From searing deserts and high mountain peaks, to equatorial forests and savannahs rich in wildlife, Kenya holidays offer a startlingly diverse range of things to see and do. Most famous for its captivating game reserves where you can come face to face with the ‘big five’ – a phrase coined by big-game hunters, referring to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot including lions, elephants and rhinoceros. Kenya offers the opportunity to combine exploration and adventure with relaxation. Mombassa’s atmospheric old town is a wonderful place for shopping and exploring, before heading to one of its pristine beaches for relaxation and pampering. An ideal all-round destination, Kenya has all the ingredients for a truly magical and memorable 5 star holiday.
Things to do
The Masai Mara
No visit to Kenya would be complete without a trip to one of its nature reserves, and of the many, Masai Mara in Western Kenya stands proudly above the rest. With its stunning landscapes, manageable size, and high likelihood of sighting the ‘big five’, it’s the reason many people opt to take their holiday in Kenya. Its situation in the Rift Valley and with the Mara River running through the reserve from north to south makes for ideal wildlife spotting conditions. During the annual migration which runs between July and October, you’re likely to witness the dramatic spectacle of millions of gazelles, wildebeest and Zebras travelling across the plains to the permanent watering holes dotted around the park. Accommodation in the game park is in a selection of comfortable lodges equipped with mod cons and excellent hospitality. A hot air balloon ride at dawn is an unforgettable way to take in the sheer beauty of the landscape, and even comes with a champagne breakfast!
Relax by the Indian Ocean
Offering pristine beaches, clear waters and a wealth of marine life, the beaches along Kenya’s East Coast are the perfect place to relax after a few days on safari. Either side of Mombasa, unspoilt coastline stretches both north and south, offering plenty of opportunity for active pursuits such as diving and windsurfing, as well as peaceful stretches of sand where nothing but relaxation is on the cards. Watamu’s unspoilt shores are the nesting place for the local population of sea turtles, and staying here will give you the opportunity to get involved in the conservation projects run locally. Hotel accommodation in this area is upmarket and luxurious, offering a wealth of facilities including spas, excellent restaurants and activities.
Mombasa Old Town
Mombasa’s Old Town with its Arabic architecture has had a tumultuous history, which is well worth exploring. Its narrow winding streets with their distinctive architecture invoke the centuries gone by, when the town was a bustling and cosmopolitan hub for the important spice trade. These days, you’ll see traditional sailing dhows coming in and out of the harbour, laden with fresh fish to be sold at one of the town’s busy markets. Don’t miss the impressive Fort of Port Jesus, which dates back to the 16th century struggle between the Portuguese and Arabs. It’s a fascinating building to explore, and it’s certainly worth spending an afternoon wandering through its underground passages, turrets and battlements.
Where to Stay
From luxurious lodges dotted across the game parks to opulent beach resorts overlooking the Indian Ocean, Kenya offers some wonderful options for those seeking a little bit of relaxation, adventure and pampering on their 5 star holiday. One of the best ways to see Kenya’s natural beauty, diversity and colour is on a multi-centre tour, where you take in the best that the country has to offer, whether your interest is in big cats or tiny birds.
Flight time from London: Approximately 9 hours 30 minutes.
Arrival Airport: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Entry details for British passport holders: A visa is required and can be arranged before departure or at the airport on arrival. Fees apply. Passports need to have 6 months validity beyond your period of stay. It is also advised that you have two blank pages in your passport on arrival. Before you depart, check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk.
Time difference: GMT +3 hours
Currency: Kenya Shilling and American Dollars are widely accepted.
Language: Swahili and English, plus over 50 tribal and ethnic languages.
Here to help:
A local Thomas Cook Signature representative will meet you at your arrival airport and escort you to your pre-booked private transfer vehicle. Your travel documentation will contain all contact details should you wish to get in touch with a local representative during your stay.
Best time to go:
Despite being situated on the equator, Kenya’s weather is generally dry, sunny and not terrifically hot, making the coastal regions comfortable for much of the year. Kenya has two dry seasons, which run between January and March, and also July and October. If you’re planning to go on safari during your holiday in Kenya, try to coincide it with the annual migration between July and October, when you’ll see hoards of zebra, wildebeest and gazelle traveling across the plains. Travelling in dry season also means you may have unobstructed views of the animals from a distance. Birdlife is best viewed between January and March.