10 Secret Places Where You Can Enjoy Kenya Like A Kenyan

Kenya is loaded with wonderful destinations that attract both local and international tourists, every year. Of course, there are those who believe there is no better place to enjoy Kenya than at the coast. Although, Kenya’s 500KM plus coast line is one of the most attractive geographical features of the country, there is more than half a million square kilometers of absolute marvel waiting for you if you look deeper into the country.
There are secret places the locals visit that the tourists have not yet discovered. If you really want to enjoy Kenya like Kenyans do, you’d be clever enough to ignore the tourist angles and head to off-the-beaten-track gems the country has.

Here are 10 secret places where you can enjoy Kenya like a Kenyan and also discover some parts of this great country that only the locals know.

1. Rusinga Island Lodge

Rusinga Island Lodge               Photo Source: Sleep Out Kenya

If you are going to travel inland, you might as well go all the way. Lake Victoria is the second largest fresh water lake in the world. The lake itself is a spectacle in its own right, but therein, lies Rusinga Island. A small patch of land, in one of the remotest areas in the Western part of the country. As beautiful as this island is, nothing on it compares to Rusinga Island Lodge. This magnificent establishment rivals any resort in the country in terms of beauty, serenity, service and just sheer tranquility. Being situated in such a remote area, accessible by road, boat or airstrip, the lodge is often not packed with tourists. This gives you a chance to enjoy Kenya like any regular Kenyan does, without all the fuss and congestion.

2. The Chalbi Desert and Turkana

Chalbi Desert               Photo Source: Frederic Courbet

If you are one for experiencing things in their rawest form, then you will want to visit Turkana and Chalbi Desert. Being the world’s biggest desert lake, Lake Turkana is not only a marvel in its own right, but it is also home to some of the most interesting cultures in the world. One that stands out is the El Molo people. Research shows that the El Molo are on the verge of extinction due to the receding lake waters. Their unique culture and way of life can only be witnessed once you travel through to Turkana.

3. Ole Polos

ole polos kenya                Photo by: Elsie Mtembezi 

You have not tasted Kenyan cuisine until you have had a serving of roasted meat in Ole Polos. Ole Polos is a secluded area in Kajiado County that is indigenously Masaai territory. Ole Polos is a popular destination for many Kenyans when the weekend arrives. This is because not only is it secluded and peaceful, it has great scenery and the roasted meat is to die for. The prices are equally affordable.

4. Masaai Lodge in Rongai

Masai Lodge               Photo Source: Facebook

Still in Kajiado County, there is a lodge deep into the wilderness called Masaai Lodge. It is quite off the beaten path and is rather secluded. You will get a great view of the Nairobi National Park while driving to your destination. Once there, you will simply not believe what you see. Masaai Lodge is a lodge that should be rated as one of the best lodges in the world. It is so beautifully decorated, so wonderfully situated and so impressively built that you will have no choice but to stay a while and return on your next visit to Kenya.

5. Rolf’s Place

Rolf's Place

There is no mentioning a list of places that you can relax and enjoy yourself as a Kenyan would without mentioning Rolf’s Place. Built on the side of a cliff, and only accessible by a roped bridge over a deep gorge, Rolf’s Place is as breathtaking as the stars on a clear night. The service is impeccable and they even have a paint-balling facility, should you feel like you want to have a taste of home. Their menu is also quite eclectic, from local cuisine to international dishes.

6. The Gedi Ruins

91923967_1101792d8f_z               Photo Source: John and Melanie on Flickr

Okay, let’s just be honest, the Coastal Province of Kenya has a great deal to offer. From an endless stretch of white sandy beaches, to a loving and welcoming people and impossibly great weather. That is all well and good. But that is to be expected in any coastal region. If you walk, just a few kilometers from Watamu Beach, you will see one of the most peculiar and hardly ever recorded coastal cities in the world. The Gedi Ruins are shrouded in mystery. All we know is that it was a medieval Swahili city, located near the coastal town of Malindi. There is not much else recorded about this place. It is certainly beautiful though!

7. Lord Egerton Castle

Lord Egerton Castle               Photo Source: Teresajunewebb

In the 1950’s Lord Egerton built his, to-be-wed fiancée, a castle just 14 kilometers from Nakuru town. Word has it, that the Lady visited from England, spent no more than 2 hours in the expansive castle, left and never returned. From then on, Lord Egerton developed a loathing for all women. Heart-break does strange things to men. All that aside, Lord Egerton Castle is one of the most eye-catching castles within the country. You can have a paid tour to see how the rich lived in times-passed. Most of the materials used to construct it were imported. It truly is a marvellous piece of art.

8. Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya Hike

In Africa, it comes second to only Kilimanjaro in height. Kenya’s highest mountain is one of the most lush and serene location to take a vacation if you do not mind a little ‘trekking and climbing’. Although, for the lazy folk, there are lodges within and near the mountain that you can drive up to and enjoy the wonderful view that accords the locals every day.

9. The View Point at Iten

keriovalley - viewpoint       Photo Source: Keriovalleyadventures

Best known for its production of world champion runners such as Ezekiel Kemboi, Iten is a small center a few kilometers from Eldoret town. The center itself does not have much to offer. In fact, it is just an ordinary center. But if you go to its outskirts while heading towards Kabarnet, there is a view point that will take your breath away and never give it back! Iten viewpoint allows you to see more of the Great Rift Valley than any other place on the ground. In fact, you can only see more of the Rift Valley if you are on a plane.

10. Saiwa Swamp National Park

Saiwa Swamp National Park               Photo Source: Safaribookings

Arguably the smallest National Park in the Country, Saiwa Swamp gives the visitors a great chance to see one of nature’s peculiar creatures, the Sitatunga antelope which is semi aquatic. You can also see the white bearded De Brazza’s monkey that can only be found in this region.
The Masaai Mara and Mombasa are all wonderful destinations. But if you want to enjoy Kenya like a Kenyan, you should travel inland and see what else the country has to offer.

Have you visited any to these secret places? Share your experience with your in the comment below.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Then there is also the idyllic Aberdare Cottages. Situated in beautiful countryside, it is famous for water rafting in rainy seasons but hiking and trout fishing all year round.

  2. There is no doubt these places are indeed beautiful. How about the joy that 3 out of 10 are in my home County Kajiado. Many Congratulations Kajiado.

  3. yes, its nice places, but how many Kenyans can stay there ? You write about the normal touristplaces.
    In Kenya you can found realy nice places far from the mass of tourist. I bring clients there, sometimes

    • What do you mean by “how many Kenyans can stay there?” do you find it offensive to have us around?

    • You are right Michael. The prices are ridiculously expensive for struggling Kenyans, hell even Kenyans in diaspora.

    • Simple minds who think Africans cant afford good holidays…Give us a break Racist

    • Yes, these are good places in Kenya and yes, we Kenyans can afford it. Some of you think we are languishing in poverty, time for you to change your corrupted thinking….

    • By the way, does Mrs. Winnie consider racist the fact that they give different prices depending on your country of origin? Is it fair to pay an incredibly higher price for a room just because your are white, as Mr. Kirk is mentioning below? Specially considering that only “simple minds” think that “Africans can’t afford good holiday” (Winnie’s words, nobody is saying that). “Simple minds” can only think that visitors from other countries can afford crazy prices just because they are white!! And please don’t be so simple to say that if I can afford a plane ticket to Nairobi I can spend lots of money on my holiday. I get return tickets in low season at an affordable rate and I travel around as a backpacker, eating ugali lunch many times (which I love, by the way) and cooking in some of my kenyans friends homes. Ninapenda Kenya, lete nifurahia Kenya. Ahsanteni

  4. You dont say where Rolf’s Place is.

    • It’s in Rongai

  5. All these are great places and there are a hundred more places that promise to offer an unforgettable experience! Join a Group called Tusafiri Africa on Facebook as it has monthly trips that will allow you to experience these places at a cost so much friendly, it will surprise you! +254 720666153 is the number incase you need more info. cheerz!

  6. Hmm, great places but not sure how Kenyan all these are…not as authentic but definitely beautiful. There are hundreds of places – Kenya is stunning!

  7. I live in Iten, & view point is my best place i visit on weekends, or when am free, also when i have visitors its the first place i take them to see. The place is breathtaking. I love it. Please visit the place those who have’nt. Wellcome

  8. Wow! That’s why i love Kenya. My next travel plan destination; Chalbi desert.

  9. My beautiful Country… 2, 5 and 7 are on my to-do list :D

  10. The country too beautiful

  11. Kenya is an amazing country. Went there for my honeymoon (Found a great company called Chalo Africa – http://www.chaloafrica.com). We started in Nairobi, went to Amboseli and ended in Masai Mara. Even though the Mara was fantastic, wish I’d known about these places.

  12. Maasai Lodge and Rolfs Place are my locals. I had no idea they are this highly rated. Yay!!!!!!!!

  13. Am well pleased with the article, thanks 4 sharing this Oluwakemi Ojo @keemite . As a kenyan, I feel ashamed of not knowing 9 out 10 of this places. They are on my bucket list for sure. #keepcalmandvisitkenya #hotbedofvibrantculture

  14. I would have loved to visit the maasai lodge and the Rolf’s place. The details of how to access them is rather scant.

  15. I would love to visit the maasai lodge and the Rolf’s place. More details if how to get there will be of help

  16. Kisii county offers a great deal of adventure too have a view of manga rigdes and exqusite hotels like samaeta lounge

  17. Number 9 looks like the Transfagarasan Highway in Romania

  18. Rusinga island resort looked very nice while I was in kenya last time, but the 3 different prices for kenyans, europeans, and Americans priced my family and I out. Frankly the 3 extremely different prices were crazy and made it completely un-affordable to us. I understand that most in kenya are not correctly informed about actual living situations in America but for me it is insulting that it seems that everyone just wants a handout. I’m not paying 6xs the price for the same room because I am white. Not to mention that several people I know decided not to go there after finding out about this issue also.

  19. Where’s The Rolf’s Place?

  20. Great list of off-the-beaten-track destinations. See the better known top destinations.

  21. The De Brazza monkeys are also founded in Kakamega Forest (not only in Saiwa Swamp), althought I didn’t have the chance to see them when I was there, unfortunately. Great place as well, highly recommended and just a few tourists. Plenty of birds and massive trees, walking safaris…. the beauty of Kenya is endless!

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