Hi guys, my name is Peter Ndung’u and welcome to my Kenya travel guide. I am a travel, lifestyle and documentary photographer and videographer born and bred in Nairobi. I love exploring the outdoors, eating good food and watching sport – mostly football and Formula 1.
More often than not, I get out of Nairobi for some fresh air. My love for travel photography was inspired by a role model (@truthslinger) whose work I stumbled upon in a newspaper with pictures of Nairobi I had never seen before. From then on, I discovered a community of travellers.
These travellers were showcasing Kenya in ways I had never seen before and I was instantly hooked. I would skip classes sometimes (sorry Dad) just to take trips and capture photos. This also served as a distraction from the hours of schoolwork that I had going on at the time.
What began as a hobby turned into a profession. The rest was history.
Why Kenya is a Superb Country
Kenya is a fantastic destination for many reasons. I always recommend it to people who are looking to experience a vast array of activities and scenery. We are blessed as a country because we have different landscapes that offer unique opportunities for travellers everywhere.
If you like the mountains, we have Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Range to explore. If you love wildlife, we have the Maasai Mara National Reserve and its beautiful landscape. Elephant enthusiasts will fall head over heels for the incredible Amboseli National Park and Tsavo East National Park.
Then we have Nairobi as a capital which is the only city in the world that has a national park. So you don’t even need to leave the city to see wildlife. On the other hand, we have the east coast which is full of beaches. It’s always nice to add a bit of sun, sand and sea to your Kenya itinerary.
When it comes to cultural attractions, Kenya is home to the Maasai people who are part and parcel of the 40+ tribes that make up the country. At the moment, the entertainment scene is currently paused but once it’s back up you can experience amazing concerts, art and cultural shows, and more.
My Favourite Places in Kenya
I have barely scratched the surface of what’s available in Kenya. While I do get to travel to many different places in the country for work, I feel like I still have a lot to see. My favourite place to explore would probably be Northern Kenya because the landscapes there are so unique and beautiful.
There is a mixture of mountainous areas as well as vast drylands that offer an incredible interplay of different landscapes. On top of that, you have the colourful and vibrant culture of the Samburu people who live in the north.
Every time I travel to the north it feels like a completely new place to me. There is always something new that I discover that I hadn’t seen on my previous visit. Other parts of Kenya are still high on my travel bucket list too like the western side which I have only ventured to once before.
My favourite place for some downtime in Kenya is Lamu. I’m completely in love with the coastal island of Lamu and keep going back there. From the food, to the people, the beach, the town – everything about it makes me want to keep coming back. I would like to buy a house there when I retire!
The Fascinating Culture of Kenya
Kenya has more than 42 tribes and within these tribes are a mix of cultures. I would say the best way to experience the variety of cultures is to visit the different regions of Kenya where the food, dress and language differ.
The most popular cultures are the Maasai and the Samburu culture. They offer plenty of history and tradition to learn from and are always welcoming to guests. Spend a few days in the north to enjoy the fascinating Samburu culture and a few days in the Maasai Mara to meet the Maasai people.
On the east coast of Kenya, you have lots of Swahili people and culture that is super vibrant and manifests itself everywhere through the language, delicious food and rich architecture – all of which are unique to the Swahili.
Awesome Food Scene of Kenya
The food scene in Kenya is diverse with a variety of different options available for local and foreign travellers. You have the local joints that serve Nyama Choma and Ugali. Along the Northern Bypass in Nairobi, there are places that serve great fish and Ugali such as Mama Oliech.
If you visit Kisumu, there is plenty of fresh fish on offer. If you venture down to Lamu or the coast, Swahili food is a must-try as it’s full of flavour and vibrance. They cook their food with a lot of joy and love. There are also lots of restaurants in Nairobi that offer a wide range of international cuisines.
Everything from Chinese, Brazilian, Mexican, etc. can be found in Nairobi. Some of the best places are Fogo Gaucho, For You Chinese, Fonda’s Taqueria, Inti, Mama Rocks Burgers, and Uncle Nenes. Vegetarian options are also increasing by the day so there is something for everyone.
Best Accommodation in the Country
There are fantastic places to stay all over Kenya. You have cabins in the woods at Ragati on the foothills of Mount Kenya, beautiful places overlooking the Rift Valley in the Kajiado area of Champagne Ridge, resorts along the coast and my favourite house in Lamu – Forodhani House.
It’s always good to speak with locals to discover these amazing places. Kenya is full of them but you need to know where to look.
Epic Travel Memories in Kenya
I have memories from all of Kenya and picking just one favourite is something I find difficult. I’ve experienced moments where hippos have been around me while camping near the Mara River. Moments where a stranger – in a town called Sololo – offered us a place to sleep on his land.
Then there was a time when I photographed women in a Samburu village. These women warmed to me and my camera in a way that was totally unexpected. Their reactions, when I printed photos, will stay with me for a long time. Kenya is wholesome and offers endless great moments like this.
Need to Know Before you Go
My number one tip for people looking to visit Kenya is to come with a free spirit and an open mind. Kenya has plenty to offer and will always have something right for you, no matter your preferences. Having a free spirit will allow you to experience the real culture, local food and hidden gems.
Make sure you try food from the different regions. Even if you’re only visiting Nairobi, you can still enjoy a great mix of cuisines. I also recommend learning a few Swahili phrases. I always go with the default phrases such as: hi, sorry, excuse me, goodbye and thank you.
In this case, learning how to say “Habari Yako” (How are You?), “Pole” (Sorry), “Kwaheri” (Goodbye) and “Asante” (Thanks) will give you a good head start. Once you arrive at a destination, be sure to stay for at least three days so you can immerse in the local culture and meet people.
Thanks for reading my Kenya travel guide. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or would like more information. Enjoy your stay!