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Kenya National Parks

There are over 40 National Parks and Wildlife Reserves which have been set aside for the express purpose of nature and wildlife conservation, which amounts to about 8% of the country’s total landmass.  In addition to the terrestrial National Parks and protected areas, there are also 6 Marine National Parks along the extensive coastline.

The superb natural beauty of the African Rift Valley is the glorious setting for Kenya’s most famous National Park, the Masai Mara, (aka Maasai Mara) which is widely recognised as one of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserves.  The Masai Mara, together with the adjoining Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, is the core of the spectacular Masai Mara eco-system where Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacle, the annual Wildebeest migration takes place.

Wonderful Tsavo National Park is one of the largest wildlife reserves in the world, covering a huge chunk (4%) of Kenya’s landmass.  This extensive park is home to a very wide range of wildlife big and small, including 4 of the Big Five.

Amboseli National Park is the place to go to see Elephants – many Elephants!  Because there is an almost constant water supply here, the park is known to be the best place in Kenya to see huge herds of free-roaming Elephant, set against the evocative distant back-drop of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Not to be outdone, Kenya has her own magical mountain!  Beautiful Mount Kenya is Africa’s second-highest mountain (after Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro) and the Mount Kenya National Park provides the perfect location for world-class trekking and hiking through an area of unique changing habitats.  Many serious mountaineers come to trek Mount Kenya to acclimatise themselves to the altitude before tackling as ascent on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Offshore, there are even more gems to be discovered and Kenya’s coastal ecosystems range from mangroves and wetlands to beautiful inlets and lagoons fringed by extensive coral reefs where you can explore the underwater wonderland in one of the 6 Marine National Parks.

Come and discover it all for yourself – simply browse through our listing of National Park profiles to find which combination we can put together to tailor-make your own unique adventure in Kenya.

On arriving in Kenya, head instantly to some of its many National Parks for the first of many game watching life experiences.  

Featured Safari Parks & Game Reserves

Amboseli National Park

Amboseli provides the classic Hollywood image of Africa: vast herds of buffaloes and elephants ranging across the open plains and set against the glorious backdrop of a snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro. At 5,896m the ‘Shining Mountain’ is the highest freestanding mountain in the world and is topped by one-fifth of all the ice in Africa.

Aberdares National Park

Gazetted in 1950, this park is one of the oldest in the country and famous as the place where Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II of England whilst staying in the original Treetops Lodge. Whilst its prize inhabitant is the Bongo Antelope, it is also home to the second-largest population of indigenous black rhino and features miles of high moorland scenery, tumbling waterfalls and sensational views. 

Home of the migration & Big Cats

Masai Mara

You can’t escape Masai Mara to see the red-clad, spear-wielding Masai warriors and Masai Mara National Reserve. Often described as the greatest of nature’s stages, the Masai Mara, with its huge dramatic skies, is perhaps the most popular of all Kenya’s game parks. The landscape, which is mostly savannah, hosts around 22 families of lions and 3,000 elephants while the Mara River is one of the best places to observe crocodiles and hippos.

Lake Nakuru National Park


Lake Nakuru is famous for the flocks of lesser flamingoes, which frost its blue shores sugar pink. It also plays host to over 400 species of birdlife, being second only to Lake Baringo as the most prolific ornithological site in Kenya.

Mt. Kenya National Park

Home to the highest (5,199m) mountain in Kenya, Mt Kenya National Park contrasts warm savannahs with glaciers and snowstorms. Both the Kikuyu and Masai regard the mountain as the home of their supreme being, Ngai, and is also one of only a small number of great mountains whose summit (point Lenana, the 3rd highest peak) is accessible to non-climbers.

Tsavo National Park


Tsavo East is a true wilderness and evokes vivid memories of Africa’s forgotten majesty. Encompassing miles of arid plains, savannah and scrubland and sheltering over 8,000 elephants. Tsavo west, in addition, offers a glorious diversity of habitats but the biggest attraction in Mzima springs, a fount of cool clear water that gushes hundreds of miles from below Mount. Kilimanjaro to burst out, at the rate of 250 million litres a day, from the rocks at Mzima.

Shaba National Reserve &

Samburu National Reserve

The Samburu, 250 miles north of Nairobi, is set in the lands of the colourful Samburu pastoralists. The Shaba National Reserve is rugged wilderness featuring bubbling hot springs, rolling savannah, miles of scrub and desert and the Ewaso Nyiro River which supports a diversity of wildlife to include not only elephants, leopards and lion but also the rare Grevy’s zebra.

You will admire the fascinating Samburu National Reserve for game outings with evident chances to see lions, leopards and giant crocodiles.

Hell’s Gate National Park

Hell’s Gate is one of the few remaining places in Kenya where you can walk unguided and its principal feature is the Njorowa Gorge, the ancient outlet for Lake Naivasha, long since dried up and now famous for its huge eroded cliffs. 

Kenya’s national parks and reserves rate among the best in Africa. Obviously the tremendous variety of birds and mammals is the main attraction, and the more popular parks such as Masai Mara Game Reserve and Amboseli National Park see huge numbers of visitors, from the budget campers to the hundreds-of-dollars-a-day Hilton hoppers. In the peak season, from January to February on a game drive, you can observe at close quarters the daily habits of the prolific Nissan Urvan. Other smaller parks, such as Saiwa Swamp National Park, near Kitale in the country’s western highlands, would be lucky to see a handful of visitors a day. In addition to the protection of the wildlife, some parks have been created to preserve the landscape itself, and these too can be exciting and rewarding places to visit, such as Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon, Hell’s Gate, Mount Longonot and the Kakamega Forest are all worth investigating.

Marine life is also in abundance and the marine national parks of Malindi and Watamu off the central coast, both offer excellent diving possibilities. Shimoni and Wasini islands in the extreme south offer even better opportunities but are much less accessible and developed. What probably helps to make Kenyans parks such a drawcard for the budget traveller is that the competition among safari companies for the traveller’s dollar is so fierce that a safari of at least a few days is within the reach of the vast majority of travellers. For those at the other end of the scale of competition is equally brisk and there are lodges and tented camps within the major parks which have superb facilities and are a real experience if you can afford them.

National Parks in Kenya

Nairobi: Nairobi National Park

The Rift Valley: Hell’s Gate National Park  Lake Bogoria National Park Lake Nakuru National Park Longonot National Park

The Central Highlands: Aberdare National Park Meru National Park Mount Kenya National Park

Western Kenya: Kakamega Forest Reserve Masai Mara National Reserve Mount Elgon National Park Saiwa Swamp National Park

Northern Kenya: Marsabit National Park and Reserve Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves Shaba National Reserve Tana River Primate National Reserve

The Coast and Southern Kenya: Amboseli National Park Save Amboseli Shimba Hills National Reserve Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park

Interested in Kenya Safaris?

an adventure into rural, wild Africa…. with a touch of luxury, of course