Nairobi National Park
Only seven kilometers from Nairobi city centre and a little over 112 square kilometers of open savannah, this unique park provides an unmatched opportunity of being in midst of wild game and still within the sight of the city”s skyline. An abundance of game reserves includes rhino, lion, and cheetah, a variety of antelope, giraffe, wildebeest, rock hyrax, hippo and gazelle.
Tsavo East and West
The largest reserve (21,000sq.km) in East Africa contains about 60 species of mammals and 400 different species of birds. Large herds of elephants, Burchell”s zebras, caracal, the beautiful lesser Kudu, variety as well as lion and cheetah can be spotted. The park is also home to the Maasai giraffes, baboon, waterbuck, leopard, and black rhino. Two other attractions are the Shetani lava flow near Kilaguni lodge and the famous Mzima Springs.
South of Nairobi lays Amboseli national park, beautifully situated at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Home to the brightly painted and proud Maasai tribe, the park covers about 3,225 sq. km. The acacia woodlands and nearby swamp fed by water from the mountain, attract an abundance of game including elephant, buffalo, lion, cheetah, spotted hyenas, zebras and wildebeest. The rare wild dog, oryx, gerenuk and aardwolf may also be seen.
Maasai Mara National Game Reserve is at times the most densely game populated place on earth. Lying on the Kenya-Tanzania border, it forms part of the Serengeti ecosystem and hence hosts the annual spectacle, from July to November, of the great migration. However, animals abound in this reserve throughout the year with all game being found here. Maasai Mara is home to the renowned black-maned lions, elephant, leopard, cheetah, buffalo and black rhino. Vast rolling plains of savannah and acacia woodlands are broken by the riverine forest along the Mara and Talek Rivers providing an abundance of water and food. Hippopotamus and crocodiles can be spotted in these rivers. Herds of wildebeest, zebra, Thompson”s gazelle, eland and Maasai giraffe are a common sight. It is the only park in Kenya where the black shanked topi can be found.
The ornithologist”s dream come true, Lake Nakuru (160 km northwest of Nairobi) is sometimes home to over a million pink guests- the greater and lesser flamingos- as well as nearly 500 species of bird. Though primarily a bird sanctuary, the 202 sq km. Park is also a black rhino sanctuary. Reed buck, hippo, water buck and the introduced Rothschild giraffe can be seen. The park also boasts the greatest concentration of leopards in Kenya.
Samburu and Shaba
Home of the Samburu pastoralists, Samburu, Buffalo springs and Shaba national reserves are characteristic of the environs of northern Kenya. The dry grasslands dotted with volcanic peaks offer a refuge to rarely found species such as the Beisa oryx, blue necked Somali ostrich, Grevy”s zebra, reticulated giraffe and gerenuk , all of which have adapted to this arid environment.
This park covers much of the Aberdare range of mountains, is predominantly forested and covers some 584 sq km. some of which is moorland. The latter, with tussock grasses and giant heather is home to the duikers, rhino, buffalo, eland, elephant, suni, black cerval cat, bush pig, and the vary rare nocturnal bongo. Also situated here are the valleys of the Salient where leopard, forest elephant, giant forest hog and black and white colobus monkey can be seen. The world famous Treetops and the Ark are the two “hotels” providing excellent accommodation and the chance to view games at the floodlit waterholes.
Mount Kenya situated just below the equator and clad in permanent glaciers is kenya”s highest mountain. The park covers an area of approximately 492 sq kmand is 10,500 ft above sea level. Dominated by the twin peaks of Batian (17,058 ft) and Nelion (17,022 ft), its terrain is covered by forest, bamboo, moorlands and glaciers. Though many animals live here, they are not easily spotted except at the waterhole at Mountain Lodge, another tree hotel. However, the breathtaking scenery and the unique flora provide ample attractions.
358 km from Nairobi lays Meru National Park. Located east of Mt. Kenya this was home to the lioness Elsa, of Born Free fame. The drier north sides of the park, with its open plains are home to the oryx, eland, Burchell”s and Grevy”s zebras, Maasai and reticulated giraffes and even lions. The Tana River and numerous streams are inhabited by hippos and crocodiles and provide a habitat for lesser kudu, gerenuk and cheetah.
The Kenyan Coast leaves a lasting impression on many tourists who come to Kenya: miles upon miles of un-spoilt, palm fringed beaches and a rich cultural heritage. The white sandy beaches stretching for 480 km with whispering casuarinas lapped by the clear warm Indian Ocean and totally safeguarded by coral reefs offer the perfect holiday for all.
Mombasa is the major town on the east African coastline. Today it combines the old and the new making it an interesting place to visit. There is the 16th century Portuguese built Fort Jesus, now converted into a museum, and the Old Town, with its narrow streets and old buildings which bear a strong Arab influence.
To the south of Mombasa the beaches are magnificent, wide and clean. Diani beach is famous for wind surfing. Excursions from here include a visit to the Kisite Marine Park, where you can indulge in snorkeling or deep sea diving. Shimba Hills National Reserve is nearby and is home to the rare Roan antelope. Shimoni, nearer the Tanzania border is better known for deep sea fishing.