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Kenya travel guide

About Kenya

Lions and leopards are just part of the landscape in Kenya, one of East Africa's favourite safari destination. More than 40 national parks and nature reserves are scattered between Lake Victoria and the Indian Ocean, covering every imaginable landscape and featuring just about every animal in Africa: from aardvarks to zebras.

As you might expect, wildlife safaris are the lifeblood of Kenyan tourism, and the infrastructure for travellers is impressive. Jeeps, buses and light aircraft fan out daily across the country to safari lodges and tented camps, some simple and rustic, others lavish and opulent. Refreshingly, you can enjoy close encounters with nature even on a budget, with walking safaris run by tribal guides and economic-tented camps that scrimp on creature comforts, but not on creatures.

Most people start their journey in Nairobi, Kenya's capital city, but few linger when there are more attractive cities strung out along the sun-kissed Kenyan coast and dotted around the Great Rift Valley. Whether you pick the interior or the coast (with its beach resorts and Islamic ruins), you can be sure to find a national park or reserve close at hand. Even Nairobi has a national park within the city limits, with zebras and giraffes just a stone's throw from the suburbs.

Kenya is also a great place for cultural encounters, with more than 40 different tribal groups, each following its own unique way of life. The semi-nomadic Maasai tribe, with their multi-coloured, bead-covered adornments, is perhaps the most obvious group, but visiting any tribal village is a fascinating and enlightening experience.

On appearances, Kenya would seem like the perfect holiday destination, but tourism has had its ups and downs in recent years, with political upheaval during elections and a string of high-profile militant attacks in Nairobi and along the coast.

These setbacks have made a noticeable dent in Kenya's tourist industry, yet travellers still flock to the teeming plains of the Maasai Mara and trek the slopes of Mount Kenya, and the biggest decision for most is not whether to go to Kenya, but instead, which wild animal to search for first.

Key facts

Area:

580,367 sq km (224,081 sq miles).

Population:

52,580,497 (2019).

Population density:

79.2 per sq km.

Capital:

Nairobi.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta since 2013.

Head of government:

President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta since 2013.

Travel Advice

COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.