Discover Hidden Gems: 15 Lesser-Known Activities in Kenya

sunrise kakamega forest

Embark on an Off-the-Beaten-Path Safari

Most tourists flock to Kenya’s famous Maasai Mara, Amboseli, and Tsavo for safaris. However, Samburu National Reserve offers a unique wildlife viewing experience with species that are rare in the south, such as the Gerenuk and the Grevy’s zebra. Similarly, the forests of Shimba Hills provide a verdant backdrop for elephant sightings and are far less crowded.

Explore the Ruins of Gedi

Gedi was a thriving Swahili town between the 12th and 17th centuries. Today, its ancient ruins provide a fascinating day trip, hidden amongst the forests near Malindi. The site includes a museum, and the moss-covered remains inspire a sense of mystery as to how this town was forgotten until the 20th century.

Stroll Through the Marakwet Escarpment

The Marakwet Escarpment offers some of Kenya’s most breathtaking views and fantastic hiking opportunities. The culture of the Marakwet people, their irrigation systems, and their terraced fields add another layer of intrigue to the natural beauty of the place.

Bird Watching at Saiwa Swamp National Park

Saiwa Swamp National Park is the smallest national park in Kenya, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in bird biodiversity. It’s the perfect spot for bird enthusiasts to catch a glimpse of the rare and endemic Sitatunga antelope.

Snorkeling and Diving in Watamu

While many know about Watamu for its pristine beaches, beneath the surface lies a world-class marine protected area filled with living coral, colorful fish, and green turtles. The lesser-known Watamu is a snorkeling and diving paradise.

Take a Trip to Rusinga Island

Rusinga Island, with its rich fossil heritage, is a hidden gem in Lake Victoria. It provides an alternative Kenyan experience focusing on archeological history and traditional fishing villages.

Climb Mount Longonot

Mount Longonot’s extinct volcano and crater offer a vigorous climb and stunning views. Compared to the more famous Mount Kenya, Longonot is far less known, providing a serene and thrilling hiking adventure.

Try Camel Racing and Cultural Immersion in Marala

Maralal is not only an important stopover for safaris to the north, but also the home of Kenya’s International Camel Derby. Visitors can indulge in cultural exchanges and witness or participate in camel races.

Attend the Lake Turkana Cultural Festival

Celebrate the cultural diversity of the Lake Turkana region with this vibrant festival. Tribes such as the El Molo, Samburu, and Turkana display their cultural richness through dances, costumes, and music. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about local life beyond wildlife.

Explore Kisumu and Dunga Beach

Kisumu offers an urban Kenyan experience without the congestion of Nairobi. You can visit thriving markets, take a boat trip from Dunga Beach, or learn about the history and conservation efforts of Lake Victoria.

Relax at Manda Bay

For those looking for a secluded coastal getaway, Manda Bay on Manda Island offers serene beaches and privacy. This area is far less developed than neighboring Lamu but provides an equally charming Swahili culture and idyllic beach experience.

Visit the Kakamega Forest

A remnant of the ancient Guineo-Congolian rainforest, Kakamega Forest is teeming with unique flora and fauna. Walking beneath its canopy, you’ll observe rare birds and butterflies, and possibly spot the elusive Debrazza monkey.

Hike through the Aberdare Ranges

The Aberdare Ranges present a tranquil alternative to more frequented destinations, with waterfalls, moorlands, and rich wildlife, including the black rhino and the bongo antelope.

Soak in the Hot Springs of Lake Bogoria

Lake Bogoria is famous for its geysers and hot springs. Besides its extraordinary geological features, it’s a prime location for flamingo watching. The lake’s alkaline environment attracts thousands of flamingos, creating a stunning pink spectacle.

Discover the Stories of the Kit Mikayi Rock

Kit Mikayi is a large rock formation near Kisumu with deep cultural and spiritual significance to the Luo community. Climbing and learning about its folklore provides an alternative to Kenya’s outdoor activities and complements a holistic experience of the country’s diversity.