6-day itinerary to prove Kenya needs to be your next destination

10:30 am

White water rafting with Savage Wilderness in the Tana River
I am going to give you reasons why Kenya needs to be on your to-visit list for 2017. I will start you off with a 6-day itinerary from city to bush to beach. Since Kenya is a country with a lot to see, I will try a squeeze as much as I can in this 6-day itinerary.
Keep in mind a few facts to know before visiting Kenya that I wrote recently here.

Day 1:
Nairobae City.
Of course, your flight will land in Nairobi or your bus will end in the city. Of course, you want to see and explore the city that is Nairobi.
Make a turn to the Kenyatta market. Get your hair done as I did. While you get your hair done, you can get an outfit designed by the local seamstress who also own a stall at the market.
Hair dressers at Kenyatta Market.

Kenyatta Market is named after the presidential family. The atmosphere at the market is informal. Make sure you try some Nyama Choma while you are at it. The market is known world over. You can spend the whole day at the market and discover something new at every corner. But you will still see the hair dresser ladies and a random dude that walks around with a juke box and all he is trying to do is entice ladies into getting a manicure.
If this sounds crazy to you, this is the perfect picture of why you need to visit Nairobi.

Black Girl Hair struggles.
After a long day of Nyama Choma, a new fitted outfit, and new hair style, head to Westlands for sundowners. Kenya is catching up on the craft beer craze and they have establishments that make really good ones. Go off to Brew Bistro Rooftop in Westlands at the Fortis Tower, not only do they have the most amazing view of Nairobi skyline, the food they serve is absolutely divine.
Make sure to try their Calamari croquettes with squid ink and the metre-long craft beer tasting plank with 10 different beers.
Metre long Craft beer tasting at Brew Bistro Rooftop Lounge.
Please, note that there is the Brew Bistro and Lounge on Ngong road which gets absolutely ratchet after hours but for the views, the Roof top lounge is the place to be. The ratchetness is not a bad thing, still my favourite ratchet place to let loose in Nairobi.
After that, head out to B-Club. See, a city like Nairobi doesn’t sleep. You will find something to do and somewhere to go at any hour of the day. Expect South African and Nigerian with a hint of dancehall music. Good luck if you intend to get out by 3am – not happening!

Where can you stay while in Nairobi?
Kempinski Hotel, Nairobi.
The only hotel I have stayed in where they had a plug for any country you come from in the world. They have great showers and comfortable beds. not to mention the uncapped wifi is heaven sent. If there’s more you need from a hotel, I can’t help you. Those are the only things that determine a brilliant hotel for the traveller in me. The Kempinski Nairobi.

Day 2
Tana river with the bungee crane in the background
You will leave Nairobi and you will survive the traffic cos you will be going against the traffic as you travel towards Sagana. This is more central Kenya in the Kirinyaga county in the village town of Sagana. I am tempted to call this the capital of adventure travel in Kenya. Let’s not forget the agriculture in the area. They grow rice around here but rice is the least of my interests when I can bungee jump and river raft in the Tana river.
So we are going to call this the adventure capital according to @TheSoloWandera until I find anything that disapproves my opinion.
The Tana river is the longest river in Kenya, the river runs for about 1000km into some dam reservoirs and eventually ends up in the Indian ocean.

Get your adrenaline ready.
Go river rafting at the Savage wilderness camp. Reserve at least 30 minutes for the brief on safety and whatever else they tell you to do right when water rafting. The dude will tell you about crocs, the snakes that will fall into your raft mid-raft and how to handle them. He will however, not tell you about the devils toilet and how he will give you the greatest adventure you heart can handle. You will regret going on this adventure so much that you will dedicate your life to going back there for a second run.

The most thrilling time in the Tana River.
You probably thinking what on earth is the devils toilet bowl – if you have ever been river rafting, you will know that rapids are usually given names and are graded. but there will be interesting features in the river as well. In river rafting, there is something called bum sliding. This you do when you lay on your back on some rock and allow the water current to carry you to wherever the current is no longer so strong. At this part of the Tana river, the current is so strong that it goes and forms a swirl at one point a few metres from where you would be river rafting. That swirl will most likely swallow you up during your bum sliding but thanks to your life jacket it will throw you out.

River rafting.
The Savage Wilderness camp doesn’t only offer adventure but they have accommodation available. They have chalets and an area to camp not far from the river. Camping is with own gear and a man made bridge will connect the chalets and camp site over the river.
There is also a kitchen available to feed you should you be too lazy to feed yourself.

bridge connecting the camp to the chalets over the Tana river.
Did I mention that they have a bungee crane. You will bungee into the river so leave your electronic equipment on land. Yes, you will take a dip into the water on your jump. However, they do not offer bungee jumping when it is raining.
After all this adrenaline, you can decide to spend a night in Sagana but I continued my adventure on a 2 hour drive to Nanyuki the equator town. In Nanyuki you will arrive just in time for dinner and sleep at the Serena Sweetwaters Tented Camps at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy entrance.
There is also the Ol Pejeta House which you can stay in – aim for the main bedroom with such a huge bed, you will roll over until you tired before you fall off.
The tent is not like the outdoors camping you did when you were still a kid, this is luxury tents, fully furnished with a queen-sized bed and during the cold months, someone sneaks in with a hot water bottle for you while you are at dinner.

Serena Sweetwaters Tented Camp bedroom
The tents are all facing the watering hole, I didn’t see any animals during my stay as the watering hole was dry – this drought that is ravaging our continent has really been intense – save water!
Breakfast in the bush.
The next morning you can start your day with a game drive. With enough preparation and communication with the lodge, a bush breakfast is a must! Honestly, why wouldn’t you want to have your breakfast with elephants roaming the marsh not so far away from where you are.
Ol Pejeta Rhino Conservancy.
Pay a visit to Baraka the rhino. Baraka is a blind rhino. Rhinos are very territorial animals, Baraka got into a fight with another rhino and got his eye poked out. Upon recovery, it was discovered that Baraka had cataract on the other eye.

Baraka the blind Rhino.
The guide that will receive you will also suggest feeding and petting Baraka from the platform where you stand that protects you. Please do not do this. Baraka is a wild animal and you touching him is actually not ideal, he is not domesticated and doesn’t need to be either. Just learn the story of Baraka and find out how you can help. Petting wild animals is everything that is against responsible tourism. Now Baraka remains protected in the conservancy with an army of security.

Get fed like a queen at the Sweetwaters tented camp.
There is also the Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the conservancy that rescues and rehabilitates chimps that have been used in circuses or someone had as a pet. Thankfully the chimps are not your friends so you will never pet that dude, but if you think you can live to tell the tale, knock yourself out – if you can get through the electric fence.

Day 3
Equator, Nanyuki, Kenya.
As you leave the Conservancy, on a clear day you will see the peak of Mount Kenya. You want to stop at the equator and have the local guide demonstrate the Coriolis force. This is how the water in the northern hemisphere will drain counter-clockwise and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. After all this excitement, you will be a certified Equator crosser – yes, they give you a dated certificate.  
Certified equator crosser.
Continue from Nanyuki headed to Samburu. If you leave Nanyuki early enough, you will arrive just in time for lunch then an amazing swim.

Where to stay: Sarova Shaba Game Lodge, Samburu. Some of the rooms are far from the pool and dining area. The rooms are super spacious, the bed is covered with a mosquito net and a ceiling fan will keep you cool through the night. I also appreciate a lodge that is in a mosquito area and actually provides mosquito repellent. I always carry my own but sometimes I forget it in my room. The rooms are facing the Ewaso Nyira River. There is a crocodile show every evening at 7pm – weirdest thing that the crocodiles in the river know that there are treats on the river bed where there is light.
Sarova ShabaGame Lodge.
Visit the Samburu village and learn more about the Samburu tribe. Read my post on the Samburu tribe.
Samburu Village Tour.
After your village tour, you are meant to go on a cliff and watch the breathtaking sunset over sundowners where the Samburu warriors will entertain you and narrate the tale of how does a boy become a warrior. And once the sun goes down, you will have the very talented Mamudi Gwiyo come and serenade you with his guitar. Mamudi is also an employee at Sarova Shaba and by far my most favourite. His language is Swahili, has never been to South Africa but sings songs in Zulu, Xhosa and shona like he comes from the south. We will be adopting him soon.

Samburu is a 5 hour drive from Nairobi thorugh Nanyuki, an hour flight from Wilson airport.

Day 4.
Samburu flight strip.
After all this time bundu bashing, it is time for beach bumming, island living and loads of time in the water. The are a few flight strips not very far from Sarova shaba game lodge. Take a flight from the gravel strip, where the duty free products are the beaded work of the local Samburu people. Fly for an hour into Wilson airport in Nairobi then connect on another flight to Manda Airport. flight duration will depend on the airline you will fly. Give yourself an hour and a half flight time.

Welcome to Manda Airport.
Manda Airport is on Manda Island. These Islands can be a bit confusing in terms of their landscape or geography. This is where you will find Lamu Island. From the airport you will walk out. Your house is bigger that the airport, have no expectations. You don’t even get a boarding pass printed here. You just get some laminated paper that you will have to hand in when you board your flight. It’s fantastic, they are saving the trees. Also at Wilson Airport there are no boarding passes.

You will walk about 100 metres to the jetty where you will have your boat or dhow waiting to take you to your hotel. Your hotel should organise this for you. The same guys who will be driving your boat will have someone come carry your luggage from the airport.
The view of Lamu Island and the ocean from Majlis restaurant
Where to Stay: You really want to stay at the Majlis Resort on Manda Island. Yes you need to get on a boat to get from Manda Airport to the rest of the island. You see how I said the geography had me all confused. But stay with me.
Ocean facing suite - Majlis Resort.
The Majlis has an epic view of Lamu Island and breathtaking ocean views from your room. You really do deserve this greatness. The rate at the Majlis is full board. So its your room plus 3 meals. Continental breakfast, 3 course for lunch and dinner. On this day, just have the bar guy on standby for the drinks and spend the day in the pool.
Night cap by the poolside - Majlis Resort.
There are also 2 pools at the resort. One at the bar area and the other on the far wing where the other hotel is. The hotel staff will serve you should you need a drink and you are in the pool far from the bar. It's all good to go to the ocean for a swim but that is a bit too far from the bar. I'm just saying.
Greatest Tuna tartar at the Majlis Resort.
Eat only seafood when staying here.
The rooms are beyond spacious, I could do cartwheels in there. The beds also covered with mosquito nets and an aircon to help you survive the humidity of the indian ocean. The best part for me is you will find coconut oil in your bathroom. This place simply want you to relax and for your skin to flourish honestly.
Brace youself for this golden sunset glistening over the ocean.

Day 5
Beach bumming like a professional.
A morning swim is in order. Breakfast then jump on the speedboat organised by the hotel and go out for a morning of snorkelling. The boat ride is about 30 minutes through the sea channels.
Hitch a ride?
After lunch you can head out to Lamu. Lamu island is about 800m away from Manda island. Lamu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the original Swahili settlements along the East African coast. The other settlements are Mombasa old town and Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Lamu is also designed with narrow alleyways like Mombasa old town and Zanzibar. The mode of transport on Lamu is donkey. They even have a donkey hospital on the island. Only the commissioner owns a car.
Make sure to dress appropriately when going to Lamu, although there are various religions, Islam is the most dominant religion and we must always respect the locals.
Tip: If you ever get lost while walking the alleyways, there are drains everywhere. Look where the water is flowing and follow the flow. It will lead you to the ocean - basically to somewhere familiar.
The floating bar.
After your tour of Lamu, you will make your way back to the resort. You have to go past the floating bar. There are no bars on Lamu island except this place. There will be a lot of the boat drivers as they transport tourists. There are a lot of tourists at the bar. The DJ sounds like someone's phone connected to the speaker. The sound is ok, but Sauti sol might play on repeat. Do your best to sing along and dance with reckless abandon. You deserve it.

Day 6
Head back to the airport. Get on your flight to Wilson Airport. transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and go home.

You have experienced and seen the greatness that is Kenya as a destination. But in all honesty, the country has a lot more to offer than what I have in this post. I will find more Kenyan greatness and share it with you soon.

You can also get adventurous and stay a couple of days more and head out to the Maasai mara on public transport. How to get there and where to stay, read.


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