Kenya National Parks

Kenya National Parks: Kenya is globally known as the original land of Safari. It is in this country where the big five; elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo and leopard can all be found roaming free in their natural habitats alongside other wild animals such as cheetah, wildebeest, eland, zebra, gazelle, giraffe,waterbuck, impala and more. You will also come across brilliant butterflies, and rare exotic birds in every conceivable shape, size and color.

Kenya National Parks – Overview

Kenya national parks and game reserves occupy an area the size of Switzerland and about 7.5% of the country’s land surface. Among game parks in Kenya, no one park is a replica of another; all vary in abundance and variety of wildlife, scenery, climate and altitude.

The deserts, mountains, rivers, the plains, forests, all breath freedom under the scintillating light and constantly changing perspective of the African sky. Kenya’s climate, while varying with locality, it is seldom extreme and over much of Kenya ranks among the best in the world.

While some of our parks have no accommodation, others are served by KWS bandas, self help cottages or comfortable tented camps. Others have environmentally integrated luxury lodges and hotels. Some offer the complete range of options.

Kenya National Parks: National Parks in Kenya

Kenya has a total of twenty six National Parks and twenty nine National Reserves. All of them occupy a total area of 44,359 sq. kilometres or 7.6% of the total area of the republic (5 82,644 sq kilometres). They range from marine national parks, savanna-bush woodland national parks, mountain national parks,  arid and semi-arid national parks to lake ecosystem national parks/reserves.

It is not easy to place Kenya’ s national parks and reserves in order of merit in their value of attractions. Every park and reserve is unique in its diversity of attractions and no park or reserve resembles another. To a visitor, there is no difference between a l national park and a national reserve. The difference is official and teclmically based on the establishment status due to the title to the land; and has nothing to do with touristic attractions.

The marine parks are famous for their beautiful coral reefs, coral gardens, beaches and lagoons, brightly patterned coral fishes e. g.  Angel fish, Parrot fish, Starfish, Sea urchins, lovely porcelain  cowries, Green turtles, Octopus, Dugong and big game fish like  Blue marlin, Sail fish, Giant grouper and Marko sharks.

The savanna-bush-woodland National Parks contain some of the greatest plains game concentrations in the world. The big-five: Elephant, Rhinoceros, Buffalo, Lion, and Leopard are manifestly plentiful in these parks. The mountain National Parks boast of some of the most superb mountain scenery in Africa, the snow capped peaks of Mt. Kenya with excellent climbing adventures and beautiful moorlands for mountain walkers.

Giant groundsels and lobelia are some of the eye-catching flora on Mt. Kenya and Mt. Elgon. In addition to the mountain scenery and flora, the mountain parks are homes for the big five (no lions in Mt. Elgon) and a host of other rare mountain species like Bongo, Giant Forest hog, melanistic cats and many mountain bird species.

The lake ecosystem national parks contain the greatest concentration of flamingo in the World (Lake Nakuru National Park) and the greatest crocodile colony in the world (Sibiloi National Park). There are also myriads of other bird species in and around the lakes, schools of hippopotamus and hundreds of land mammal species on the shores of the lakes.

Kenya National Parks
Kenya National Parks

Famous National Parks in Kenya

Aberdare National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

The park is located about 100 km north of Nairobi and stretches over wide terrains. The Park covers the higher areas of the Aberdare Mountain Ranges of central Kenya. Animals easily observed in the park include; the Black Rhino, Leopard, Baboon, Black and White Colobus monkey and Sykes monkey.

For more information visit:  Aberdare National Park

Amboseli National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Amboseli National Park is located in Loitoktok District within the Great Rift Valley; 269 Km from Nairobi. The park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants, meet the Maasai and get spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro (the highest mountain in the Africa).

For more information visit: Amboseli National Park 

Hell’s Gate National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Hell’s Gate National Park lies to the south of Lake Naivasha in Kenya, Northwest of Nairobi. Some of the frequently observed animal species include lions, leopards, and cheetahs. There are over 100 species of birds in the park, including African buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest and Thomson’s gazelle.

Lake Nakuru National Park The park lies 140km Northwest of Nairobi. Its ecosystem is surrounded by mainly wooded and bushy grasslands. The park supports a wide ecological diversity with Flamingos and other water birds being the major attractions of the area and 56 different species of mammals including the white rhino and buffaloes.

For more information visit: Hell’s Gate National Park

Maasai Mara National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

The Maasai Mara National Park covers 1530 km and lies southwest of the country. It borders the Serengeti Park to the south, the Siria escarpment to the west and Maasai pastoral ranches to the North and East. It is famous for its exceptional population of Big Cats and the annual migration of wildebeest and other grazers from the Serengeti every year from July to October.

For more information visit: Maasai Mara National Park

Meru National Park

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Category: Kenya National Parks

Meru National Park is located in the east of Meru 350 km from Nairobi. Covering an area of 87,044 hectares, it has abundant rainfall and a wide range of wildlife such as elephants, hippos, lion, cheetah leopard, black rhinos, some rare antelopes and more than 300 species of birds.

For more information visit: Meru National Park

Mt. Kenya National Park

Entrance to Mount Kenya

Category: Kenya National Parks

Mt. Kenya National Park is located to the east of the Great Rift Valley, about 175km North-East of Nairobi. At 5,199m Mt. Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa. It is also an important water tower in the country. The park supports wildlife such as elephants, tree hyrax, white tailed mongoose, suni, black fronted duiker, mole rat, bushbucks, waterbuck and Elands.

For more information visit: Mt. Kenya National Park

Samburu National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

The Samburu National Reserve is located on the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro River. It was one of the two areas in which conservationists George Adamson and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness made famous in the best selling book and award winning movie ‘Born Free’. All three big cats, Lion, Cheetah and Leopard as well as elephants, buffalos and hippos are found here.

For more information visit: Samburu National Reserve

Tsavo East National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Tsavo East National Park is one of the oldest and largest parks in Kenya at 11,747 square kilometers. The park lies to the east of the Nairobi – Mombasa road, offering a vast and untapped arena of arid bush, which is washed by the azure and emerald meandering of Galana River. Guarded by the limitless lava reaches of Yatt a plateau and patrolled by some of the largest elephant herds in Kenya.

For more information visit: Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo West National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Tsavo West covers an area of 9,065 square kilometers and is generally referred to as the “Land of lava Springs and Man-eaters”. It is located on Southeast of Kenya, 240 km from Nairobi along the western side of the Mombasa Nairobi highway. Major wildlife attractions include Elephants, Rhinos, Hippos, Lions, Cheetah, Leopards, Buffalos, diverse plant and bird species including the threatened corncrake and the threatened Basra Reed Warbler.

For more information visit: Tsavo West National Park

Malindi Marine National Park & Reserves

Category: Kenya National Parks

Malindi Marine National Park & Reserves is located in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Kenya. The park’s attractions include coral reefs, turtles and dolphins and over 300 species of fish including the Barracuda, Sharks, Angel Fish, Surgeon Fish Lobsters, Crabs, Clams, Octopus and Star Fish.

For more information visit: Malindi Marine National Park & Reserves

Arabuko Sokoke National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Arabuko Sokoke National Park is a 6 sq km reserve near Malindi and Watamu reserve and park. It is the largest surviving coastal dry forest in East Africa, It is 110km north of Mombasa. Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve provides important habitat to unique and  endangered birds, insects and animals. The major attractions are about 600 bird species, butterflies and coastal forest.

For more information visit: Arabuko Sokoke National Park

Arawale National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

The Arawale National Reserve is a designated conservation area managed by the Garissa County in assistance with the Kenya Wildlife Service. It lies in North Eastern Province of Kenya, 77 km south of the town of Garissa. Arawale National Reserve covers an area of 53,324 hectares (533 km2; 206 sq mi).[1] To the west, it is bordered by the Tana River and, to the east, by the GarissaLamu road. In 1974, the reserve was gazetted as the only in-situ conservation site for the critically endangered Hirola population endemic to north-eastern Kenya and south-west Somalia.

For more information visit: Arawale National Reserve

Bisanandi Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

Bisanandi National Reserve is a wildlife sanctuary also called Kinna national reserve with an area of 606 sq km. It is managed by the Kws.

For more information visit: Bisanandi Reserve

Boni National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

The Boni National Reserve is a national reserve for conservation and lies in the Garissa County, Kenya.. The general area lies between 40°83′E and 41°66′E and 1°76′S and 1°25′S and covers an area of 133 KM². The area’s climate is heavily influenced by the North-East and South-West monsoons blowing from the Indian Ocean. There are two wet seasons: April to June and October to December, and two dry seasons: The reserve covers an area of 1,339 km 2 (517 sq mi)[1] and is managed by Kenya Wildlife Service. It was gazetted in 1976 as a dry season sanctuary for elephants in the former Kenyan Ijara , and Lamu districts and Somalia.

For more information visit: Boni National Reserve

Buffalo Springs National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

Buffalo Springs National Reserve Kenya was named after an oasis of clear water at its western end. It is the natural home to five rare species known as the five northern species which are endemic to this area: Grevys Zebra, Somali ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and the Beisa oryx.

For more information visit: Buffalo Springs National Reserve

Central Island National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Central Island National Park is a 5km square park is in lake Turkana , 800 km from Nairobi to Lake Turkana, then take a boat from Sibiloi National Park or from Lodwar. Access from Nairobi is by the main Nairobi-Moyale road or from Maralal to Loiengalani through Baragoi and South Horr.

For more information visit: Central Island National Park

Chyulu Hills National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Chyulu Hills National Park comprises the eastern flanks of Chyulu Hills including about half the forest area. The park boundary runs down the center of the hills along the lines of the peaks. The remaining western portion of the hills is part of the west Chyulu Game Conservation Area and owned by several Maasai Group ranches.

For more information visit: Chyulu Hills National Park

Dodori National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

Dodori National Reserve reserve was named after the river ending in the Indian Ocean at Dodori Creek, a breeding place for dugongs. It encompasses an important woodland and forest area that historically supported large populations of elephants, lions, buffaloes, coastal topi, gazelles, antelopes and water birds.

For more information visit: Dodori National Reserve

Kakamega Forest National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

The 44km square Kakamega Forest National Reserve is in the Lake Victoria basin, about 50km north of Kisumu. Being the only remnant in Kenya of the unique Guineo-Congolian forest ecosystem, the park offers unique wildlife and scenic beauty. The forest is home to more than 400 species of butterflies (about 45 per cent of butterflies in Kenya), about 300 bird species and 27 species of snakes.

For more information visit: Kakamega Forest National Reserve

Kerio Valley National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

Kerio Valley is 4,000ft. deep with semi-tropical vegetation on the slopes leading down to dry thorn bush at its base. Established as a National Reserve in 1983, Kerio Valley National Reserve has an impressive view of both Cherangani and Tugen Hills.

For more information visit: Kerio Valley National Reserve

Kiunga Marine National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Kiunga Marine National Park Kenya is part of the Lamu archipelago, a cluster of hot low – lying desert islands that run for some 60 km parallel to the coastline of Northern Kenya. The last survivor of a one thousand year-old civilization, Lamu was founded by the Arabs in the seventh century and traded for centuries thereafter in ivory, rhino horn and slaves. Today Lamu offers a unique showcase for traditional Swahili culture, a bustling historical town with some of the most pristine beaches in Africa.

For more information visit: Kiunga Marine National Park

Kora National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

Kora National Reserve was first gazetted as a reserve and later as a park in 1990. It is a triangle of dense woodland and scrub is limited along northern boundary by the Tana River. Main attractions include Pristine wilderness, Inselbergs, Adamsons Falls, Kora rapids, diverse bird life and George Adamsons grave.

For more information visit: Kora National Reserve

Lake Bogoria National Reserve


Category: Kenya National Parks

It is 107 km sq and most of the reserve is occupied by Lake Bogoria, a spectacular sight reflecting searing blue skies and the rose pink of flamingos. It is well known for its hot springs and geysers dotting the southern shore of the lake. In the steam jets, an egg can be boiled and cooked in seven minutes!

For more information visit: Lake Bogoria National Reserve

Lake Kamnarok National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

Lake Kamnarok National Reserve is the only ox-bow lake in Kenya, having the second largest population of crocodiles in Africa after Lake Chad. The name originated from the word Narok, which is a species of water plant widely found in the lake in the early stages of lake formation.

For more information visit: Lake Kamnarok National Reserve

Lake Nakuru National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Lake Nakuru National Park Kenya is about 188 sq km and is 160 km northwest of Nairobi in the Rift Valley Nakuru county. The ecosystem comprises of the lake surrounded by wooded and bushy grasslands.

For more information visit:Lake Nakuru National Park

Losai National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

Losai National Reserve is a wild, semi-desert landscape characterized by rocky hills, plains and river woodlands, which snake along the seasonal rivers. The scenic beauty is breath-taking with pythons, cobras, bees, beetles and scorpions.

For more information visit :  Losai National Reserve

Malindi – Watamu Marine National Parks

Category: Kenya National Parks

Malindi – Watamu Marine National is convenient to treat both parks (Malindi and Watamu) as one unit as they are in the same reserve. Famous for their stretches of casuarina, fringed white sandy beaches, the coastal resorts of Malindi and Watamu are world renown.

For more information visit : Malindi – Watamu Marine National Parks

Malka Mari National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Malka Mari National Park stretches along Daua River and is celebrated for being at the extreme northeast of Kenya on Mandera Plateau. With a hot and dry climate, the park was gazetted in 1989 due to its reportedly high concentration of wildlife. Main attractions include Malka Mari Fort, hills and valleys.

For more information visit : Malka Mari National Park

Marsabit National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

The 1,554 sq km Marsabit National Reserve is about 560 km north of Nairobi and 263 km north of Isiolo in Marsabit County. It comprises densely forested mountain and three crater lakes that are the only permanent surface of water in the region and provide habitat for a variety of bird life.

For more information visit : Marsabit National Reserve

Mombasa Marine National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

The Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve is an unforgettable paradise of beautiful sun, sandy beach, and safe ocean adventure.

For more information visit :  Mombasa Marine National Park

Mount Elgon National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Mount Elgon National Park is 196km square park, 420km from Nairobi on the western border of Kenya and Uganda in Trans-Nzoia county. Mt Elgon, a volcanic mountain, is one of Kenya’s most beautiful parks, still wild and intact, with vast areas of untouched forest

For more information visit : Mount Elgon National Park

Mt. Kenya National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Mount Elgon National Park is 196km square park, 420km from Nairobi on the western border of Kenya and Uganda in Trans-Nzoia county. Mt Elgon, a volcanic mountain, is one of Kenya’s most beautiful parks, still wild and intact, with vast areas of untouched forest.

For more information visit : Mt. Kenya National Park

Mt. Longonot National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Mt. Longonot National Park  is about 90km from Nairobi. It  is a young volcano which rises to 2,776m above sea level. Mt.Longonot National Park is an arresting sight for visitors to the Naivasha basin. Mt Longonot was created by the massive eruptions which formed the Great Rift Valley and has a beautiful  V-shaped valleys.

For more information visit : Mt. Longonot National Park

Mwea National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

Mwea National Reserve is a game reserve covering 42, situated in Makima sub-location of Mwea in Mbeere, Embu County. The reserve is located north-west of Kamburu dam at the confluence of Tana and Thiba rivers. It lies on the foothills of Mt. Kenya and on some occasions, the snow-capped mountain can be seen to the North.

For more information visit : Mwea National Reserve

Mwingi National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

Mwingi National Reserve is one of four protected and contiguous areas. Major attractions in the reserve include wilderness habitat; game viewing; Adamsons Falls; fishing/boating on Tana River; Kampi ya Simba – former home of Joy Adamson, and the grave of Elsa the lioness.

For more information visit : Mwingi National Reserve

Nairobi National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Nairobi National Park Kenya is Kenya’s oldest National Park and the first to be established in East Africa. It is the crown jewel of Kenya’s conservation drive, and is very unique in its offering. No other city in the world can boast of a natural wilderness, teeming with wildlife and home to over 400 species of birds, just ten Kilometers from the city center.

For more information visit : Nairobi National Park

Nasalot National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

Major attractions include elephant, Lion, leopard, spotted hyena, jackal, hippo, giraffe, impala, Grant and Thompsons gazelle, plains zebra, eland, lesser kudu, bushbuck, duiker, and dik dik.

For more information visit : Nasalot National Reserve

Ndere Island National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Ndere Island National Park the 4.2 square park is on an island, off he northern shore of lake Victoria in Kisumu. Ndere means ‘meeting place’ in Dholuo, the language of the local people.

For more information visit : Ndere Island National Park

Ol-Donyo Sabuk National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

A rugged hump-backed outcrop of ancient rock jutting high above the Athi plains and hazily visible from Nairobi, Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is densely forested mountain known to the local Kikuyu as” the mountain of the buffalo” and to the Maasai as ‘The big mountain”.

For more information visit : Ol-Donyo Sabuk National Park

Rahole National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

Rahole National Reserve  is a vast stretch of thorny bushland. The National Reserve offers great opportunity for tourists to view hippos, elephants, Beisa oryx, Grevys zebra, crocodiles, and variety of bird species.

For more information visit : Rahole National Reserve

Ruma National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

The 120sq km Ruma National Park is close to the shores of Africa’s largest inland lake, Lake Victoria. It is situated in Lambwe Valley in South Nyanza, 425km from Nairobi, 140km from Kisumu, 10km east of Lake Victoria and south west of Homa Bay. It lies on the flat floor of the Lambwe valley, bordered by the Kanyamwa escarpment to the south-east, Gwassi hills, Sumba Hill and Ruri Hils to the north.

For more information visit : Ruma National Park

Saiwa Swamp National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

Kenya’s smallest National Park, Saiwa Swamp National Park was created to protect the habitat of the rare and endangered semi-aquatic sitatunga antelopes Brazza’s monkey. Saiwa Swamp abounds with birds and wildlife plus diverse and plentiful flowers and trees.

For more information visit : Saiwa Swamp National Park

Shaba National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

haba National Reserve Kenya is the home of Joy Adamson’s monument. There is one lodge in Shaba with 178 beds and one tented lodge with 34. The major attractions are the scenic landscape and riverine forest and 17 springs where animal congregate during the dry season. Animals in the reserve include the reticulated giraffe, Somalia ostrich, Grevy’s zebra  and Joy Adamson’s monument.

For more information visit : Shaba National Reserve

Shimba Hills National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

The Shimba Hills National Reserve Kenya is a dissected plateau that ascends steeply from the coastal plains, 30 km south west of Mombasa and just south of Kwale county. The surrounding escarpment rises from around 120m to 300m across the bulk of the plateau and as high as 450m at Marere and Pengo hills.

For more information visit : Shimba Hills National Reserve

Sibiloi National Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

The 1,570 sq km Sibiloi National Park Kenya is on the north eastern shore of Lake Turkana in Marsabit County, about 800 km north of Nairobi. It is one of the world’s greatest treasures as the cradle of humankind. It was originally established by the National Museums of Kenya to protect unique pre-historic and archaeological sites.

For more information visit : Sibiloi National Park

South Kitui National Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

South Kitui National Reserve is an area of thickets, grasslands and acacia savannah. It is well known for multiple species of notable animal that relocate between the Tsavo National Park and the South Kitui National reserve. These include the Lion, leopard, elephant, giraffe and lesser kudu.

For more information visit : South Kitui National Reserve

South Turkana National Reserve/Park

Category: Kenya National Parks

South Turkana National Reserve / Park is a rugged but very beautiful expanse of land and consists of dense thorn bushes and riverine forests. It has a number of permanent rivers with woodland fringes and salty springs. The landscape has variety of mixed vegetation, although low on plains game.

For more information visit : South Turkana National Reserve/Park

Tana River Primate Reserve

Category: Kenya National Parks

The 6sq km Tana River Primate Reserve is 350km east of Nairobi and 240km north of Mombasa in Tana River District. It was opened in 1976 to protect the lower Tana River forest and two endangered species of monkey: Crested Mangabey and the Tana River Colobus.

For more information visit : Tana River Primate Reserve