Spectacular wildlife and safaris are the things that tourists first think about when visiting Kenya but there are also other great attractions and activities.

“In Kenya we find it hard to sell a trip that doesn’t include the Mara, as the wildlife is on everyone’s bucket list,” says Mehalah Beckett, Regional GM of PEAK Destination Management Company. But often the things travellers rave about afterwards are the authentic, surprising and little-known gems that provide them with local cultural interaction that stays with them for a lifetime, says Beckett.

“Our travellers rave about their morning cycle ride through villages along the shore of Lake Victoria, the walking tour of a village in Nakuru or nights around the campfire in Loita Plains hearing Maasai elders tell their stories.”

Kenya’s safari offering is world class but there’s much more to the country, and PEAK DMC tries to show travellers this through the eyes of a local.  

Visit Kenya’s famous tea estates: Kericho is at the edge of Mau National Reserve and is known for its vast tea estates, where visitors can learn about tea production in the area.

Explore the Great Rift Valley: Lake Naivasha is one of the few freshwater lakes in the Great Rift Valley, with floating islands of papyrus reeds and a border of flat-topped acacias. It's also home to a plentiful population of hippos and great variety of birds. Visitors can take a boat ride on the lake or hike or bike around nearby Hell's Gate National Park, which boasts beautiful cliffs, gorges, rock towers, volcanoes and a range of geothermal phenomena suitable for bathing.

Cultural experience in the remote Loita Plains: On a visit to the village of traditional Maasai people, who are known for their vibrant red dress and elaborate jewellery, travellers gain an insight into the culture and ancient ways of this proud East African community. A local elder will deliver a fascinating talk about the Maasai and their history and culture, and take visitors around a traditional Maasai home and teach them about bush tools.

Explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site on foot: Suggest walking tours of Lamu Town, a part of the Lamu Archipelago off the coast of northeast Kenya and the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa. There are also samosa-making courses or Swahili cooking classes with the Shela Women’s Association.

Discover Mount Kenya: The second highest mountain in Africa can be climbed in four days. However, for a more relaxing adventure, visitors can set out on a nature walk around the base of Mt Kenya and visit the Mau Mau caves, to learn how women played a key role in helping the Mau Mau war movement defeat colonial rule.

Join a Women’s Collective for a village walk: In Mwariki village, a community tourism programme has been established to include walking tours, artisan demonstrations and chapati-making classes to help women provide for themselves.  After sharing a meal and interacting with the local women in their homes, tourists can be taken around the village to see the positive impact of this initiative on both the women and the wider village.