A General Overview of Kenya
With over 40 parks and game reserves, Kenya has long been known as “big-game” country. Kenya has always viewed its wildlife as a national treasure. And the movie “Out of Africa” did much to cement the romance of Kenya in our minds. A diverse country, Kenya offers many rewards for the first-time, as well as the seasoned, safari traveler. Magnificent wildlife, excellent accommodations, palm-fringed beaches and a warm and friendly population await you. An infinite landscape of varying climates, Kenya is punctuated by two distinct rainy seasons from April to May and late November to December. Discover the dramatic Rift Valley and its soda lakes, snow-capped mountains on the Equator, the gigantic Lake Victoria and the beach-lined coast with its magical islands. Encounter the greatest concentration of free-ranging wildlife on earth and explore the customs of the proud Masai people. It is in this intoxicating region that the notion of the Swahili word “safari”, meaning “to journey”, was born
Masai Mara Game Reserve
Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Kenya. The reserve is located in the Great Rift Valley in primarily open grassland.
Wildlife tends to be most concentrated on the reserve’s western escarpment.
The Masai Mara is regarded as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas. The annual wildebeest’s migration alone involves over 1.5 million animals arriving in July and departing in November.
There have been some 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and over 400 birds species recorded on the reserve.
Nowhere in Africa is wildlife more abundant, and it is for this reason a visitor hardly misses to see the big five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino).
Wildlife – The Mara is known as one of the finest wildlife destinations in the World. There is an excellent chance of seeing the Big 5, cheetah, serval, hyena, bat-eared foxes, black-backed and side-striped jackals, hippo, crocodile, baboons, warthog, topi, eland, Thompson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, impala, waterbuck, oribi, reed-buck, zebra.
During the migration (July to November) huge numbers of wildebeest move in.
Access – The Mara Triangle is serviced by two all-weather airstrips– Mara Serena and Kichwa Tembo. The main road access into the Triangle is through Narok and Sekenani Gate.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli lies immediately north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania. The Park covers 392 square km, and forms part of the much larger 3,000 square km Amboseli ecosystem. Large concentrations of wildlife occur here in the dry season, making Amboseli a popular tourist destination. It is surrounded by six communally owned group ranches. The National Park embodies five main wildlife habitats (open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush country, swamps and marshland) and covers part of a Pleistocene lake basin, now dry. Amboseli is famous for its big game and its great scenic beauty – and the landscape is dominated by the towering Mount Kilimanjaro.
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is unique by being the only protected area in the world with a variety of animals and birds close to a capital city. The park is a principal attraction for visitors to Nairobi. Nairobi National Park is one of the most successful of Kenya’s rhino sanctuaries that is already generating a stock for reintroduction in the species former range and other upcoming sanctuaries. Due to this success, it is one of the few parks where a visitor can be certain of seeing a black rhino in its natural habitat.
Samburu National Reserve
Samburu National Reserve is one of the lesser-known national parks, but is nevertheless teeming with life. Situated alongside the Ewaso Nyiro River, there is plenty to attract wildlife from the surrounding savannah plains. The reserve is rich in wildlife with an abundance of rare northern specialist species such as the Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and the beisa oryx (also referred to as Samburu Special Five). The reserve is also home to elephants and large predators such as the lion, leopard and cheetah. Kamunyak the miracle lioness that adopted the baby oryx was as a resident in the reserve. Wild dog sightings are also a common attraction to this unique protected area. Birdlife is abundant with over 450 species recorded.
Hell's Gate National Park
Hell’s Gate National Park covers an area of 68.25 square km and is situated in the environs of Lake Naivasha about 90 km from Nairobi. The park is 14 km after the turnoff from the old Nairobi-Naivasha highway. It is characterized by diverse topography and geological scenery. It is an important home of the lammergeyer (The Bearded Vulture). Hell’s Gate has two gates that are used by visitors – the main Elsa Gate and the Olkaria Gate. The latter also serves the Olkaria Geothermal Station that is located inside the National Park.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru was first gazetted as a bird sanctuary in 1960 and upgraded to National Park status in 1968. The Park has Kenya’s largest population of rhinos. The surface of the Lake Nakuru occupies about a third of the park. It supports a dense bloom of the blue-green Cyanophyte Spirulina platensis from which it derives its colour and is a food source for flamingos. During peak season over millions of flamingos and Pelicans congregate on the lake.
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
A rugged, hump-backed outcrop of ancient rock jutting high above the Athi Plains and hazily visible from Nairobi, Ol Donyo Sabuk is a densely forested mountain known to the local Kikuyu as ‘The Mountain of the Buffalo’, and to the Maasai as ‘The Big Mountain’. Just one road leads to its summit, which offers magnificent 360’ panoramas over the Athi River, the pineapple fields of Thika and the snow-capped peaks of both Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. Within easy reach of Nairobi, the lush vegetation and cool air of this compact and scenic National Park make for an ideal day trip or camping weekend.
Meru National Park
What To Do What To See Places To Visit Visit Kenya Talk To Us meruparkimg1 meruparkimg2 Previous Next Meru National Park home > Places To Visit > Wilderness Areas > Meru National Park Meru National Park is wild and beautiful. Straddling the equator and bisected by 13 rivers and numerous mountain-fed streams, it is an especially beautiful area of Kenya. It has diverse scenery from woodlands at 3,400ft(1,036m) on the slopes of Nyambeni Mountain Range, north east of Mt. Kenya, to wide open plains with meandering riverbanks dotted with doum palms. Game to view includes: lion, elephant, cheetah, leopard black rhino, zebra, gazelle, oryx and some of the rarer antelope, Lesser Kudu and duiker, also the more common Dik Dik, one of Africa’s smallest antelope. Large prides of lion can be seen and some of Kenya’s largest herds of buffalo. The rivers abound with hippo and crocodile, fishing for barbus and catfish is permitted at camp sites and along the Tana River. In the mid 1980’s, the Park suffered from poaching, however KWS armed wildlife security patrols have driven out the poachers and the elephant population has stabilised with breeding herds settling down. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded, including: Red-necked falcon, Heuglins courser, brown-backed woodpecker, sunbirds Peter’s Finfoot, inhabiting the Murera and Ura Rivers; Pel’s Fishing Owl, kingfishers, rollers, bee-eaters, starlings and weavers. The Park is most famous as the setting for Joy Adamson’s book “Born Free”, the story of the Adamson’s life and research amongst lion and cheetah. “Elsa” the lioness was the most well-known and her grave is marked here. There is one lodge (132 beds) and two tented camps are planned. There are 8 special campsites which must be pre-booked, one public campsites;Elsa camp, KWS self-help bandas and Leopard Rock bands. There are two routes to Meru national park from Nairobi. The first is the main road via Nyeri, Nanyuki and Meru, the second is via Embu-Meru road. It offers the best approach via the Ura gate. Dry weather route from Meru is through Mathara and Kangeta towards Maua turning left on the Kinna road leading to the National park gate.
Buffalo Springs & Shaba National Reserve
The Isiolo District lies at the northern foot of Mt Kenya rising above the expansive range lands of northern Kenya. The arid and semi-arid zones district sits as a divide between the populous agricultural highlands of the Mt. Kenya region and acts as a gateway into the vast lowlands of North Kenya inhabited by various nomadic pastoralist communities where wildlife and livestock freely co-exist. Together with the adjacent Samburu, and divided by the river Ewaso Nyiro, the three reserves form a very popular tourist destination because of the diverse wildlife populations they support. Unlike other wildlife areas in Kenya’s northern tourist circuit, the reserves, which are popularly known as the Samburu Ecosystem, sustain free ranging wildlife species both within the three reserves as well as far into community lands. Wildlife – Besides normal species found elsewhere in Kenya, the area is a natural home to the five rare species known as the five northern species which are endemic to this area. They are Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Beisa Oryx, Somali ostrich and the gerenuk. Shaba is also the home for the highly endangered Williamson’s lark. All these rare species can only be found inside this game reserve. Access – Roads: From Nairobi through Nanyuki on a tarmac road to Isiolo, then a 22km murram road. Air: Buffalo Springs Airstrip is used by scheduled flights from Nairobi each day linking the reserves to other tourism destinations. Best time to visit – All the year round Activities – Game viewing safari, nature walks, entertainment by pastoralist cultural dancers, and visits to cultural villages to get the experience of nomadic lifestyle in the community.
Aberdares National Park
With 766 square kilometers, the park is a mixture of forest and moorland, with many cascading waterfalls, thick bamboo forest and sub-alpine plants. The major part lies at an altitude of 3,500 meters. Deep ravines slice forested inclines, through which flow hidden streams which icy waterfalls tumble down rock faces. Above the thick forest area are reaches of alpine type moorlands usually hidden in mists. The park is a fairyland, awesome in its majesty and beauty, being rich in wildlife-elephant, rhino, the pig family, antelope, lion, leopard and buffalo, with monkeys of all types including the spectacular black and white Columbus. Birdlife is abundant and varied, the most conspicuous groups being the sunbirds, while game birds abound in plenty, as do birds of prey.
Tsavo National Parks
With 20,700 square kilometers, this park, divided by the Mombasa-Nairobi highway into two blocks - East and West, is one of the world’s largest wildlife sanctuaries. While considerable portions of the park have been opened and developed for tourism, a great tract to the north is still inaccessible and closed to ordinary tourist traffic. Tsavo is an interesting mixture of extensive plains, steep rocky hills rising abruptly, a few river valleys with their fringes of tall green acacia and palm trees. Altitudes range from 300 meters in the Eastern section to 1,800 meters in the highest peaks of the Ngulia Hills. The Mzima springs is an interesting feature in Tsavo west. It’s crystal clear fresh waters are a sanctuary to crocodiles, hippo and fish. There is an underground glass observatory where visitors get up-close to the hippos with out the dangers of an encounter. It is fed by numerous rivers, some underground, which flow out of the lava from different directions, forming an oasis in the middle of this otherwise dry scrubby landscape. Practically most of Kenya’s wildlife is represented in the two blocks of Tsavo, but the dominant one is elephant. Over 20,000 of these giants roam the area, which also happens to be a black rhino stronghold. The park is famous for its lions, descendants of the dreaded Man eaters during the construction of the Mombasa-Kampala railway at the end of the last century. There is network of over 800kms of game viewing roads. Bird life is legion in the park and new species are often discovered. Sunbirds, hornbills, parrot, weavers, starlings, bustards and birds of prey are present in great numbers among the many species.