Kenya National Parks
AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
This park acquired its name from a Masaai world meaning “a place of water”. The park is located on an area of 392 sq km. it is also 135 km from Nairobi town. At times this park is dry and dusty. A large water supply of water is filtered through thousands of feet of volcanic rock from Kilimanjaro Snowmelts. These underground streams join into two clear water springs in the heart of the park. The widespread dust is ash, which spewed from Kilimanjaro millennia ago. During the dry season a curious creature is the sparkling dry lakebed where false mirages of populated horizons, punctuated by real herds of zebras and gnu hover in front of visitors. The principal attraction of Amboseli is its vast herds of elephants within the park. Here bulls have some of the largest tusks in Kenya.
This park is an important range land in Maasai culture and the ranch areas outside the park offers outside park offers a wealth of game viewing and walking safaris.
One of the most renowned parks in Kenya, Amboseli gives a wide range of accommodation with four lodges, two campsites and the Ol Tukai self-help Bandas. There are several tented lodges just outside the park.
KISITE MARINE NATIONAL PARK
This park is approximately 40km from Diani- Mombasa. It is occupies an area of 28sq km. At the southernmost part of Kenya’s 500kms coast line lie some of East Africa’s most vibrant coral gardens. Kisite marine is in shallow water and can easily be reached by motorboat or traditional dhow from shimoni.
The park contains coral reefs which are anticipated to be 3-4kms long, running along the near and outer edge of the reef from Mpunguti Island to the tiny coral island of Kisite itself. The reef at Kisite and Mpungu Marine National reserve are scientifically significant homes, one of the most complex eco- systems on this planet. 45 varieties of coral have so far been pointed out.
Dolphins are common as are the big schools of bonito and frigate mackerel. Nearby shimoni is habitat of families of fresh water porpoises, which are usually seen in the channel.
Along the coast is abundant and any travel agent or tour operator can suggest where to stay.
MERU NATIONAL PARK
This park is at an altitude of 1000ft. It occupies an area of 870sq km with a distance of 348 km. This park sits on an area of 870 sq km. this park is wild and very beautiful. On both sides of the equator and crossed by 3 rivers and numerous mountains, to wide open plains with wandering river banks dotted with doum palms.
In 1980s, the park suffered from poaching but the Kenya wildlife society armed with wildlife security patrols have driven out the poachers and the elephant population has stabilized with breeding herds settling down. There are beyond 300 species of birds plus the Peter’s fin foot, which in habits the Murera and Ura Rivers.
On the boarder of Meru is Bisanadi National reserve and Koru National Park. It was in Koru that George Adamson lived up to when he died.
This park is also famous as the setting for Joy Adamson’ book born Free- story of the Adamson’s life and research among lion and cheetah.
Elsa’s Kopje numerous campsites and KWS self help bandas.
MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE
This reserve is the most famously visited reserve. It occupies an area of 1510sq km. It is about 275km from Nairobi town. This park is somehow considered to be the most visited reserves in Kenya. It offers breath taking views and extra ordinary density of animals including the big five and many other varieties of plains game.
The most remarkable feature is the migration of wildebeests Zebra and gazelle from the plains of Serengeti to arrive in the Mara’s grasslands, tracked by predators: lion cheetah, hyena and circled by vultures as the journey begins. Their spectacular river crossings are reality for tourists visiting July to August.
Apart from the migration, game viewing is exceptional all year round.
This is in abundance and ranges from stone built lodge to luxury- tented camps. Safari operators set up private tented camps for smaller groups in quest of exclusive and traditional safaris. Samburu game lodge
NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK
Nairobi National park is located 7km from Nairobi town. It occupies an area of about 117sqkm. It was taken up as a national Park in 1946 which was a year after the Second World War.
This park holds a very unique position in the world as the only park in the world which neighbors a city. This park is a home to 100 species of mammals. It borders the traditional south Kapiti plain and Kitengela migration corridor and attracts a range of exhilarating game. This park is seasonal however most of the game like Kenya’s indigenous black Rhino lives in the protection of the park all year around. This was Kenya’s ever national park and is the site of pres Daniel Arap Moi’s dramatic ivory bonfire, when in 1989 he torched 10 tons of ivory in a bid to eliminate the mass slaughter of Africa’s elephants.
The park has more attractions closer to it and one needs to take a tour there to find out more about these.
The park has no accommodation with in it but however there is a provision for superb accommodation from Nairobi town.
Lake Nakuru National park
This park is situated 157km from Nairobi town. It occupies an area of 188 sq km with an altitude of 4000ft. L. Nakuru N.P is famously know for its unique pink appearance as a result of the beautiful flocks of the lesser flamingos that have pink beaks. Its bird life excites a great number of people through out the world.
Because of this stunning appearance, it is a beacon for leading ornithologists, scientists and wildlife filmmakers. This park also has an attractive range of wooded and bush grass land to escarpment and ridges, providing a wide ecological diversity.
The park contains wild animals like the leopards, lions, black rhinos, colobus monkeys and so many others that survive in the forest. On the other hand the bush land provides residence to the eland, steinbok, impala, and dik dik. The cliffs and escarpment give shelter to rocky hyrax and klipspringer.
Camping and the Kenya wildlife society guest house
SAMBURU AND BUFFALO SPRING NATIONAL RESERVES
This reserve is divided into to parts where by Samburu sits on an area of 104 sq km while buffalo spring occupies 131 sq km. From Nairobi town, the reserve is about 343km with an altitude of 2500ft.
This park provides a unique vista of rounded and rugged hills plus rolling plains. The mix of wood and grassland with riverine forest plus swamp is a habitat to a wide variety of animal and bird life, buffalo springs records over 365 species of bird. The reserve has a provision for game viewing and visibility is very exciting. Some species to see include the Grevy’s Zebra, elephants, Oryx reticulated giraffe and Somali ostrich. The area also has distinctive features.
Samburu Serena and Buffalo springs lodge, Larsen’s and a number of campsites where one can spend a night or more. KWS has o of the campsites.
Tsavo East and West National Park
This is one of the oldest parks that Kenya has. It occupies an area of 11747 sq km in the Eastern part. Then in the west it occupies an area of 9,065 sq km. The park is 300km from Nairobi.
This park holds a famous position in the world with a stunning landscape that is next to the coast. This makes is one of the popular safari destinations. This park is recognized as one of the world’s most important biodiversity strongholds. Bushy and open plains alternate with savannah and semiarid acacia scrub and woodlands. Green swathes cross the park where the riverbanks give rise to lush vegetation.
Tsavo is recommended for photographers with fabulous light and unbelievable views, in particular the Mudanda Rock and Yatta plateau, the world’s largest Lava flow. Tsavo west has important historic connections as a most important battleground in World War 1 where brutish and German troops battled for supremacy these two parks are easy to reach along the Nairobi- Mombasa road or by plane to one of the many airstrips.
The park has several lodges, a number of tented camps, public campsites and three self help KWS bandas.
SHIMBA HILLS NATIONAL RESERVE
Shimba is about 56km from Mombasa town which is the nearest town. It occupies an area of 320sq km and was opened in Sept 1968.
This reserve is an easy to drive and provides good-looking luxuriant scenery. It contains a unique and botanically rich coastal rainforest. Two of Kenya’s most beautiful orchids can be found here. Another rarer species, exclusive to the reserve is the sable antelope with its handsome near- black coat and amazing horns.
The best places to see wildlife are on the flat grassland near the spectacular sheldrick’s falls and on the lango plains near Giriama appoint.
There is one lodge’ a self help Banda site and couple of campsites.
One of the world’s highest growing spectator sports is getting close in and personal with the giants of the deep. It is said that such communion with these marine goliaths, who stay totally free and at peace with their environment, makes an aura compete harmony with nature for the fortunate onlookers.
Diani is a small, peaceful tourist center on Kenya’s south coast, some 20 miles from its main seaport Mombasa. Ferries link Mombasa Island to the south coastal and are a pleasant step back in time.
In Diani and further south, to the fishing village of Shimon, a number of companies recommend sea safaris- deep-sea fishing, ocean sightseeing trip and SCUBA diving with tuition to international standards. Offshore lies one of four protected national parks, which are a veritable paradise for marine aficionados- and for people who just desire to have an unusual, beautiful and interesting holiday in a lovely part of the world.
In the past years, the ocean going season off Diani beach has been excellent in its marine viewing. Diani Marine has given information of mantas, over 1000 bottle nosed dolphins, 30 sightings of the amazing Humpback dolphin, 20 humpback whale and beyond 150 whale shark sightings. Groups to up to eight whale shark have at times: congregated around their flagship MV Maisha, filter feeding.
The sheer amount of large pelagic species being seen off the south coast is slow coast but surely putting Kenya on the worldwide map for SCUBA diving and marine viewing. The whale shark sightings in particular have been spectacular, as on many occasions, females over 12m in length have been seen with their young. This has led experts in the area to believe that these remarkable creatures are coming to the Diani beach area in order to give birth and raise their young before moving on as the southerly monsoon arrives.
At the moment there is little or no research being carried on these marine giants, taken as one of the big five of the ocean, and there are moves to encourage the Kenyan government, the Kenyan government, Kenya wildlife Society and stakeholder companies to show an interest and provide support to preserve their marine species as well as they do the big game in the national game parks.
Diani Marine I also considering aerial surveillance on whale sharks. According to an expert in this field, Claudia eckargt, in communication with sophisticated tracking systems has given some insight into the relatively illusive whale sharks sightings. Most of the work on Whale Sharks has been conducted in Australia where many dive operators use small aircraft for aerial coverage to coverage to locate the whale sharks.
The cost involved are considered, committing a small aircraft to such a project, and Diani Marine are currently consulting with international service organizations, including PADI, Ocean conservancy project Aware, the east African wildlife society and world society for the protection of Animals, to find out if funding would be available for early surveillance of what as they say, is ‘a valuable national heritage.’