Kenya has always played host to a range of A-listers and it’s not hard to see why. With vast open plains, teeming wildlife, emerald forests, azure beaches, and ancient cultures and traditions, it’s an idyllic holiday spot. The added bonus: it’s perfectly remote and away from prying eyes.
We’ve put together an A-List of celebrities who’ve visited (and keep on visiting) beautiful Kenya:
Probably the most famous A-List story coming out of Kenya is that of Princess Elizabeth’s visit with Prince Philip in 1952. Unbeknownst to her, while she was staying at the Treetops Lodge in Aberdare National Park, her father, King George VI, died, making her Queen. She only received the news the next day at Sagana Lodge, which is now an official state lodge.
The Royals obviously love Kenya because 58 years later, the Queen’s grandson, Prince William popped the question to Katherine while staying in a remote log cabin on the spectacularly beautiful – and highly romantic – slopes of Mount Kenya at Rutundu. They snuck off to the cabin after sharing a safari holiday with friends at Lewa Downs.
The face behind Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, paid a surprise visit to Kenya last year, visiting Nairobi. He met with developers and entrepreneurs, especially in the field of mobile money, an area in which Kenya is a world leader.
"It's inspiring to see how engineers here are using mobile money to build businesses and help their community," Zuckerberg said. Kenya really is where it’s all happening.
More recently, Chinese billionaire and founder of the Alibaba Group, visited Nairobi. His visit coincided with the launch of mobile online training for travel agents in China, an initiative rolled out by the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB).
The visit has created awareness and spurred interest in travel to Kenya amongst the Chinese community. He tried his hand at the traditional adumu, or "the jumping dance" of the Masai warriors and gave a public lecture at the University of Nairobi to encourage the empowerment of young African entrepreneurs, amongst other meetings.
Hollywood stars love Kenya too. Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis has visited often and is a patron of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, who do amazing work in Kenya protecting elephants and other animals.
Another Hollywood star, Edward Norton, fell in love with Camp Ya Kanzi from his first visit and is now a major advocate and backer of the wonderful work they do in the community. Situated in the Chyulu Hills, this camp is the epitome of responsible tourism and eco-consciousness.
Bill Gates has been involved in numerous funding initiatives in Kenya and holidayed at the beautiful Sanctuary Olonana on a private stretch of the Mara River in the Masai Mara. During the Great Migration, the action happens right here.
Staying with big businessmen, Richard Branson is a regular visitor to Kenya even going so far as to open his own luxury tented camp in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy in Masai Mara. Opened in 2013, Mahali Mzuri consists of 12 luxury safari tents overlooking the Kenyan wild … and the path of the Great Migration.
Another regular visitor to Kenya, supermodel Naomi Campbell is a fan of the Kenyan coast, especially Malindi in south-eastern Kenya. Set on the Indian Ocean, this tropical paradise is truly heavenly. It’s no wonder Naomi keeps going back.
So whether you’re a superstar or an Average Joe like us, Kenya beckons. Contact one of our ABS consultants to organise your dream Kenyan safari and you may just find yourself not only spotting game, but celebrities too.