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Why Kenya should be top of the school expedition list

If you’re planning a school expedition, then Kenya should be top of the list. A bold statement, maybe, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wrong

If you’re planning a school expedition, then Kenya should be top of the list. A bold statement, maybe, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wrong. Of course, there are exceptions – perhaps if you’ve visited Tanzania recently, or another African country, then you may feel you want to head to Latin America or Asia. However, if Africa is an option for you (and it really should be – more on that in a moment) then Kenya should really be given serious consideration.  

The perfect school expedition destination

What is it we look for from a destination when it comes to a school expedition? Adventure, extreme environments maybe, varied habitats, unique and intriguing cultures and, of course, a support infrastructure from a local team that is a) experienced at organising school expeditions, b) experts in the destination, and c) able to react quickly to incidents should they happen. A school expedition to Kenya with The STC offers all this, and so much more.    

Trekking in Kenya

Kenya has some of the best trekking in East Africa. Mt Kenya, although seeing a fraction of the tourists that Kilimanjaro sees, is a superb mountain – challenging, beautiful, remote and, importantly, achievable on a reasonable budget (unlike Kilimanjaro!). Most trekkers take on Mt Kenya with a view to reaching Point Lenana, 4,985m. This isn’t the highest point on the mountain – that’s the reserve of climbers, but Lenana is a significant summit and a fantastic place to watch the sunrise over the African plains.  Whilst you can complete the trek in 5 days, there are a number of routes up the mountain ranging from 5 to 7 days. Like Kilimanjaro, there are huts on some routes, but we prefer to use camping as the quality of provision is easier to control.    

Whilst Mt Kenya is a fantastic mountain and obvious goal for a school expedition, it’s not the only option for trekking in Kenya. To the east of Mt Kenya lies the Aberdares National Park, a wild high plateau of forests, grassland, waterfalls and deep canyons. It’s a great place for warm up treks in preparation for Mt Kenya, or a 3 or 4 days point to point trek in its own right.  There are animals here too, including wild dog, but you’d be very lucky to see them.  

Click here for a suggested school expedition to Kenya.

We also have a fabulous shorter trek in the Loita Hills in the south west of the country. Walking with Maasai guides, the 3 day journey takes you from the plains of the Maasai Mara up into the Loita Hills before descending down the steep escarpment to the Rift Valley and the fabulous Shompole Conservancy. There is no better view in all of Africa. It’s like the Garden of Eden laid out before you: small Maasai villages, cattle herders tending their animals, plains animals grazing on the lush grass. Don’t be deceived. At night, the situation on the Rift Valley floor changes and the pendulum swings in favour of the predator. When darkness begins to fall the Maasai gather their animals and retreat to their fortified bomas. Plains animals such as wildebeest, zebra, giraffe and antelope are on high alert as leopards come down from their trees and lions wake from their slumber under the shade of the acacia. Night on the plains is an altogether different prospect from day.  

Rebuilding the Pride

The rift valley and the area around Shompole Conservancy is also the setting for our outstanding Biology trip: Rebuilding the Pride. At a simple research station close to a number of small traditional Maasai villages, scientists have been studying the local environment, wildlife and Maasai for the past 10 years. Radio collared lions can be tracked by vehicle, their signals and movements plotted onto google maps and analysed in conjunction with the wet and dry seasons to monitor seasonal movement and potential conflict with the Maasai. Groups can walk with semi-habituated baboon troops whilst they forage for food, as well as learn the art of tracking animals on foot. Human animal conflict is well documented in east Africa, but what struck me when I visited here to research this trip was the sheer pride that the Maasai have for their way of life and also the respect for the environment and wildlife around them. The scientists have an enviable relationship with the local communities and during the four of five days on location, our groups get a unique and incredibly privileged insight into cutting edge research and the Maasai way of life. This is not some artificial ‘cultural show’ form of Maasai culture. This is the real thing. Raw. Traditional. Living on the edge in one of the world’s most challenging environments. I can’t recommend this place highly enough.  

Geography and adventure all around

If our Rebuilding the Pride trip is top of the food chain for biologists, then our Rift Valley Adventurer will get geographers’ dowsing sticks twitching like they’ve never twitched before. If you think Kenya is all about the wildlife then you’d be massively mistaken. Opportunities for fascinating geography trips for schools abound too – set in one of the most spectacular landscapes on earth – the great rift valley. Think hot springs. Think geothermal power stations and flower farms. Think lava caves and double crater volcanoes. Think calderas, canyons and waterfalls. Think rural to urban migration, conservation, land conflict and much, much more.  

No trip to Kenya would be complete without a healthy shot of adrenalin, so on most itineraries we like to include some white water rafting from our river side camp at Sagana. There are also options for kayaking, rock climbing in Hell’s Gate, Stand Up Paddle boarding in the rift valley or mountain biking in many different areas.    


Without wanting to state the obvious, Kenya is in Africa and, as I mentioned right at the start of this article, Africa should be high on your list of expedition destinations. You see, whilst South America has huge landscapes and huge rainforests, and Asia has more culture and diversity than you can shake an incense stick at, Africa is raw, unadulterated adventure. It is not like other continents. There is a spirit that lives here that will permeate your soul, monkey around with your outlook on life and stay with you for ever. Those who have been to sub-Saharan Africa will know what I mean. Those who haven’t can only imagine. And if you do end up going, I guarantee your wildest imagination will not prepare you for the experience Africa will deliver.    


Kenya attracts its fair share (many might say more than its fair share!) of headline grabbing incidents. The truth is though, incidents in Kenya are really no more common than in neighbouring Tanzania or Uganda, or South Africa for that matter. We just hear about them more because of the longstanding links between Kenya and the UK. Yes, there are areas which are off limits, such as the far east of the country bordering Somalia and the northern coastal area, but the rest of the country is ripe for exploring and ready to welcome you open armed.  

As with all our destinations, we have a permanent operations team in country. They have grown up in, lived, worked, travelled and explored most corners of this amazing country.  They speak the local languages, know how the government departments and police forces work, have connections to all sorts of projects, NGOs, farmers, communities, scientists and emergency response companies. They are our eyes and ears on the ground and they are utterly fantastic. We work with amazing partners all over the world, but our guys in Kenya are really, really, good. Trust us – you could not be in better hands.  

So, how about it?  

Why not contact us and start planning your school expedition to Kenya today?