Welcome to Kenya National Parks
The Kenya national parks and reserves rate best in Africa. The tremendous variety of Kenya national parks is birds and animals. In the main attraction and the more popular parks such as Maasai Mara National Reserve and Amboseli National Park receive a huge number of visitors – from budget campers to hundreds-of-dollars-a-day Hilton hoppers.Smaller parks such as Saiwa Swamp National Parking the western highlands see a handful of visitors a day at any time of the year. In addition to protection of wildlife
some parks are created to conserve landscape and they can be extremely exciting and rewarding places to visit. The Hell’s Gate, Mt. Kenya, Mt. Elgon, Mt. Longonot and Kakamega Forest are worth investigating.
The marine national parks of Malindi and Watamu off the central coast offer excellent diving possibilities with Shimoni and Wasini islands in the extreme south which are even better but less accessible.
Other smaller parks and reserves that should not be left out include Aberdare National Park; Marsabit National Reserve/Park; Nairobi National Park; Meru National Park; Kenya National Parks; Mt. Elgon
MAASAI MARA GAME RESERVE
Maasai Mara is blessed with an astounding concentration of wildlife all year round and panoramic vistas of plains dotted with woodlands. Maasai Mara National Park provides a wildlife of experience unsurpassed in the world.Covering an area of some 1500 square kilometers in the southwestern corner of Kenya national parks, the Mara is unfenced bordered in the west by the Oloololo Escarpment and in the east by the Ngama Hills.
A living tapestry of grassy savanna, umbrella-like thorn trees, rounded hills, towering gallery forests and abundant wildlife, the Maasai Mara draws photographers and travelers from around the globe. It is here, on the Maasai Mara – the “spotted land” of the Maasai people that the greatest migration on the planet takes place. Every year, driven by the force that man cannot comprehend, two million wildebeest, interspersed by herds of Zebra, cross the Mara River from Tanzania to eat the lush grass resulting from the seasonal “long rains” in Kenya. It is this display that lures people and predators to this place, but there is more to the Mara than the annual spectacle.
Each day presents a surprise. The wildlife is unequaled in the entire world. Herds roam at will and graze seemingly content, but always on the lookout for predators: Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and Hyena. This is Eden! The Great Migration: As East Africa’s plains fade to yellow after the summer rains; an ancient signal is communicated between millions of animals. Originating from Tanzania’s southern Serengeti plains, the dwindling of the available grass is the impetus for this primal march. The horizon fills with 1.4million wildebeest and 200,000 zebra, eland and gazelle, relentlessly tracked by Africa’s great predators. This is the migration – one of the most awe-inspiring sights on earth. The great herds move north towards the Maasai Mara plains. By July they have massed along the swollen
Mara River. In crossing, many drown, are ambushed by crocodiles, or fall prey to opportunistic lions This dramatic life-and-death struggle is nature her most theatrical – a once – in – a – lifetime experience for travelers to the Maasai Mara.In addition to the great herds of Wildebeest and Zebra on their annual migration, all year round the Maasai Mara supports Lion, Cheetah, Elephant, Kongoni, Thompson’s Gazelle and Defassa’ Waterbuck, as well as eight species of primates.
AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
Amboseli are the plains below Mt. Kilimanjaro. The waters from melted snow drain down the mountain under lava flows and surface in Amboseli, creating a green belt of swampland amidst dusty plains. Located on the south part of Kenya national parks, Amboseli National Park is the home of the largest Elephants in Africa. It is here that the highest peak in Africa can be best seen. Viewing game in this park with the snowcapped Mt. Kilimanjaro on the background is a very exciting experience. In addition to the ‘Big Five’the ‘Bad Boys’ – Hyena – who can eat up their own mother if she stood still long enough.
TSAVO NATIONAL PARK
Tsavo reserve is divided onto two – West Tsavo and East Tsavo National Parks. The Tsavo East is the largest National Park in Kenya. These parks are so remote and so totally unspoilt – a wildlife preserve offering pristine wilderness away from mass tourism. Tsavo West National Park with water holes at Kilaguni and Ngulia Lodges attracting a variety of animals gives a good opportunity to view game. Mzima springs in this park has pools with underwater- viewing -chamber enables the viewing of Hippo’s submarine activities. Around the lodge areas is the spectacular Shetani lava flow and caves where the black lava flow is an exciting sight – use a flashlight (torch). The Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary is not a place to miss in Tsavo West – a 70 sq km with a meter high electric fence, where 42 black rhinos live. There are tracks within the enclosed area and a good chance to see one of these elusive creatures.
LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
Created in 1961, Nakuru National Park occupies an area of 180 sq km. Lake Nakuru once home of millions of Flamingoes and over 400 species of other birds – some of which are residents, some visitors and other migrants – is a shallow soda lake and for years until the El Nino rains in 1997, the water levels decreased to almost dry ground during the dry season. The flamingoes once synonymous with the lake sought happier hunting grounds – mainly Lake Bogoria. At present the lake is 3.5m deep – the deepest for a decade and the nomadic flamingoes might return in the future. However even without them Lake Nakuru remains an ornithologists’ paradise. Among other animals, the rare Black Rhino is also found here.
LAKE BOGORIA GAME RESERVE
Established in 1973 and covering an area of 107 sq kilometers, Lake Bogoria Reserve is one of the greatest spectacles on East Africa and home to 2 million birds. It is also the home of Africa’s most magnificent antelope – the (shy) Greater Kudu. Access on foot or bicycle is possible (pre-arranged and in the company of a ranger) to see the Hot Springs and Geysers – which are hot enough to boil an egg. Don’t fall in! The Lake has been in the past described as the jewel of the Rift Valley and by the words of one bishop on his first sight, it is ‘The most beautiful view in Africa’. The contrast in colors from the grasslands into the pink flamingo covered lake to the sky above can only describe the place as nature’s studio. The alkaline lake that covers 33% of the reserve is often blanketed by a broad band of pink as thousands of Flamingoes gather to feed on algae. In flight, these are matchless spectacle set against the dramatic eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley.
SAMBURU, SHABA AND BUFFALO SPRINGS RESERVES
Covering more than 300 square kilometers, Samburu, Shaba and Buffalo Springs are located in northern Kenya and on the banks of Ewaso Ngiro River. Though there is no much game, the majestic landscape in these parks is awesome with the high massifs standing sentinel in the desert like Lolokwe and Matthews’s Ranges. The terrain is scrub desert and open savannah plain broken here and there by small rugged hills – with Shaba more hilly and with springs and great rocky kopjes, klipspringer and hyrax. The permanent Ewaso Ngiro River supports a wide variety of game in the three reserves. There are a few hoofed animals like elephants, reticulated giraffe, various species of smaller gazelle; cheetah, leopard and lion are also present, but the rhino were wiped out years ago. There are real monster crocodiles along the Ewaso Ngiro River – be watchful.