Diani Beach is a breathtakingly beautiful strip of coastline, where the water is so vibrant and clear that almost glows. You can find camels wandering the beach and dhows sailing just off-shore. You can also skydive right onto the sand, enjoying unforgettable views during your freefall. Skydive Diani is a USPA dropzone with extremely high safety standards. They offer tandems as well as fun jumps and courses.
Most people who head to East Africa for mountain climbing make a beeline for Mount Kilimanjaro (19,340 ft). As one of the world’s Seven Summits – the highest mountain in Africa – Kilimanjaro is a natural choice for a classic adventure. But if you prefer ‘off the beaten path’ experiences and want an even greater mountaineering challenge, head instead to Mount Kenya. At 17,057 feet, Mount Kenya packs all the high-altitude punch and views of Mount Kilimanjaro, while also taking you up steep slopes of ice and 5.6+ rock. Mount Kenya is often called a ‘mountaineer’s mountain’ thanks to there being no easy routes up it. It’s an opportunity to climb terrain comparable in difficulty to the Matterhorn (and requiring a comparable level of experience) while being immersed in surreal landscapes, complete with elephants, baboons, other-worldly rock formations, and exotic plants. The two primary routes up Mount Kenya are the Shipton Route and North Face Standard Route. But unlike other mountains where you choose your route based on difficulty or scenery, the choice between routes on Mount Kenya is season dependent. From December to March, the Shipton Route is best, while from June to September, the North Face Standard Route is preferred. Mount Kenya also has twin peaks – Nelion (17,021 ft) and Batian (17,057 ft) – so you can go up one or the other or tackle both by crossing the ‘Gates of the Mist’ if conditions allow it.
The River Tana (a.k.a. Sagana River) offers a unique rafting experience, which is more like a water-based safari dotted with Class II to V rapids. The 7- to 10-mile journey starts off easy with Class II and III rapids followed by long sections of tranquil floating. Then the real action begins, as you take on several Class IV and V rapids for a grand finale.
Mount Longonot (9,108 ft) is a dormant volcano near Nairobi that you can hike up in a day trip. It features an impressive caldera with a 4.5-mile rim that you can hike around in a loop. After you finish the journey, you can relax on the shores of Lake Naivasha, which is famous for its large hippo and bird populations.
Hell’s Gate is a unique national park where you can rent a bike and cycle alongside wildlife. Unlike other parks, which require traveling in vehicles for safety, Hell’s Gate does not have dangerous predators. So you can track zebra, gazelle, and buffalo under your own power, and according to your own terms. The trails in the park are a mix of sand, dirt, and gravel, so it can feel like a slog in the especially sandy sections. But the overall experience is worth this minor inconvenience. If you go, don’t miss hiking in Hell’s Canyon Gorge. It’s better with a tour guide, but you can arrange to have someone meet you there if you don’t want a guide for the rest of the day.
The Lake Turkana Cultural Festival is a 3-day event that brings together neighboring tribes to promote peace and reconciliation. With 14 tribes participating, it’s one of the largest cultural festivals in Kenya. Tribes take turns performing, usually through traditional songs and dances, and local politicians give speeches to solidify the sense of unity. It’s an event worth experiencing, as a way to get a less touristy view of indigenous culture in Kenya.
Lamu is an island off the Kenya coast that hosts a world-class yoga festival each year, as well as a range of creative yoga retreats. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful setting for such an event. Not only is there sapphire blue water and shimmering white sand, but it’s also a car-free island, meaning there’s no traffic or honking to interrupt your Zen.