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Kenya Day Trips

4.6/5  –  1,374 Kenya Reviews

Kenya practically invented the African safari. It has a solution for any kind of journey in its network of parks and reserves. Although a proper safari should at least include a few nights in the bush, sometimes there is the need for a 1-day Kenyan safari. You might be a business traveler in Nairobi looking for the best way to spend a free day. Or maybe you’re in transit with time on your hands. Kenya, with its Indian Ocean coastline, is a popular beach destination. Maybe you’d like a little adventure away from the beach with a day trip to the bush. Safari means journey. And any journey is better than no journey. You’d be surprised how much you can experience in a day. So, get ready to explore some of the continent’s best safari country.

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1-20 of 71 one day tours and day trips to Kenya

5 Questions About Kenya Day Trips


5 Questions About Kenya Day Trips

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

What day trips are available in and around Nairobi?

“Several day trips are available from Nairobi, one of Africa’s main transport hubs and business centers. It is the main starting point for a Kenyan safari, but even if you only have a day to spare there is a lot you can do in and around the city. Nairobi National Park lies within sight of the city. Most big safari animals, except elephant, roam free here, and you’ll have some unique photo opportunities of wildlife against the Nairobi skyline. A visit to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s elephant orphanage, at the entrance to the national park, is also highly recommended. Equally close to the city center is the Giraffe Centre, a creation of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), where you can get into close contact with the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe. A platform allows you a level view into the deep-brown eyes of these magnificent creatures while you feed them pellets. Further afield, some of the country’s greatest parks and reserves are theoretically within driving distance for a day trip, but an overnight stay would be more recommendable. Amboseli National Park has excellent elephant viewing in front of Mt Kilimanjaro. Ol Pejeta Conservancy offers close-ups of rhino and other Big Five animals. Lake Nakuru is Kenya’s most popular Rift Valley lake. These can all be visited on long day trips. A day trip to Lake Naivasha, often visited by flocks of flamingo, and nearby Hell’s Gate National Park is also worthwhile.”


What day trips are available in and around Mombasa?

“If you find yourself with a day to spare in Mombasa, there are several great options for day trips. This is also the case if you would like to break up your holiday at one of the stunning beach resorts south of the city. Shimba Hills National Reserve, for instance, protects one of the largest coastal rainforests in East Africa. You’re likely to see elephant, the beautiful black-and-white colobus monkey and, if you’re lucky, the endangered Roosevelt’s sable. You’ll need to go a bit further afield for a more conventional savannah wildlife destination. Tsavo East National Park, a wild Big Five destination, can be visited on a long day trip from Mombasa, but an overnight stay would be preferable. Another option for a day trip from Mombasa takes you out to sea for dolphin spotting (and possibly a swim with them), snorkeling and lunch on Wasini Island. Time permitting, take a full- or half-day city tour incorporating the old town center, starting at Fort Jesus. This is a great introduction to the fascinating ancient Swahili culture that dominates the East African coast.”


Are there day trips to parks or reserves in Kenya?

“There are plenty of day trips on offer from Nairobi and Mombasa to some of the parks and reserves within easy driving distance to these cities. Although you can get to the Masai Mara National Reserve in time for lunch, it is too far for a worthwhile day trip from Nairobi. It is, however, possible to book a day trip in the Masai Mara from most lodges just outside or even inside the reserve. This is particularly useful for people on a self-drive safari. Even if you’ve got your own 4x4, it is a great idea to book a game drive in an open vehicle with a knowledgeable guide. There is no signage in the Masai Mara, so there is a real chance of getting lost without a guide. Guides are experienced at spotting animals and they have prior knowledge on where to go. Finally, after a long day’s driving, you might just prefer to sit back and relax on an organized day trip.”


Is it safe to book a 1-day Kenya safari?

“As long as you book with a reputable tour operator, day trips in Kenya are very safe. Most day trips in Kenya start in one of the main cities, Nairobi and, to a lesser extent, Mombasa. Cities are hot spots for crime throughout the world, and Nairobi in particular has a bad reputation. When you’re not familiar with a city, it’s easier to put yourself at risk because you don’t know which areas to avoid and what might get you into trouble. Therefore, it is recommended to book a trip if you have a day spare and would like to explore. You will be collected and dropped off at your hotel or the airport, and your safety will be in good hands throughout the day. The guide’s presence alone will make you a very unlikely target.”


Is it possible to see the Big Five on a day trip?

“Many of the parks and reserves are home to the Big Five, but it won’t always be feasible to see all of them on a day trip. There is some incredible wildlife viewing to be had in Kenya. Nairobi NP is the most popular wildlife destination for day trips out of the capital. It is so close to the city that you won’t lose valuable time driving there. There is no elephant in the park, but rhino, lion and buffalo are regularly spotted. If you combine a visit here with the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s elephant orphanage at the entrance of the park, you can add elephant to your list. Leopard is present, but you’d have to be very lucky to spot one. Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a Big Five destination and can be visited on a long day trip from Nairobi. However, the highland town of Nanyuki is a better base for a day trip to Ol Pejeta and other Laikipia Plateau reserves. Your best bet for seeing the Big Five on a day trip from the beach resorts near Mombasa is in Tsavo East NP. This large wilderness is best visited on a longer stay, but you’ve got a good chance of seeing elephant and buffalo on a day trip. Lion sightings are more sporadic, while rhino and leopard are rarely seen.”


Kenya Reviews

4.6/5 1374 Reviews
Brian Jackman  –  
United Kingdom UK

Brian is an award winning travel writer, author of safari books and regular contributor to magazines such as BBC Wildlife and Travel Africa.

Africa for Beginners

Kenya is so easy to get to – just eight hours away by air from London. Fly overnight and you can be in the bush in good time for lunch. Even before you arrive in Nairobi you can see giraffes wandering under the flight path in the city’s...

Full Review

Alan Murphy  –  
Australia AU

Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.

A Safari Behemoth

In some ways, Kenya rates as the best country for safaris in Africa. That is a contentious statement and many would argue that Tanzania should be given that title. Whichever way you go, Kenya is undeniably a destination which will fulfill...

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Terri McCargo  –  
United States US
Reviewed: May 13, 2024
Beautiful people and exciting animals every day.

Even with all of the rain and flooding taking place in Kenya are experienced was amazing amazing. The people were beautiful and so willing to help and I could not believe all of the animals we were able to see every day. Our trip was...

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Simon Prince  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: May 13, 2024
Masai Mara has to be seen by all once in your lifetime

On arrival in Nairobi, you really feel you have entered Africa. The people are very friendly and willing to help you in anyway. Travel to and from the Masai Mara is, well lets just say, an adventure. Traffic is horrendous, roads are a...

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Anetta Damm  –  
Switzerland CH
Reviewed: May 7, 2024
An underrated holiday destination

It was definitely one of my best holidays. Apart from the beautiful nature and wildlife, I particularly remember the kindness of the people. Kenya has so much to offer. I went on a three-day safari, which was very impressive. I went...

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Ilunia  –  
Estonia EE
Reviewed: May 6, 2024
Great Safari experience, avoid some tourist traps

- The safari experience was unforgettable! Masai Maara park was the best, I wish we had spent there one day extra instead of other parks. - Amboseli was flooded a little bit, as it was rainy season when we went. But that attracted lots of...

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