Maasai Mara National Game Reserve
The Maasai Mara is probably one of the most renowned reserves in Africa. It is a vast wilderness of 1,800 square kilometers teemed with wildlife. Bordering Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park in the south, they form together one of the world’s greatest wildlife refuges.
Game viewing is excellent year round, although many visitors are attracted by the annual Great Migration from July till September. The Mara River is then the site of spectacular river crossings, while the rolling grasslands and undulating hills are scattered with large herds of wildebeest, zebras, gazelles and topis. The Maasai Mara is home to the Big 5 and possesses the largest population of lion to be found in Kenya.
What to do and see in Maasai Mara Game Reserve?
- Game drives – follow the Great Migration and witness the famous crossing of the Mara River
- Hot Air balloon safari – observe the wildlife from the air!
- Walking safari – immerse yourself in the wildlife experience with a guided bush walk in the Maasai Mara ecosystem.
- Cultural interaction with the Maasai – instead of another afternoon game drive, visit a local village or school and learn more about these traditional cattle-herders
- Horseback safari – go off the beaten track and ride through the Maasai Mara Conservancy on the back of a horse!
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru is most famous for its remarkable habitants, the flamingos. Millions of greater and lesser flamingos fill the lake and form a striking pink ribbon along the edges. The scenery is stunning, with large grassland surrounding the blue-green lake, picturesque escarpments and panoramic view points. Moreover, Lake Nakuru is one of Kenya’s premium national parks to spot the Big 5: the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. In fact it is home to both the white and black rhino, although the last one is being protected in a defined area of the park through a rhino sanctuary.
What to do and see in Lake Nakuru National Park?
- Game drives – explore the well-marked tracks around the lake and deeper into the park in search of lions, giraffes, buffaloes, different types of antelopes and of course the rhinos
- Bird watching – Lake Nakuru is a bird watchers’ paradise with over 400 species of birds
- Annual “Cycle with the Rhino” event – every year in September a cycling festival is being held inside Lake Nakuru National Park to support the conservation of the Black Rhino and increase conservation and environmental awareness throughout Africa.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is located just on the border with Tanzania and offers arguably the best views of the snowcapped peaks of the Kilimanjaro. It is famous for its large herds of elephants but also other big game like lions and cheetahs is abundantly represented. The scenery is awe-inspiring with a unique combination of dry savannah, papyrus swamps and lakes set against the striking backdrop of the Kilimanajaro.
What to do and see in Amboseli National Park?
- Game drives – take the ultimate African photo of the majestic elephants with the Kilimanjaro rising in the background
- Bush walk – experience the wildlife in the neighbouring Elerai Conservation Area in a completely different way
- Community visit – visit an authentic Maasai village guided by a Maasai warrior
- Night game drive – explore the nocturnal wildlife with opportunities to see bush babies, different types of cats and ardwolfs.
Tsavo East & West National Park
Welcome to the largest national park in Kenya, and one of the largest in the entire world! Due to its size – imagine it’s nine times bigger than the Maasai Mara National Reserve! – the park is split into Tsavo East and Tsavo West.
Although sharing the same protected area, it is where all similarities between East and West stop. Tsavo East is generally flat and offers open savannah with herds of dust-red elephants, rhinos and other game. Most safaris focus on the area south of the Galana River. Wildlife is generally not as abundant as in some other national parks in Kenya. Its main attraction though is probably the remote wilderness and the fact that you can drive around for hours without seeing any other vehicle.
Tsavo West on the other hand is characterized by spectacular scenery of hilly landscapes, volcanic cones and palm-fringed rivers. Also here the game is not extremely dense but it is a good place to see the Lesser Kudu, buffaloes, elands and giraffes.
What to do and see in Tsavo National Park?
- Game drives – explore the loneliness of Tsavo’s rugged wilderness
- Poacher’s Lookout – drive up to the panoramic viewpoint to enjoy the views of the surroundings and Mount Kilimanjaro (on a clear day)
- Mzima Springs – natural springs of crystal clear water that attract numerous hippos, crocodiles and turtles.
- Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary – one of the few places in Kenya to view the protected Black Rhino.
- Birding at the Yatta Plateau – earth’s longest lava flow that attracts migrating birds from all over the world.
Nairobi National Park
Kenya’s capital city Nairobi is the only city in the world that boasts a national park, at only 8 km from city center. Its landscape makes a sharp contrast with the nearby ‘concrete jungle’; rolling grasslands, streams and woodland where wildlife such as rhinos, giraffes and wildebeest graze peacefully. Even lions are regularly sighted.
What to do and see in Nairobi National Park?
- Game drives – ideal for a day visit to start or end your safari.
- Hiking – witness herds of hippos cooling off in the water from the “Hippo Pool” walking trail.
- Nairobi Safari Walk – follow a raised wooden boardwalk and enjoy uninterrupted views of Kenya’s rich animal life.
- Ivory Burning Site Monument – view this historic monument that commemorates the burning of 12,000 pounds of confiscated tusks.
- David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage – visit one of the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation programs in the world.
Aberdares National Park
The main attraction of the Aberdares National Park is the spectacular scenery. Majestic moorland gives way to steep forested ravines and picturesque waterfalls that plunge down into crystal-clear streams. The Aberdares is the third highest mountain range in Kenya. Wildlife includes elephants black rhinos, buffaloes, bush bucks but also primates like the Black and White Colobus monkeys, and Sykes monkeys.
What to do and see in Aberdares National Park?
- Game drives – combine game viewing from the car with exciting walks to the spectacular Karuru Waterfalls, Chania Waterfalls and other smaller ones.
- Trout fishing – try your luck in the clear mountain streams in the Aberdares.
- Kimathi’s caves – visit the Mau Mau freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi’s hideout, located at the base of the Magura Waterfall.
Samburu National Reserve
Located on the Ewaso Nyiro River, Kenya’s biggest and least seasonal river, Samburu National Reserve is renowned for its large elephant herds. It’s a perfect place for those who want to avoid the crowd and are looking for some peaceful game watching. The landscape is a mixture of forest and grassland vegetation. Game does not only include the many elephants, big cats and buffaloes, but also species that are not found anywhere else in Kenya, such as the generuk, Somali ostrich and Beisa oryx. Numerous hippos and crocodiles can be encountered in the Ewaso Nyiro River.
What to do and see in Samburu National Reserve?
- Game drives – follow the sandy tracks along the meandering river and look out for the rich wildlife.
- Bird watching – discover some of the 450 bird species; from the distinctive Somali ostrich to a wide range of smaller birds including some endangered species such as the Lesser kestrel and Taita Falcon.
- Community visit – visit a Samburu people who are closely related to the Maasai.