Bucket list activities in Kenya
- Sky diving in Diani.
The Kenyan coastline is one of the finest sceneries in the world. The beaches are breath-taking and the calm sea waters protected by the reef have a certain indescribable colour when you look at them from above. For first timers, really everyone apart from the professionals, a Tandem jump package is ideal for us. Tandem Jumping is ideally a skydiving experience where two people jump out of an airplane together, strapped to one another during the entire descent. In our case, that would be you and an experienced professional.
The Tandem skydiving experience package starts with a short brief from an instructor before you are ready to go 12,000 feet high into the sky. After getting geared up, you board an airplane for a 15-minute flight and enjoy the beautiful view that you will free fall towards. As you approach the drop off point, pun heavily intended, you will be securely attached to the front of your instructor, and then start moving towards the doorway of the plane and hang your feet outside overlooking the ground over 3,600 meters below. Ready, Set and GO. Freefalling towards the earth at terminal velocity of approximately 200km/h. They estimate it at 55 seconds of pure adrenaline. At about 5000 feet your main parachute is deployed, and you can finally catch your breath and relax the muscles around your heart as you enjoy a spectacular 5-minute canopy ride back to earth. Still gearing myself to do this but skydiving is something that is really high up above on my bucket list. They do have an additional camera package that lets you sky-dive with a professional videographer who will record your whole experience and deliver you a 4- minute video and for some still photographs as well
2. Air Balloon Safari in Masai Mara.
We all love a good sunrise. From the warm toned colours to the embrace feeling you experience viewing the sun rise signalling a new day. Now I want you to imagine, watching the sunrise as you float in the air above the glorious Maasai Mara Plains sipping on your coffee or tea or better yet a mimosa. You can already feel your heart-melting at that gorgeous yellow-orange view. Flying high up in the skies above the Masai Mara is one of the top ultimate safari experiences. The scenery below is an infinity mix of riverine forests, sprawling savannahs, towering escarpments and rugged rivers all against a backdrop of stunning sunrises and sunsets. The view is unmatched to anything you can ever set your eyes on and experience is most definitely unforgettable.
3. Scale Mt Kenya.
For the adventurous lot, Hiking Mount Kenya is a true bucket list idea. You can climb mountain in as little as 4 days but you can also do a traverse and spend 6 days on the mountain or for the really determined ones, you can do it in a day. You do need severe preparation to be able to hack the hike. They actually put it out as a warning or disclaimer. Due to the altitude, people do tend to get sick and collapse, so intense physical fitness is required and a clean bill of health.
Aside from that little hitch, Mt Kenya is a sight to behold. For those who do not wish to climb the mountain, there are several lodges and hotels around Mt. Kenya and the forest for you to lounge in and enjoy the views and stories of the locals.
4. Sunset Dhow cruise in Lamu.
Dhows are Swahili style sail boats that are specially handcrafted by the coastal people. This is one of those excursions that you never want to end. Getting to witness the magical sunset floating on a traditional cruise with clear views of Lamu town and Shela village. Most dhow cruises last for two hours starting of from 4;30 pm, so by the time the sun sets you are softly cruising on the Indian Ocean. One of the most magical sights to see, a strong contender for top bucket list activity.
5. Adopt an Elephant at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
How many people can say they have an adopted elephant? You can! Located inside the Nairobi National Park, David Sheldrick Trust opens its doors everyday to the public only for an hour. Between 11am and 12 noon. So as to limit the human interaction with the elephants. This is to help them better integrate in the wild when they are eventually let out into the wild.
For ksh1500 per person for 12 years and above and ksh500 for those under the age of 12, you can get to see and experience the beauty that is baby elephants and even sign up to adopt one lovely elephant. The entry point is along Magadi road, at the Kenya Wildlife Service gate. Since their establishment they have successfully raised 285 elephant orphans. This is definitely a bucket list activity in Nairobi. Remember no entry without a prior appointment. So definitely book via their site to avoid delays.
6. Visit Masai Mara National Reserve.
Popularly known for the Great Wildebeest migration and its exceptional populations of lion, African leopard, cheetah, all members of the "Big Five" (lion, leopard, elephant, Cape buffalo, black and white rhinos) and the African bush elephant, Masai Mara is a top bucket list destination. Experience the great traditional Masai culture, from their attire to their way of life as the Mara is their backyard. Ultimate Safari experience. It is also one of the only two places that you can experience the hot air balloon safari in Kenya. The Mara is a place I wish everyone would experience at least once in their life.
7. Enjoy Island Life in Lamu.
Lamu is a quiet little town that is the best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. It is by far one of the most iconic and unique towns we have in Kenya. Lamu locals rely on donkeys for transport on the land, and dhows on water connecting between the Islands. It is very common to walk around the town and come across people on donkeys or donkeys just lazing about the road.
They have a festival every year in November that is one of the most amazing things to experience. It’s a local’s tradition just for them to bond and promote each other and they welcome tourists. They have so many activities, races, food expo, promotions, deals and Swahili entertainment that go on. A fan favourite is the boys swimming and donkey races. Young boys race to see who can swim across the Indian Ocean and back faster. For a first timer, this is a very scary thought, but the people of Lamu have grown up swimming in the Ocean from a very young age to a point it feels like second nature.
8. Visit Nairobi National Park (The only park in a city).
Nairobi National Park is the only park in a city and the most accessible safari destination in Africa. With it being just 15 minutes from the Nairobi, convenient enough to have it on your bucket list and cross if off quickly with less preparations and too much of the burden of cost. It is home to the largest family of rhinos in Kenya, and we all know that they are becoming extinct. In addition to Rhinos, you are bound to see the Cape Buffalo, Masai Giraffe, Plain Zebra, Impalas, Ostriches, Hippos, Lions, Spotted Hyena, Jackals, Leopards, Cheetahs to name but a few.
The park has 5 entry points for ease of access and has lovely walking trails that offer a safe and serene area to walk around and the trails also lead to the hippo pools. One of the largest aquatic herbivores areas you shall see in Kenya. They also lead to the Ivory Burning Site. A monumental ivory burning site that is a must visit for conservatives. It’s the site where the late former Kenyan president Daniel Arap Moi burned 12 tonnes of ivory, in 1989 to show Kenya's commitment to the conservation of elephants, and zero tolerance to ivory it also doubles up as a camping site as well. The park also offers a great picnic area for a meal with friends or family overlooking the Impala Observation Centre where you get to dine in and observe one of the calmest animals, the gorgeous sturdy impalas. Definitely a bucket list spot.
9. Breakfast with Giraffes at Giraffe Manor.
We have all seen the photos of people sipping tea in bathrobes alongside Giraffes. Arguably one of the most instagrammed properties in the world and its right at our doorstep. Welcome to Giraffe Manor. A boutique hotel that lets you feed, eat with and literally spend the day with the world’s tallest mammal. From a 1930s hunting lodge, to pioneering the conservation of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes in the 1970s and now one of the world’s most iconic and Instagramable boutique hotels, Giraffe Manor should definitely be on your bucket list. Only downside is, you have to spend the night there for you to experience breakfast and lunches with the Giraffes but on the bright side is you get to have a whole mind-blowing experience all in two days and a night. Sleeping to theview of 140 acres of indigenous forest and wake up to breakfast with Giraffes.
10. Experience A Wonder of The World: The Twin Migration!
The Wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti to Masai Mara early July and back late October every year while Humpback whales migrate from Antarctica in search of warmer climates to calve and mate and they end up congregating in the Kenyan waters between July and August. From Masai Mara to Watamu, you get to experience Mother Nature at its finest. Thinking of it as a 2 for 1 deal. This is something that I would do and strongly recommend you join me at some point.