Who doesn’t want to take a well-deserved rest—either as a couple, solo-trip or a trip with friends—with a scenic trip to one of the most inspiring vacation spots in East Africa?
Perhaps you want to take a trip to Wasini Island to swim with the dolphins or stay at a bush camp at one of the Seventh Wonders of the World, The Mara.
Many who are yet to visit East Africa tend to think of it as a destination only great for wildlife safari, sandy beaches and a bit more. But East Africa is actually a melting pot of different cultures and destinations.
While wildlife is still the main attraction, there are also amazing Indian Ocean beaches, world-class mountain treks, a surprisingly good nightlife, a rich cultural heritage, and unique transportation options (ranging from ancient dhows to ever-honking boda bodas).
Here are four destinations that will get you in the holiday mood.
The Maasai Mara
In the plains of Maasai lies the beautiful town of Narok. It is recognized as the cradle of mankind as well as Africa’s Greatest Wildlife Reserve. In 2007, it was voted as the Eighth Wonder of the World. The Great Migration is one of the most popular tourism attractions in the Maasai Mara region. During the Great Migration, millions of wildebeest, antelope, zebra and their predators travel from the Serengeti Plains into Maasai Mara National Reserve.
The Mara is world-renowned because of the wildebeest migration. However, it does not need to be an in-and-out trip. On arrival in Nairobi, you can opt for a van tour to experience the vastness of what Kenya has to offer.
You can opt for a five-day trip that will get you connecting with nature in the best way possible.
- Day 1: Arrival in Nairobi
- Day 2: Embark on a road trip to the Mara. On the way, you can experience the beauty of Hells Gate National Park and Lake Nakuru National Park.
- Day 3: A trip from Lake Nakuru National Park with pink flamingos in the background en route to the Maasai Mara.
- Day 4: Full day Maasai Mara game drive – Spot the ‘Big 5’. If lucky, you will get to spot the Leopard and the King of the Jungle in the vast lands of the Mara. Some of the wildlife that you can see include zebras, antelopes, gazelles, hyenas, and buffaloes. There are also over 100 bird species recorded here.
- Day 5: This will be your last full day at the Maasai Mara and the most exciting yet. The day starts at dawn with a balloon safari—do a Maasai Mara safari from the air. For the balloon safari, your driver will pick you up and drop you at the meeting point. Have some coffee as the balloon gets prepared. After boarding, the balloon will start going up. The view from there is magnificent, and you will be able to see as far as your eyes will allow. Herds of elephants will look like specks, and the meandering Mara River will be shining from down below. The balloon will follow the whims of the wind.
- Day 5: After breakfast, pack up your bags and load them into the vehicle with the help of your driver. You will then leave the park, but not before you go on one last game drive. The park is busy in the morning hours, and you might catch a few last-minute action and off you go to the bustling city centre.
2. Discover the Best Beaches in Kenya
As a Club member, you’ll have access to over 1000 hotels and resorts. Moreover, you will experience the maximum travel flexibility that will meet your needs, and the opportunity to give the gift of travel to your family and friends With the sandy beaches of the Kenyan coast fringed by swaying palm trees on one side, and the warm Indian Ocean on the other, the shoreline is lined with beautiful coral reefs, making them a superb destination for watersport and diving enthusiasts alike.
Diani Beach is one of the more popular areas, surrounded inland by rainforests that contain colourful birds, rare Colobus monkeys and crystalline ocean waters filled with dolphins, fish and sea turtles.
You can try your hand at snorkelling on a day’s trip to Wasini Island for dolphin tracking and kite surfing. This can be followed up by dinner at the famous Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant or a day trip to the Colobus Conservation.
3. Enjoy Zanzibar – A Cultural Melting Pot
Zanzibar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features the best of Swahili, has a long history of trading. It boasts rich historical architecture and sites. This lovely island is also known in ancient times for its white sandy beaches and spices.
A visit to Zanzibar, and especially Stone Town, can be compared to time travel. As you wander the town’s complex network of alleys and laneways, you are literally surrounded by history.
Here are a few recommended must-see gems that will tick all of your ‘travel bucket list’ boxes.
Wander the streets of Stone Town
Whether you choose to travel by air or sea, you will definitely pass through the city. As you do, it is highly recommended to spend at least two days in Stone Town to soak up the Swahili culture and unique atmosphere.
For a truly awesome, immersive, and sensorial shopping experience, head down to Darajani Market, the heartbeat of Stone Town. It is a great, local experience that highlights the Zanzibar Spice culture.
Visit Prison Island
Prison Island is only 25 minutes away from Stone Town. Once used as a place for the detention of rebellious slaves, it is now converted into a tourist attraction with one of the main draws being giant tortoises. They’re not only ginormous but also as old as 192 years!
Swimming with Dolphins
Menai Bay Conservation Area is an excellent destination for marine safari due to its abundant and diverse sea life. Accessible by boats from Zanzibar City, some of Menai Bay’s beauties include the mangrove forests, turtle breeding areas, and several coral reefs. Humpback and bottlenose dolphins are also frequent visitors of the conservation area.
4. Trek the Tallest Mountain in Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro, a World Heritage Site, was formed over one million years ago by volcanic activity along the Rift Valley. Three volcanic cones – Shira, Kibo, and Mawenzi – came to be about 750,000 years ago. The highest point is Uhuru Peak on Kibo, which is one of the ‘Seven Summits’ of the world.
Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak at 5,895 meters and Tanzania’s most iconic image. Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, unlike other parks in northern Tanzania, is not visited for the wildlife but for the chance to stand in awe of this beautiful snow-capped mountain and, for many, to climb to the summit. Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed at any time, although the best period is from late June to October, during the dry season.
We cannot emphasize enough that life is short so travel and enjoy it to its fullest. Whatever your vacation dream, QVI can make it happen regardless of what your style, your budget, or your destination is. Visit www.myqvi.com, your one-stop shop for all travel products and services. What are you waiting for? Join our awesome group of travellers and make your holiday one to remember!