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The perfect 10-day Kenya itinerary

Kenya frequently comes to mind when one dreams about an African trip. This remarkable country in East Africa is a fascinating tapestry of vast savannahs, untamed wildlife, old traditions, and unimaginably beautiful landscapes.

If you plan your trip wisely, 10 days is plenty to put together the perfect Kenya itinerary. With its promises of amazing safari experiences, varied ecosystems, and close encounters with the “Big Five” (lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffalos), Kenya entices the adventurous tourist.

This itinerary is made to capture the spirit of Kenya, leaving you with unforgettable memories of a place where adventure, nature, and culture come together in perfect harmony. Stops include the fabled Maasai Mara, the pristine beaches of Diani and the ageless charm of Lamu Island.

When is the best time to go to Kenya?

There is no one best time to visit Kenya; it depends on your interests and travel objectives. Outdoor activities, animal watching, and the general tourism experience may be impacted by Kenya’s two main rainy seasons and two dry seasons. Generally speaking, the best times to go are during the two dry seasons:

First dry season (January to March): There is a brief dry time in between the mild rains in November and the heavier rains in April and May. Wildlife viewing is at its best now because the weather is often dry and pleasant. Because the vegetation is less dense in national parks and reserves, it is easier to spot animals there. Since many animals are giving birth at this time, you might be lucky enough to see some newborn animals!

Second dry season (June to October): Locals refer to this as Kenya’s “winter” as it is the long dry season. Because of the good weather, it’s regarded as the best season to go on safari and view the wildlife. In addition, the Maasai Mara hosts the well-known wildebeest migration between July and August, which attracts travelers from all over the world. The weather is often pleasant and the days don’t become too hot, though it may get chilly in the mornings and evenings.

How to get to Kenya

Kenya has two main international airports: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi (JKIA) and Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

Since it offers the finest connections and the most flights, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is where most travelers arrive. Most travelers who arrive at Moi International Airport choose to begin their trip to Kenya with a beach vacation. This is fine, however, based on my personal experiences and the chats I’ve had with other tourists, I’ve found that beach vacations are best taken as a relaxing “cherry on top” after finishing a thorough safari excursion.

10 days in Kenya Itinerary

There are of course many variations as to how to design your 10 days in Kenya. When designing itineraries I’m honestly not a big fan of trying to cover as many places as possible in a very short amount of time. It makes for a more “hectic” trip whereby you aren’t really able to enjoy the place you are in because the next agenda item is already creeping up on you.

The “Bush and Beach” approach is always a good idea because you get the best of what Kenya has to offer: A beautiful safari experience and a relaxing beach holiday. Here’s how I would design my 10-day Kenya itinerary:

Summary

Day 1: Arrive in Nairobi
Day 2-4: Masai Mara
Day 5-7: Diani
Day 8-9: Lamu
Day 10: Nairobi

Day 1: Nairobi

I always tell first-time visitors to put aside 1-2 days to explore Nairobi as this city has a lot to offer! However, I’d recommend this only if your trip length is at least 2 weeks. Depending on the time of day you arrive, some light exploring might still be possible. Check out my guide on how you can discover Nairobi in one day.

Where to stay

  • Angama Mara
  • Cottars 1920s Camp
  • Salas Camp

Day 2-4: Masai Mara

The next item on the list is likely the trip’s high point in terms of animal viewing.

Visiting the renowned Masai Mara National Park is one of the most spectacular things to do in Kenya because of its wide variety of animals, gorgeous landscapes, and cultural significance.

Masai Mara, 10 day Kenya itinerary

The Masai Mara is well renowned for hosting the famed Great Migration as well as having a large diversity of species. During the yearly Great Migration, which is a breathtaking spectacle, millions of wildebeests, zebras, and other animals travel the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in search of new grazing areas. On game drives through the national park, you get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness one of the most astounding natural phenomena in the entire world.

Where to Stay

There are a lot of options to stay in during your time in the Mara. If you are looking for the best value for money, have a look at my post below which outlines all the best lodges where you really get your money’s worth!

Read more: The Best Value-for-Money Lodges in the Masai Mara

If you don’t mind spending a little bit more and want to experience true luxury, have a look at the camps below:

  • Angama Mara
  • Cottars 1920s Camp
  • Salas Camp

Day 5-7: Diani Beach

You can’t have 2 weeks in Kenya without some beach time. After a busy week of wildlife viewing at the Mara and Tsavo, I always recommend visitors set aside a couple of days for a relaxing time at the beach.

Diani Beach, must-do activity in your 10 day Kenya itinerary

Diani Beach has won various awards in the last couple of years for being the best beach destination in Africa. Due to its pristine beach and abundant marine life, it serves as both a getaway and a hotspot for water activities and a must-do stop during your 10 day Kenya itinerary. This includes snorkeling, scuba diving, kite surfing, and deep-sea fishing. I’ve listed below a few recommendations for how you can best spend your time in Diani.

Things to do in Diani Beach

Kitesurfing: Diani Beach is one of the best locations in Kenya for kitesurfing. I’ve created a guide to all things you need to know if you’d like to have an awesome kitesurfing adventure in Kenya!

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling: A lot of visitors take the opportunity to obtain their scuba diving certificates in Diani Beach because it is a great location for diving and seeing the diverse marine life the Kenyan coast has to offer.

Explore the local cuisine: Of course, you cannot forget about the delicious food Diani Beach has to offer. From authentic local cuisines to amazing Italian restaurants, you can find it all. Here’s a guide to the best restaurants in Diani Beach.

Where to Stay

Budget Stays

  • Bahari Dhow Beach Villas
  • Aqua Resort

Upmarket Stays

  • Baobab Beach Resort
  • Diamonds Leisure Lodge

Luxury Stays

  • Almanara
  • Swahili Beach Resort

Day 8-9: Lamu Island

Lamu is a lovely island off the coast of Kenya where ancient traditions and stunning nature combine to create an exceptional vacation destination. Lamu is a place where time seems to have stopped in the midst of stunning natural scenery. The lengthy Swahili cultural past is preserved there.

Lamu, the last stop of the perfect 10 day Kenya itinerary

This East African treasure, with its beautiful beaches, magnificent architecture, and courteous hospitality, is for anyone looking for a real and immersive Swahili experience.

Within this 10-day Kenya itinerary, Lamu should definitely be included.

Things to do in Lamu

I wrote a comprehensive blog post on all the things you can do in Lamu, however, if you are in a hurry, I’ve listed the main highlights below:

Lamu Museum: One thing I’d definitely recommend is to visit the Lamu Museum. The museum houses a collection of the island’s extensive history, cultural legacy, and maritime customs. It’s set in a gorgeously restored Swahili structure that displays the unique architectural design of the island.

Traditional Dhow Ride: Dhow rides across the Lamu archipelago are another must-do activity while in Lamu. Naturally, these wonderful rides are provided by a variety of tour companies. You’ll set sail early in the morning and spend a few hours on a dhow admiring all that Lamu has to offer in terms of beauty. Fresh seafood will also be prepared by the crew members of the boat, and it is fantastic! Anyone visiting Lamu should engage in this activity.

Visit the Lamu Cultural Festival: The Lamu Cultural Festival is an annual event celebrated on Lamu Island in Kenya. The festival offers a unique opportunity to experience the rich cultural heritage of the Swahili people and the island’s unique way of life.

Read more: Lamu Cultural Festival: Everything You Need To Know

Read more: The 7 Best Things To Do in Lamu

Where to Stay

  • The Majilis
  • Kizingo
  • Lamu House Hotel
  • Forodhani House

Day 10: Nairobi and flight back home

The itinerary for the 10-day trip to Kenya ends here. Since Jomo Kenyatta Airport has the best connections for international flights, it’s usually more practical to return to Nairobi.

Make sure to depart Lamu on the morning flight if your return journey is scheduled for a late night. As domestic flights can occasionally be unpredictable, including sudden delays, plan ahead and allow ample time between your trip from Lamu to Nairobi and your return flight.

Practical info

How do I get my Kenyan visa?

In order to enter Kenya for tourism-related purposes, you must get an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). A Kenya Electronic Travel Visa can be obtained by applicants by completing a simple online eVisa application.

Kenya’s ETA is valid for 30 or 90 days, based on the kind of application. Applicants may acquire an approved Kenya ETA in two or three days. After the date of admission, passports must be valid for at least six months. Please check the list of countries eligible for Kenya ETA before submitting an application.

Is Kenya Safe?

I have lived in Kenya for a number of years and I consider it to be a very safe country. Regarding safety, I don’t think there is anything to be concerned about when going on safari. The tour companies, their drivers, and their guards are all highly skilled and knowledgeable about the proper ways to observe wildlife. Consequently, it’s wise to pay attention to their recommendations on proper behavior whether on a safari or when interacting with wildlife.

Kenya does have a fair share of crime, especially in bigger cities. Little robberies like pickpocketing and bag snatching may occur in busy places like bus stations and markets. It’s prudent to keep an eye on your belongings. Also, avoid showing off pricey items, and store important valuables in hotel safes.

Conclusion

From the expansive savannahs of the Maasai Mara to the breathtaking beaches along its coastal coastlines, Kenya entices visitors with its variety and breathtaking natural beauty. Kenya provides exciting wildlife safaris where you can see the Big Five in their native environment.

Furthermore, Kenya has a dynamic and varied culture, with its abundance of customs, music, dance, and kind hospitality. This guarantees a cultural immersion that enhances the amazing natural treasures of the nation. In this 10-day Kenya itinerary, you’ll be able to experience the best that Kenya has to offer. I’m sure you’ll create memories that you will soon not forget!

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