As a holiday destination, Kenya has it all. There are beaches of the best sort - dazzling sand, palm trees and the gentle, warm Indian Ocean. There are the cool highland regions, temperate despite their tropical location. There are lush forests blanketing the ancient bedrock of the Aberdare mountain range, with treetop lodges among them. There's snow on the equator, on the imperious crags of Mount Kenya. There's the devastatingly dramatic sight of the Great Rift Valley, where the ground falls away and stretches out in miles of savannah and where the lakes are coloured white by pelicans and pink by flamingos.
The wildlife in Kenya is legendary – this is the home of safari. There are a large number of national parks to choose from, each distinctive from the next thanks to Kenya's vast range of habitats; red dust and elephants in Tsavo; the stunning silhouette of Kilimanjaro serving as a backdrop to wildlife in Amboseli; cheetahs and their chases over the immense plains of the Masai Mara; lions amidst the fever trees in Meru – home to Elsa of Born Free fame; leopards along the river in the otherwise stark and arid Samburu.
All this and culture too - the coast in particular is rich in history. It's where all visitors once arrived. Arab and Indian traders reached the Kenya coast in the 9th century, and their mingled heritage led to the distinctive Swahili culture that characterises the coast to this day. The history of the interior is equally compelling, both tribal and national, and there are stories to be heard at every bar in every town, in edgy, buzzy Nairobi or relaxed, charming Mombasa.
The conundrum for travellers is how to fit it all in. Beach holiday or luxury safari? It would be a tragedy to have one without the other.