Looking for the best safari parks in Kenya? I have a list of the best safari parks and reserves in Kenya for you.
When you are thinking about a holiday in Africa, safaris are probably the first on your mind. You can experience one of the best safaris in Kenya. Our game drive in Kenya was an unforgettable experience where we saw so much wildlife.
Not only the abundance of wildlife population, breathtaking sunset, and diversified landscapes with forests, bushes, mountains, lakes, rivers, acacias, and deep craters, but also the different tribes, cultures, and charming lodges and camps make holidays in Kenya unforgettable.
You can go on a safari in National Parks or Reserves. Kenya has over 50 National Parks and Reserves where tourists can appreciate stunning safaris. In this blog post, I will provide you with the best and the most popular safari parks and reserves in Kenya.
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Best Safari Parks And Reserves In Kenya
You decided to visit Kenya and go on safari. Now your dilemma is which safari park to go to to have the best experience. Don’t worry. With this list of Kenya’s best safari parks, you will be able to decide. Whether you want to see the Big 5, or you are interested in bird watching, climbing, or getting to know different tribes, these parks have it all.
Masai Mara National Reserve
Maasai Mara is probably the most popular National Reserve in Kenya. It is located in the southwest of Kenya, bordering the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Masai Mara is about 1500 sq km large. The origin of the name Mara comes from the Maasai tribe people who named it Mara, which means spotted.
The Mara River is the main source of water for all the animals in the Masai Mara reserve. Not only is the source of the water but also it is the place where the dramatic crossing of the river from Mara to Serengeti occurs. Thousands of wildebeest are crossing the river in which crocodiles are waiting for their feast.
It is known as the Great Migration and it is happening from July to October. Therefore this time is the most popular by tourists to come to Masai Mara to witness the amazing migration. Except for the Great Migration, you can see the Big 5 here and you can also visit Masai Village for a cultural experience.
To get to Masai Mara, the best is to take a plane from Nairobi or Mombasa if you are staying on the coast. From Nairobi, you can also go by car.
Where to stay near Masai Mara
There are many safari lodges and camps where you can stay depending on your budget. Some of them include a game drive. Talek Bush Camp is a budget accommodation with a restaurant, swimming pool, and view of the river.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is the best to visit in Kenya due to the variety of wildlife that can be seen in the savannah grasslands. The park’s size is about 390 sq. km. If you love to see elephants, then this park is the right place for you as the biggest amount of them are located here.
Except for elephants, you can see zebras, giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, crocodiles, buffaloes, wild dogs, lesser kudu, and many more. For bird lovers, about 400 bird species can be found here.
Moreover, Amboseli National Park is next to the Tanzania border, therefore you can see Mount Kilimanjaro which is the highest peak in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world from here. The view is spectacular and it feels like you are right next to it.
This park is also home to the Masai tribe. When you finish your safari, you can stop by their village and learn a little bit about their way of life.
Where to stay near Amboseli
Also in Amboseli National Park, there are lodges and camps to choose from. Kibo Safari Camp is a lovely camp with tents where you have your bathroom and toilet and beds with mosquito nets and when you walk out of your tent, you are looking directly at Mount Kilimanjaro. There is a beautiful restaurant and a pool. We stayed in this camp and I can highly recommend it.
Tsavo National Park
Tsavo National Park is the biggest national park in Kenya, located in the Coast region, close to Mombasa city. Therefore it is a great choice if you are staying on the coast. It is divided into Tsavo East and Tsavo West. Tsavo East is about 13,000 square kilometers and Tsavo West is about 9,000.
Tsavo East is flatter with thin vegetation, therefore to see the animals is much easier here. The rivers Tsavo, Galana, and Athi are an important part of the vegetation and are great points to spot the animals. While Tsavo West has the most diverse landscape with hills and volcanic craters.
What is interesting about this park is the red-colored elephants due to the red volcanic soil in which they roll in. Except for elephants, you can see here hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks, hyenas, impalas, zebras, giraffes, and many more.
Tsavo Park is not far from Amboseli National Park, therefore you can combine your safari in these two parks as we did.
Where to stay near Tsavo
In both Tsavo West and East you can stay in lodges and camps. In Tsavo East, we stayed in Voi Wildlife Lodge with beautiful rooms. The bathroom was a bit simple and older. There is a pool and a terrace with a stunning view next to the waterhole where animals come to drink.
Samburu National Reserve
Samburu National Reserve is situated in the North of Kenya, about a 6-hour drive from Nairobi. However, it is possible to take flight instead. It is named after the Samburu people, which is one of Kenya’s tribes.
Samburu National Reserve is 165 sq km large and it is less visited than the other parks mentioned above. Therefore, this reserve is peaceful, and not crowded with plenty of wildlife to enjoy your safari. The river Ewaso Ng’iro flows in the middle of the reserve and it is an inevitable source of water for the animals.
Samburu National Reserve is home to lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, hippos, buffalo, Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, oryx, and many more.
Where to stay near Samburu
Samburu Intrepids Tented Camp is a 4* camp. In your private tent, you will find a bed with a mosquito net, a bathroom, and a toilet. There is a restaurant with a terrace and a pool. They offer guided safari.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park is located in the Great Rift Valley, about 160 km north of Nairobi, with a size of 188 sq km. Lake Nakuru Park is famous for the large number of flamingos gathering around Lake Nakuru. Not only Flamingos but also many more bird species can be seen here, for example, pelicans.
There is a sanctuary here for black and white rhinos that are protected by fences from poachers. However, there is much more wildlife here, for instance, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, leopards, waterbucks, and also pythons can be spotted here.
Another interesting point of view here is the waterfall Makalia. Except for the game drive, Lake Nakuru National Park is a good place for camping, hiking, bird-watching, and picnicking.
Where to stay near Lake Nakuru
Sarova Lion Game Lodge is located directly in Nakuru National Park with a view of the lake. There is an outdoor pool, garden, restaurant, and a bar.
Mount Kenya National Park
If you are visiting Lake Nakuru National Park, you may consider continuing your safari trip to Mount Kenya National Park. The main point in this park is Mount Kenya, which is the second tallest mountain in Africa. Mount Kenya National Park is also part of UNESCO World Heritage.
The park’s size is about 700 sq km and consists of forests, lakes, mineral springs, and mountain areas. The wildlife that can be seen in this park are elephants, buffaloes, different kinds of monkeys and antelopes, mongoose, and many others.
This park is ideal for people who love hiking. There are three parts of Kenya Mountain that people can hike. One part is possible to hike without climbing, but the other two are for professional climbers.
Where to stay near Mount Kenya
Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is a 5* hotel with an outside pool and stunning view of Mount Kenya and is your dream come true place to stay. There is a restaurant and outside seating area, as well as a kids’ playground. Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy is 400 m away.
Laikipia National Park
Laikipia National Park is located northwest of Mount Kenya National Park and is considered second after Masai Mara based on the density of the wildlife population. You can see many endangered species here like Grevy’s zebra, African wild dog, Reticulated giraffe, and rhinos.
The lands in Laikipia National Park are owned by local farmers, Masai and Samburu communities who created sanctuaries to protect the endangered species.
Where to stay near Laikipia
There are many lodges and camps to stay here. Sweetwater Serena Camp provides accommodation in lodges or tents with private bathrooms and toilets. There is a restaurant and bar and they provide BBQ facilities as well.
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park as the name says is located close to the capital city Nairobi. therefore it is an ideal safari for those who are staying in Nairobi and don’t have much time to travel farther.
This park is different and interesting in the way that the area is open grasslands with skyscrapers in the background. You can see giraffes, hyenas, black rhinos, lions, leopards, buffalos, and more. There is also a rhino sanctuary for breeding rhinos and distributing them to other parks.
Where to stay near Nairobi Park
Wherever you stay in Nairobi, you will be close to the park. Ololo Safari Lodge borders the National Park and is about 45 minutes from Nairobi International Airport. It is settled in the tranquil garden with an outside pool. There is a bar and open-air restaurant where you can enjoy your meals and drinks. The lodge offers guided game drives through the park.
Safari Parks And Reserves in Kenya: Map
Click on the map to open and apply directions from your current location.
Safari Parks And Reserves in Kenya: FAQs
Here you have it. The best safari parks in Kenya that you should pay a visit to. If you still have some questions, check the FAQs below.
How many safari parks are there in Kenya?
Kenya is known as home of safari and there are over 50 safari National Parks and Reserves.
What are the Big 5 in Kenya safari?
The Big 5 are lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino.
Which is the most famous safari park in Kenya?
There are many popular safari parks in Kenya, however, the most famous one is Masai Mara. Not only because of the wide range of wildlife and the Big 5 to be seen here, but mostly because of the Big Migration which is very popular with tourists, journalists, and photographers.
Conclusion: Safari Parks And Reserves in Kenya
Now you have a clear idea about Safari Parks and Reserves in Kenya and which ones to visit. Whether you love to see the Big 5, Big Migration, many bird species, climb mountains, or admire the beautiful landscape, Kenya has it all.