With 20,700 square kilometers, Tsavo, divided by the Mombasa-Nairobi highway into two blocks - East and West, is one of the world’s largest wildlife sanctuaries. While considerable portions of the park have been opened and developed for tourism, a great tract to the north is still inaccessible and closed to ordinary tourist traffic.
Tsavo is an interesting mixture of extensive plains, steep rocky hills which rise abruptly, a few river valleys with their fringes of tall green acacia and palm trees. Altitudes range from 300 meters in the Eastern section to 1,800 meters in the highest peaks of the Ngulia Hills.
Situated 250 km south-east of Nairobi, this park is famous for its big game and its beauty. Majestically dominating the area, rising above a saucer of clouds, is 'Africa’s rooftop' the snow capped mount Kilimanjaro (5895 meters).
Here, the pastoral and proud Maasai people who herd their cattle have lived in harmony with the wildlife for centuries. This was the beloved local place of Earnest Hemingway and Robert Ruark, where the sparkling white snows of Kilimanjaro have been a picturesque backdrop to one of Kenya’s most spectacular displays of wildlife – lion, elephant, leopard, cheetah, buffalo and hosts of plains game - making a perfect photographer’s paradise.
This is an all time favorite for visitors as well as locals. Just 176 km from the capital city Nairobi, lake Nakuru national park is an Ornithologist’s paradise. Millions of Flamingos live on this lake feeding on algae, their main diet. The fishing Pelicans are also seen in large colonies as they go about catching fish. Stilts, Cormorants, Goliath Heron, Egret and Maasai Ostrich are just some of the birds to be found around the lake. The park surrounds the lake and was recently designated as a Rhino sanctuary. Here, both the black and the white Rhino are regularly seen with ease. It is also one of the best places to spot the Leopard whose population here is impressive.
Tucked away in the Aberdare mountain ranges, this 766sq km park consists of high alpine moorland and primeval forest with many cascading waterfalls. There are two tree-lodges built in the park, the Ark and Tree Tops lodge each one of them serviced by a base hotel situated outside the park. Game drives are rarely done here and guests enjoy watching wildlife from the comfort of their lodges. Both lodges have floodlit water holes that attract the wildlife and salt deposits in front of the lodges help lure the animals out of the thick forests.
Also known as Njorowa Gorge, Hell’s Gate National park covers an area of 68 sq kilometers and is considered to have one of the most spectacular and exciting walkable routes in Kenya which leads through a gorge lined with sheer, red cliffs. There are hot springs and geysers that bubble up from the earth’s surface, testimony to the still active volcano in the region. Mt. Longonot, a young volcano, dominates the landscape rising a thousand meters above Lake Level. There are many birds of prey and swifts in the area. The most interesting bird to observe here is the nearly extinct Lammergeyer Vulture, reintroduced to the area to save it from extinction.
Meru national park is one of the most scenically diverse of Kenya’s wildlife sanctuaries where the park has a unique variety of habitats in a comparatively small area. The area is dry, however, 13 permanent rivers streaming from mount Kenya cut through it’s width to pour into river Tana. From far, the lush riverine forests along the rivers look like green ribbons wrapped across the brown land. On Tana river itself, colonies of Monkey and flocks of parakeets inhabit the dense forest. Hippo and crocodile are common and are often seen sunning themselves on the broad beach-like sandpits. On clear mornings, the snow capped jagged peaks of Mt. Kenya can be seen to the south-west, but the most picturesque sight is sunset over the Nyambene hills.
With 20,700 square kilometers, this park, divided by the Mombasa-Nairobi highway into two blocks - East and West, is one of the world’s largest wildlife sanctuaries. While considerable portions of the park have been opened and developed for tourism, a great tract to the north is still inaccessible and closed to ordinary tourist traffic.
This is a private game sanctuary separated from the vast Tsavo West only by a road. Animals roam freely between the two areas and in the hills that dot this sanctuary. The Hills are home to a wide variety of game including Lion, cheetah, elephant and plains game. Bird life includes the extremely rare Taita Falcon, a bird recorded in early Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Nairobi is Kenya's colorful capital city. It grew from a shanty settlement to a thriving modern capital. Before 1899 when the British started using it as a supply depot for the Mombasa - Uganda Railway, the local Maasai called this highland swamp Ewaso Nairobi, meaning the place of cold water. This was just a place they used to bring their animals to water.
This 68 square kilometer fresh water lake is considered a bird watcher’s paradise. It has been described as a bewilderment of birds. It is estimated that there are more than 400 species around it. A large variety of water birds exist in great abundance. The lake has no apparent outlet but remains fresh and changes noticeably in size according to rainfall in the nearby Mau hills and Aberdare mountain ranges. The Lake has a resident population of hippo and many fish. It was here that Joy Adamson’s book Born Free was written. Activities in this area include boat rides to see the hippo schools and watch birds, visits and walking on the Crescent Island.