Few destinations in the world can give rise to such powerful imagery as Kenya, one of East Africa’s premier safari destinations. Indeed, the acacia-dotted Savannah of Kenya is inhabited by classic African animals, from the beautiful elephants and thrilling gazelles to prides of lions and stalking leopards. The country also plays host to the annual wildebeest migration, the largest single movement of herd animals on the plane.
Despite having a coastline of beautiful beaches perfect for lazing, Kenya rarely inspires visitors to sit still there are simply too many exciting things to experience. Stirring landscapes, ranging from equatorial glaciers and jagged peaks to wildlife and tropical reefs, provide an epic natural playground for all who venture here.
Gaze at a million wildebeest migrating across the rolling Savannah of the Maasai Mara, try to calm your breath as you get close to big cats and mighty elephants take your pick from national parks for mountain hiking, wildlife spotting or snorkeling, all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Kenya and begin your journey now with 4X4 Car Hire Uganda that is offering suitable car rentals with rooftop tent.
- Samburu National Park
Self- drive to Samburu National Park located in the north and is highly rated since there is a good chance of seeing the ‘big three’ away from the plains and the road trip from the south takes in a diverse range of landscapes from lowlands, beautiful white highlands and stunning Mount Kenya. Samburu’s dominant feature is the Ewaso Ngiro River, which slices through the otherwise bone-dry country. The river acts as a magnet for thirsty animals, and large numbers of elephants, Grevy’s zebras, giraffes and lions gather along the riverbanks
- Masai Mara National Reserve
The highlight of Kenya safari, a world-renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve needs little in the way of introduction. Its wildlife-stuffed Savannah are familiar to anyone who has watched nature documentaries. Reliable rains and plentiful vegetation underpin this extraordinary ecosystem and the millions of herbivores it supports. Wildebeest, zebras, impalas, elephants, Maasai giraffes and several species of gazelle all call the Mara home. This vast concentration of game accounts for high predator numbers, including cheetahs, leopards and the highest lion densities in the world.
- Amboseli National Park
Amboseli belongs in the elite of Kenya’s national parks, and it’s easy to see why. Its signature attraction is the sight of hundreds of big- elephants set against the backdrop of Africa’s best views of Mt Kilimanjaro (5895m). Africa’s highest peak broods over the southern boundary of the park, and while cloud cover can render the mountain’s massive bulk invisible for much of the day, you will be rewarded with stunning vistas when the weather clears, usually at dawn or dusk.
Apart from guaranteed elephant sightings, you will also see wildebeest and zebras, and you have a reasonable chance of spotting lions and hyenas. The park is also home to over 370 bird species. And with chances to delve a little deeper into the world of wildlife conservation, it all adds up to one of Kenya’s premier wildlife experiences.
- Giraffe Centre
The Giraffe Centre is the creation of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (A.F.E.W. Kenya), a Kenyan non-profit organization. This centre, which protects the highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, combines serious conservation with enjoyable activities. You can observe, hand-feed or even kiss one of the giraffes from a raised wooden structure, which is quite an experience. You may also spot warthogs snuffling about in the mud.
There are now over 300 Rothschild Giraffe safe and breeding well in various Kenyan national parks. Recent herds have been introduced to Samburu Ranch by Lake Elementaita in the Great Rift Valley, Kigio Conservancy and the Sergoit Ranch in the Mount Elgon region.
- Lake Nakuru National Park
Just two hours’ drive from Nairobi, Lake Nakuru is among Kenya’s finest national parks. Rimmed by rocky escarpments, pockets of forest and at least one waterfall, the park is gorgeous year-round and is home to black and white rhinos, lions, leopards, hippos and giraffes. Rising water levels in 2014 forced the park’s famous flamingos to flee, as well as the park authorities to move the entrance gate the old one now stands submerged along with hundreds of now-dead trees, a haunting first impression.
The southern end of the lake is the best place to see wildlife, away from the busy city of Nakuru, which borders the park’s northern extent. The forested area below Flamingo Hill is a favourite lion-spotting point lionesses love to sleep in the trees while leopards frequent the same area, and are also seen around Makolia camp.
- Tsavo West National Park
Welcome to the wilderness. Tsavo West is one of Kenya’s larger national parks (9065 sq. km), covering a huge variety of landscapes from swamps, natural springs and rocky peaks to extinct volcanic cones, rolling plains and sharp outcrops dusted with greenery.
This is a park with a sniff of legend about it, first for its famous man-eating lions in the late 19th century and then for its devastating levels of poaching in the 1980s. However, there’s still plenty of wildlife here, although you’ll have to work harder and be much more patient than in Amboseli or the Masai Mara; the foliage is generally denser and higher here. Put all of these things together, along with its dramatic scenery, fine lodges and sense of space, and this is one of Kenya’s most rewarding parks.
- Nairobi National Park
Welcome to Kenya’s most accessible national park. But the park isn’t worth visiting if you are planning to visit other big national parks in Kenya. However, if you’re not planning to visit other big national parks in Kenya, then Nairobi National Park is worthy visiting. Set on the city’s southern outskirts, Nairobi National Park has abundant wildlife that can, in places, be viewed against a backdrop of city skyscrapers and planes coming in to land it’s one of the only national parks on earth bordering a capital city.
The park is home to the world’s densest concentration of black rhinos (more than 50), though even the park’s strong ant poaching measures couldn’t prevent poachers from killing one of the rhinos in August 2013 and then again in January 2014. They were the first such attacks in six years, and reflect the current sky-high Asian black-market price for rhino horn.
Lions and hyenas are also commonly sighted within the park; rangers at the entrance usually have updates on lion movements. You’ll need a bit of patience and a lot of luck to spot the park’s resident cheetahs and leopards. Other regularly spotted species include gazelles, warthogs, zebras, giraffes, ostriches and buffaloes. The roads in the park are passable with 2WDs, but traveling in a 4WD is never a bad idea, especially if the rains have been heavy.
- Mount Kenya National Park
Africa’s second-highest mountain is also one of its most beautiful. Here, mere minutes from the equator, glaciers carve out the throne of Ngai, the old high god of the Kikuyu. To this day the tribe keeps its doors open to the face of the sacred mountain, and some still come to its lower slopes to offer prayers. Mt Kenya also has the rare honour of being both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The highest peaks of Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5188m) can only be reached by mountaineers with technical skills, but Point Lenana (4985m), the third-highest peak, can be reached by trekkers and is the usual goal for most mortals.
- Mount Elgon National Park
Straddling the Ugandan border and peaking with Koitoboss (4187m), Kenya’s second-highest peak, and Uganda’s Wagagai (4321m), the slopes of Mt Elgon are a sight indeed or at least they would be if they weren’t buried under a blanket of mist and drizzle most of the time. While there are plenty of interesting wildlife and plants here, the real reason people visit Mt Elgon National Park is to stand atop the summit high above Kenya and Uganda.
With rain forest at the base, the vegetation changes as you ascend to bamboo jungle and finally alpine moorland featuring the giant groundsel and giant lobelia plants. Common animals include buffaloes, bush bucks, olive baboons, giant forest hogs and duikers.
The lower forests are the habitat of the black-and-white colobus, and blue and de Brazza’s monkeys. There are more than 240 species of bird here, including red-fronted parrots, Ross’s turacos and casqued horn bills. On the peaks you may even see a lammergeier dropping bones from the air.
We strongly recommend taking a guide. Mt Elgon Guides & Porters Association is a cooperative of guides and porters based at the Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters.
- Aberdare National Park
Herds of wildlife thunder over an open African horizon, elephants emerge from a thicket of plants and the mysterious black rhino munches tranquilly on leaves. This is Aberdare National Park, packed with 300m-high waterfalls, dense forests and serious trekking potential. Also commonly seen here are buffaloes, black rhinos, spotted hyenas, bush pigs, black servals and rare black leopards.
Aberdare can claim some of Kenya’s most dramatic up-country scenery. The park has two major environments: an eastern hedge of thick rain forest and waterfall-studded hills known as the Salient; and the Kinangop plateau, an open tableland of coarse moors that huddles under cold mountain breezes.