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The fascinating thing about Kenya is that there are so many hidden gems that continue to go unexplored. When thinking about Kenya the first destinations that often come to mind are Nairobi, Diani or Maasai Mara. Yet, there are so many untouched locations just waiting to be discovered. We will take you through the the most unique off-the-grid locations that Kenya has to offer. So pack your bag and get ready to explore the untapped parts of our magical Kenya!

BLOOD RED ALKALINE LAKE IN KIPEDO, TURKANA

Photo by Cookson Adventures

Turkana is amongst the driest and hottest regions in Kenya. Within it, there is Lake Turkana and the Blood Red Alkaline Lake. The lake has a high concentration of salt, and its salinity increases during the dry season. The remaining warm water containing high salt concentration is a prime breeding ground for Dunaliella algae. This micro-organism is responsible for turning the water blood-red. It truly is a must-see sight.

MARAFA-HELL’S KITCHEN, MALINDI

Marafa-Hells Kitchen is an incredible natural wonder that is easily accessible from Malindi. The reason behind the name “Hell’s Kitchen” is because temperatures rise to 50 degrees celsius. If you can’t take the heat, this place is not for you.

The canyon was originally formed by compacted clay soil. During the rainy season, soil erosion occurs, creating Canyons. The depth of the depression increases as the entire canyon expands. 

LAKE CHALA, BORDER OF KENYA AND TANZANIA

Lake Chala, also known as Challa, is a Crater lake that straddles the border between Kenya and Tanzania. This lake formed approximately 251,000 years ago. Its location is to the east of Mount Kilimanjaro, 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) north of Taveta, Kenya, and 55 kilometres (34 mi) east of Moshi, Tanzania. A steep crater rim surrounds lake Chala with a maximum height of 170 meters (560 ft).

It is a caldera lake; hence it’s deep and accounts for the turquoise blue-green appearance—the lake’s fed by groundwater from Mt. Kilimanjaro. The lake has a unique ecosystem with some endemic species like Lake Chala tilapia, a critically endangered species found only in this lake. Nile Crocodiles’ introduced in the lake in the early 1900s. 

One can see Mt Kilimanjaro when the sky is clear from Lake Chala, especially in the early mornings. The lake is near Tsavo National Park, meaning you will spot herds of elephants that migrate back and forth in Tanzania and Kenya. The birds are also in plenty, different bird species. Lake Chale is one of a kind destination worth your time and money.

LAKE PARADISE, MARSABIT

PHOTO FROM PINTEREST

Lake paradise is located in Northern Kenya at the heart of Marsabit National Park and on the slopes of Mount Marsabit. It’s a 10km drive from the park’s Ahmed Gate and the town of Marsabit. It’s the second largest of the three crater lakes of Lake Maar in Marsabit National Park. It was dubbed ‘paradise’ by American adventurers Martin and Osa Johnson. 

Not far from Lake Paradise is a smaller but similar lake, ‘Gof Sokorte Dika’ or ‘Small sweetwater crater’ — a popular hangout for elephants. Both are the best places to spot animals; the rest of the park’s covered dense forest. The area around it is highly affected by climate, being a lush green during the rains and golden during drier times. There are many activities to do in this location; camping, hiking, game viewing, bird watching, picnics, game drives. The guides recommend 4×4 vehicles for the terrain. 

Animals you can come across include elephants, buffalo, giraffe, rhinos, Grevy’s zebra, and many aquatic birds. Lake Paradise is a location you can visit any time of the year. The park recommends a KWS ranger’s escort for some activities, such as camping and hiking. You can get there by vehicle or hiking from the nearest Karare gate or Ahmed gate in the north. There are no airstrips in the park, though there’s an airstrip in Marsabit town. 

DRAGON’S TEETH, ABERDARES

Photo by Explore254

If hiking in knee-deep moorlands, sleeping in freezing temperatures and being over 10,000 ft above sea level sounds like fun, Dragon’s teeth is the right choice for you. 

Aberdare National Park is located north of Nairobi and stretches over a wide variety of terrain at altitudes from 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) to 4,000 metres (13,000 ft). With a footprint of 766 square kilometres. Dragon’s Teeth is on the furthest side of the park with car access, mainly using the Shamata and Rhino Gates. The Rhino Gate is the fastest, and the road through this gate is better. The Rhino Gate is on the Muiga side of the park, through Nyeri and about 200 km from Nairobi (before you start climbing into the park), which is an extra 10k off-road. 

Dragon’s teeth is the definition of a hidden gem. Not many people know about it, and that’s what makes it magical. It was formed as a result of the Volcanoes in the ranges. It’s surrounded by flat moorland. Activities here include rock climbing, hiking, walking, camping and viewing wildlife such as elephants, zebras, eland and more. 

Zanelle is an Economist, Travel Photographer, Filmmaker & Writer. Having lived in 7 cities across the globe and speaking 4 languages, her passion is to travel around the world, capturing beautiful scenes and moments. What fascinates her the most about travel is discovering new cultures, languages, cuisines, and meeting people. Photography is her medium for expressing her creativity and showcasing the beauty our planet has to offer. Zanelle has collaborated with top brands such as Park Hyatt, Sandstorm, Skywards Express, amongst other brands and hotels in the travel and lifestyle industry. Her ultimate goal is to create meaningful content that helps other African and International travelers to learn about new travel destinations and experiences.