Kenya - Off the beaten track
Aberdare National Park
This park essentially encloses the moorland and high forest of the 60km-long Kinangop plateau. Only rarely does this place feature in the itineraries of safari companies and it's even less visited by individual travellers. But if you're willing to brave the inclement weather, this remote and formidably dense forest is well worth the effort. The park offers a variety of fauna, flora and scenery which you won't find elsewhere except, perhaps, on Mt Kenya. There are also the dramatic Gura Falls which drop a full 300m, along with alpine moorland, and the slim chance of seeing a black leopard, elephant, rhino or bongo (a rare spiral-horned antelope).
Hyrax Hill Prehistoric Site
Just outside Nakuru, about 200km north-west of Nairobi, this site first went under the archeological microscope in 1937 when Louis Leakey started poking about for signs of ancient life. The digs, which continued right up to the 1980s, indicate three settlements were made here - the earliest possibly 3000 years ago and the most recent about 200 to 300 years ago. The large collection of items found in the burial pits on and around the hill include a real puzzle - six Indian coins, one of them 500 years old, two of them dating from 1918 and 1919! The site is on the Nairobi road.
Kakamega Forest Reserve
Kakamega is a superb slab of virgin tropical rainforest in the heart of an intensively cultivated agricultural area of Western Kenya. It's home to a huge variety of birds and animals and is well worth the minimal effort required to get to it. The forest area of the reserve is where you'll find a number of primate species including the red-tailed monkey, black & white colobus monkey and the blue monkey. The best way to appreciate the forest is to walk, and there are several trail systems radiating from forest stations. The Forest Department maintains a superb rest house here and some excellent guides are available for hire.
Marsabit National Park & Reserve
This northern park is home to Kenya's larger mammals including lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, warthogs, zebras, giraffes, hyenas and gazelles. Because the area is thickly forested, you won't see much unless you spend quite some time here - preferably camping at Lake Paradise. Since this crater lake is aptly named, this shouldn't be a problem. It's an enchanting place to rough it and few camp sites in Kenya can rival it for scenery and tranquility.
Buses operate between the park's nearest town (Marsabit) and the central Kenyan town of Isiolo, near Mt Kenya.