Kenya national and game reserves safari
Kenya national parks and reserves are major tourist attractions. Kenya is the "home of the safari" with 54 national parks and game reserves scattered in various parts the country. Kenya’s national parks and game reserves are where people - Kenyans, visitors and tourists go to experience the best Kenyan safaris.
The main aim of national parks and reserves is to protect flora, fauna and ecosystems, the private conservancies give our guests distinctive wholesome experiences that Kenya offers culturally, historically and ecologically. Kenya tops your expectations in every possible way during your safari.
For our guests who desire the heart-pounding, non-stop action of wildlife demonstrating an utter will to survive, we recommend Masai Mara National Reserve during the Great Migration. Where herds of wildebeests and zebras thunder across the savannah plains driven by instinct. The excitement builds further during the crossing of the River Mara when the animals face strong water currents, crocodiles and even lions awaiting at the banks to ambush them.
For those seeking active-adventure activities of East African exploration, the northern Kenya wilderness of Laikipia offers varied ecosystems that you explore during game drives, walks, camel rides, horseback safaris, village visits, bi-plane flying, and even canoeing in certain areas.
At Amboseli, Tsavo and Shimba hills in the southern part of Kenya one can witness heart-touching interactions of wildlife animals such the elephants. Should the flitting feathered inhabitants of Africa top your list of priorities, the Great Rift Valley salt and freshwater lakes of central Kenya is the place for you. Your tour guide will assists you in locating and identifying the hundreds of fauna, all with the highlands of the valley in the surrounds. These are just some of the ways to enjoy Kenya’s many national parks, reserves and conservancies.
If you're interested in making one or more of these parks your Kenyan safari destination. Kenya tour budget safaris will plan your activities within the varied areas based on your travel schedule with your preferred wildernesses, accommodations and activities you wish to experience.
Below you will find links to more information about Kenya national parks and game reserves, including an overview, photos and interesting facts about each of the main Kenya national park.
Kenya National parks and game reserves - sights and attractions in Kenya
Premier national parks and game reserves
The most visited and one of the premier safari destination in Africa the Masai Mara National Reserve. It is globally famous for its richest concentration of wildlife, including the "Big Five" (elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffalo), zebras, antelope, gnus, Oribis, hyenas, giraffes, warthogs, gazelles, hartebeests, hippos, crocodiles and others. Birdlife is as plentiful as wildlife at the Masai Mara, which boasts over 400 different birds, the annual migration of zebra, Thomson's gazelle, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti every year from July to October, known as the Great Migration as takes place here.
Amboseli National Park covers 392km² (151miles²) and has a mixed topography of plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush, swamps and marshes. This diversity, along with a long dry season, ensures excellent viewing of the large concentrations of African animals living in this natural habitat.
The park borders Tanzania and is situated at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest peak, and the melting snow flows into underground springs that feed the swamps and wetlands that dot the plains. These water sources attract animals of all sizes, the most sought-after being– the free-roaming elephants, but you may also see elands, waterbucks, grant's gazelles, warthogs, coke's hartebeests, zebras and other grazing herbivores. The abundance of large prey supports lions, leopards, civets, wildcats and other elusive hunters, as well as jackals, hyenas and other scavengers.
Apart from game drive other activities in the park include:
- View or even climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
- Visit Observation Hill, which overlooks the park, swamps and, of course, the herds of free-roaming elephants.
- Visit Masai village and learn about the Maasai culture and their indigenous lifestyle
Established in 1961, Lake Nakuru national park also known as the pink lake is famous for great masses of pink flamingoes and also a sanctuary to black and white rhino as well as the Rothschild giraffe. The lake has gained global recognition as an ecologically significant region having been named a RAMSAR Site and Important Bird Area. Lake Nakuru is also part of the Great Rift Valley Lake System that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park covers 73 square miles (188 square kilometers) that not only includes the lake, but also savannah, forests and swamps, and the southern end of the park also encompasses the Makalia Falls. The most prominent wildlife in the park includes Thomson's gazelles, impalas, Grant's gazelles, waterbucks, reedbucks, buffalos and hippos are just some of the other herbivores found in the park. Keeping a constant watch over some of these prey animals are striped hyenas, lions, the rare wild cats, golden cats and other highly elusive predators. The lake itself is frequently dotted with the pink tones of flamingos that are joined by pelicans, herons, storks and other wading birds.
activities in lake Nakuru
Bird watching: Enjoy the fabulous water birds and other bird species. The best place to view the birds is from Baboon Cliff, where you get an excellent view over the lake, and the wonderful spectacle of pink flamingoes along its edge.
Game viewing: See the endangered white rhinos and other animals including waterbucks, warthogs, hippos, impalas, buffalo, Rothschild giraffes and more. Drive through the unique vegetation and the biggest euphorbia forest in Africa.
Tsavo West National Park is one of the largest national parks in Kenya. The park borders Tanzania to the south and offers tremendous views of a landscape packed with diverse wildlife habitats, the park acts as home to many wildlife ranging from impalas, gazelles, elands, zebras, fringe-eared Oryx, dik-diks and other prey animals. Large herbivores elephants, giraffes, buffalos, protected rhinos and others. tree dwellers vervet monkeys, baboons, galago and others.
Tsavo East National Park is 333km south-east of Nairobi, and 173km north-west of Mombasa. Its relative closeness to the beaches makes it suitable site for tourist attractions around Malindi and Mombasa.
Tsavo East National Park is a natural area of flat, dry plains, with thorny bushes and swampy marshland near the river. Hence making it suitable habitat to large families of giraffes, gazelles, hartebeests and zebras, as well as the "Big Five" must-see animals - buffalo, African elephants, lions, rhinos and leopards.
Located east of Mount Kenya lies the home of Joy and George Adamson and their lions, Meru national park. The park covers 870sqkilometers with unique geological features, it also offers spectacular view of Mt.Kenya. Meru National Park is a place where diverse habitats emerge just beyond the horizon. The northwestern section of the park consists of the Nyambeni Hills along with its volcanically-enriched soil and lush vegetation. As you travel east, the terrain transitions to the lowlands with its grayish volcanic remnants scattered across a flat landscape. Noticeable basement rock inselbergs appear at random, the most notable being Leopard Rock. All these landscape acts as suitable home to different species of wildlife herbivores include elands, bush pigs, elephants, bohor reedbucks, gerenuks, Grevy’s zebras, reticulated giraffes. Hippo relax comfortably in the waters of River Tana. Predatory species include cheetahs, lions, hyenas, leopards, crocodiles and many more.
Located in the Samburu district of Kenya is the Samburu National Reserve, a rugged, semi-desert park that has remained almost undisturbed by mankind. In its remoteness, the park is an ideal retreat for those who enjoy calm and natural serenity. Located roughly 350km from Nairobi The game reserve is renowned for its rare species of animals unique to the park, namely: the long necked gerenuk, Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe and Beisa onyx. The elusive Kenya leopard is often known to visit the park, especially in the evenings. Other wildlife present in the park includes cheetahs and lions, as well as elephants, buffalo and hippos. Birdlife is as plentiful as wildlife at Samburu National Reserve, which boasts over 350 different species of birds including vultures, kingfishers, marabous, bateleurs, guinea fowl, Somali ostriches and others.
Created in 1950 the park was established with main aim of protecting Aberdare Mountains and the surrounding wildlife. Situated 100km from Nairobi the Park is home to the second largest herds of endangered black rhino. Other animals that may be observed in the park include African lions, leopards, baboons, and black and white Colobus monkeys and Sykes monkeys. There are also over 250 species of birds, including hawks, goshawks, eagles, sunbirds and plovers.
Shimba Hills National Reserve is located in Kwale district 32 km from Mombasa. The reserve is one of the largest coastal forests in East Africa. The reserve sits over 400 meters above the beaches of Mombasa, hence the park experiences cooling winds from the ocean that keeps the temperatures here quite comfortable and refreshing creating a mesmerizing setting for a superlative African tropical vacation.
Nairobi National Park is Kenya’s first National Park and was established in 1946. It is situated 7 km south from downtown Nairobi and the only one in the world that is situated amidst a capital city. The proximity to an urban center, though, does not diminish the wildlife presence within the park boundaries`, it has a large and varied wildlife population including the endangered black rhino, lions, leopards, cheetahs, buffalos, zebras, wildebeests, hyenas, giraffes and diverse birdlife with over 400 species recorded majority begin ostriches.
Mount Kenya National Park is situated on the eastern side of the Great Rift Valley, about 175 kilometers northeast of Nairobi It was established in 1949 to protect the region surrounding Mount Kenya scenery. This designated World Heritage Site is breath-taking. It is pristine wilderness with lakes, tarns, glaciers, dense forest, mineral springs and a selection of rare and endangered species of animals, high altitude adapted plains game and unique montane and alpine vegetation.
Mount Elgon National Park is 470km (292 miles) north-west of Nairobi, straddling the border between Kenya and Uganda. The park covers 169km² with Mount Elgon, Kenya's second biggest mountain, situated at its center. The mountainous park has many cliffs, caves, waterfalls, gorges, hot springs and, of course, some amazing mountain peaks for visitors to enjoy, in addition to the wildlife.
Saiwa Swamp National Park is 3 sq km and lies below the Cherangani Hills in Kitale. It was established in 1974 and is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service. The park was created specifically to protect the habitat and preservation of the rare Sitatunga, an aquatic antelope.
Other National Parks in Kenya and Reserves
Central Island rises starkly above the emerald waters of Lake Turkana, the largest permanent desert lake in the world, and is composed of three hissing and belching active volcanoes and many smaller volcanic cones. Each of the volcanoes houses a crater lake, making Central Island the only place where you have the remarkable opportunity to view lakes within a lake!
Hell’s Gate is one of Kenya’s smallest National Parks, but what it lacks in size is more than compensated for by its unusual features and charm. Above ground the parks’ volcanic history is clearly visible in the form of towering ochre-colored cliffs, looming lava-rock towers, gorges and caves. There is still evidence of the layer of volcanic ash that covered the surface of the park when Mt. Longonot last erupted around 100 years ago. Below the surface, geothermal forces bubble and hiss, pushing hot water to the surface in the form of steam jets, geysers, hot springs and even hot waterfalls.
The park is endowed with magnificent resources such as fringing reefs, coral gardens in the lagoons, sea grass beds, mangroves, mudflats, marine mammals, turtles and various species of shorebirds. Malindi Marine National Park beckons visitors with the promise of untold underwater riches to be discovered. On the mainland, beautiful Malindi beach, which forms a part of the Marine Reserve, stretches up and down the coast for kilometers, providing the perfect spring-board to the National Park, and a host of water-based activities
Mount Longonot is a fascinating dormant volcano that dominates the beautiful landscape of the Lake Naivasha region of Kenya. Rising to a lofty 2700m above sea level (750m above the surrounding landscape), The name Longonot is derived from the Masai word “oloongonot” which refers to the shape of the rim and means "Mountain of Many Spurs”.
Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve has it all. The park is part of a complex of marine and tidal habitats along the Kenya’s north coast with rich and diverse bird life, fish, turtles and dugongs. Visitors can enjoy the white sandy beaches, snorkeling, water skiing, windsurfing and glass bottomed boat tours.
"The canopy of natural beauty" as it is commonly known kakamega national reserve is the only tropical rainforest in Kenya and the last remnant of the ancient Guineo-Congolian rainforest that once spanned the continent.it is located in Western Kenya near the border with Uganda. The reserve covers 44.7 sq. Km. This beautiful forest is home to various mammals including bush pigs, giant forest hedgehogs, Colobus monkeys, Debrazza monkeys and pottos. Some of the 300 birds species to be seen here include the Blue Headed Bee Eater, Black Billed Turaco, Turner’s Eremomela and Grey Parrots.400 butterfly species up for spotting not forgetting 27 different species of snakes. Bird watching, hiking and camping among other activities can be enjoyed here in the serenity of the forest that time forgot.
The Buffalo Springs National Reserve offers visitors a surprisingly different safari experience. Here you will find the whole gambit of wildlife in one of the most tranquil and untouched settings you are likely to find anywhere in East Africa. The landscape is composed of starkly beautiful semi-desert and manages to support a wide variety of animals and birds including some that can only be found this far north.
Dodori National Reserve
Kisumu Impala Sanctuary
Lake Bogoria National Reserve is a beautiful place with the pink cloud of flamingoes and the geysers bubbling with the most spectacular hot water volcanic springs. Much more is the fascinating phenomenon of the hot springs, an indication that molten rock does not lie far below the earth's surface.
Shaba National Reserve is the largest of the three protected superb sanctuaries that make up the Samburu Eco-system and offers breathtaking scenery amidst arid grasslands and sparse woodland set against the backdrop hills of Shaba, a volcanic extinct highland.
Maralal National Sanctuary
Marsabit National Reserve
Losai National Reserve
South Turkana National Reserve
Nasalot National Reserve
South Kitui National Reserve
Nyambere National Reserve
Mumoni Hill Forest Reserve
Marine parks and reserves
Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park
Kiunga Marine Park
Malindi Marine National Park
Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve
Diani Chale Marine National Reserve