Kenya National Parks and Game Sanctuaries
NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK
One of Kenya's original National Parks established in 1948, it features 117 sq. kms of pristine savannah and yet is only 8 kms from the city centre. Large populations of Giraffe, Wildebeest, Eland and Gazelle dominate the plains. Of the big five only the Elephant has not been spotted. Prides of Lions appear at the entrance to Mbagathi Gorge. This park, so convenient to the business traveller also offers the spectacle of a Nairobi silhouette on the near horizon. Bounded by the Athi River to the south with its Hippo pools, here there are two animal orphanages including Daphne Sheldrick's Home for Orphaned Elephants and Rhinos.
Accommodation: Maasai Safari Lodge
TSAVO NATIONAL PARK
At 20,807 sq. kilometres, Tsavo is larger than Wales and Jamaica. The Park lies midway between Nairobi and Mombasa. Its red earth characterises its rivers and Elephants. A safari here will turn your hair red! The Chyulu Hills feed Mzima Springs with 20 million litres of crystal clear water daily. A remarkable oasis supporting Hippos, Crocs, Gazelle, Zebra, Giraffe and thick Acacia forests filled with chattering Birds and Monkeys. Outstanding vantage points include Ngulia Escarpment and Voi out in the east. The Chyulu Hills out west and the outstanding lava flows/cones, as at Shitani (near Kilaguni Lodge), are a fascination unequalled to many geologists.
Accommodation: Salt Lick/Taita Hills, Ngulia Safari Lodge, Finch Hatton Camp, Voi Safari Lodge, Lake Jipe Lodge and Kilaguni Lodge
AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
One of the most popular National Parks right on the Tanzania border, offering a unique spectacle - the backdrop is snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro. Located 165 kms S.E.. of Nairobi and encompassing 392 sq kms., the park is entered from the North via Namanga. You can expect to see a proliferation of Giraffe and Elephant. The 56 species here includes Baboon, Velvet Monkey, Lion, Cheetah, Rhino, Zebra,Wildebeest and Grant's Gazelle. With a seasonal lake that attracts Flamingo, birdlife spotted in this region includes the Taveta Golden Waver and the Malachite Kingfisher.
Accommodation: Amboseli Lodge, Amboseli Serena Lodge, Kilimanjaro Safari Lodge, Oltukai Lodge and Tortilis Tented Camp
MASAI MARA GAME RESERVE
The Mara's gentle fertile climate bounded by The Rift, offers perhaps the richest stocked reserve set within some 1672 sq kms - an unlimited spectacle of wildlife. Located 268 kms west of Nairobi, the emphasis here is on game. Herds of immense Elephants, browse among Lion, Buffalo, Thompson's Gazelle, Zebra and Topi. You may occasionally sight a Rhino or Leopard. In the Mara River Hippos play and Crocs bask on the banks. The annual migration of a million Wildebeest follows the rains north.
Accommodation: Governor's Camp, Kichwa Tembo Camp, Mara Interpids Club, Mara Serena Lodge, Mara Sarova Camp, Mara Simba Lodge, Mara Sopa Lodge, Mara Safari Club, Keekorok Lodge, Ol Kuruk Mara and Siana Springs
SAMBURU, BUFFALO SPRINGS & SHABA GAME RESERVE
A getaway delight for the connoisseur who may well chance upon a Leopard. Dramatically hot under the harsh equatorial sun, watered by the Ewaso Nyiro River, rich in huge Nile Crocodile & Hippo, Samburu is some 331 kms North of Nairobi and set within the lands of the colourful Samburu Pastorialists. The reserve contains rarely found species including Reticulated Giraffe, Blue legged Somali Ostrich, Grevys Zebra and the long-necked Gerenuk (Antelope Giraffe). Within Shaba we have the sharp contrast of riverine forest around the four springs within its rugged wilderness.
Accommodation: Samburu Serena Lodge, Buffalo Springs Lodge, Shaba Sarova Lodge, Samburu Lodge, Larsens Camp and Samburu Intrepids Club
MOUNT KENYA NATIONAL PARK
Aquafresh mountain air, the glorious views, peace and tranquillity. This, the country's highest mountain sits astride the Equator. This National Park skirts the 10,500 feet contours and encompasses three principal zones upwards. First, bamboo jungle and thick mountain forests dress the vast gentle slopes; then the alpine zone with its giant vegetation, including the Giant Groundsei, towering some 18 feet in height. Finally the rock peaks perpetually clad in glaciers and snow-fields. Game is best spotted below the park boundary in and around the forest from the Mountain Lodge.
Accommodation: Sweetwaters Tented Camp, Mount Kenya Safari Club, Naro Moro River Lodge and Mountain Lodge.
ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK
In this range of mountains everything is on a grand scale. The highest is 13,120 feet. Mutant Alpine plants include the 18 feet high Seneccio - flowering only once in 20 years! Huge trees cover the lower foothills. This fairyland of awesome majesty and beauty - a unique ecosystem is fuelled by the perpetual and sometimes heavy rains. Teeming with fish, crystal clear streams feed icy rivers, which plunge in glorious waterfalls, the grandest acquiring its name from Thompson who explored the area in 1883. At its east lies The Ark and Treetops on the Elephant migration trek to Mt. Kenya. You may also see the Rhino.
Accommodation: The Ark, Treetops Lodge and Aberdare Country Club.
LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
Nakuru and nearby (about 12 kms) Elementaita, playing host also to Cormorants, Pelicans, Black Winged Stilts, Avocets and in winter a mass of Ruffs. Just north is the Menengai Crater (85 sq. km). This protected habitat also supports a few Lions and Buffalos. Forest game includes an occasional Leopard or Black Rhino. Close by is Lake Elementaita.
Accommodation: Lake Nakuru Lodge, Sarova Lion Hill Lodge and Lake Elementaita Lodge.
MERU GAME RESERVE
Best remembered as the setting where Elsa, Joy Adamson's lioness, was returned to the wild, Meru provides a stunning combination of diverse habitats. On the lower slopes of Mt. Kenya, it remains an unspoilt wilderness. Dense riverine forests attract Leopards, and a full complement of 'the big five' including Black Rhino, in a dramatic setting adorned with doum palms. Over 300 species of birdlife have also been recorded. Wooded thornbush and grasslands in volcanic rock, give way to open red soil grasslands over in the east. Highlights include Mulika Swamp and the noisy Adamson's Fall where the Rojweru and Tana rivers converge.
Just north-west of Shimba Hills lies Mwalunganje, watered by the Manolo River, a favourite haunt of big tusker male Elephants, and where they take their entertaining mud baths. The area with its surrounding thick forest became a reserve to open up a connecting corridor for the elephant trek south en-route to Shimba Hills. The conservation area is recognised for its role in the development of young independent male Elephants in their demanding life ahead. The terrain is diverse, riverine forest gives way to deciduous woodlands and dry baobab bushland, here the rare Sokoke Scops Owl can be sighted.
SHIMBA HILLS GAME RESERVE
This relatively compact game sanctuary of 192 sq kms is just 30 kms from Mombasa and comprises rainforest, which opens out into gentle hills, rolling savannah and riverine forest. Sea breezes maintain a cool climate. Here Elephants can be seen trailing their young, the graceful Giraffe, numerous species of Antelope and on occasion the proud and magnificent Lion. Shimba Hills Treehotel offers amble amenities for those who wish to enjoy an upmarket safari in the seclusion of this coastal forest.
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