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Kenya in Pictures: 15 Beautiful Places to Photograph

Written by Diana Bocco
Feb 12, 2020

The "greatest show on Earth" - when the annual migration of one-and-a-half million wildebeest crosses into the Maasai Mara National Reserve - is perhaps the single most stunning reason to visit Kenya. It's also an incredible sight to photograph. But this wild country, with its blue coastline and some of the largest flamingo colonies in the world, has a lot more stunning sights to discover away from the animal preserves.

Here's a quick breakdown of some of Kenya's beautiful places to photograph.

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1. Maasai Mara National Reserve

Male lion in the Maasai Mara National Reserve
Male lion in the Maasai Mara National Reserve

One of the most famous game reserves in Africa, the Maasai Mara is where the world's largest annual wildlife migration takes place every year - thousands and thousands of wildebeest, zebras, and antelopes move to and from the Serengeti reserve in Tanzania. If you are looking for wildlife photography experiences, this is the place. Capture beautiful images of the "Big Five" - the name used to refer to the five large land animals in Africa, including elephants, lions, rhinos, cape buffalos, and leopards, found here.

2. Amboseli National Park

Elephant in Amboseli National Park with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background
Elephant in Amboseli National Park with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background

Home to some of the larger elephant herds in Kenya, Amboseli National Park is also a great place to capture images of Mount Kilimanjaro. The park's complex system of swamps provides one of the best wildlife-viewing experiences in Africa, with hundreds of bird and raptor species ruling the area.

3. Diani Beach

Camel walking on Diani Beach
Camel walking on Diani Beach

The 17-kilometer, soft, white Diani Beach sits right on the Indian Ocean coast, and it's often referred to as the best beach destination in Africa. Just minutes away from the Shimba Hills National Reserve, Diani also offers great coral reefs for snorkeling and perfect wind conditions for kitesurfing. The area is also a very popular sky diving destination.

4. Chyulu Hills

Elephant and a warthog in the Chyulu Hills
Elephant and a warthog in the Chyulu Hills

A beautiful, deep-green volcanic mountain range, the Chyulu Hills were used as the setting for the 1985 film Out of Africa. Home to Maasai and Kamba people, the hills are also a popular destination for mountain climbing, photo safaris, and horse riding. The area is rich in large mammals, including elephants, buffalos, and giraffes.

5. Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya

The second-highest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya was once covered with a thick ice cap. Today, only 11 small glaciers remain, all of them shrinking at a very fast pace. The forested slopes of Mount Kenya are home to many animals, including a healthy number of elephants. The area surrounding the mountain, now a designated national park and protected area, is a popular destination for visitors to Kenya.

6. Lake Nakuru

Buffalo lying in front of a large flock of flamingoes at Lake Nakuru
Buffalo lying in front of a large flock of flamingoes at Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru is rich in algae, which attracts thousands of flamingoes to the area, transforming the top and shores of the lake into an undulating pink mass. Visitors can climb to the nearby Baboon Cliff for stunning views of the pink lake. Southern white rhinos and black rhinos also inhabit the lake.

7. Hell's Gate National Park

Zebras in Hell's Gate National Park
Zebras in Hell's Gate National Park

Sitting close to Nairobi, Hell's Gate National Park is a small natural reserve with superb scenery. Home to the red Hells Gate Gorge, two volcanic plugs, and a Maasai Cultural Center, the park also offers excellent hiking and biking. Hell's Gate is also one of only two parks in Kenya where camping is allowed - there are three basic campsites within the park, plus a number of lakefront lodges. The environment featured in the 1994 film, The Lion King, was designed based on this park.

8. The Aberdares

The Aberdares
The Aberdares

A volcanic range of elevated plateaus and hills, The Aberdares is home to dense bamboo forests, rain forest, and deep moorlands. A wide variety of wildlife inhabits the area, including the endangered black rhino and the rare African golden cat.

9. Watamu Beach

Rock formations on Watamu Beach
Rock formations on Watamu Beach

Watamu Beach is the starting point to explore a number of islands - from Turtle Bay to the Kanani reef area. Rich marine life and colorful corals make this a popular destination for snorkelers and divers. The beach and the ecosystem nearby are part of a turtle watch program designed to protect nesting sites.

10. Chania Falls Aberdares

Aerial photo of Chania Falls
Aerial photo of Chania Falls

The Chania Falls are easy to reach from Nairobi and offer plenty of hiking and exploring opportunities in the scenic area around it. A breathtaking birding site and a great place for picnicking, the falls also offer plenty of photo opportunities.

11. Tsavo National Park

Bull elephant covered in the red dust of Tsavo National Park
Bull elephant covered in the red dust of Tsavo National Park

One of the oldest parks in Kenya, Tsavo National park is home to a large population of cape buffalo, as well as the other animals that make up the "Big Five," and a black rhino sanctuary. The Mudanda Rock, which acts as a water catchment area, is the park's best place to see elephants.

12. Mombasa

Fort Jesus, Mombasa
Fort Jesus, Mombasa

Known as the white and blue town, Mombasa is Kenya's oldest city, dating back to AD 900. Kilometers of soft white sand, blue waters, and waves crashing against the ancient shore provide plenty of beautiful sights to be explored.

13. Malindi

Malindi Beach
Malindi Beach

Originally founded by the Swahili Civilization in the 5th century, the town of Malindi is just minutes away from the Gedi Ruins (a medieval Swahili-Arab settlement). The Malindi Marine National Park and many kilometers of soft golden sands over the Indian Ocean make this a lush destination for beach lovers.

14. Lake Turkana

Aerial view of the Desert Museum and Lake Turkana
Aerial view of the Desert Museum and Lake Turkana

The world's largest permanent desert lake and the world's fourth-largest salt lake, Turkana is a sight to behold. The lake is surrounded by volcanic rock and often experiences violent onshore winds and storms.

15. Lamu Old Town Waterfront

Lamu Old Town Waterfront
Lamu Old Town Waterfront

Lamu is the undisputed gem of the Kenyan shoreline, an ancient Swahili town, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is noted for its cuisine (especially its sweet and fruity treats), its beautiful waterfront, the ruins of a fortress, and its large artisan community, most of which is involved in wood carving.

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