The words Kenya and safari go hand in hand. You can’t speak of one without mentioning the other. It’s easy to see why, of course – the country is home to 19 national parks, which span landscapes like the Great Rift Valley and the Kilimanjaro mountain range.
Tsavo and Masai Mara
Kenya’s most famous game reserves are Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Masai Mara. Red elephants cavalcade through Tsavo East, black rhinos eyeball each other on Tsavo East, and Masai warriors pogo jump their way through ceremonial dances in Masai Mara.
Safaris aside, there’s another face to Kenya. The country’s coastline gives the Caribbean a run for its money. In Diani Beach, Bamburi and Kilifi, white-sand beaches are skewered with palm trees, and the hotels that cosy up to the sand come with infinity pools and luxury lodge-style accommodation.
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Bamburi Beach falls within the protected reef corals of the Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve, 12 kilometres north of Mombasa. Jomo Kenyatta Beach is the last remaining public beach along this coastline – its sweep of soft sand is among the best you'll find in Kenya. The hotels are tucked behind the main front, each with their own ocean-front patch. And there’s no end of beach bars, open-air discos and nightclubs to keep things lively.
An hour’s drive and a short ferry ride south of Mombasa, Diani Beach is the quintessential tropical escape. With its blend of natural beauty and uptown chic, this former fishing village has become one of the most in-demand destinations on Kenya’s south coast. Dotted along its soft, white sands is a parade of elegant guest houses, upscale hotels and glamorous villas. Brad and Angelina count among some of the more famous visitors who have holed up here.
Kilifi is a breath of fresh air. Halfway between Mombasa and Malindi on Kenya’s south coast, this unassuming market town has become something of a hideaway for expats and artists. Through the middle of town runs Kilifi Creek, a wide, bird-filled estuary, crossed only by ferry until the 420-metre bridge was completed in the Nineties. On its north bank is the town centre, while the Swahili village of Mnarani dominates the south.
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