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HomeTravel news and articlesNational parks in Kenya

National parks in Kenya

20 November, 2018
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Masai Mara sunset

Kenya is one of the best safari countries in Africa, not least due to its amazing national parks.

All manner of unique safari animals and the most beautiful savannahs are to be found here.

Read about the national parks and nature reserves in Kenya at the top of our list below.

Samburu & the scenic landscapes


Samburu National Park has two main attractions: the “special five” and its beautiful landscapes.

The landscape is dry, and consists of flat plains and mountain areas. There are also a number of freshwater sources that, together with the “brown river”, Ewaso Ng’iro, create green oases with palm trees in the otherwise arid landscape. Naturally, these green oases attract a wealth of wildlife, such as the special five: the Beisa oryx, the reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, the Gerenuk antelope and the Somali ostrich.

The narrow-striped Grevy’s zebra is often seen with the common zebra, and here the difference in their stripes really becomes clear. The Gerenuk antelope stands on its well-developed hind legs when it eats leaves from the trees like the giraffe, and the pattern of the reticulated giraffe is completely different from the more common Masai giraffe.

In addition to the special five, there are also elephants, lions, cheetahs and leopards. The cheetah thrives particularly well in the open plains.

If you’re not already in love with Kenya, you will be when you see the scenery in Shaba. Samburu National Park consists of three reserves: Samburu, Buffalo Hills and Shaba. Buffalo Hills is the smallest of the reserves and, together with Samburu, has the largest number of animals. Shaba, on the other hand, has the landscapes.

In the small communities in the reserves, you will encounter the Samburu people and all their camels. The Samburu people are related to the Masai and, like the Masai, are dressed in colourful clothing.

You should visit Samburu if you want to experience:

  • The “special five”
  • The scenic landscapes
  • The Samburu people

Tsavo & the red earth

Zebras in Tsavo East

Tsavo is an ideal safari destination for those with limited time – or who perhaps want to spice up their beach holiday on the coast with a safari day or two.

Tsavo is Kenya’s largest national park and actually consists of two national parks: Tsavo East and Tsavo West.

In East, the earth is bright red, and the red elephants in Tsavo East are also an absolute highlight. Tsavo also has the largest number of elephants in Kenya – just under 13,000 in 2017.
The landscape of Tsavo East is flat and dry, while in Tsavo West there are both mountains and springs, such as the famous Mzima Springs. It was also here in Tsavo that two man-eating lions killed around 100 people in the late 1800s – dramatised in the film The Ghost and the Darkness.

You should visit Tsavo if you wish to experience:

  • The red soil and the red elephants
  • The bush as an interlude in a beach holiday
  • Mzima Springs

Lake Naivasha and its abundant bird life

Lake Navisha

Lake Naivasha National Park is a wonderful contrast to many of Kenya’s other national parks.
Many of the national parks are characterised by dry grasslands or plains with thorny acacia bushes, only broken up by a fresh spring here and there. Seen in this light, it is a balm for the soul to come to Lake Naivasha.

Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake in the Great Rift Valley, and you should come here to experience the abundant wildlife the lake has to offer. A boat trip on the lake is also an absolute must. Birds and hippos outnumber all the rest by the water, and on the small island, Cresent Island, you can get right up close to giraffes and zebras.

In addition to a boat trip on the lake, you can visit the nearby national park Hell’s Gate, which features hot springs, among other things. Unlike in other national parks, you can go hiking and cycling in Hell’s Gate, as the animals there are mostly harmless. The park is beautiful, with red cliffs and green grasslands, where antelopes graze alongside zebras and wildebeest. Cycling in this landscape is out of this world.

You should visit Lake Naivasha if you wish to experience:

  • The contrast to the bush
  • The abundance of animals and birds in and around the lake
  • A bike ride or hike in Hell’s Gate National Park

Masai Mara and its large herds of animals

Masai Mara, lions

Masai Mara hardly needs any introduction.

Mara is part of the vast Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania, and the wildlife here is incomparable.

You should visit Mara if you want a guarantee of the most wonderful animal experiences! Elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, antelopes, lions, cheetahs, leopards – they’re all here!

You can’t talk about Masai Mara without mentioning the great migration, when the animals cross the Mara River to get from Serengeti to Masai Mara.

But does this mean that there are no animals outside the migration period? No, there are animals in Masai Mara all year round. You might not see the wildebeest crossing the Mara River if you come here in November, for example. On the other hand, you won’t have to share your animal experiences with as many other guests as you will during the great migration from July to October.

No matter when you come, Masai Mara will take your breath away!

You should visit Masai Mara if you wish to experience:

  • The Big 5
  • The great migration
  • The vast plains

Amboseli and Kenya’s biggest elephants

Elephants in Amboseli

Amboseli National Park is as flat as a pancake.

In a way, the landscape is reminiscent of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania with its flat plains, surrounded by extinct volcanoes. Kilimanjaro is, of course, the highest of them all, and there’s not much that screams Africa in the way that the image of a herd of elephants crossing the flat plains with Kilimanjaro in the background does.

It is incredibly dry and dusty here. In between all the dryness, there are areas of swamp, which are supplied with water from the surrounding mountains. Naturally, the water attracts animals, and thanks to the sparse vegetation, it is very easy to spot them here.

Amboseli is especially famous for its elephants, which are some of the largest in all of Africa – and with the biggest tusks. Otherwise, there are zebras, wildebeest and antelopes galore. The swamps attract a wealth of birds, and you may even be lucky enough to come across a pride of lions.

You should visit Amboseli if you wish to experience:

  • The biggest elephants in Kenya
  • The view of Kilimanjaro
  • The most stunning of sunsets

You can experience Kenya’s national parks on

Have you been captivated by the stunning and unusual scenery and unique wildlife in Kenya?

Then charge your camera, pack your bags and head off on a unique adventure to Kenya.

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