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KENYA’S MAJOR NATIONAL PARKS

KENYA’S MAJOR NATIONAL PARKS

Kenya has a number of national parks with great wildlife and flora. we have managed to list Kenya’s major national parks.

  1. AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

Amboseli national park is a larger ecosystem that stretches across Kenya and Tanzania covering an area of 3,100 square miles (8,000sq km) comprised of five different habitants. Theses are the open plains, yellow-barked acacia woodlands, lava-strewn rocky thornbush, swamps and marshes. It has abundant wildlife and a tourist can have a great experience with a clear view of Mount Kilimanjaro. Animals in this park include herds of elephants, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, mongoose, giraffes, cape buffalo, warthogs, baboons, monkeys, zebras, impalas, waterbucks, elands and different species of gazelle.

For bird lovers, Amboseli national park has over 400 bird species and best places to encounter different bird species include, lakes, marsh and swamp areas. Thereguided walking safaris that allow visitors an opportunity to have a more intimate encounter with the nature of the park.

The park has different tented luxury camps for your stay while on a safari for a great

2. HELL’S GATE NATIONAL PARK

Hell’s gate national park sits on an elevation of 6,200 feet (1900m) above sea level and is found in the southern part of Kenya. It can easily be accessed from Nairobi and has a variety of wildlife and amazing landscapes that can be experienced with a visit to the park. These include, lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, zebras, elands, buffalos, hartebeests, klipspringers, reedbucks, hyraxes and Thomson’s gazelles.

Hell’s gate national park has more than 100 species of birds with even larger species including verreaux eagle augur buzzard vultures such as the rare lammergeyer vulture.

The park has facilities including a maasai cultural center where visitors can learn about the masai tribe customs, traditions and overall culture hence learning about these unique customs and practices.

3. LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK

Lake Nakuru national park is found in the southern western part of Kenya. It is a UNESCO heritage site with abundant flamingos and wildlife. It is an alkaline lake and one of the rift valley lakes sitted on an elevation of 5,755 feet (1,754m) above sea level.

Lake Nakuru being an alkaline lake, draws a lot of birds especially flamingos and wildlife to its shores. The landscapes of the area include grasslands, marsh, outcrops, rocky cliffs and sedge, yellow-barked acacia trees. The scenery of Lake Nakuru is breath-taking. The Rift Valley escarpment, dotted with euphorbia trees, rises up from the lakeshore. Heavy mist usually shrouds the lake and surrounding yellow fever trees in the early morning.

Lake Nakuru national park has about 70 white rhinos and about 25 eastern black rhinos.

Wildlife in this park include; cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, pythons, giraffes, waterbucks, hippos, reedbuck and bushbucks.

Birdwatchers can hope to see African fish eagle, Verreaux’s eagle, Goliath heron, kingfisher, and of course an abundance of flamingos.  It is a spectacular place for birdwatching with over 400 species.   There are over a dozen different predator bird species. The flamingo population has earned the lake and national park the slogan, “the greatest bird spectacle on earth.”

 

5. MASAI MARA NATIONAL PARK

Masai Mara national park is found in Kenya along the border of Tanzania. This park was named Masai Mara to honour the masai people.

It stretches across an area of 580 square miles (1,510 sq. km). The Sand River, Talek River, and the Mara River are the primary rivers draining waters of the reserve.  The park is divided into two main areas the inner portion which features pristine wilderness and the outer portion which allows for cattle of the Masai people to graze.

The Masai Mara is renowned for its abundance and variety of larger plains species as well as the variety of predator species.  Animals in Masai Mara include hippos, lions, cheetahs, jackals, hyenas, various species of mongoose, giraffes, waterbucks, reedbucks, roan antelopes, warthogs, elands, topis, gazelles, zebras, baboons, crocodiles, different species of monkeys and the black rhinos. All in all, Masai Mara national park accommodates all Africa’s big 7. Interestingly, Masai Mara is a home to the largest collection of lions in Kenya.

Most people target the months between July and October with hopes of experiencing the wildebeest migration through the park.

There are plenty of opportunities for historical and cultural experiences as well.  You can visit Masai villages and cultural centres which will all expose you to the culture of the Masai people.   It is also a bird lover viewing spot with over 400 species of birds.

6. MERU NATIONAL PARK

Meru National Park is located in central Kenya about 220 miles (350 km) northeast of Nairobi. Its elevation varies across the park with the lowest spot occurring in the south eastern part of the park the Tana River. Meru national park described as “a complete wilderness”. Animals in this park include, zebra, the Somali ostrich, generuk, reticulated giraffe, gazelles, the lesser kudu leopard, lion and herds of elephants alongside plenty of bird life and other small game. This park is extremely scenic with there is an enclosed rhino sanctuary containing both black and white rhino. The Tara River on the southern waterway in Kenya and several small streams running through the park, with beautiful dom palms and baobab background for arid adapted animals make Meru national park very unique.

The best time to visit Meru national park is during the dry season (June – October) since the grass in this season doesn’t grow and makes spotting wildlife and navigating the park very easy.

7.NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK

Nairobi national park was established in 1946 about 7km (4.3mi) south of Nairobi.  Nairobi national park is a wide-open grass plain and a backdrop of the city scrapers, scattered acacia bush play that hosts a wide variety of wildlife hence a diverse range of habitants and species.

Animals found in this park include: African buffalos, lions, black rhinoceros, giraffes, hippopotamus, spotted hyenas, blue wildebeests, plains zebras, cheetahs, Thomson’s gazelle, grant’s gazelle, common elands, impalas, hartebeests, waterbucks, common warthogs, olive baboons, black backed Jackal, common ostrich and the Nile crocodiles etc.

Nairobi national park has a high diversity of birds’ species with up to 500 permanent and migratory species in the park. Dams created and they habit many birds and aquatic species.

Park sometimes called Kifaru Ark which means “Rhinoceros Sanctuary”. It is one of Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros’ sanctuaries, and it is one of only a few parks where visitors can be certain of seeing a black rhinoceros in its natural habitat.

Nairobi National Park does not disappoint with predators including lion, leopard, cheetah, and hyena.  Other large mammal species include buffalo, black rhino, baboon, eland, gazelle, hartebeest, hippopotamus, impala, giraffe, wildebeest, and waterbuck.  One of the missing species that most people hope to see is elephant.

 

8. TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK

Tsavo East National Park found in south eastern Kenya and in the north west is Tsavo west park and Tsavo East that borders Chyulu Hills National Park.  Comprised of savannah, grasslands and riverbeds. The park is rich with abundant wildlife including the big 5. There are approximately 675 lions across the surrounding ecosystem. Predator species include lions, African wildcats, cheetah, caracal, bat-eared fox, hyenas, jackal, leopards, mongoose and other wild species include the aardwolves, baboons, buffalos, bushbucks, dik-dik, duikers, elands, elephants, gazelles, genets, giraffes, hartebeests, hyrax, impalas, klipspringer, kudu, oryx, porcupine, warthog, waterbucks, zebras and so much more.

For bird watchers, Tsava East national park is a perfect place to go bird watching. The park has about 500 species of birds including the largest ostrich. Other birds include the kingfisher, hornbills, herons, starlings, weavers, buzzards, kestrels among others.

Mudanda Rock is a scenic lookout which provides great views of elephant and other animals that come to drink water during the dry season. Tsavo East national park is truly a wildlife haven and provides visitors with a rich biodiversity experience. Wildlife is abundant and to enrich your Kenya experience. Surprisingly, there no trails for hiking in the national park. However, there guided walking safaris that allow you to explore the park on foot. Accommodation in Tsavo national  available. Like the Satao camp which is strategically nestled alongside a watering hole that draws wildlife from around the park giving you a right from the comforts of your accommodation.

9.MOUNT ELGON NATIONAL PARK

Mount Elgon national park is located on the western side of Kenya along the border of Uganda. Where it shares sister protection with Uganda’s mount Elgon national park under the same name. Mount Elgon believed to be the oldest extinct volcano in East Africa. And sits at the top of the plateau at 10,070feet (3,070m) from base to summit. The park is fairly small, it features diverse habitats which include savannah, montane forest, woodland, and alpine moorlands. It has abundance of wildflowers that blankets across the moorlands together with orchids.

Mount Elgon is a massive volcanic mountain with many highlights. That include the summit and accompanying views, the hot springs in the volcano crater, and the varied vegetation

The park has landscapes including cliffs, waterfalls, caves, gorges, mesas. Calderas, hot springs and of course with Mount Elgon Mountain summits.

Wildlife species in Mt. Elgon national park include; leopards, hyenas, African wild cats, elephants, buffaloes, bushbucks, antelopes, duikers, giant forest hogs, bush pigs and the beautiful black and white colobus monkey among others.

For bird watchers, the park has about 150 bird species within the park. Hiking up the mountain is a great experience to appreciate nature outside the car.

10.MOUNT LONGONOT NATIONAL PARK

Mount Longonot national park  also found in the Southwestern region of Kenya and encompasses on area of about 59 square miles. It is very accessible from the city of Nairobi. a stratovolcano mountain reaching a summit of 9,108 feet (2,776 m)

Specifically  known for wildlife such as the lower elevations buffalo, giraffes, hartebeest, Thomson’s gazelle and zebras. The highlight of this park is mount Longonot. Hikers trek the mountain to the crater rim. Other activities done in this park include cycling, birding rock climbing, hiking, viewing lake Naivasha, nature walks and game viewing. Mount Longonot national park is also a paradise of  rare bird species.

11. SAMBURU NATIONAL RESERVE

Samburu national reserve is found in northern Kenya situated on the banks of Ewaso Ng’iro river. It is named after the Samburu people. Who are nomadic pastolists and whose traditional finery is among the most beautiful and delicate in the world. It has abundance of rare species of animals. Like elephants and predators like lions, leopards and wild dogs. Others include; giraffe gazelle, gravy’s zebra, reticulated giraffes, beisa oryx, etc.  The Samburu birdlife  abundant with over 450 recorded species. Like vulturine guineafowl, lesser kestreal and the taita falcon and small ostrich.

 

 

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