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Plan your gap year to Kenya with this ultimate travel itinerary

Written by Milly Whitehead on 06 / 05 / 2022

Gap Year Advice

Ok gappers this is where you close your eyes and imagine vast savannas, mind boggling sunsets, acacia trees, herds of elephants stampeding through dusty desert land and the warm waves of the Indian Ocean – this is Kenya.

Step forth into a cultural melting pot of over 40 different tribes and experience their rich cultural history - so much more than just the backdrop for The Lion King or a luxury safari - taking a gap year in Kenya is becoming increasingly popular as it offers a more gritty, challenging yet satisfying experience as you navigate the big distances, tribal life and contrasting environments.

We have an amazing network of Leap VIP contacts across Kenya, to help create a dynamic itinerary across this country but first we need to inspire you, so here goes...


Itinerary Highlights

Starting in Nairobi…the bustling capital of Kenya

This is your gateway to Kenya and we recommend you to stay in the districts of Karen or Langata where you can recover from your flight and experience:

  • Masai markets, full of all sorts of wonderful handicrafts
  • Out of Africa…visit the Karen Blixen Museum
  • Nairobi National Park, wide variety of animals with Nairobi’s skyline as backdrop
  • Giraffe Centre and Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, get up close to these amazing endangered species.

Where to stay: AirbNb and get Ubers to whizz around.

Great Rift Valley Lakes of Kenya

One of our favourite places - the drive from Nairiobi alone is breathtaking. A great place to start your itinerary, starting with Naivasha, the highest freshwater lake which is abundant with hippo and beautiful tropical birds. While you are here it is also possible to climb the nearby volcano, Mt Longonot and Hells Gate National Park - hire a bicycle and explore the spectacular scenery and geothermal geysers.

Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria further north are where you can spot the flamingos. An amazing spectacle - trust us.

You can bus to the lakes and lots of camp sites.

Masai Mara - Western Kenya

This has to be Kenya’s main highlight. Ok - expensive but you have to do this .... rhino, leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo, all here in the world famous national park, renowned for their rolling hills and grassy plains. If you are there at the right time you can witness the great migration of wildebeest.

You need a local tour operator to take you - get in touch for more information.

Amboseli National Park - Southern Kenya

A bit of a dog leg to go down BUT if elephants are your thing then this will deliver...as this place is renowned for its large elephant herds and views of immense Mount Kilimanjaro, across the border in Tanzania.

You need a local tour operator to take you - get in touch for more information.

Mt Kenya - Northern Kenya

Kenya’s highest and Africa’s second highest snow-capped mountain. A great challenge and needs to be tackled with respect ( i.e no hangover and a good level of fitness). Beautiful and variable scenery as you climb for 4-5 days up to Point Lenana (16000 ft). You must go with an organised tour who will arrange your guides and porters.

You need a local tour operator to take you - get in touch for more information.

The Coast: Mombasa / Malindi / Watamu

After all your adventures you need to head to the coast to wash away the dust - think long white, white beaches, crystal sea, all water sports, including kite surfing, diving, snorkelling. And a good social life … what’s not to love…

Lots of places to stay - AirbNb is also good for here.

The Coast: Lamu

This is one of our favourite places - think narrow streets, stunning shabby, chic Swahili style houses, donkeys (everywhere) and fresh coconut cocktails (everywhere). The food is amazing and it has an oh so cool vibe… Don’t miss...

  • A sunset Dhow trip in the archipelago
  • A walking tour of Lamu town, see the Swahili architecture, after the hustle and bustle of Lamu, don’t miss the quieter, more quaint Shela, full of funky boutiques, a long walk or a quick dhow trip from Lamu.
  • Pop into the famous Peponi’s for a cocktail.
  • Shop for kangas and kikoys, silver jewellery and beautiful carved items in the various little shop
  • Snorkelling (best between November and March), boat trips, fishing, diving
  • Visit the historic sites on Manda Island
  • Visit Lamu Fort and Lamu Museum

Lots of places to stay - AirbNb is also good for here.

So how are you going be a traveller in Kenya?

There are 2 options for navigating your travels around Kenya. You can either do it independently (or with your mates) using our network of hosts and our extensive travel knowledge through our service called Leap VIP. The alternative is you can join our Leap Kenya team program where you travel with a group of like minded Leapers and join our team experience - we take charge of all the logistics and itinerary so you an focus on enjoying yourself.

Join a Kenya Leap team program

  • We arrange all the logistics for you allowing you to focus on enjoying yourself
  • It's a great springboard to being an independent traveller - find your feet and off you fly
  • You will automatically be granted Leap VIP membership once you pay your deposit meaning you can plan your onward travels as well
  • You have 24/7 support
  • Meet new people who are like minded

Join Leap VIP

  • Have access to our network of hosts across Kenya who you can stay with/volunteer with if you wish
  • Rinse our extensive knowledge on Kenya
  • Great for those who want to travel solo or with their mates rather than a team of individuals
  • A year's membership so you can use VIP for your global travels not just for Kenya

So Gappers - put Kenya (and Africa) back on your gap year travel wish list as it really does deliver a gritty and magical experience. Get in touch and we can link you up with contacts over there.

Let us help you plan your itinerary

We have lots of contacts in Kenya who can deliver an amazing itinerary for you in Kenya. All you need to do is join Leap VIP and our black book of contacts is available to you.

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With the covid travel experts

Worried about how to travel and plan your gap year through this pandemic?

We can help. We have sent lots of gappers away through the last 12 months and can confidently call ourselves Covid Travel Experts. Get in contact to start the ball rolling.


Or give us a call on +44 1672 519 922

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