KENYA NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES
Kenya National Parks and Reserves are some of the top wildlife parks and reserves in Africa. It’s the quality of Kenya National Parks and Reserves that make Kenya the most popular safari destination in Africa, and each has their own best times to visit. Safaris in Kenya are cheaper than anywhere else in Africa, but you can also enjoy an exclusive experience. Kenya is home to a high number of great safari and wilderness destinations. The Kenya National Parks and Reserves exist with the aim of protecting Kenya’s flora, fauna and ecosystems, as well as the diverse wildlife and bird life. With 23 National Parks, 4 National Marine Parks, 28 National Reserves, 6 National Marine Reserves, and 4 National Sanctuaries, there is a wealth of protected areas for travelers to explore in Kenya.
Each of the Kenya National Parks and Reserves destination has its own highlights and attractions. Kenya remains at the forefront of wildlife safari and beach holidays. Whether you’re a newbie traveler looking to dive into the wild or an enthusiast longing for more authentic adventures. While the national parks and reserves aim to protect flora, fauna and ecosystems, the private conservancies give our guests distinctive wholesome experiences that Kenya offers culturally, historically and ecologically.
Kenya National Parks and Reserves
Virtually everyone who visits Kenya goes to this 320-sq. km. of open grassland dotted with flat-topped acacia trees. A visit to Mara is truly a staggering one, and which is likely to have a profound effect on your own feeling of insignificance. This is the Kenyan section of the Serengeti and animals are in abundant. All year round, the Masai Mara, a living tapestry of grassy savanna, spreading thorn trees, rounded hills and tall gallery forests with its abundant wild life draw hundreds of thousands of photographers and visitors from all over the world. The Mara is home to millions of wild game such as wildebeest and gazelle among others and are continuously tracked by Africa’s great predators. The annual migration of these animals is one of the most inspiring sights on earth, and this is the dramatic life and death struggle that tourists come to see. Other animals seen are lion, elephant, cheeter, leopard, zebra, antelope, impala, Thomson gazelle, topi, giraffe, baboon, jackal, warthog, rhino and hyena.
A visit to the Masai village, located inside the reserve. This is a cultural village of the Masai tribe’s people and it is an ideal place to take video pictures, buy trinkets and beadwork. Ballooning Safaris, Hot-air ballooning at dawn as you drift quietly, is the best way of viewing the savanna plains and the animals without the intrusion of vehicles and the dozens of tourists. Accommodation facilities in Masai Mara are plentiful and range from luxurious 5-star lodges to Spartan tented camps. Hot air balloon excursions are available in the Game Reserve.
LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK (THE PINK LAKE)
This is 200-sq. km shallow Soda Lake lying in the volcanic strewn Rift Valley and is one of a chain of lakes stretching the length of Kenya from Tanzania to Ethiopia. It is world’s greatest bird spectacle with millions of pink flamingos and pelicans, birds of prey like vulture, eagle and such animals as waterbuck and black rhino, buffalo, Reedbuck, gazelle, leopard, hyrax, hippos, velvet-monkey, Rothschild giraffe and baboon. This is an ideal place for ornithologists and photographers.
Lake Nakuru National Park lies in the heart of Rift Valley. The Park was gazetted in 1967 as the first bird sanctuary in Africa. Lake Nakuru has been described as a “bird watchers’ paradise”, and is acknowledged to be the greatest ornithological spectacle on earth. Millions of flamingo’s flock here throughout the year and transform the shores of the lake to a pink ‘carpet’ over 300,000 birds can be seen at one sighting. Besides the flamingoes, Lake Nakuru National Park provides habitat for over 400 bird species.
Lake Nakuru National Park, which surrounds the Lake, was established to protect the colony of Flamingoes as well as to provide a sanctuary for such endangered species as the White Rhino and the Rothschild Giraffe. The animals have been placed behind an electrical fence for their safety and surveillance. The Park abounds with other wildlife, notably; Buffalos, Hippos, Giraffes, Zebras, Primates, and many species of Antelope.
This is one of the Rift Valley’s fresh water lakes with different ecology from that of the soda lakes. It is also home to a large variety of bird species. Main activities are fishing (both sport and commercial fishing). The Crater Lake found here is magnificent with lush green vegetation at the bottom of a beautiful volcanic crater. HELL’S GATE Located in Naivasha area, is one of the lowland parks on the country which you can walk through. The looming cliffs and the Hell’s Gate gorge itself are spectacular and home to a variety of birds and such animals as zebra, baboons, Thomson gazelle, antelope, cheeter, and leopard. Another main attraction is the Fischer’s Tower 25-m high calcium of volcanic rock. The Olkaria Geothermal power station, which uses one of the hottest sources of energy in the world, is also a spectacular site, with plumes of steam rising into the air
KAKAMEGA FOREST RESERVE – Kenya National Parks and Reserves
Kakamega Forest is a superb slab of virgin tropical rain forest the heart of an intensely cultivated agricultural area. It is the home to a huge variety of birds and animals and it is real a must sees. Here you will find exotic species like the rare De Brazza’s monkey, other forest primates include the red-tailed monkey the colobus and blue monkey. In the night you will see the hammer-headed fruit bat or a flying squirrel
The biggest attraction to this reserve is the abundant bird life the best months being June, August and October when many migrant species arrive. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded, you are most likely to see black and white casqued horn bill, Ross’s Turaco, greater Turaco. Wild flowers and butterflies are wonderful in October.
This is an excellent place for walking, trails are the best way to appreciate the forest and there are established trails. Places to stay in Kakamega include the Rondo Retread, which was opened recently to visitors, 3km from the main road. This is a church group owned place and they mainly use it for their missionaries in the initial stages but now it has become popular and it is a wonderful top end accommodation in self-contained bungalows. The gardens are very beautiful just the place to go for solitude away from it all.
Samburu and Shaba National forms part of the Kenya National Parks and Reserves, situated in the sparsely populated semi-desert region of Kenya, form one of the most interesting game viewing areas in the country. Samburu National Reserve adjoins the Buffalo Springs National Reserve in the South and Shaba National Reserve to the East. The Game Reserve is traversed by the gentle Ewaso Nyiro river, which meanders, slowly between numerous acacia trees, providing life support to the dry-land animals and a home to many crocodiles and Hippos. The two National Reserves are the exclusive home of some unique wildlife that include the reticulated Giraffe, the Gravy’s Zebra and the Beisa Oryx. It is only in these game sanctuaries that you will find the graceful Gerenuk (sometimes called Giraffe Gazelle), a long-necked Gazelle that stands on its hind legs to nibble on high bushes leaves, and the rare blue-necked Somali Ostrich.
Other animals commonly seen in Samburu and Shaba National Reserves include the Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant, Eland and a small number of lions. There are over 100 species of birds. Large flocks of Guinea fowls are a common sight. Shaba was the home of Joy Adamson, the world-renowned author, conservationist and artist, together with her lioness Elsa. In Samburu National Reserve lives Larsen, the strange lioness who has, completely out of character, attempted several times to adopt antelope babies.
LAKE BOGORIA AND LAKE BARINGO NATIONAL RESERVES
About 125 km North of Nakuru town lies Lake Bogoria which is one of the Kenya National Parks and Reserves and one of the most beautiful and spectacular of the Rift Valley lakes. It is a shallow soda lake and one ideal for the production of blue-green algae, the stable food for the flamingoes migrate to this lake from Lake Nakuru and elsewhere for breeding. But perhaps more interesting is the breath-taking view of stem jets with boiling geysers which bubble out of natural underground rock. It is a geological wonder one cannot afford to miss. These springs are hot enough to boil an egg within minutes! About 50km in the North is Lake Baringo, a fresh water lake without a surface outlet. Lake Baringo has over 400 bird species. Boat rides past schools of Hippo and a visit to islands on the Lake are popular activities.
Mount Kenya (5,199m) is the second highest mountain in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro. Mount Kenya National Park was established in 1949 to protect the mountain forests and bamboo thickets with their varied wildlife, the alpine moorlands, and the glaciers. The park includes all the mountains area above the tree line. Mount Kenya National Park offers game viewing, mountain climbing, and beautiful scenery with interesting variations of flora and fauna at different altitudes. Wildlife found in this Game Park include Buffalos, Elephants, Rhinos, Leopards, Primates and many species of Antelope, Sightings of albino Zebras have been recorded in this sanctuary.
One interesting establishment close but outside the Game Park is the world renowned Mount Kenya Safari Club whose attractions include a game breeding ranch and the William Holden wildlife Education center. About 95 km to the west of Mount to the West of Mount Kenya lies the Aberdares National Park. The park was set up for the protection and preservation of the indigenous forests as a water catchments area, the prolific wildlife, the moorlands, and for mountain climbing adventures. The most common wildlife in Aberdares National Park include the Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard, Giant Forest Hog, Spotted Hyena, Eland, and Bush Duiker. The rare and beautiful forest antelope, the Bongo, inhabits the higher bamboo zone.
The most common wildlife in Aberdares National Park includes the Elephant, Buffalo, leopard, Giant Forest Hog, Spotted Hyena, Eland, and Bush Duiker. The rare and beautiful forest antelope, the Bongo, inhabits the higher zone. The Aberdares’ two famous lodges-The Ark and the Treetops- are specifically designed to enable the residents view the animals after dark, both offer floodlit saltlick and ponds that can be observed from some secure areas in the lodges. It was while a guest at the Treetops that Queen Elizabeth 11 of England ascended to the British throne. It is also at the nearby town of Nyeri that lie the remains of Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the boys Scouts movement.
Amboseli National park is another Kenya National Parks and Reserves which is one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in Kenya. It is situated close to Kenya. It is situated close to Kenya- Tanzania border, The Park lies at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa (5,896m) whose snow-capped summit presents a splendid view on clear days. Amboseli National Park is often referred to as “The home of Elephants’ some of the largest Elephant herds are found here. The Game Park also contains vast groups of Zebras, Wildebeests, Giraffes, Buffalos, Hippos and Antelopes. Also to be found in Amboseli are lions, leopards, Cheetahs, Rhinos and many species of plain game.
Tsavo lies mid-way between Nairobi and Mombasa. Tsavo National Park which is one of the biggest Kenya National Parks and Reserves, measuring approximately 22,000sq kms, is believed to be the largest game sanctuary in the world. For administrative purposes, the game park has been split into Tsavo East National Park contains the Yatta plateau, one of the world’s largest lava flows, and the lugard Falls, a favorable haunt for the sunbathing Nile Crocodiles. Outstanding features in Tsavo West National Park include the 8km long Shetani (devil) lava flow and the fabulous Mzima springs, an oasis that has no comparison. Here, a subterranean river of crystal-clear water from Kilimanjaro melting snow gushes out of the ground. The water is so clear and cool that you watch teeming tropical fish, hippo and the crocodile eyeball to eyeball while sitting in the safety of an underwater glass window observatory. There is also Chyulu Hills beneath which lies one of the biggest cave system in the world.
The fascinating physical landscape and its proximity to Kenya’s coast makes Tsavo a popular safari destination. On account of its size this National Park does not have the traffic experienced in other game sanctuaries. Tsavo accommodates a huge population of “red Elephant”-red coming from the rich red earth of the park. Also of great attraction are the maneless Tsavo lions, descendants from the infamous “Man Eaters of Tsavo”-lions that wreaked havoc in the work campus of coolies building the Kenya-Uganda railway at the beginning of the 20th century. Other animals to be found in Tsavo include Buffalos, Rhinos, Leopards, Hippos, Zebras, Giraffes, Primates and Antelopes.