10 Epic Adventures in Kenya

by Vanessa Wanders Miles

There’s no shortage of incredible adventures in Kenya from wildlife spotting on safari, and exploring the jaw-dropping landscapes to hiking the volcanoes in the Great Rift. 

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Find Your Next Epic Adventures in Kenya

Spot the Big Five in the Masai Mara Game Park

Spotting the Big Five on a Masai Mari safari adventure is top of the list for most wildlife lovers.  The “Big Five” is a term originally coined by big-game hunters and considered the most challenging and dangerous of Africa’s big game to shoot while on foot which includes the elephant, lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, and rhinoceros.

Going on a safari takes patience and you will be in a lucky spot all in one day but there are plenty of other adorable species to keep you occupied.

Masai Mara safari by hot air balloon

Beginning at dawn, set off for a hot air balloon adventure over the plains of the Masai Mara. Safari from above is a whole new perspective as you see the vultures’ nests from the top of the trees and watch the hyenas hiding in the bush waiting for their prey. Not only that but the joy of gliding through the air at sunrise and floating around in the sky is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The hot air balloon flight takes around an hour with a champagne breakfast awaiting you at a makeshift camp in the savannah. What a perfect way to start the day!

Watch the Great Migration in action 

Dubbed the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, the Great Migration is a natural phenomenon of the wildebeest migration on safari between July and October. Over 1.5 million wildebeest, and hundreds of thousands of zebras, as well as elands and gazelles, make the big journey for fresh pastures.

There is no exact science with nature, the herds can be ready to migrate at different times each year. I found this handy tool called HerdTracker, a web app which plots the precise location of the great wildebeest migration in real-time to a Google map. Be flexible with your dates and hopefully you get to experience this life-changing safari experience.


Hike around Mount Longonot

Mount Longonot is a dormant stratovolcano, located around 60km from Nairobi and 2780m above sea level, and is thought to have last erupted in 1863. The name of the volcano is derived from the Maasai word Oloonong’ot, meaning “mountains of many spurs” or “steep ridges”.

Panorama view of the Mount Longonot crater in KenyaThe start of the hike to the rim of the crater is around 3km but it is fairly steep so you’ll need a certain level of fitness. Don’t worry about the local schoolchildren flying past you in their uniforms, they probably do this every day. The 7km around the rim is up and down, the views are simply incredible. You can look down into the crater where there is deep, tall forestation where warthogs and leopards roam. The total walk was around 13km and took between 5-6 hours!

Watch wildlife on a boat tour of Lake Naivasha

The early morning wake-up was worth it to take a boat tour on the serene freshwater Lake Naivasha. The endless amount of wildlife was unreal; mummy and baby giraffe walked across the lake in front of us, and we spotted paras, waterbucks, wildebeest and families of submerged hippos. The hippos spend all day wallowing in the water and come out at night to feed, apparently, they can run faster than humans so I was happier in the boat. Let’s not forget, the immense about of birds such as the African spoonbill and the black herons at the edge of the water or in the trees.

Not only is the lake breathtakingly beautiful but it is famous for a couple more reasons; it is the former home of Joy Adamson, the author of Born Free, and the rangers tell us that the animals were brought there for the making of the film, Out of Africa, hence the reason why there are no predators amongst them.

Safari by bike at Hell’s Gate National Park

For one epic adventure in Kenya, go on a safari through Hell’s Gate National Park on a bike, it is sensational. This is one of the only safaris in Africa without predators so it’s safe to go cycling there. It stands to reason that the setting of Hell’s Gate National Park and Pride Rock was a big inspiration for the Disney blockbuster, The Lion King.

There were so many zebras playing along the open savannah with impalas and gazelles bounding across the road. The giraffes, elands and buffalos grazed slowly whilst the warthog families could be seen trotting along in line behind each other. Be careful of the Vervet Monkeys at the lunch spot, I had an incident as one jumped down from a tree onto my apple. Not sure who was more scared?

Hiking the gorge at Hell’s Gate National Park

The gorge in Hell’s Gate National Park, an outlet from Lake Naivasha, is the ideal playground for adventure-seekers. The salt of the volcanic sandstone turns the fresh water into algae which can be seen along the walk, the favourite feed for flamingos! There were parts where you need to climb the rope to reach the next level, just be careful not to slip!

Reach the top of the gorge and you are rewarded with a sensational volcanic landscape, not to be missed. You can hire rock climbing gear at Hell’s Gate National Park so you have no excuse but to get involved in these fantastic adventures in Kenya!

Explore the sacred caves on Menengai volcano

Occupying the floor of the East African Rift, you can find the huge shield of Menengai volcano, one of the biggest calderas in the world. The crater is 12km in diameter and 90 sq. km. in the area and although it is dormant now, the last eruption occurred in 1991.

Panoramic view of the Menengai CalderaIn the 19th Century, the Maasai tribes fought against each other to claim land and animals, the caldera used to be a watch tower. One massacre took place just outside the crater where many bodies were buried afterwards; Menengai is a word that means “a place for dead bodies”.

We took a walk down to the Menegai Sacred Caves where Christian pilgrims come from all over Kenya to pray, there were people sleeping at the edge of the cave in the dark after their big long journey. Back in the 1950s, the Mau Mau’s would use the caves as a place to hide in the middle of the uprising.

Menengai Sacred Caves in KenyaViews overlooking the Menengai Volcano Kenya

The vast expanse of land gave me goosebumps as we trekked along the caldera, further down in the forest on the base you are likely to come across baboons, hyenas, antelopes and snakes. You could see small emissions of steam in the distance which become more active at night when the ground is cooling down.

There is still a chance that this volcano will erupt again with the pressure of needing somewhere to escape. I was happy to discover there is a geothermal project in progress to connect the steam to a power plant, an amazing source of renewable energy especially since poor rainfall has hindered hydropower. Bravo Kenya!

Meet the Masai tribes

Meeting the local Maasai people is an integral part of the East African experience. Welcoming tourists to their Manyatta (Maasai village) is a wonderful way of boosting their income so think of it as giving back rather than intruding into their day! Most have a little market for them to sell their handicrafts to tourists.

You are generally greeted by the chief of the village who will talk you through the Maasai culture, history and what everyday life is like. The men wearing red chequered garments, Shúkà in the Maa language, will gather to perform the”adumu” or “jumping dance” which involves lots of grunting, singing, melodic wailing and blowing kudu horn. Jumping is a way of showing their masculinity, the higher you jump, the more attractive you are to the ladies.

Young women and girls will appear in their traditional dress ready to entertain guests. They spend a lot of time on their appearance and design their own jewellery which plays an important role in courtship. The Maasai women will sing around the manyatta as a way of flirting, I love this part of their culture.

Relaxing at Mvuke Natural Spa

After all those epic adventures in Kenya, it must be time to chill! No better way than at the Mvuke geothermal spa with water straight from the fumarole geyser! The water is very pale blue in colour and warm, head over to the inlet and the water is very toasty indeed.

The natural spa water at Mvuke has health benefits to relaxing muscles, and opening the pores in your skin (fantastic free facial) and the mineral-rich water can heal skin diseases such as Psoriasis. You can definitely smell the rotten eggs’ sulphur stench but I really didn’t care. I felt refreshed and revitalized.


Whether you are on a short stay or looking for a longer trip, there are some more adventures in Kenya on offer. Discover the wonders of this fabulous landscape by trekking, safari, biking and more!




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Kelly 22nd April 2020 - 10:33 pm

Oh my! I would have to do them all! A safari is way at the top of my list, but they are usually so expensive! I’m a hiker so Mount Longonot would be really cool. I have never seen inside a crater before. I bet it is amazing.

Vanessa 25th April 2020 - 10:02 pm

I really enjoyed trekking round Mount Longonot but once you’ve committed to it, you need to make the full rim to get back down! Safari’s are always full of surprise, always something new to see!

Freya 23rd April 2020 - 3:53 am

A Maasai Mara safari by hot air balloon would be a dream come true for me. I’ve been to Kenya and Tanzania a couple of times, but never during the great migration so that’s another one for the bucket list. Cycling through Hell’s gate looks really cool too. Your photos make me want to go back to Africa so badly!

Vanessa 28th April 2020 - 1:09 pm

I really enjoyed the hot air balloon ride, this was my first time and experience this over the great migration was just the dream! Hope you get to go back soon.

Carol Kubicki 23rd April 2020 - 12:32 pm

Thank you for a great post. The gorge in Hell’s Gate National Park looks like a fantastic walk with a bit of excitement involved too! The views looks sensational. It is interesting to read that there is more to visiting Kenya than wildlife spotting, although that looks wonderful too.

Vanessa 25th April 2020 - 10:14 pm

There is definitely more to Kenya than safari and feel I need to back to discover even more, it’s a great playground for adventures!

Catherine 23rd April 2020 - 1:25 pm

Wow, I’m lost for words. Your photos are stunning! Kenya seems like a magical place with so much natural beauty. It’s certainly on my bucket list.

Vanessa 28th April 2020 - 12:49 pm

Thank you for your lovely words. Kenya really does have a lot to offer from beautiful landscapes to amazing adventures. There will be something new to try each time!

Jyoti 23rd April 2020 - 6:24 pm

Love your glimpses of Kenya, my childhood home. I’ve been to Masai Mara and many of these national parks and safaris over the years, but can never have enough. It’s really amazing – the wildlife; the Rift Valley and vast expanses that stretch for ever; the culture, dances and people; the food and so much more. Thank you for sharing!

Vanessa 28th April 2020 - 1:08 pm

What an amazing place to grow up, lucky you! I agree, you can never have enough of these wonderful adventures in Kenya!

Sarah 23rd April 2020 - 8:13 pm

Some fabulous suggestions here. Loved my time in Kenya, my biggest regret was not taking the hot air balloon. Not familiar with Hell’s Gate National Park, but that’s a good excuse for a return trip to Kenya 🙂

Vanessa 28th April 2020 - 1:26 pm

It’s always good to have an excuse to go back and see a place again. I’ve been to Kenya a few times and I still have more adventures I need to tick off my list.

Kathleen 26th April 2020 - 1:47 am

Now I want to go and see it all!! It’s great that one of the reserves has no predators and you can let down your guard a little bit, although you shouldn’t let it down all the way around wild animals. It all looks so beautiful. I would love to take a balloon ride to see what’s at the top of all the trees. The boat ride sounds fantastic too. The natural spa would be so great after a long day on safari. Such an interesting post. Thanks for sharing all the ays to go on safari. I had no idea.

Vanessa 28th April 2020 - 12:39 pm

Sounds like the article has inspired you with lots of ideas now about new adventures in Kenya. There is so much more too, Kenya is a wonderful playground for activities!

Yukti Agrawal 29th April 2020 - 12:19 am

I still have to visit Africa and in that Kenya tops my list due to exotic wildlife. Wow it would be great to Spot the Big Five on a Maasai Mari safari adventure. Taking a boat tour on the serene freshwater Lake Naivasha and spotting those giraffes must be really incredible experience for you. Also hot air-ballooning over Maasai Mari must be a very beautiful experience. I never knew that there are natural thermal spas in Kenya but thanks to you for suggesting Mvuke geothermal spa with water straight from the fumarole geyser. I would indulge in this spa and pamper myself.

Vanessa 29th April 2020 - 5:55 pm

Oh you must take a trip to Africa when you can, you would love it. There is definitely a lot of activities to keep you entertained in Kenya.

Kat Anderson 13th May 2020 - 8:19 am

An African Safari is absolutely on my list! Thanks for all the other ideas of what to see and do when I go there.

Vanessa 13th May 2020 - 8:21 am

You need a little patience for the safari but the rewards are worth the wait. Kenya has a lot to offer with many adventures.

Sherin 22nd December 2020 - 6:40 pm

Kenya is definitely on my travel bucket list.

Vanessa Wanders Miles 15th November 2022 - 2:20 pm

I loved my visits to Kenya, there’s so much adventure to be had!


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