Out of the city

A day or overnight trip from Nairobi will take you through the Great Rift Valley, one of Africa’s geological wonders and a habitat that transcends time. Views from the escarpment before descending are breathtaking, as the valley suddenly drops thousands of feet, affording views for miles.

Lake Naivasha
The lake itself is home to hundreds of hippos, and a trip on a long boat can get you pretty close to one of Africa’s deadliest beasts. It is also a wonderful place to watch fish eagles swooping in and catching their prey. Drop by Elsamere Conservation Centre where you can enjoy ‘Kenya’s best afternoon tea’ and learn about Joy Adamson, whose experience raising an orphaned lion cub inspired the film Born Free and a legacy of wildlife conservation. Other lodges on the shores of the lake include Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort and Camp Carnelley’s, which does great food.

Mount Kenya National Park
Nanyuki, at the base of Mount Kenya, is where views of the rugged peaks of Africa’s second highest mountain, reaching 5,199m, can be enjoyed from afar. The town is also a good base for hiking trips into the national park, which is rich with wildlife. There are several resorts on the outskirts, including eco-conscious Segera Retreat. A popular stop-off on the way is Trout Tree Restaurant, where you can eat super fresh fish straight from the trout farm – in a tree.

Hell’s Gate National Park
A fascinating hiking destination, Hell’s Gate is the only national park in Kenya that visitors are allowed to explore on foot – and yes, there are lions! The volcanic landscape is cinematic, having inspired Disney animation The Lion King, with wonderful gorges, basalt towers, geysers and hot springs. Biking and camping are also possible.

Amboseli National Park
A five-hour drive south of Nairobi – or a quick and more comfortable flight transfer – Amboseli is set in the shadow of Africa’s highest and most iconic peak, the volcanic cone of Mount Kilimanjaro, on the Tanzanian border. All of the Big Five species can be found here, and there are, of course, several luxury retreats, such as Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, as well as some more humble dwellings from which to base a safari trip and enjoy romantic views of snow-capped Kilimanjaro.

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