However, this is when the country is the most crowded and prices are at their highest.
Months outside, these are less crowded, and you will definitely be able to find great accommodation deals but prepare for some rain.
Kenya in November – What to Expect
We visited Kenya in the middle of November during the wet season. Fortunately for us, it rained 2 times in the 10 days we were there and only at night, so none of our plans was affected. It was very cool in Nairobi, with temperatures at 16 degrees Celsius but very hot in Diani and Lamu, with 32 degrees Celsius temperatures.
November is the month of many events and festivals in Kenya. This is the month of the Mombasa Carnival & Lamu Festival. It is also one of the 2 months you can watch the Great Migration of the Wildebeest & Zebras from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya.
Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – Currency
The Kenyan Shilling is the local currency, and the exchange rate ranges from $1 for Ksh100 – Ksh127. You can get the best rates in the city, but the mall is your best bet if you are short on time. The airports & hotels have the worst rates, so only use these locations as a last resort.
TIP: When you’re changing your money, don’t change too much to Kenyan Shillings as you may end up with too much at the end of your trip. I left Kenya with over Ksh2000 ($20+). Split your spending between debit/ credit cards and cash.
Also, the money exchange bureaus only accept dollars from 2018 and above. So, check the dates on your money.
P.S.: smaller denominations of dollars ($50 and below) are worth less than higher denominations ($100), so keep this in mind when changing your money.
Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – Language
Swahili and English are the official languages of Kenya, while Swahili is the national language and the most widely spoken. It is very easy to communicate in Kenya as an English speaker but learn a few words and phrases in Swahili to connect with the locals.
Swahili phrases to learn:
|Habari||Hello/ Good morning|
|Habari Yako||How are you|
Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – What to wear
November in Nairobi is chilly, so pack warm clothes like scarves and sweaters because you will need them. Lamu is a Muslim county, and you’ll need to dress modestly as a sign of respect for their culture and beliefs.
Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – Staying connected
Even though there is free wifi in restaurants and public spaces like malls, I will always advocate for getting a sim and data. It’s important to always remain connected in a foreign country, especially if you are solo.
I bought a Safaricom sim from the mall in Nairobi on my first day and 1.5 GB of data, which lasted throughout my trip. It helped me stay connected to the rest of my group on days I explored alone.
💡 TIP: Always stay safe with Travel Insurance
I use SafetyWing whenever I travel because it is travel medical insurance created by nomads for nomads. You can buy a policy for the duration of your trip and end it when you want; it is also extremely flexible. Check out their website and get travel insurance for your next trip!
Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – Where to Stay
Searching for where to stay is a crucial part of trip planning, and the fact that Kenya is known for its stays does not make the search any easier. From hotels to lodges, luxury camps, resorts & villas, there is something for every type of traveller regardless of budget.
During our 10-day trip to Kenya, we stayed in 3 different types of accommodations – a boutique hotel, a villa and a resort. Each one is unique in its own way.
Glam Hotel Nairobi
We stayed in the Glam Hotel for 4 days, and I was very impressed. As someone who prefers to pick my accommodation, I was concerned about the type of stay chosen for this group trip. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The hotel room is very modern – the bathroom was my favourite part of the room – it is large and has a rain shower. The beds are large enough to fit 2 people, and the view is amazing.
Breakfast is on the rooftop every morning and is a mixture of local and continental dishes. A huge positive is how central it is to everything; there is also a mall within walking distance of the hotel.
A con for me would be the absence of irons in the rooms. Apart from that, my stay was amazing; the amenities and staff helped make it very comfortable.
Tunusuru Villa Lamu
Lamu is my favourite place on earth, and it’s an island I will never get tired of visiting. Nestled in the middle of Shela, Lamu sits the stunning 5 bedroom villa – Tunusuru House. Rarely am I left speechless, but this villa left me without any words; there are 4 floors, including the rooftop, each with its own beautiful terrace with views of dhows sailing in the Indian Ocean.
The villa has an in-house chef, Robert, who cooked up a storm each time we requested (for an extra cost). The Lamu villas are all made of coral and other materials, which sets them apart from any other accommodation I have stayed in.
I was really grateful for the villa pool on the days when temperatures were as high as 38 degrees Celsius.
I HIGHLY recommend staying here if you’re ever in Lamu; the service, amenities, aesthetics, and, most importantly, the views are forever engrained in my mind.
Diani Reef Beach Resort
Diani Reef Beach Resort is a stunning property; the blue waters and sandy white beach were the highlights of my stay. Unfortunately, the resort was extremely crowded since a large engineering conference was being hosted there, which dampened the stay.
The rooms are quite basic and, in my opinion, need to be upgraded. However, the breakfast was incredible and a great way to start my day, especially since the mornings were the quietest.
I would love to stay there again when it’s less crowded to get the full experience.
Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – Where to Eat & Drink
We ate out quite a bit in Kenya, and I noticed the larger establishments did not sell local dishes, and because of that, we actively sought out local restaurants.
The Boho Eatery in Nairobi sells mainly vegan and vegetarian dishes and has limited options outside of that. Before eating, we were not informed about their “no cash” rule, and even after explaining we were tourists, they insisted that we pay by card or Mpesa.
Although the first experience wasn’t the greatest, I would 100% go back. The food was cooked to perfection, and the service was great, regardless.
We had our farewell dinner here and I splurged. I got a main meal of ribs and chips and a multi platter dessert yet the meal did not cost more than $40. Fifteen Rooftop doubles as a lounge so there was an in-house DJ and the vibes were just immaculate.
It’s a great location to visit with a group of friends if you’re looking to relax with good music and great food.
I would 100% recommend it.
Also, keep in mind most Nairobi restaurants don’t accept cash, this place was no exception. So, make sure you have your debit/ credit card with you.
Nairobi Street Kitchen
On a night out in Nairobi, Nairobi Street Kitchen is where you begin. The DJ, the people, the vibes and the energy? Unmatched.
It houses a large number of food trucks and restaurants so when it comes to food, you’re spoilt for choice. Get dinner here before heading off to the club (where you probably won’t eat). Again, keep in mind they won’t collect cash. On this day, all we had was cash so we had to speak to the owner of a food truck before we were allowed to pay in cash.
Peponi Hotel lies in the heart of Shela and it’s one of the top hotels in Lamu. Although we weren’t staying here, we still wanted the opportunity to experience it. So, on our last night in Lamu, we have dinner here.
I still remember the 2 dishes I ordered – Sushi and Steak with mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables with white wine. This meal was incredible. From the succulent steak to the creamy potatoes, each dish was bursting with flavour.
They accept both cash and card so paying is easy. You absolutely cannot leave Lamu without eating here at least once.
After touring Old Lamu Town, we spent our afternoon and sunset at Majlis Hotel. This hotel is famous for its stunning property and is said to be the ideal spot to watch the sunset. I don’t disagree.
The food was really good but not so memorable. Other than that, you absolutely need to come here just for the sunset. It’s incredible. The tide is also quite low during sunset, which makes it the best time to swim surrounded by dhows and the setting sun.
They accept cash here, however, you will need to inform them beforehand.
Nomad Beach Bar & Restaurant
This was a last-minute choice since our original plan (dinner at Ali Barbour) didn’t work out. Although the food was good, the quality of the meals was quite inconsistent.
The service was incredibly slow, our waiter forgot a lot of the orders he took at first and a few of the girls’ meals came out cold. It is a beachfront restaurant so the views were amazing, however, I think once was enough for me.
This is a very popular restaurant in Diani because of it’s cave aesthetic. It was under construction when we were in Diani so we couldn’t eat here, but they have raving reviews so I will be sure to try it out on my next visit.
10 Day Kenya Travel Guide & Itinerary – Things to Do & See
Here’s a pre-planned 10-day Kenyan itinerary (the exact one we used):
Kenya Itinerary Day 1: Arrive in Nairobi
Arrive in Nairobi and head to your accommodation. Either book an Uber if you arrive during the day or an airport transfer with your hotel if you arrive at odd hours. Spend today changing money, buying a sim card & data and resting before activities begin.
Kenya Itinerary Day 2: A Day in Nairobi
You have an early start today! You’re going to spend the day at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and The Giraffe Centre, which are over an hour from the Glam Hotel.
Have lunch at Boho Eatery, and in the evening, experience Nairobi Nightlife by starting your night at Nairobi Street Kitchen and ending it at Mercury Lounge.
Kenya Itinerary Day 3: Road trip to Kiambu
Road trip! Drive an hour from your Nairobi hotel to Paradise Lost, a resort and park in Kiambu. Spend your day Ziplining over the river, horseback riding through the coffee farm, and having lunch at the local restaurant serving dishes like Ugali and grilled fish.
Head to the Masaai Market in the afternoon and do some souvenir shopping (make sure you haggle).
Kenya Itinerary Day 4: Sweet Lamu Tamu
It’s time to catch your flight to the beautiful island of Lamu! Head to Nairobi Wilson Airport and fly to the Kenyan Coast. Take a water taxi to your villa in Shela and spend the rest of your afternoon relaxing. In the evening, spend 2-hours cruising on a dhow during sunset and sail around the island.
Kenya Itinerary Day 5: Full-day cruise
Eat your breakfast made by Robert, the villa chef, and go on a full-day dhow cruise to Manda Island, a small island beside Lamu. Spend your afternoon swimming in the Indian Ocean, and for lunch, eat the traditional lunch prepared on the dhow by the captain.
In the evening, take a leisurely stroll and get to know Shela and its people.
Kenya Itinerary Day 6: Old Lamu & Sunset at Majlis
Take advantage of your last full day in Lamu and tour Old Lamu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, learn its rich history and visit the donkey hospital.
Have lunch at Majlis Resort and swim in the ocean while the sun sets, surrounded by dhows. It’s truly magical. For dinner, walk 3 minutes from your villa (Tunusuru House) to Peponi restaurant.
Kenya Itinerary Day 7: Crystal blue waters of Diani
Watch the sunrise from the waterfront at 6 am before leaving for the airport. Fly to Mombasa and cross on a ferry to the island of Diani. Check into your hotel and spend the rest of your day and night resting.
Kenya Itinerary Day 8: Snorkelling & Beach Camel Rides
I hope you packed your swimsuit because you’ll be snorkelling today! Start your day at 9 am when the tide is low, book a snorkelling tour, and spend the day swimming with colourful fish in crystal clear waters. After, take a 10-minute camel ride along the beach.
Take a TukTuk back to your hotel and stop at the markets on the side of the road for some last-minute shopping. Go to Ali Barbour Cave or Nomad Beach Bar & Restaurant for dinner.
Kenya Itinerary Day 9: Back to Nairobi (last full day)
Last morning in Diani, wake up early and enjoy an empty beach (ensure you take some pictures). Fly back to Nairobi for your last night and enjoy a final dinner at Fifteen Rooftop Lounge.
Kenya Itinerary Day 10: Kwaheri Kenya
Goodbye, Kenya! You’ve been incredible. Fly back home and reminisce on the last 10 days.
Kenya Travel Guide: Top Tips to Note Before You Go
- The best place to change your money is in the city at an exchange rate of $1 to 120 – 127 Kenyan Shillings. If this isn’t convenient, the next best option is to change it at the mall.
- If you arrive very early in the morning or late at night, book an airport transfer with your hotel, this gives you one less thing to worry about.
- Get a local SIM card (from the mall) on your first day so you are always connected to the internet. I used Safaricom, and it worked very well.
- Most restaurants across Kenya don’t take cash, only card payments and Mpesa. So, make sure you clarify your form of payment before ordering.
- Nairobi is cold in November, so pack some warm clothes.
- Learn a few phrases in Swahili to connect with the locals.
Final thoughts about Kenya
As my first introduction to East Africa, Kenya did a fantastic job. At the beginning of 2022, it wasn’t on my travel list, but when the chance came, I decided to leap, and I’m glad I did. I didn’t know what to expect.
I have never been so impressed by a country, from deserts to white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, idyllic small towns, safaris, large cities and mountains. In my opinion, Kenya has it all, which is why its tourism sector is thriving.
I had a lengthy conversation with our driver about the differences I noticed between Kenya and Nigeria, our cultures, people, music, and foods. From that conversation, I noticed how welcoming and eager Kenyans are to learn about other cultures. It’s a country everyone should visit at least once.
I can’t wait to go back.
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I hope this post helps you plan your trips to Kenya. Please leave any questions you may have in the comments below.
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