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Backpacking Kenya (The Ultimate 2 Week Kenya Itinerary)

Backpacking Kenya on a finances is among the greatest in Africa for it and to spend two weeks in Kenya is an effective enough time for backpacking around to get a taste of the place. Although you definitely can be a bit rushed to do so.

The typical traveller that I met there had around two weeks to journey in the nation so I assumed I might put this itinerary together for these with an analogous time scale.

Keep in mind there’s so much to do in Kenya that in two weeks you will have to determine on regions rigorously. What I am suggesting here can be lots of shifting round.

It’s simply to offer you a tough concept and you may mix things round relying on if you wish to have more seashore time than being inland.

I’ve written numerous other articles to totally different elements of Kenya and have added links to them within the specific sections, to help plan your journey higher.

The articles offers you more in-depth information about the destination. Three of them are about safaris in Kenya so you could have plenty of wildlife options to do.

For a very detailed guidebook on your backpacking in Kenya journey I like to recommend the Lonely Planet Kenya (Journey Guide) It’s the information I used to assist plan the in-depth particulars of the destinations in Kenya.

backpacking Kenya on a budget

1st Day – Backpacking Nairobi

backpacking Kenya on a budget baby elephants backpacking Nairobi

Child elephants at orphanage in Nairobi.

Get out of Nairobi as soon as you possibly can!

When you only have 2 weeks in Kenya don’t waste anytime in Nairobi, it’s just one other massive metropolis and not the most secure either. I’m not an enormous fan of the place in any respect. But hey, who is aware of, perhaps you’ll like it.

You would need to spend your first night time in Nairobi just about anyway as it’s the primary point to fly into the nation, or to reach from Tanzania.

In case you didn’t organize a Masai Mara safari earlier than arriving then organise one as quick as you’ll be able to in Nairobi, hopefully inside the day.

There are plenty of businesses round and they should be capable of be a part of you up with a gaggle already going.

Ask in your hostel/lodge what businesses they advocate and perhaps you possibly can meet some fellow backpackers there to go traveling with.

In case you have some time to kill in Nairobi then heading to a nearby orphanage for baby elephants which is certainly value a number of hours as they are so cute, and your cash goes in the direction of a great cause as these elephants are rescued from the wild after their mothers have been killed by poachers.

The elephant orphanage  is run by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. That’s a link to their website and you may all the time ship a donation there means even when you don’t go to go to them.

You’ll be able to be a part of a half day tour to see the orphanage here.


2nd to 4th Days – Masai Mara Safari Kenya

backpacking Kenya on a budget elephants in Masai Mara safari

Elephants within the Masai Mara.

A Masai Mara safari in Kenya is among the quintessential African experiences to have, and one of the major causes for visiting Kenya, if not Africa.

Safaris in Kenya are barely cheaper than neighbouring Tanzania so are great for the price range traveller in Kenya. That is good for arranging a safari from Nairobi to Masai Mara.

Attempt to organize a safari earlier than arriving in Nairobi so that you don’t should spend so long there like I mentioned before. In any other case organize one as quickly as you arrive to hopefully get out the subsequent day.

It’s what I did and had no issues with it.

Typically arranging Kenya finances tenting safaris is best finished by visiting the businesses in Nairobi. Nevertheless you gained’t save that much more and means spending an extra day in Nairobi to organise it.

I’ve visited the Masai Mara twice and both occasions have been the same. Most travellers I met had an identical expertise with reserving the two nights safari and doing the identical issues.

The primary day you’ll be taken from Nairobi for several hours to the place where your camp is, which must be on the edge of the Masai Mara to provide fast access to it.

The identical day they provides you with an evening safari into the park.

The subsequent morning you may be out on a full day safari. That is the African wildlife journey you’ve got in all probability been dreaming about.

Together with the adjoining Serengeti National Park in Tanzania it’s the perfect wildlife safaris I’ve had in Africa, out of many.

At night time you’ll be staying at the similar campsite. The next morning they’ll take you another time into the Masai Mara before leaving round 10-11 a.m.

You possibly can guide a Masai Mara tour prematurely right here.

They’ll take you in the direction of Nairobi, however as an alternative of going all the best way again get out on the turnoff after a couple of hours driving.

At that turnoff you’ll go the other course from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha.

It is going to take round one hour so isn’t so long.

Have a read on my lengthy information for safaris in East Africa that offers you a safari packing listing on what to deliver with you.

A great guide to select up about safaris in Africa that features a Kenya safari is the Fodor’s the Complete Information to African Safaris

4th to sixth Days – Lake Naivasha and Hells Gate Nationwide Park

backpacking Kenya on a budget cycling Hells Gate National Park

Biking Hells Gate National Park.

Lake Naivasha and Hell Gate National Park provides you the prospect for some enjoyable time and some journey.

You will in all probability get there too late on the primary day from the Masai Mara to do something. Get a guesthouse by the lake and simply chill in a hammock, if they’ve any.

Meet some other travellers and hang around but be aware of hippos as they’re recognized to return up on the riverbanks the place the hostels/guesthouses are.

Do you know hippos are probably the most dangerous animal in Africa?

The complete day you’ve got at Lake Naivsaha and nearby Hells Gate will probably be busy.

In the early morning take a ship out (with guide) onto the lake to go hippo spotting. Again in case you’re alone your hostel/guesthouse should have the ability to organize others to hitch. Hopefully you met other travellers your first night time there to hitch.

Come late morning after the boat journey lease some bicycles from the place you’re staying and head to Hells Gate Nationwide Park.

This was certainly one of my favourite issues do in Kenya, just because you possibly can experience by means of the national park and see the animals actually close up.

Fortunately there are not any predators around so don’t fear about that. Simply take pleasure in a number of hours getting close to zebras, warthogs, deer, and more.

Cycle next to an area that’s good for mountaineering (talked about in the hyperlink to the separate submit).

You’ll be able to go mountaineering there for roughly two hours by means of small canyons before cycling again to the lake for a soothing sunset.

The great distance back to the lake goes past some pure scorching spring baths and that’s extremely beneficial.

backpacking Kenya on a budget hippos Lake Naivasha

Hippos in Lake Naivasha.


6th – 8th Days – Lake Nakuru

backpacking Kenya on a budget rhinos at Lake Nakuru

Rhinos at Lake Nakuru.

Lake Nakuru Nationwide Park is likely one of the greatest places in Africa to virtually be assured a sighting of rhinos, so is very value whereas just for that have. It helps that it truly is a phenomenal lake to hang out by.

It’s just a few hours from Lake Naivasha to get to Nakuru, so depart early from there to get to Lake Nakuru and organize a full day safari for the subsequent day.

You’ll be able to keep in the town itself nest to the national park but I recommend making an attempt to do a night safari into the park when you get there early enough to Nakuru, and then keep at a guesthouse simply on the outskirts of the park for some peace in nature.

I even had lions come previous the flimsy fence by the guesthouse.

The subsequent day (the 7th if every part’s going to plan) shall be spent in the Nakuru Nationwide Park, and hopefully that is where you will notice some rhinos.

The rangers are specialists at discovering the rhinos.

When you’re unlucky and don’t see any, which is rare, it’s nonetheless probably the greatest smaller locations for a safari in Kenya. Actually the rhinos weren’t my favourite factor concerning the space, it was merely being in such awe inspiring nature that made it good.

It’s also possible to do a short hike to a waterfall when out on safari to have a swim to cool off, and have a picnic up on a mountain over-looking the lake.

As standard for Africa and Kenya the sunsets are spectacular.

8th – 11th Days – Lake Victoria

backpacking Kenya on a budget Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria.

In case you go to Lake Victoria  you’ll be really escaping the crowds, but it’s a bit of a mission.

It’s at this point nevertheless where chances are you’ll need to deviate from my itinerary and go from Nakuru to nearby Mount Kenya, or head straight to the coast for some seashore time.

I can’t help with the Mount Kenya half as i never went there, however I have mentioned concerning the coast under.

I needed to get off the crushed path more which is why I went to Lake Victoria. It’s very relaxed in it’s personal method, so in the event you don’t make it to the seashores on the coast just spend an additional day or 2 on the lake. Doing it that method you wouldn’t should rush, and would get monetary savings on flights (see under in Mombasa part).

You will have to depart very early from Nakuru to get to Lake Victoria because it’s a bit of a drive to Kisumu where you’ll have to spend the first night time as will probably be to late for the ferry.

There’s nothing special about Kisumu aside from the feeling of being away from the usual “backpacker route”.

The subsequent day take the local ferry throughout the lake to Mbita and base yourself there for 2 nights.

You may be distant from other vacationers and feel some actual local Kenyan life. Fishing boats at night time mild up the horizon with their lights which you’ll be able to see out of your guesthouse up on a small hill. I should in all probability say, ensure to get a guesthouse on the small hill.

It’s an actual magical place.

Your full day could be a day journey out to Mfangano Island where you will get out with the local motorcycle taxi “gang” to discover around the island. The “gang” are hilarious and a number of the greatest individuals i have met.

They’ll take you up to the mountain where you possibly can go climbing around a bit for superb views, then head to the shore to eat some very tasty recent fish from the lake, and simply meet some friendly locals not used to many vacationers.

I liked it there which is why I recommend it. Keep in mind though you will have to sacrifice time on the coast when you do that.

11th – 14th Days – Mombasa and The Kenyan Coast or Take More Time by The Lakes

boats on the Kenyan coast - backpacking Kenya on a budget

Conventional boats on the Kenyan coast.

Kenya’s beautiful coast is likely one of the highlights of travelling there and has a special vibe from inland. Aside from busy Mombasa it’s all about just chilling on the seashore.

This is the place you will assume I’m crazy though. You can technically rush to the coast for only one full day to get a glimpse of the coast and Swahili food.

Do that only in case you are prepared to fly from Nairobi to Mombasa in case your finances can stretch to it, otherwise it gained’t be value it.

The plan can be to go away Mbita on the 11th for a full day to Nairobi, spend the night time there (until there is a late at night time flight to Mombasa), and take an early flight on the 12th to Mombasa.

Spend  a couple of hours in Mombasa to see the fort, take a wander across the previous metropolis, attempt some Swahili food (so good), earlier than heading out to a seashore a couple of hours away for 2 nights. With the complete day on the seashore simply take it straightforward, perhaps exit for a couple of hours in an area boat, do some snorkelling, or perhaps take a day to go and swim with dolphins. Whatever you are feeling like.

In case you have a late flight from Nairobi on the 14th day then fly out from Mombasa on the 14th day to Nairobi at noon if there is a flight. Obviously ebook every thing prematurely so every little thing goes ok.

To be trustworthy I might truly advocate slowing down inland and spending a number of days additional on the lakes  so that you gained’t be dashing the whole trip.

The coast undoubtedly has a special feel to inland Kenya like I stated, but being lovely seashores it’s also far more touristed (aside from the Masai Mara).

Once more if you wish to get off the crushed path choose Lake Victoria over the coast.

I didn’t do the coast on my first visit to Kenya. I ended there on my 2nd journey and only spent a number of days there. I favored inland better.

This should offer you a tough itinerary for backpacking Kenya for two weeks.

Naturally with three weeks you get get in some coast time, or in the event you ignore the Lake Victoria part you possibly can get to the Kenyan coast for a couple of days on a two weeks Kenya itinerary.

In case you are fascinated with perhaps spending one week in Kenya and one week in Tanzania, then it actually will depend on how a lot wildlife you need to see.

For those who have been going to decide on the one week in Kenya choice then I might recommend three days in Masai Mara, three days combined between Naivasha or Nakuru, again to Nairobi for a night after which head to Arusha in Tanzania to arrange a 5 days safari into the Serengeti and Ngorongoro.

As for Kenya itself there’s a tonne of different adventurous things to do in Kenya. You possibly can head to Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa.

Deserts in Kenya in the north and north-west are spectacular but would require much more planning. Additionally some Kenya desert regions could be harmful so examine the newest news on the world.

Solo Backpacking in Kenya

In the event you’re apprehensive about backpacking alone in Kenya, don’t be. You possibly can simply meet some travellers in your hostel on your first night time in Nairobi (by the best way take a taxi from Nairobi airport straight to your hostel for safety) and you must find a couple of of them will probably be heading to the Masai Mara as nicely

If not the company will be a part of you with a gaggle of others. At Lake Naivasha there’s all the time a couple of backpackers hanging out so all will probably be positive for you.

You’ll be able to all the time examine forums for Kenya on travel websites reminiscent of Lonely Planets Thorntree.

Kenya on a Finances

It is potential to do Kenya on a finances backpacking, however all the safari temptations could be exhausting to withstand. Principally Kenya itself is a fairly priced nation, and food, chilling on a Kenyan seashore, a day safari, gained’t kill your finances.

But go for three days into the Masai Mara and do more day safaris elsewhere will kill the Kenya price range backpacker. Then again Kenya is a type of unique African safari destinations and visiting with performing some safaris would actually be a shame. It’s such a cool experience.

Kenya Packing Record –  What to Pack For Kenyan Safari

I wrote a really lengthy guide for safaris in East Africa. There you will see the clothes and kit that’s beneficial for what to pack for safari in Kenya.

As for Kenyan gown types and a Kenya gown code you possibly can see with that link what to expect as nicely.

Kenyan Meals

Food in Kenya is a combined bag. In the capital Nairobi yow will discover meals from everywhere in the world, but head to extra remote areas and the options grow to be limited. By Lake Victoria or on the Kenyan Coast you will see scrumptious recent fish. Together with the seafood on the Kenyan Coast additionally, you will find tasty coconut rice.

However the usual Kenyan meals is truthfully not much to write down residence about. Kenya food like Ugali. That is the staple food of Kenya and is sort of bland. It’s a cornmeal mash and is admittedly simply something to fill you up. Truthfully one in every of my least favorite things for Kenyan food.

Kenya is usually trendy enough though that you will see that something you wish to eat. But if heading to extra remote areas like Lake Victoria chances are you’ll need to deliver some supermarket food to complement what you get there.

A few of the Kenyan desserts nevertheless are scrumptious, such because the coconut macaroon. Additionally Kenya has an amazing barbecue custom and meat being barbecued up is a superb thing to have there.

Yow will discover masses extra about Kenyan meals right here.

Kenya really is a type of good backpacking destinations as it gives so much so take pleasure in your journey. I hope I helped out a bit with tough concepts on what you are able to do. Once more mix it up and perhaps decide and select what appeals to you.

Or just drift and see what the hell happens once you get there!

Pleased backpacking in Kenya!

For Kenya I recommend utilizing the Lonely Planet Kenya (Journey Guide)


backpacking Kenya on a budget itinerary

Jonny Duncan

Jonny Duncan is a travel blogger and freelance photographer. He specialises in journey and finances journey with over 20 years of experience. He began blogging in 2013 to provide advice for other travellers. He has lived in Japan, Amsterdam, Kiev, and extra.

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