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KENYA - National Parks
 

Introduction


With over 40 parks and game reserves, Kenya has long been known as the ultimate safari destination in Africa. Magnificent wildlife, excellent accommodation and palm-fringed beaches await you. Discover the dramatic Rift Valley and its soda lakes, a snow-capped mountain on the Equator, the gigantic Lake Victoria and the magical surrounding islands. Encounter the greatest concentration of free-ranging wildlife on earth and explore the customs of the proud Maasai people. Fill your days with game drives, walking safaris, horseback rides and retire to hand-selected boutique lodges and camps with of the best service and atmosphere in East Africa.
 

Masai Mara National Reserve

Brief profile
  • Covers 1,600 sq.km
  • World-famous for its high density of herbivores and predators
  • Annual migration of some two million Wildebeest
  • 95 species of mammal
  • 500 bird species, including 53 birds of prey
Highlights
  • The annual Great Migration
  • Close-up sightings of cheetah
  • Scenic hot air balloon safaris across the vast plains
  • Excellent photographic opportunities
  • Huge savannahs of golden grasslands
  • Well known for its black-maned lion, as well as its abundant resident wildlife
  • River crossings
The Masai Mara lies in the Great Rift Valley, which is a fault line approximately 5,600km long, extending from Ethiopia's Red Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi all the way into Mozambique. There are four main types of topography in the Mara: Ngama Hills to the east with sandy soil and leafy bushes liked by black rhino; Oloololo Escarpment forming the western boundary and rising to a magnificent plateau; Mara Triangle bordering the Mara River with lush grassland and acacia woodlands supporting masses of game especially migrating wildebeest; Central Plains forming the largest part of the reserve, with scattered bushes and boulders on rolling grasslands favoured by the plain’s game. The plains are full of wildebeest, zebra, impala, topi, giraffe and Thomson's gazelle. Also regularly seen are leopards, lions, hyenas, cheetah, jackal and bat-eared foxes. Black rhino are often seen at a distance. Hippos are abundant in the Mara River as are very large Nile crocodiles. Every July (sometimes August), the wildebeest travel from the Serengeti plains to the Masai Mara. In October, once they have feasted and the grass is all but gone, they return to the Southern Serengeti. The Mara birds appear in every size and colour including common but beautiful ones like the lilac-breasted roller and plenty of large species such as eagles, vultures and storks.

The Mara Conservation Area surrounds the main Masai Mara National Reserve. This land is owned by a series of different Maasai communities who formed conservation partnership agreements with private camp-owners.
  • Mara Triangle forms the north-western part of the Masai Mara National Reserve and is managed by the Mara Conservancy, a non-profit organisation. Divided from the rest of the Masai Mara National Reserve by the Mara River, the Mara Triangle is less visited and less crowded, often with many more game animals grazing on the plains and between the volcanic hills that distinguish this corner of the Mara.
  • Mara North Conservancy is a beautiful private wilderness area. It is a vital part of the Masai Mara ecosystem as it forms the north-western zone, bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve in the south. This area is a key dispersal zone for the annual “Great Migration” and supports an extensive variety of additional species. The most recognisable include lion, cheetah, leopard, buffalo, hyena, elephant, crocodile, wild dog, giraffe, hippopotamus, and over 450 bird species.
  • Olare Motorogi Conservancy became a haven for big cats and is part of the annual wildebeest migration route. Olare Motorogi Conservancy offers some of East Africa’s finest, year-round wildlife viewing. The area boasts one of the highest densities of lions per square km in Africa and over 50 different species of raptors have been identified.
  • Mara Naboisho Conservancy: Naboisho means "partnership" in Maa, the Maasai language. The conservancy is home to the big cats - in impressive numbers - and herds of elephant, giraffe and wildebeest. Unlike its neighbour, the National Reserve, this private conservancy strictly monitors the number of tourists who enter the area, reducing the number of vehicles and the human impact on the environment and wildlife. The charm of the conservancy is its exclusivity.
  • Isaaten Conservancy is a non-profit company established to create best practice in tourism and conservation, regain the conservation values of the area, enhance benefits of local communities, and promote low impact ‘private’ tourism. Common animals include Burchell’s zebra, Thompson’s gazelle, impala, elephants, giraffes, spotted hyenas, jackals, African civet, genet, banded mongoose, warthog, tree hyrax and porcupine. Big cats, including lions are also present. The conservancy is also a haven for bird life.
  • Siana Conservancy borders the Masai Mara National Reserve. The conservancy is home to all animal species found in the Mara ecosystem, except black rhinoceros. The area within the conservancy offers a range of terrain and habitats to explore.
  • Ol Kinyei Conservancy is a pioneering award-winning conservancy and was the first conservancy in the Mara eco-system where an area was set aside for wildlife without the presence of human settlements and cattle.

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Amboseli National Park

Brief profile:
  • Covering 392 sq. km
  • Located on the border with Tanzania at the foot of Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Amboseli has five main wildlife habitats: open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush area, swamps and marshland. It also has a temporary lake, Lake Amboseli
Highlights
  • Large herds of elephants
  • Views of Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Abundance of African wildlife, including the big five
  • Over 400 bird species
  • Observation Hill, which offers a view of the entire park especially the swamps which accommodates numerous elephants
Amboseli National Park is 392 sq. km in size at the core of an 8,000 sq. km ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants among other wildlife species.  Other attractions of the park include opportunities to meet the Maasai people and it also offers spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in the world.  Amboseli is a very fragile ecosystem, submitted to great seasonal variations. During the wet season, the rains flood the lake bed and the surrounding area.  Because of the high salt deposits in the lakebed few trees grow in the park, with only small patches of acacia and some palm trees far off from the lake.  Salt-rich pastures are appreciated by the herbivores. Despite the first impression of a dusty and arid land, Amboseli is actually overflowing with water all year round below the ground surface. Waters converge into various underground streams that rise into two clear water springs in the centre of the park, giving birth to large marshes like the Loginya Swamp where elephants, hippos and buffalo's find shelter.

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Lake Nakuru National Park

Brief profile
  • Covers 62 sq. km
  • The only park within Kenya to be entirely fenced in due to the rhino population
  • Twenty seven percent (27%) of the park is comprised of the Lake Nakuru waters
  • The lake is a designated RAMSAR site (protected under the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands)
Highlights
  • Thousands of flamingo (Greater and Lesser)
  • A shallow alkaline lake set in a picturesque landscape of surrounding woodland and grassland
  • A variety of terrestrial birds numbering about 450 species
  • Unique vegetation: About 550 different plant species including the unique and biggest euphorbia forest in Africa
Lake Nakuru is internationally known for its flamingos. This alkaline lake is recognised as being one of the natural wonders of the world. Lake Nakuru is also a rhino sanctuary, protecting a population of over 40 black and over 60 white rhino, but the flamingos, of course, have always been the main attraction. At times there may be almost two million flamingos inhabiting the area, forming a stunningly beautiful deep-pink band around the edges of the lake shore. Although over 400 bird species have been recorded at Nakuru, they are not the only attraction the lake has to offer; over 50 species of mammal have also been recorded and it is perhaps the best place in Kenya to spot leopard. Troops of black-and-white Colobus monkeys can be seen in the yellow-barked acacias. Black and white rhino, the rare Rothschild’s giraffe, herds of buffalo, dik dik, klipspringer, eland, the occasional leopard and many other plain’s game are also found here.


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Mount Kenya National Park

Brief profile
  • At 5,199m Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa
  • Covers 2800 sq. km
  • Great diversity of habitats in altitude between 2,400 to 5,200m
  • It offers a landscape of mountain rivers, forests, moorland rock and ice, crowned by the glittering twin peaks of Batian and Nelion
  • A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site
Highlights
  • A massive circular volcanic cone estimated at 70km in diameter
  • The mountain is permanently crowned with a glacier at the peak, 16km south of the equator
  • Pristine wilderness, lakes, tarns, glaciers and peaks of great beauty and mineral springs
  • Unique montane and alpine vegetation
  • Wildlife such as elephants, tree hyrax, mole rats, bush buck, water buck, elands, suni and white-tailed mongoose.
  • Recorded over 130 species of birds
Mount Kenya is an ancient extinct volcano and Africa's second highest mountain. With its cloud-forested middle slopes, it is one of the most impressive of the East African landscapes - arguably more spectacular than the higher Mount Kilimanjaro. Spectacular scenery is an important aspect of the park, with lovely lakes, pools, glaciers, peaks and natural mineral springs in the area. The vegetation naturally varies according to the height. Dry upland forests are found in the lower slopes, which change to montane forest from 2,000m upwards. This forest generally consists of cedar and podo. The vegetation changes to a thick bamboo forest at about 2,500m, which in turn changes to the upper forest of smaller trees and high altitude moss. Visitors can observe a variety of plants and animals including the black and white Colobus monkeys, Sykes monkeys, bush buck, buffalo, and elephant. At lower altitudes, animals like the olive baboon, waterbuck, black rhino, black-fronted duiker, leopard, giant forest hog, genet cat, bush pig and hyena are found. A rare sighting is the elusive bongo, a forest antelope. Other endangered species found in the forests include the Sunni buck, Mt. Kenya mole shrew, skins (lizard), and different types of owls. The forests give way to high altitude heath and shrubs between 3,000m and 3,500m. Above 3,500m there is open moorland, where animals such as the high altitude zebra and eland are to be found.

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Samburu, Buffalo Springs & Shaba National Reserves

Brief profile
  • Samburu covers 165 sq. km, Shaba covers 239 sq. km and Buffalo Springs covers 128 sq. km
  • Remote and least visited of Kenya's national reserves
Highlights
  • See rare species like Grevy’s zebra, gerenuk and reticulated giraffe
  • Spectacular Shaba Hill, with its volcanic formations
  • Shaba - 17 beautiful springs provide water for wildlife
  • Over 350 bird species
  • Easy-to-spot lion, leopard and cheetah
  • Large herds of elephant
These three reserves, remote and isolated to the north of Mount Kenya, form an extensive block of vital conservation area. Bare granite inselbergs rise from the semi-desert like marooned tombstones in endless seas of bush and scrub. Volcanic mountains add drama to the skyline and through the heart of it all runs the Ewaso Nyiro River, also known as the River of Brown Waters, a ribbon of life graced by tall doum palms and shade-giving acacias. Here, in addition to the more formidable predators, live the beautiful dry-country animals of Northern Kenya that makes up the "Special Five" which include the gerenuk, Oryx, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, and the endangered Grevy's zebra.

Samburu ('butterfly' in the local Maa language) is mostly semi-arid savannah, rough highlands and riparian forests. As a wildlife reserve, it doesn't disappoint - sightings of the Big Five are prodigious, and you have a remote chance of seeing packs of wild dog and the critically endangered pancake tortoise - two rare species besides the Grevy's. Cheetah sightings are particularly good. Above all, though, Samburu is known as elephant country.

Buffalo Springs National Reserve lies south of the Uaso Nyiro, which forms its 22km long northern boundary. This reserve is a gently rolling lowland plain, the main topographical feature being the ancient lava-terrace, which forms Champagne Ride in the south-east. Much of the reserve is dominated by old lava flows and volcanic soils of olivine basalt. Unlike Samburu, Buffalo Springs has populations of the common zebra as well as the Grevy's zebra - it's an unexplained phenomenon why the common zebra is not found on the north side of the river.
Although it's part of the Samburu ecosystem, Shaba has a number of springs and swampland areas, not to mention a distinctive topography (starkly beautiful landscape dotted with rocky kopjes and dominated by Shaba hill, a massive volcanic rock cone that rises above a rugged landscape with steep ravines).

Please note: Clients staying in Shaba or Buffalo Springs can do game drives crossing the park’s borders, but additional park fees are charged for crossing between these reserves and Sumburu or vice versa.

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Lamu Archipelago

Brief profile
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • The oldest, best-preserved and still-functioning Swahili settlement on the East African coast
Highlights
  • Monuments of the island's rich history
  • Miles of beautiful sandy beaches
  • Exploring the surrounding archipelago on dhow safaris
  • Swimming and snorkelling the balmy Indian Ocean waters
Lamu is a town, an island and an archipelago. The archipelago is a chain of seven islands and a multitude of islets, separated from the mainland at its narrowest part by a channel just a few meters wide. Dense mangrove forests fringe the mainland and the inland sides of the islands, while the seaward sides are protected by reefs and lined with dunes. Throughout the archipelago, there are numerous historical sites- visible and tangible evidence of ten centuries of a colourful and rich cultural past. Most of these settlements are Arab in origin and started as small trading stations. In Lamu, Shela and the small settlements on the other islands, the alleyways are barely wide enough to pass an oncoming donkey, and the whitewashed walls and Arabic arches contribute to some of the most elegant architecture on the continent. Without the sounds of traffic, the atmosphere is pleasantly peaceful interrupted only by the infectious chatter of KiSwahili.


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GALLERY

Kenya Packages

K1: Masai Mara Serena Experience

Highlights:  Masai Mara National Reserve
Duration:  5 Days / 4 Nights
Date Private Safari

 

K2: Ultimate Kenya Safari

Highlights:   Samburu NR / Masai Mara NR
Duration:  8 Days / 7 Nights
Date: 15 - 22 Aug 2019

 

K3: Kenya Wilderness Safari

Highlights:  Samburu GR / Ol Pejeta Conservancy / Mt Kenya NP
Duration:  8 Days / 7 Nights
Date:  Private Safari
 

K4: Classic Kenya Safari

Highlights:  Amboseli NP / Lake Nakuru NP / Masai Mara NR
Duration 6 Days / 5 Nights
Date:  Private Safari
 

K5: Kenya Sky Safari

Highlights:   Amboseli NP / Samburu NR / Masai Mara NR
Duration:  8 Days / 7 Nights
Date:  Private Safari
 

K6: Chale Private Island

Highlights:  Private Island
Duration:  8 Days / 7 Nights
Dates:  Private Getaway
 

K7: Adventure Mt Kenya Climb

Highlights Sirimon / Chogoria Route
Duration:  7 days / 6 nights
Date:  Schedule as you wish
 
 
 
 

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