Anthony Wanjiru Kuria rounds up five activities for ‘the perfect escape’ in Kenya for thrill-seeking couples this season of love.
1. Magical dhow cruise in Lamu
When it comes to the perfect escape, Lamu has a lot to offer: tropical climate, excellent accommodation, unspoiled beaches, car-free streets and fresh seafood. Furthermore, an intriguing culture and the warmest of residents. For couples, a cruise along the Indian Ocean is the way to go. If you are keen to follow the ancient tradition of sailing between the islands on the trade winds and you fancy exploring the archipelago from the deck of a boat, a full or half day dhow/yacht safari will offer a truly special experience.
Stop for a picnic on a remote island after a morning of snorkelling and wave hello to inhabitants of the fishing villages. Sailing from Manda or Shela to Kiwayu and back is arguably the best way to experience the archipelago. Alternatively, take a shorter trip, book one of the popular sunset dhow cruises. Watch the sun go down from the sea over drinks, Swahili snacks and traditional music.
2. Scenic chopper rides around Mt Kenya’s peaks
Sunrise over Mt Kenya – photo Olepangi Farm
Pick your air charter company of choice and the flying excursion begins from the Nanyuki airfield. Guests can be picked up from hotels in Laikipia. From there you’ll fly around the peaks of Mt Kenya’s Nelion and Point Lenana peaks. Mount Kenya is vast and desolate with a towering summit, sheer cliffs and glaciers. The flight unveils great views of the many tarns and rivers found on its upper slopes. You’ll then touch down for a picnic breakfast at the alpine Lake Michaelson and enjoy breathtaking views and unique mountain flora.
An extraordinary landscape and perfect escape awaits to the western and northern foothills of the mountain. From mountain bamboo, luxuriant evergreen forest and the stunning savannah plains of northern Kenya, there is no better way to appreciate this contrast than by helicopter.
3. Memorable bush breakfast in Nakuru
Several camps and lodges can set up a romantic bush breakfast or camel ride for you two. One option to consider is Mbweha Camp set within the vast Soysambu Conservancy on the southern boundary of Lake Nakuru National Park. The conservancy hosts aardvarks, zebras, buffalos, leopards, various antelope species and is said to have an elusive albino giraffe.
First, make an escape before sunrise from camp on a camel to Lake Nakuru, a haven for numerous bird species including large flocks of flamingos that often paint the water a soft blush pink given their sheer population. Then, watch the sun rise in the horizon over the lake. Afterwards, ride further uphill to a sumptuous English bush breakfast, the apt way to crown an already perfect morning. Other activities in this area include bush walks, cultural safaris, mountain biking, guided hikes to Delamere’s Nose, Menengai Crater and Lake Elementaita hot springs.
4. Adventurous hike along River Mathioya
For adventurous couples, lace up your hiking boots and set off on a leisurely walk through green countryside. This scenic trail along the beautiful River Mathioya provides the perfect escape from the hectic city life. Better yet, the drive to Murang’a County from Nairobi only takes about 2.5 hours. You will walk down a lush path passing through maize farm boundaries and tea fields, and lined with dense eucalyptus forest. Tourists like to raft further downstream but along this path, the river is much quieter and peaceful.
Bring along your camera. An escape to thee Aberdares mountain of central Kenya, with its green backdrops and tumultuous water eddying through the rocks, make for some beautiful shots. As it gets hotter, you can go for a swim and might be lucky to even spot some trout. Equally important, don’t forget to bring along some food for a picnic.
5. Scuba diving in Diani
Go scuba diving, the perfect escape in the south coast of Kenya with breathtaking dive sites and reefs, both home to an array of aquatic life. The Diani Beach stretch boasts an incredible community of hawksbill and green sea turtles. From November to February, there is always the chance to encounter magnificent whale sharks. Moreover, there’s the purpose-sunk MV Funguo which ran underground on the reef outside Kilindini Harbour.
Since 2002, the wreck has blossomed into an artificial reef and become home to a plethora of corals and fish. It is a must-explore for any enthusiastic diver. However, if you are not keen on scuba diving, Diani also offers other activities like snorkeling, skydiving and an array of watersports.