Kenya Itineraries

Interested in discovering Kenya? Keep reading to explore our fascinating Kenya itineraries that will guide you through this mesmerizing country with authenticity and enthusiasm, whether it's the vibrant Nairobi, the tranquil beauty of the Masai Mara or the historical significance of Mombasa.

Itinerary tips from Kellen: your Kenya Travel Expert

Kenya is a mosaic of diverse cultures, landscapes, and experiences. From the bustling streets of Nairobi to the tranquil Masai Mara, each place has its own special charm. That's why a customized itinerary will help you make the most of your trip, guiding you to the hidden gems and rich cultural attractions that set Kenya apart.

With Kellen's in-depth knowledge and vast experience, she is there to guide you through every step of the planning process. Whether you want to explore vast wildlife reserves, sample the vibrant local cuisine, or hike through spectacular landscapes, a carefully designed itinerary will ensure a smooth and fulfilling journey.

Let's work together to design an itinerary that suits your individual preferences, pace, and interests and make your Kenya adventure truly unforgettable.


Tips from Kellen

Kenya Travel Expert


As Kenya travel expert, I believe that putting together an itinerary for Kenya is an adventure in itself. Kenya is, luckily, not overwhelmed with travellers, but this does mean that a well-thought-out itinerary is impartant!

If you're planning your own trip to Kenya, use these expert-craft itineraries as a starting point. For more inspiration, dive into our itineraries for different durations: 7 days - 10 days - 14 days

7-day Kenya itinerary

Experience an exciting 7-day Kenyan adventure, starting with the bustling streets of Nairobi, exploring local markets and museums. Day two will take you to the breathtaking Amboseli National Park, where the silhouette of Mount Kilimanjaro is complemented by elephants. 

On the third day, head into the cool, verdant highlands of Aberdare for forest walks and wildlife watching. Midway through the trip, enjoy the serene beauty of Lake Naivasha with a boat ride and bird watching. 

On day five, move on to the cultural richness of the Masai Mara, immersing yourself in Maasai culture and taking epic safari drives. Spend day six in the heart of the Mara, chasing the 'big five'. Finish with a leisurely return to Nairobi, reflecting on the unforgettable memories created during this magnificent Kenyan journey.

You could say that Kenya is the safari capital of Africa. To have a chance of having the best experience explore our guide to the best time to go on safari in Kenya.

Chale island in Kenya © Shutterstock

Chale island in Kenya © Shutterstock

10-day Kenya itinerary

For a more in-depth introduction to the country, follow a 10-day Kenya trip that begins in Nairobi, where you'll experience the city's rich history and vibrant street life. On day two, head to the scenic Samburu National Reserve, where you'll experience the unique wildlife and culture of the Samburu. Day three introduces you to the lush landscapes of Mount Kenya, offering a day of leisurely hikes and scenic views.

On the fourth day, head to Lake Nakuru, known for its flamingos and rich bird life. The adventure continues on day five as you explore the vast savannahs of the Masai Mara, taking part in thrilling safari drives. Spend the sixth and seventh days in the Mara watching the Big Five and visiting a traditional Maasai village.

On the eighth day, you'll head to tranquil Lake Naivasha for boat rides and a walk around Crescent Island. On the ninth day, explore Hell's Gate National Park with its impressive geothermal activity and wildlife by bike or on foot. Conclude your journey by returning to Nairobi on day ten, resting, and reflecting on your varied Kenyan adventures before departing.

Sunset at Shimba Hills, Kenya © Shutterstock

Sunset at Shimba Hills, Kenya © Shutterstock

14-day Kenya itinerary

Dive into an extensive 14-day Kenyan odyssey, starting in Nairobi's cultural tapestry, exploring art galleries, markets, and culinary delights. On day two, head into the rugged areas of Tsavo East National Park for a safari that reveals raw African landscapes and teeming wildlife.

On the third day, you'll travel to Tsavo West, where contrasting landscapes with springs and volcanic landscapes await. On the fourth day, head to the serene Amboseli National Park where majestic herds and Mount Kilimanjaro await.

Days five and six are dedicated to exploring the coastal city of Mombasa, where Swahili culture, historic forts, and white sandy beaches await. On day seven, head north to Malindi and Watamu to marvel at the sea life and ruins of Gede.

Spend the eighth day in the lush forest of Arabuko Sokoke, and on the ninth day, fly to the serene island of Lamu, a place of eternal tranquility and Swahili traditions. The tenth and eleventh days are spent enjoying the unhurried pace of Lamu life with dhow rides and historic sites.

On the twelfth day, you'll return to the mainland, to the Laikipia Plateau, where a unique experience of conservation and interaction with local communities awaits. On the thirteenth day, explore dramatic landscapes and wildlife. 

Finally, on day fourteen, you will return to Nairobi, where you can reflect on the rich tapestry of experiences and bid farewell to Kenya's diverse splendor.

Hot air balloons flying at sunrise over the Maasai Mara National park in Kenya © Daniel F Ascanio/Shutterstock

Hot air balloons flying at sunrise over the Maasai Mara National park in Kenya © Daniel F Ascanio/Shutterstock

Kenya Itinerary 1 - Northern frontiers

Travel through breathtaking Kenya, starting in Nairobi, where city life thrives alongside natural wonders such as wildlife parks and forests. Then climb up to Mount Kenya National Park, Africa's second highest peak, where you can choose from a variety of routes, enjoying wildlife and vibrant local towns.

Next, explore Laikipia, challenging the Masai Mara with its unique wildlife, including rare rhinos, and offering both luxury reserve accommodation and budget camping. Continue to Maralal, a semi-desert town famous for its annual camel derby and as the heart of Samburu culture.

At Samburu National Reserve, relax and encounter northern species such as reticulated giraffes and Somali ostriches in an area refreshed by the Ewaso Nyiro River. Then head to Marsabit National Park, a lush desert oasis of volcanic craters and misty forests.

End your journey at Lake Turkana, the Sea of Jade, where the journey is as mesmerizing as the destination. The annual Lake Turkana Festival and a vibrant cultural experience await you. This extensive itinerary can take anywhere from two to four weeks, depending on your pace and interests.

Elephant family in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya © Maggy Meyer/Shutterstock

Elephant family in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya

Kenya Itinerary 2 - Western lakes, savannas and forests

Set off on an expedition through the Great Rift Valley, starting from the serene Lake Naivasha. Here, escape the hustle and bustle of Nairobi with a village retreat and explore the rugged terrain of Hell's Gate and Longonot Mountain.

Next, immerse yourself in the unparalleled wilderness of the Masai Mara National Reserve, stopping at community conservancies for intimate interactions with the majestic herds.

Travel further to Lake Victoria, where music and markets await you in lively Kisumu. Visit the islands to see ancient rock paintings and observe traditional fishing techniques.

The adventure continues in Kakamega Forest National Park, a bird and reptile lover's paradise that is a unique slice of the Central African rainforest in western Kenya.

Explore the dynamic environment of Lake Baringo, where diverse wildlife contrasts with the leisurely pace of lakeside recreation and safari campsites.

End your journey at Lake Nakuru National Park, a rhino and leopard reserve known for its stunning, sometimes huge, flamingo aggregations. This itinerary offers a complete introduction to Kenya's diverse landscapes and wildlife. It is designed to take two weeks and ideally three weeks for an exhaustive experience.

Planning a family trip to Kenya? Our tips for visiting Kenya with kids will help you navigate some important nuances and ensure a more carefree and enjoyable journey.

White-tailed eagle on the lake Naivasha © kyslynskahal/Shutterstock

White-tailed eagle on the lake Naivasha © kyslynskahal/Shutterstock

Kenya Itinerary 3 - Southern beaches, culture and national parks

Begin your three-week journey along Kenya's rich coastline and inland safari harbors in Mombasa, where thousands of years of history come alive through the Fort Jesus Museum and charming Old Town. Move inland to the Shimba Hills to spot unique sable antelopes amidst lush forests.

Head to Kaya Kinondo, a hidden gem filled with dense jungle and forest wildlife. Then explore the cultural heritage and verdant landscapes of the Taita Hills, a sparsely populated region with preserved traditions.

Tsavo West National Park awaits you with its spectacular lava flows and crystal clear Mzima Springs providing a scenic contrast. Continue to Amboseli National Park, where the backdrop of the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro offers expansive wildlife landscapes, especially majestic elephant herds.

In Tsavo East, Kenya's largest national park, the famous red elephants can be seen among a variety of wildlife and bird species. Move on to Malindi for colorful underwater activities, kitesurfing and nightlife, not forgetting the nearby attractions of Watamu and the ancient ruins of Gedi.

Finish your exploration in tranquil and historic Lamu with its perfect blend of cultural heritage and serene beaches, ensuring a peaceful end to your Kenyan adventure. This itinerary is designed for a comprehensive introduction, so allocate enough time, especially in Lamu, to fully immerse yourself in Kenya's rich tapestry.

Diani Beach in Kenya © Shutterstock

Diani Beach in Kenya © Shutterstock

The best time for a Kenya holiday

The best time to travel to Kenya largely depends on your interests and the regions you plan to visit. Generally, the dry season from June to October and December to March is ideal for wildlife watching as animals congregate near water sources and vegetation is sparse, making them easy to spot. 

This period also coincides with the Great Masai Mara Migration, which is a spectacular sight, especially from July to October. For birdwatching enthusiasts, the rainy season in November and from April to May provides an opportunity to see migratory birds in full splendor, although these months may see afternoon rains and denser vegetation. 

The Kenyan coast with its beautiful beaches is best visited from December to March when the weather is hot and dry. In general, consider your interests and consult regional guides to find the perfect time for your Kenyan adventure.

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 03.06.2024

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