Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast or a newbie looking to dive into the African wild, visiting the best safari parks in Kenya is always an adventure. Watching your favourite predators from up close, coming across thousands of animals, enjoying untouched wild expanses of jungle and exploring a remote African culture, there really is no better experience that the world of travel has to offer. And when you get to do that in parks that actually gave birth to the concept, you’re truly in for a treat.
So without further ado, these are the safaris you must visit while in Kenya.
What Are the Best Safari Parks in Kenya?
Masai Mara National Park
- Area: 1510 sq. kms.
- Sightings: Zebra, gazelle, wildebeest, hippo, lion, bat-eared fox, Thomson’s gazelle, leopard, cheetah, topi, impala, black rhino, jackal, hyena
As the land that gave birth to the concept of a safari, the Mara always feels special, albeit a bit crowded and overused. Masai Mara National Park is one of the only two spots on the planet that hosts the Great Migration phenomenon and that is an experience you simply need to see to believe. Millions of animals travelling thousands of miles in search of greener pastures with predators close at heels portray the theory of survival of the fittest at its very best. Maasai Mara has often been called the greatest wildlife destination on earth, and those endless savannahs, vast open plains and untouched wilderness areas certainly do justice to its stardom. The best time to explore the Mara is between July to October.
Lake Nakuru National Park
- Area: 45 sq. kms.
- Sightings: White pelican, pink flamingo, colobus monkey, rhino, baboon, lion, leopard.
Lake Nakuru is among one of the most beautiful and picturesque experiences that Africa has to offer, a must-visit for bird lovers. This park attracts tourists from all over the world due to its shallow soda lake which brings thousands of pink flamingos and white pelicans to its waters. The greenery is mesmerising, there are a number of waterfalls to explore and you can enjoy the park’s beauty right through the year.
Amboseli National Park
- Area: 392 sq. kms.
- Sightings: Wild dog, giraffe, lion, elephant, cheetah, crocodile, lesser kudu, buffalo, hydrax, dik-dik
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro anyone? Trekking up to the roof of Africa certainly sounds exciting, but what if we told you that you could actually combine a trek and an African safari in the same trip! Amboseli also hosts some of the largest tuskers on the planet, beautiful expanses of untouched wild and remarkable views. Remember those postcard scenes of an elephant with Kili as the backdrop? That photo was probably taken here. The best time to visit the park is between June and October.
Samburu Game Reserve
- Area: 165 sq. kms.
- Sightings: Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, beisa oryx and gerenuk (popularly called Samburu 5), elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard
No list of the best safari parks in Kenya would ever feel complete without mentioning the Samburu Game Reserve. Samburu might feel like an infant in front of some of the mammoth parks over there, but make no mistake, its small size has no bearing on the variety of animals or experiences found here. The park is full of game animals and it is among the few in Africa whose lodges offer camel safaris.
Tsavo West National Park
- Area: 9065 sq. kms.
- Sightings: Elephant, cheetah, buffalo, lion, hippo, giraffe, impala, crocodile, rhino, white-headed buffalo weaver
When combined together, Tsavo East and Tsavo West are among the most exhilarating destinations to be in. However, the huge area that these two parks cover makes it impossible to enjoy the best of both in a single itinerary. To truly explore the untouched wilderness of Africa and be closer to underwater glass tanks that bring you closer to crocodiles and hippos basking in calm waters, Tsavo West is where you need to be. Other adventures in the park include the Mzima Springs, a chain of crystal-clear lakes that are full of crocodiles, hippos and fish, and the Shetani Lava Flow, a series of lava flows that often contain remains of animals that stumbled into the caves below. This incredible safari is extremely private and it is sure to offer one of the most unique experiences of Africa. The best time to visit Tsavo West is between May and October.
So what are the best safari parks in Kenya? Do you feel we missed out on your favourite wildlife destination in the land of the safari? Let us know using the comments below.
Photo credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim, WIkicommons