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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > October-December 2019 > INSIGHTS

INSIGHTS

Kenya’s diverse tourist attractions are well documented, but we wanted to dig deeper, to find the tips and tricks that regular travellers have discovered, and seek local advice. Perhaps their experience can enrich your next trip.

Inside track

We all know so much about the Maasai Mara and even Amboseli, but what about everywhere else? In this section, experienced traveller and guide book writer Lizzie Williams suggests how you could tackle some of Kenya’s other better-known attractions.

LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK

Small, compact, and only 156km northwest of Nairobi, Nakuru is super-easy to visit. I’ve recently recommended it to a family on their first self-drive trip in Kenya as an alternative to the larger parks where kids may get restless on long game drives. It takes only about three hours to circumnavigate Lake Nakuru, clear signposts point to lovely lookouts and it can be visited any time of year.

It may not be one of Kenya’s wildest parks, but it does offer almost guaranteed sightings of star species including rhino and lion, and thanks to the abundance of water the animals are in great shape all year-round with shiny coats and fattened tummies. They are well-used to vehicles too; on my last visit a waterbuck batted her lashes at me from just a metre away, and a leopard (often seen during the day here) examined me nonchalantly from her acacia branch. Nakuru is not a standalone destination – it simply doesn’t take that long – so consider combining it with the other Rift Valley lakes of Elementeita, Naivasha, Bogoria or Baringo.

Head to the hills: Most international visitors to the Aberdare National Park visit the tourist lodges looking for wildlife. Stay longer and you can enjoy spectacular trekking and camping in the moorlands, a popular weekend activity for locals
PETER NDUNG’U

ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK

Two-and-a-half hours’ drive north of Nairobi, the usual drill is to take an organised excursion from Nyeri and stay at one of the two iconic and somewhat quirky ‘tree lodges’: The Ark or Treetops. Both are raised on stilts overlooking waterholes in thick forest and have several decks for wildlifeviewing. I enjoyed watching black-and-white colobus and Sykes monkeys scamper in the trees, but it was the waterhole that was the biggest delight, which came alive at dusk and got busier into the night. The procession of wildlife that emerged from the forest was thrilling and included a closely-packed herd of buffalo, a couple of dozen elephants with several spotted hyena brazenly darting around their legs.

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