Kenya Ranked Hottest luxury destination of 2016

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  • Kenya has been ranked the hottest luxury destination of 2016 by Virtuoso’s travel advisors beating other African destinations including South Africa, and Tanzania.
    At +59%, Kenya recorded the largest percentage of growth in year-over-year bookings, followed by Iceland at 56% while Saint Martin was third at 39.
    According to the travel advisors, safaris are particularly appealing for multigenerational family trips. Virtuoso’s list of top upscale destinations for this holiday season is based on data sourced from its warehouse of more than 35 billion worth of travel transactions.
    A large proportion of Kenya’s tourism centres on safaris and tours of its great National Parks and Game Reserves. While most tourists do visit for safari there are also great cultural aspects of the country to explore in cities like Mombasa and Lamu on the Coast. The Masai Mara National Reserve is usually where the Maasai Village can be found; a site that most tourists like to visit. In addition, there are also a lot of beaches to visit in Kenya, where you can experience water boarding, wind surfing for its classic savannah safaris.
    Kenya is a country of dramatic extremes and classic contrasts. Deserts and alpine snows; forests and open plains; the metropolis of Nairobi and colourful tribal cultures; freshwater lakes and coral reefs. For many people, Kenya is East Africa in microcosm. The wildlife safaris have been the top tourist attractions in Kenya for decades while other activities include trekking Mount Kenya, ballooning over the Masai Mara and snorkelling in Malindi on the Indian Ocean coast and many more fun activities that are good for Kenya’s economy.
    There are some great rewards to travelling through the Central Highlands, Kenya’s political and economic heartland. Mount Kenya, Africa’s second-highest peak, gave the colonial nation its name and offers visitors numerous hiking opportunities. And, while hikes lower down and in the Aberdare range are easier, they are still dramatic, with the added bonus that you might see some wildlife. Travel itself is never dull here, and the range of scenery is a spectacular draw in its own right: primary-coloured jungle and shambas, pale, windswept moors and dense conifer plantations, all with a mountain backdrop. People everywhere are friendly and quick to strike up a conversation, the towns are animated and the markets colourfully chaotic.
    While the west undeniably lacks teeming herds of game stalked by lions and narcissistic warriors in full regalia, what it offers is a series of delightfully low-key, easily visited attractions. For a start there are national parks: at Kakamega Forest, a magnificent tract of equatorial rainforest bursting with species found nowhere else in Kenya; at Saiwa Swamp, where access on foot allows you to get quite close to the rare sitatunga antelope; at Ruma, where a lush valley harbours reticulated giraffe, roan antelope and black rhinos; and at Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano to rival Mount Kenya in everything but crowds.
    Lake Victoria is the obvious place to make for in the west, sprinkled with out-of-the-way islands, populated by exceptionally friendly people, and with the region’s major town, Kisumu, on its shores. And there’s the offbeat, if admittedly very minor, new attraction of Kogelo, the home village of the father of US president Barack Obama. The Western Highlands rise all around Lake Victoria in a great bowl, dotted with a string of busy towns. While Eldoret and Kakamega are essentially route-hubs with little for visitors to do, Kisii has a couple of good excursions, the tea capital Kericho is certainly worth an overnight stay, and Kitale has some museums. Away from the towns, much of the west, even the areas of intensive farming, is ravishingly beautiful: densely animated jungle near Kakamega and Kitale, regimented landscapes of tea bushes around Kericho, and many areas of swamp and grassland alive with birds.
    Ethnically, the region is dominated by the Luo on the lakeshore, but there are Bantu-speaking Luhya in the sugar lands, north of Kisumu, and Gusii in the formidably fertile Kisii Hills.

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