Kenya National Parks Game Reserves

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Kenya National Parks Game Reserves

Kenya National Parks Game Reserves | Mount Kenya National Park & Reserve | Amboseli National Park | South Island National Park | Saiwa Swamp National Park | Sibiloi National Park | Ruma National Park | Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park | Ndere Island National Park | Mount Longonot National Park | Mount Elgon National Park | Meru National Park | Marsabit National Park & Reserve | Kora National Park | Chyulu Hills National Park | Central Island National Park | Tsavo West National Park | Lake Nakuru National Park |Tsavo East National Park | Nairobi National Park | Aberdare National Park | Hells Gate National Park | Malka Mari National Park | Mwingi Game Reserve | Nasolot National Reserve | Kakamega Forest National Reserve | Bisanadi National Reserve | Shimba Hills National Reserve | Mwea National Reserve

Kenya National Parks Game Reserves

Kenya National Parks & Reserves; Kenya is home to a high number of great safari and wilderness destinations.  The National Parks and Reserves exist with the aim of protecting Kenya’s flora, fauna, and ecosystems, as well as the diverse wildlife and birdlife.

Kenya’s national parks and game reserves are where people – Kenyans, visitors, and tourists go to experience the best Kenyan safaris. It is home to over 50 National Parks & Game Reserves, including six marine parks in the Indian Ocean.

With 23 National Parks, 4 National Marine Parks, 28 National Reserves, 6 National Marine Reserves, and 4 National Sanctuaries, there is a wealth of protected areas for travelers to explore in Kenya. For flora and fauna enthusiasts, we recommend safari tours to the world-famous Masai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park, Tsavo National Park, Aberdare National Park, Mount Kenya National Park, and Samburu Game Reserve.

The sight of the annual migration of millions of wildebeests and zebras into the Masai Mara from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park can be a lifetime experience for you. On safari in Kenya, you will find spectacular mountain sceneries, fabulous beaches, coral reefs, magnificent lakes and deserts, and widespread savannah grassland. 

Kenya also has remarkable multi-ethnic cities, known for their rich and charming culture and architecture. Below is a list of all the Game Parks in Kenya. If you’re interested in making one or more of these parks your Kenyan safari destination, you’ll want to review the information on how to get to and around the parks, what to see and do, accommodations and camping sites, suggestions on how and where to book your safari, admission fees and the best time to visit each of the national parks in Kenya.

Below you will find a list of more information on some of Kenya’s most popular and most unique parks and reserves.  It includes an overview, photos, and interesting facts about each of the main Kenya national parks. Each destination has its own highlights and attractions.

Kenya National Parks Game Reserves

Aberdare National Park - Kenya

Aberdare National Park - Kenya

Aberdare National Park is located about 150 km (93 miles) east of Nairobi in Central Kenya. The park is home to the African golden cat, Bongo, elephants, wild dogs, buffalo, jackal, eland, giant forest hogs black and white colobus monkeys, and the elusive black leopard. The Aberdare National Park birdlife features over 250 bird species which include the endangered Aberdare cisticola, Jackson’s spurfowl, sparrow hawk, African goshawk, African fish eagles, sunbirds, and plovers, buzzards, African crown eagle, are plenty of butterflies. The Park is renowned for its waterfalls which include The Gura Waterfall, the most precipitous fall in Kenya, which cascades 300m into an impenetrable ravine, the spectacularly lovely Karura Falls, the Chania Falls, the Magura Falls, and Queen’s Cave. Activities in the park include day & night game drives, hiking, walking to the waterfalls, trout fishing, bird watching, camping, photography, trekking, horse riding, and visiting Mau Mau caves. The best times to visit are January and February and June through September. The park has 5 entrance gates that visitors can use which include the Ark, Treetops, Kiandagoro, Shamata, Mutubio, and Ruhurni gates. Aberdare National Park safari lodges, such as treetops lodge, Aberdare country club, fishing lodge, and several campsites.

Amboseli National Park - Kenya

Amboseli National Park - Kenya

Declared a National Park in 1974, Amboseli National park is located in southern Kenya, almost on the southern border with Tanzania, close to Mount Kilimanjaro. The park covers 392 km² (151 sq mi) and is famous for close-up elephant encounters with its large elephant herds, flanked by the impressive Mount Kilimanjaro in neighbouring Tanzania. The highlights of Amboseli National Park include close-range encounters with wild elephants, Africa’s highest mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro as a scenic backdrop, Maasai cultural encounters, swamps hosting numerous buffalos, hippos and a variety of water birds, home to four of the Big Five of Africa - lion, leopard, bufalo and elephant. Amboseli is about a 4-hour drive (240km) from Nairobi. The game park is situated in the Loitoktok District, in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. Amboseli Wildlife includes wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, giraffe and plains game. Predators include lions, cheetahs, wild dogs, leopards, caracal, jackals, hyenas and serval cats. Other inhabitants include crocodile, mongoose, porcupine, warthog, hyrax, small dik- dik, impala and Lesser Kudu, among other antelopes. Amboseli hosts abundant birdlife, with over 400 bird species. Birdlife includes pelicans, bee-eaters, Egyptian geese, kingfishers, crakes, hammerkops and 47 types of raptors, including various eagle species.

Arabuko Sokoke National Park - Kenya

Arabuko Sokoke National Park - Kenya

Arabuko Sokoke National Park is a 6sq km reserve near Malindi and Watamu reserve and park. It is the largest surviving coastal dry forest in East Africa, and is about 110km north of Mombasa. Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve provides important habitat to unique and endangered birds, insects, and animals. The major attractions are about 600 bird species, butterflies, and coastal forests. The climate is humid with a mean annual temperature ranging from 22-34 degrees Celcius. Rainfall is around 500 mm per year. The park consists of Forest vegetation. Forest animals include Golden-rumped elephant-shrew, Sokoke bushy-tailed mongoose, Ader’s duiker, water and bushbucks, African civet, blotched genet, elephants, and Sykes monkeys. Forest birds: In excess of 230 species have been recorded. It is a great reserve for bird watching and among the bird species includes Sokoke pipit Amani sunbird, Fischer’s turaco, Clarke’s weaver, and golden woodpecker, among others. When to go: The Forest Reserve is open all year round; the best time for nature walks is during the cool of the day, early morning or late afternoon. Access by road is through Mombasa, 75km on tarmac road. Visitors who want to fly can use Malindi and Mombasa airports.

Arawale National Reserve Garissa County - Kenya

Arawale National Reserve Garissa County - Kenya

Arawale National Reserve is located in Garissa County in the North Eastern province, 5 km from the left bank of the Tana river. Arawale was gazetted in 1973 covering an extension of 533 km² and with the primary purpose of protecting an extremely rare antelope species which is found only in this region, the hirola or Hunter's hartebeest. The landscape in this area is mostly open grassland and wooded grassland habitats with short grass. Arawale is located 250 km north of Mombasa and 130 km north of Malindi. The Reserve lies 77 km south of the town of Garissa in North Eastern Kenya. Arawale National Reserve offers an opportunity to see a wide range of wildlife species including four globally threatened species: Hirola, Grevy’s zebra, East African wild dog, and East African cheetah. Others include Elephants, reticulated giraffes, Desert warthog, Lesser kudu, Buffalo, Somali bush babies, hippos, and crocodiles. Arawale National Reserve landscape is mostly a dry thorn-bush savannah and the reserve has no accommodations - lodges or tented camps. Activities in the reserve include bird watching, guided nature walks, camping, and picnics. The Park is open daily from 6.00 am to 7.00 pm.

Buffalo Springs National Reserve - Isiolo County in Northern Kenya

Buffalo Springs National Reserve - Isiolo County in Northern Kenya

Buffalo Springs National Reserve is located in Samburu County, on the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro River. It borders Samburu National Reserve, which is on the other side of the river, as well as the Kalama Community Conservancy. Buffalo Springs National Reserve and the nearby parks have what’s known as the ‘Special 5’ – the gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, and the beisa oryx, as well as plenty of elephants! The park is a 6 – 7 hour drive from Nairobi.By Plane: There are daily scheduled flights to airstrips in Buffalo Springs, or neighboring Samburu National Reserve from Nairobi and Mombasa airports. The best time to visit Buffalo Springs National Reserve is in Kenya’s dry seasons, from June to September/early October (cooler season) or December to March (warmer season). Accommodations in Buffalo Springs National Reserve include Samburu Sopa Lodge, Samburu Simba Lodge, Ashnil Samburu Camp, Umoja Campsite, or Lion’s Cave Camp. Activities in Buffalo Springs National Reserve include going on game drives, swimming in the natural pool in Buffalo Springs, and visits to Samburu villages. Wildlife includes buffaloes, impalas, zebra, wild dogs, waterbucks, impalas, hyenas, elephants, cheetahs, kudus, leopards, lions, elands, giraffes, gazelles, giraffes, oryxes, gerenuk, and many more.

Central Island National Park

Central Island National Park

Central Island National Park also known as Crocodile Island, is a volcanic island located in the middle of Lake Turkana in Kenya. The Island has three scenic crater lakes i.e. Crocodile, Flamingo, and Tilapia that provide breeding grounds for the world’s largest concentration of Nile crocodiles. Central Island National Park is almost in the middle of Lake Turkana, The Jade Sea. It’s a designated world heritage site and covers an area of about 5 square km. The park is a bird’s paradise and is a spectacular home for over 23 migrant birds and it is an important bird area – IBA. Central Island National Park is one of the largest breeding grounds for the Nile crocodiles and thus the Crocodile Island commonly known as Chooro by the local community. The park harbors several unique species of fish, while some of them are endemic to the island. Lake Turkana is home to some of the world’s venomous reptiles including the saw-scaled viper, puff adder, and cobras. Species of fish include the huge Nile Perch, large Tilapia, and puffer fish in seawaters which shows Turkana's Prehistoric connection to the Red Sea. Visitors can enjoy game viewing, camping, boating, nature trail hiking, sport fishing, and sightseeing.

Chyulu Hills National Park Tsavo & Amboseli - Kenya

Chyulu Hills National Park Tsavo & Amboseli - Kenya

Chyulu Hills National Park is located 232km/ 144mi from Nairobi and 250 km/155mi from Mombasa. 1-hour light aircraft flight from Nairobi. Tucked away between Tsavo West National Park and Amboseli National Park, Chyulu Hills National Park boasts striking and diverse landscapes. Activities in Chyulu Hills include safari walks, game drives, camping, mountain climbing, bird watching, and horseback safaris. There is no accommodation inside the park, but there are two very exclusive lodges offering a full range of activities in Maasai concessions on the foothills of the Chyulu Hills. Chyulu Hills Campsite and Chyulu Camp provide basic campsite provisions including showers, toilets, running water, clean bathrooms, and a thatched area where guests can pitch tents. The weather in Chyulu Hills National Park in March is pleasantly warm humid but cool, with average highs of 90°F (32°C) and lows of 66°F (19°C). Chyulu Hills can be visited year-round, but wildlife viewing is usually best in the dry months from June to October and January to February. Visitors to Chyulu Hills will see buffalo, bushbucks, elands, elephants, leopards, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, reedbucks and giraffes, reptiles, lions, klipspringer, zebras, baboons, and Sykes’ monkey. Birds of chyulu include African Harrier-Hawk, White-backed Vulture, Bateleur, Crowned Eagle, Martial Eagle etc.

Hell's Gate National Park, Naivasha - Kenya

Hell's Gate National Park, Naivasha - Kenya

Hell’s Gate National Park covers an area of 68.25 km² and is situated in the environs of Lake Naivasha about 90 km from Nairobi. The park is 14 km after the turnoff from the old Nairobi-Naivasha highway and was established in 1984. Hells Gate National Park is the ideal venue for a day trip excursion, a camping stopover, or a picnic spot out of Nairobi. The vegetation is mainly grassland and shrubs with wildlife and birdlife in the park. The Park offers a view of the Aberdares Ranges, Lake Nakuru, and nearby Mt Longonot. Attractions at the Hell’s Gate include Fischer Tower, Hell’s Gate Gorge, Obsidian caves, and wildlife. Animals include giraffes, lions, leopards, buffalo, gazelles, and eland antelopes. More than 100 species of birds have been recorded. Activities at the park include camping, game viewing, filming and photography tours, bird watching, climbing, cycling, fisher’s Tower, walks, and Maasai cultural tours. The best time for wildlife viewing is from June to October while the scenery is at its most spectacular during the wet season from November to May. Hell’s Gate has three camping sites: Endachata, Naiburta, and Olduvai, and hotels nearby include Fisherman’s Camp, Ajabu House, Enashipai Resort, and Kedong Ranch House among others.

Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park

Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park

Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park is situated on the southern coast of Kenya, close to Shimoni (south of Wasini Island in Kwale District) near the Tanzanian border. The park covers 11 km2 while the Mpunguti reserve covers 28 km2. Kisite Marine National Park was established in 1973 to protect the scenic islands and special habitats of a wide range of endemic marine animals and breed migratory birds on Wasini Island. Kisite comprises about 250 recorded fish species, 70 resident dolphins, and over 140 cataloged individuals, sea turtles, whales, 56 genera of corals, seagrass, and gastropods. Many seabirds in large nesting colonies and internationally significant numbers of roseate terns and crab-plover. Marine life is in abundance, including triggerfish, moray eels, angelfish, butterflyfish, groupers, parrotfish, wrasses, scorpionfish, pufferfish, damselfish, rays, snappers, green sea turtles, hawksbill turtles, and dolphins. Humpback whales and whale sharks are seasonal. Activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, watching dolphins, sports fishing, and boating. The Marine Park lies 11 km off the Kenyan Coast (at Shimoni) and can only be reached by boat. Accommodation includes self-catering cottages like Shimoni and campsites like Chlobus Campsite or Mpunguti Campsite. Private hotels include Kinondo Poa, Betty's Camp, The Cove Retreat and The Manta Resort.

Kakamega Forest National Reserve (Kenya Wildlife Service)

Kakamega Forest National Reserve (Kenya Wildlife Service)

Kakamega Forest Reserve (Kenya Forest Service)

Kakamega Forest Reserve (Kenya Forest Service)

Kora National Park

Kora National Park

Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru National Park is situated a 3.5-hour drive northwest of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, and is a bird- and animal watchers haven. Highlights of Lake Nakuru include prolific birdlife – over 400 species including millions of pink flamingos, wildlife including four of the Big Five (all, except the elephant), rare, tree-climbing lions, Makalia Waterfall, beautiful scenery, the lake itself, and the biggest Euphorbia Forest in Africa. Lake Nakuru is a treat for birdwatchers, and you’re likely to see flamingos, herons, pelicans, storks, and the African fish eagle. Lake Nakuru Animals include Rothschild’s giraffes, zebra, hippo, impala, and waterbuck, plenty of baboons, white and black rhinos, lions, monkeys, and more. The lake itself is alkaline and, depending on water levels, can cover up to 40 km2. The Lake Nakuru National Park covers 188 km2. Due to its proximity to the equator, the climate is relatively consistent throughout the year – warm and wet. The park was first a bird sanctuary and then was made a national park in 1968. Numerous Rothschild giraffes were brought in from western Kenya in 1977. In the ’80s, the area was electric-fenced and declared a rhino sanctuary. In 2011, it gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve - Kenya Coast

Malindi Marine National Park & Reserve - Kenya Coast

Malindi Marine National Park is located in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Kenya. The Park lies off Casuarina Point on the southern reaches of Malindi. It is claimed to be the oldest marine park in Africa. The park lies at Malindi, about 118 km north of Mombasa, and is protected and administered by the Kenya Wildlife Service. The Malindi Marine National park extends all the way from the Vasco Da Gama pillar to Watamu. The 6 sq. km (2.3 sq. mi) park borders the larger 213 sq. km (82 sq. mi) reserve which encompasses beaches, mangroves, mud flats, and a variety of coral reefs. The park's attractions include prolific marine life such as sea urchins, starfish, tropical fish, barracuda, green sea turtles, beds of coral species, nine coral fish families, whale sharks, and dolphins. In the reserve, visitors can enjoy recreational snorkeling at coral gardens, scuba diving expeditions, swimming in the warm ocean water, sunbathing, water-skiing, windsurfing, guided birding walks, glass-bottom boat rides, Sea-Bird watching and beach strolls. A trip to the famous Sardinia Magical Island where you can have a barbecue, and fresh seafood for your lunch is a must, and trips to Manyugu, a tidal island, where you can have fresh food.

Malka Mari National Park

Malka Mari National Park

Meru National Park & Meru Conservation Area

Meru National Park & Meru Conservation Area

Meru National Park is one of the least visited and therefore one of the least spoiled of Kenya’s national parks. The equator bisects the park whose 870 km2 (340 sq mi) landscape is mainly given over to bushland but with grasslands in the west. Thick forests grow along the park’s many watercourses. The park is located east of Meru, 350 km (220 mi) from Nairobi. The park has 13 rivers that feed into the Tana river. Hundreds of bird species have made the park their home – among them the Pel’s Fishing Owl, rare Peter’s Finfoot, Palm-Nut Vulture, Somali Ostrich, Fulvous Whistling‑Duck, Egyptian Goose etc. Animals in the park include leopard, cheetah, elephant, lion, both Grevy’s, plains zebra, eastern black rhinoceros, southern white rhinoceros, hartebeest, hippopotamus, reticulated giraffe, and some decent-sized herds of buffalo. Aside from the scenery and wildlife, tourist attractions include the once home of George and Joy Adamson, Adamson's Falls, the burial sites of Joy Adamson and Elsa the Lioness, views of Mount Kenya, and the Tana River. Meru was one of the two areas in which conservationists George Adamson and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness made famous in the best-selling book and award-winning movie Born Free.

Mombasa Marine Park

Mombasa Marine Park

Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Kenya National Park

Mount Kenya National Park

Mount Longonot National Park

Mount Longonot National Park

Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park is the closest game park to Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi in about 10km which is in south-central Kenya, a short drive south of Nairobi’s central business district. Covering a total land area of 117 km² (45 square miles), and at an altitude of about 1500m (5,000 feet) above sea level, this game park is in comparison to most of East Africa’s national parks. Nairobi National Park is a unique ecosystem electrically fenced on the northern, eastern, and western boundaries whereas it's southern the boundary is not fenced and thus is open to the Kitengela Conservation Area and the Athi-Kapiti plains that allow movement of wildlife species between the park and the adjacent Kitengela plains. The wildlife highlight of Nairobi National Park includes over 100 species of mammals - four of the big 5 animals (white Rhino and Black Rhino, lions, leopards, buffaloes), baboon, gazelle, zebra, cheetah, hyena, hartebeest, wildebeest, hippo, eland, warthogs, impala, giraffe, ostrich, jackal, and crocodile among others. Nairobi National Park has more than 520 bird species, making it a great birding destination. Notable birds in the Park include Maasai Ostrich, African Darter, African Finfoot, Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Spur-winged Goose, African Crowned Eagle, and Secretarybird, among others.

Nairobi National Park

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Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is located in Machakos County in Kenya, 80 km north of Nairobi. It was established in 1967 on an area covering 20 km2. The park was named out of mountain OI Donyo Sabuk, which means “large mountain” in the Maasai language. Wildlife includes leopards, bushbucks, Impalas, Columbus Monkeys, Duikers, Aardvarks, Olive Baboons, Banded Mongoose, Crested Porcupines, reptiles such as African Rock Pythons, Boomslang, Vine Snakes, Green Mambas, Monitor Lizards and striped skinks. The park is also home to 45 bird species with African Hawk-Eagle, African Pied Wagtail, White Browed Weaver, Streaky Seed Eaters, and Black Kites easily sighted. In Ol Donyo Sabuk, the months of January to March are hot and dry, April to June are hot and wet, July to October are very warm and dry while the months of November and December are warm and wet. Activities include game viewing, hiking, fourteen Falls, scenic views of Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro, Lord William McMillan’s Grave, montane landscape, bird watching, and nature walks. Hotels nearby include Chania Tourist lodge, Trade Winds lodges, Cool Tavern House, and Blue post hotel, There are several camping sites available including Turaco Public campsite, Rock Hyrax and Summit Campsite.

Rimoi National Reserve - Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya

Rimoi National Reserve - Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya

Rimoi national reserve is a small game park in Kenya covering an area of 66 km squared adjacent to Lake Kilmarnock at the rift valley province. Rimoi national reserve is renowned for its large herds of elephants some of these come from as far as Turkana and Samburu. The reserve is neighbored by the homes of a special tribe in Kenya known as the Kalenjin tribe who are athletes, especially runners. Wildlife in Rimoi national reserve includes elephants, bush pigs, warthogs, Dik Dik, pangolins, Genet, impalas, monkeys snakes, tortoise agama, and porcupines. Activities here include camping - there is a campsite where one can pitch tents. One can also go for a guided walk to see birds which include turacos, honeyguides, pigeons, sunbirds, Weaver, and hornbills. Hiking is also a popular activity - hike up to the Cheptarit hill where you can have mouth-dropping views of the valley alongside beautiful hot springs. Rimoi national reserve can be accessed by road or air. It’s approximately a 5-6 hours drive from Nairobi covering a distance of about 300 kilometers and 40 kilometers from Eldoret town, the reserve can be accessed by air through an airstrip at Eldoret.

Ruma National Park

Ruma National Park

Samburu National Reserve - Kenya

Samburu National Reserve - Kenya

Saiwa Swamp National Park

Saiwa Swamp National Park

Shimba Hills National Reserve

Shimba Hills National Reserve

Sibiloi National Park

Sibiloi National Park

Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo West National Park

Tsavo West National Park

Watamu Marine National Park

Watamu Marine National Park

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