When you are thinking about a holiday in Africa, safaris are probably the top things on your mind. One of the best safaris can be experienced in Kenya. Not only the abundance of wildlife population, breathtaking sunset, diversifies landscapes with forests, bushes, mountains, lakes, rivers, acacias, and deep craters, but also the different tribes, cultures, and charming lodges and camps make Kenya safari your fulfilled dreams.
Safaris can be enjoyed in National Parks or Reserves. Kenya has many National Parks and Reserves where tourists can appreciate stunning safaris. Let’s have a look at which Kenya’s parks are the best for safaris.
Maasai Mara is probably the most known National reserve in Kenya. It is located in the southwest of Kenya, bordering the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Maasai 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.
Masai Mara river is the main source of water for all the animals in the Maasai 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. This is called Wildebeest migration or Great Migration and it is one of the seven natural wonders of Africa. It is occurring from July till October, therefore this is the best time to visit Maasai Mara.
Wildebeest are not the only animals that can be seen here. Maasai Mara is home to many elephants, zebras, giraffes, crocodiles, lions, rhinos, leopards, cheetahs, and many more.
Places to stay here are Fairmont Mara Safari Club or Little Governors’ Camp
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is one of the most favorite parks for tourists. The park’s size is about 390 sq. km. It is a home for African elephants, however, you can see so much different wildlife here. Zebras, giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, crocodiles, buffaloes, wild dogs, lesser kudu, and many more. For bird lovers, about 600 bird species can be found here.
Another great thing about this park is the view of Mount Kilimanjaro- the highest peak of Africa. It feels like you are just right next to it.
This park is also home to the Masai tribe. During your safari, you can stop at their village where they will show you and tell you about their way of life. It is very interesting.
There are different camps and lodges where you can stay during your safari. For example Kibo Safari Camp, you can check my review here. Another option can be Elewana Tortilis Camp Amboseli, which was one of the first eco-lodges, or Ol Tukai Lodge.
The rainy seasons are between March and April and November till December. Therefore, the best time to visit is anytime except these months. That applies to all parks.
Tsavo National Park
Tsavo National Park is the biggest national park in Kenya, located in the Coast region, close to Mombasa city. It is divided into Tsavo East and Tsavo West. Tsavo East is about 13 thousand sq. Km and Tsavo West is about 9 thousand sq. Km. They are separated by the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.
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 great points to spot the animals. While Tsavo west has the most diverse landscape with hills and volcanic craters.
Only in this park, you can see red-colored elephants due to the red volcanic soil in which they roll in. It is not easy to see the big five here, but not impossible. The big five are lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant, and rhino. You can also see hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks, hyenas, impalas, zebras, giraffes, and many more.
If you want to combine your safari adventure with a beach holiday, this park is the best as it is close to the coast. Diani Beach is the best beach in Kenya and was several times awarded for the best beach destination in Africa. Another great beach is Watamu Beach.
Like other national parks, also Tsavo has camps and lodges where you can stay. One of the options for Tsavo East is Voi Wildlife Lodge. Please see my review here.
For Tsavo West Finch Hatton Lodge or Voyager Ziwani camp.
Samburu National Reserve
Samburu National Reserve is situated in the North of Kenya, about 6 hours 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, 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.
A place to stay here is Elephant Bedroom Camp.
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.
This park is a kind of temple for black and white rhinos that are protected here 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. Lake Nakuru National park is a good place for camping, hiking, bird watching, picnicking, and game drive.
Places to stay here are Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge or Flamingo Hill Tented Camp.
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 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.
A place to stay here is Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club.
Kenya’s National Parks
This list is the most visited, famous, and best National Parks in Kenya. There are many more all over the country. Not surprisingly tourism is one of the two main income for the country. When you decide to go for a safari, don’t forget to take your camera, binoculars, sunglasses, suncream, hat, and other things, depending on the type of your safari. You can sign up for my newsletter and you will receive your Africa packing list.