Running & Biking
If there is one sport for which Kenya is well-known, it is running. This medium-size country of 41 million dominates the world in competitive running. Pick any long-distance race and you’ll often find that up to about 70 or 80 percent of its winners since the late 1980s have been from Kenya.
Travel agents with clients who are runners can suggest tying in the trip with the Lewa Marathon in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is also one of Kenya’s most densely populated wildlife areas. Widely considered one of the most beautiful races in the world, about 1,300 runners usually take part in the endurance test every June. The conservancy is located north of Mount Kenya, at an altitude of over 5,250 ft., which makes for a challenging race so runners must be in excellent shape; marshals ensure safety in the wildlife areas, and participants run on dirt tracks through the bush.
Given the country’s steep topography and busy city streets, it’s somewhat surprising how popular a pastime cycling is in Kenya. It’s not uncommon to see road cyclists and mountain bikers— both tourists and locals—weaving through the streets of Nairobi. However, the greatest cycling experience in Kenya is on quiet paths in the Rift Valley or Laikipia or along the windswept coastline.
In recent years, cycling has gained popularity, and many Nairobi locals ride out together to the Ngong Hills. They ride dirt trails through the bush in the Great Rift Valley and on the slopes of Mount Kenya.
Bicycle is, in fact, one of the best ways to explore the South coast and surrounding villages. This gives visitors the freedom to explore a bit. Cycling is a popular form of local transport in this region, and on most paths and roads bikers will encounter other cyclists. Hell’s Gate National Park is also a popular place to cycle with the wildlife, and you can usually rent bikes at several spots along Diani Beach, Malindi and Watamu from hotels or private bike rental outfits. The region around Lake Naivasha is popular for mountain biking, and bikes can easily be rented on-the-spot there. So, a bike ride is a great way to get fresh air and exercise, as well as gain new perspective on local life. A number of specialist tour operators offer cycling tours, which travel agents can easily book.