Most travelers head to Kenya for beaches, safaris, or the urban diversions of Nairobi. While that’s all well and good, you’d be missing out on a lot if you just limited yourself to just those activities. Because Kenya has so much more to offer, from skydiving, to white water rafting, to pony safaris and even ice skating! Take at look at these 13 Kenyan adventures, suggested by Kenya Tourism.
Kenya has one of the world’s largest lava tube cave systems with more than six and a half miles of underground passages that often have historical significance. For example the Shimoni caves, depicted above, were once a hiding place for locals on the run from slave hunters. The caves were re-purposed by Arab slave traders as holding pens, where the unfortunate would be held for two to three weeks before being shipped to Zanzibar.
Tandem jumps, solo jumps and jump school are available over the Indian Ocean – with the option to go barefoot! Skydive Diani is one of the best outfitters to use.
3. Marathon training
Kenya has long been known for its exceptional elite marathon runners. In 2014, Kenyans broke the marathon world record, swept the men’s podium at the Chicago Marathon, and won the NYC Marathon. Visitors can get a taste of what it’s like to be an elite runner, either by staying at a specific training camp (for runners of all skills), or checking into a safari camp that offers jogging loops or marathon training (with experts and professionals). Either way, visitors come away with a running experience in the country of champion marathon runners.
Mt. Kenya is the second tallest mountain in Kenya, and a climb more difficult than Mt. Kilimanjaro when it comes to technical skill. There are other climbing opportunities in Aberdare, Cherangani and the Mathews ranges, plus in Hell’s Gate National Park and on Rift Valley volcanoes Longmont and Suswa.
5. Ice hockey/ ice skating
Most people don’t think of winter sports when they think of Kenya, or Africa in general. Yet Nairobi is host to the Solar Ice Rink, billing itself as the largest rink in Africa. Guests may opt to take ice hockey and ice skating lessons. Ice hockey games take place every Wednesday at Panari Hotel.
6. ATV safaris
Kenya’s Northern Frontier District can be explored by quad bike (also known as an ATV). This includes some of the most remote areas in Kenya. The trails followed by these quad bikes are existing game trails, so the wheels won’t disturb the natural environment.
7. Helicopter safaris
Fly over the different regions of Kenya and get an eyeful of the birds-eye views and photo-ready vistas. Certain lodges offer helicopter tours up to Mt. Kenya for special picnics.
8. Bush pony safaris
There are regular horseback safaris, and then there’s bush pony tours offered at Sarara Camp. This is a novel way to experience the off-the-beaten path Mathews Mountain Range (deemed a “sky island”). Bush ponies are small enough to take visitors deeper into the forest where previously only walking safaris were possible. The ponies follow elephant pathways and are led by experienced guides.
9. Bicycle safaris
Like walking safaris, bicycle safaris heightened your senses and allow you to take in much of details of what’s around you — because you’re not sheltered inside a safari vehicle. In Kenya you can bike along rivers and through hilly terrain, all the while keeping a lookout for wildlife.
10. Scuba dive a shipwreck
While staying at Temple Point resort in Watamu, certified divers can visit a historic shipwreck at Mida Creek Lagoon in Watamu National Park. It’s not penetrable, but it’s fun to explore the outside of this hidden gem.
11. Mango forest trip
While staying at Vipingo Ridge resort (halfway between Mombasa and Kilifi), travelers can walk through the nearby mango forest and help pick mangos to bring back to the estate for the staff to use in meals.
12. White water rafting
The Athi, Mathioya and Tana rivers have been giving visitors adrenaline thrill rides for more than 20 years now. Savage Wilderness Safaris, Kenya’s only professional white water rafting outfitter, can guide you down any of these rivers.
Golf is available at Vipingo Ridge, and numerous other top-notch courses in Kenya. While not as heart-pounding an adventure as some of the others, it’s a great way to practice your skills and get out into the fresh air and sunlight.