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Destination: Kenya2018-12-09T19:02:01+00:00

Preparing for Travel to Kenya

Kenya is a country in East Africa that borders Tanzania to the South, Uganda to the West, South Sudan to the North West, Ethiopia to the North and Somalia to the North East. The country is made up of a population of roughly 48 million people and stretches 580,400 sq. km in size. Its name originates from Mount Kenya, which can be seen towering, as it is the tallest mountain in Kenya and second in all of Africa. The national languages spoken in Kenya are English and Swahili, though it is not uncommon for Kenyan people to be fluent in speaking multiple languages as the country is rich in culture and tradition, containing over forty unique tribal groups. Travel to Kenya is unique because of its multiple cultural influences as it was once the main hub for global trade, bringing in visitors from all over the world. Nairobi is Kenya’s capital and the largest city in the country, with a population of roughly three million inhabitants. Kenya’s history as a country is extensive and fascinating, having gained its independence from British rule in 1963, as it had previously been colonized for eighty years prior.

Kenya is filled with incredible national parks that are teeming with wildlife. From vibrant, tranquil, white sand beaches to the wondrous, great Rift Valley and stretching Masai Mara, there is no shortage of beauty and diversity in Kenya’s multi-faceted national parks and reserves. Kenya is home to Africa’s “big five” game and many other animals as well as unique bird species throughout the country, making it a prime safari destination.

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Kenya National Parks and Game Reserves

LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK

Lake Nakuru National Park was established in 1961 and is one of the most a popular national parks in Kenya. Lake Nakuru itself sits on the edge of Nakuru Town and is internationally noted by its brilliantly pink rim. The lake has been known to populate up to one million flamingoes who feed on the algae of the lakes rim and create a vibrant, visual spectacle for those visiting the park. Originally, the parks primary purpose was that of bird watching by visitors during the 1950’s, but it has since become one of the most widely visited parks in East Africa. The park is unique in the fact that it houses one of the largest black rhino populations in the country, as well as an abundance of other mammals including hippos, lions, and leopards. It continues to be a bird watcher’s paradise and is home to over 400 species of bird.

LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK

Lake Nakuru National Park was established in 1961 and is one of the most a popular national parks in Kenya. Lake Nakuru itself sits on the edge of Nakuru Town and is internationally noted by its brilliantly pink rim. The lake has been known to populate up to one million flamingoes who feed on the algae of the lakes rim and create a vibrant, visual spectacle for those visiting the park. Originally, the parks primary purpose was that of bird watching by visitors during the 1950’s, but it has since become one of the most widely visited parks in East Africa. The park is unique in the fact that it houses one of the largest black rhino populations in the country, as well as an abundance of other mammals including hippos, lions, and leopards. It continues to be a bird watcher’s paradise and is home to over 400 species of bird.

AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

Amboseli National Park is a park that stretches 392 sq. km, and although it is on the smaller side in relation to other national parks, it is abundant in wildlife and boasts impressive views of its surroundings. Amboseli is comprised mainly of grasslands and shrubbery, an expansive and sprawling landscape that stretches in front of the dramatic Mount Kilimanjaro, hanging as an impressive backdrop. The park is known for its population of roaming elephants that allow visitors to have especially intimate game viewing experiences as they travel in packs. There are said to be roughly 1,200 elephants within the park today. Due to its barren land and little vegetation, the park is an ideal game viewing location and home to various animal species including zebras, hyenas, giraffes, lions, Cheetahs and wildebeest and a population of roughly 400 species of birds.

MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE

Travel to Kenya is not complete without a visit to the Masai Mara National Reserve is a game park in Kenya that stretches 1,510 sq. km and is one of the most famed parks in all of Africa. The park was established in 1961 and has since drawn visitors from all over the world to witness it’s incredible, scenic beauty and massive annual wildebeest migration. Every year over one million wildebeest, Thompson’s gazelle and zebra migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara in search of greener pastures, a magnificent sight and incredible natural phenomenon drawing visitors from all over the globe. The park is home to an abundance of wildlife and noted for its large lion population. Animals living within the reserve include leopards, cheetah, elephants, buffaloes, zebras, crocodiles, and hippopotami, over 95 mammal species have been recorded within the reserve. The park has a large bird population of over 470 unique species, 50 of those being birds of prey including vultures, ostriches, eagles and storks. Though there are woodlands located close to the Mara River, the landscape of the Masai Mara National Reserve consists primarily of grassland and small bushes, extensive and sprawling, famed for its beautiful and vibrant open skies.

MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE

Travel to Kenya is not complete without a visit to the Masai Mara National Reserve is a game park in Kenya that stretches 1,510 sq. km and is one of the most famed parks in all of Africa. The park was established in 1961 and has since drawn visitors from all over the world to witness it’s incredible, scenic beauty and massive annual wildebeest migration. Every year over one million wildebeest, Thompson’s gazelle and zebra migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara in search of greener pastures, a magnificent sight and incredible natural phenomenon drawing visitors from all over the globe. The park is home to an abundance of wildlife and noted for its large lion population. Animals living within the reserve include leopards, cheetah, elephants, buffaloes, zebras, crocodiles, and hippopotami, over 95 mammal species have been recorded within the reserve. The park has a large bird population of over 470 unique species, 50 of those being birds of prey including vultures, ostriches, eagles and storks. Though there are woodlands located close to the Mara River, the landscape of the Masai Mara National Reserve consists primarily of grassland and small bushes, extensive and sprawling, famed for its beautiful and vibrant open skies.

MOUNT KENYA NATIONAL PARK

Mount Kenya National Park is home to the second tallest mountain in Africa, Mount Kenya. The park was established in 1949 in efforts to protect Mount Kenya and its surrounding environments. The park has been deemed both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The park spans 715 sq. km and the forest reserve at the base of the mountain measures 271 sq. km. The park is unique as it contains multiple ecosystems and consists of varied levels of vegetation. Tropical forested area exists at the lower part of the mountain, here buffalo and elephants and other wildlife can be found roaming. Beyond this forest area lies moorland where a diverse range of interesting species of plants can be found. Beyond this, as ascent up the mountain continues, the landscape turns barren and harsh as patches of snow and ice are visible.

TSAVO NATIONAL PARK

Tsavo National Park is a large park that stretches a massive 13,747 sq. km. It is one of the oldest national parks in all of Kenya, having been opened in 1948 and due to its large size has been split into two sectors; Tsavo East and Tsavo West. The park is collectively home to many different species of animals and over 500 species of birds, although patience is required for game viewing as the vegetation within the park is lush and dense. Some animals that can be found within the park include rhino, lion, elephant, buffalo and more. Tsavo East is known for its dry, flat land and shrubbery as well as its swampy marshland, whereas Tsavo West is mountainous with wetlands, boasting attractions such as Lake Jipe and Mazima Springs.

TSAVO NATIONAL PARK

Tsavo National Park is a large park that stretches a massive 13,747 sq. km. It is one of the oldest national parks in all of Kenya, having been opened in 1948 and due to its large size has been split into two sectors; Tsavo East and Tsavo West. The park is collectively home to many different species of animals and over 500 species of birds, although patience is required for game viewing as the vegetation within the park is lush and dense. Some animals that can be found within the park include rhino, lion, elephant, buffalo and more. Tsavo East is known for its dry, flat land and shrubbery as well as its swampy marshland, whereas Tsavo West is mountainous with wetlands, boasting attractions such as Lake Jipe and Mazima Springs.

ABERDALE NATIONAL PARK

Aberdare National Park consists of the Aberdare Mountain Range and valleys and spans 766 sq. km, making it one of Africa’s smaller national parks, but also one very much worth visiting. Beautiful streams, waterfalls and forests make up the park, as its landscape and geography varies as the elevation increases. Aberdare is home to many animal species including buffalo, leopard, elephant, wild dog, baboon, jackal as well as roughly 250 species of birds and more. The park is also home to the second largest black rhino population in Africa. As the park is lush with forested area, it is an ideal hiking spot and allows visitors to have up—close and intimate wildlife viewing experiences with the many animals that inhabit the park.

SAMBURU NATIONAL RESERVE

Samburu National Park is one of the smaller game parks in East Africa situated in the Rift Valley, spanning 165 sq. km in size. Although it may not be as large as some of the other safari parks, it inhabits a wide variety of animals including leopard, cheeta, lion, giraffe, zebra, gazelle, warthogs and waterbuck to name a few. The park is also home to over 350 unique bird species and a large population of crocodile can be found in the Ewaso ng’iro river which runs through its centre. The parks landscape is mainly spanning plains, dotted with shrubs and acacia trees. Due to the parks isolated location and its inaccessibility for a large number of years, it has remained peaceful and maintains a serene and tranquil atmosphere.

SAMBURU NATIONAL RESERVE

Samburu National Park is one of the smaller game parks in East Africa situated in the Rift Valley, spanning 165 sq. km in size. Although it may not be as large as some of the other safari parks, it inhabits a wide variety of animals including leopard, cheeta, lion, giraffe, zebra, gazelle, warthogs and waterbuck to name a few. The park is also home to over 350 unique bird species and a large population of crocodile can be found in the Ewaso ng’iro river which runs through its centre. The parks landscape is mainly spanning plains, dotted with shrubs and acacia trees. Due to the parks isolated location and its inaccessibility for a large number of years, it has remained peaceful and maintains a serene and tranquil atmosphere.

MERU NATIONAL PARK

Meru National Park is a game park in Kenya that was established in 1968. The park inhabits a range of wildlife including zebra, cheetah, leopard, elephant, hippopotami and a large pride of lions. The park is also a prime location for bird enthusiasts as over 300 species can be found. The park’s landscape is diverse as it varies from sprawling plains to wooded areas to swampland. Meru National Park has become one of the most noted game parks in East Africa, as efforts have been made to restore the park and the condition of its wildlife as poaching had once threatened its elephant population in the 19805 and 19905. Meru National Park is also known as being the location that George and Joy Adamson famously raised “Elsa the Lioness” as documented in the 1966 film ”Born Free”, narrated by David Attenborough. The film follows the couple as they raise Elsa from cub hood to a grown, adult lioness and eventually let her loose into Kenya’s wilderness. Meru is also the location where Elsa’s gravesite is located.

OL PEJETA CONSERVANCY

Ol Pejeta resides in the Laikipia County of Kenya and functions as a non— profit wildlife conservancy. Ol Pejeta is home to various wildlife, including all members of the “big five” and is currently the largest sanctuary for black rhino in all of East Africa. The conservancy’s efforts are to protect wildlife while generating income from the tourism industry, as OI Pejeta also maintains efforts to preserve rural communities and their populations. OI Pejeta also boasts the only chimpanzees in all of Kenya. Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary is an additional haven that is combined with OI Pejeta, protecting Kenya’s only endangered chimpanzee population. The conservancy’s efforts are focused on endangered species in particular, putting emphasis on sustainability and innovative practice.

OL PEJETA CONSERVANCY

Ol Pejeta resides in the Laikipia County of Kenya and functions as a non— profit wildlife conservancy. Ol Pejeta is home to various wildlife, including all members of the “big five” and is currently the largest sanctuary for black rhino in all of East Africa. The conservancy’s efforts are to protect wildlife while generating income from the tourism industry, as OI Pejeta also maintains efforts to preserve rural communities and their populations. OI Pejeta also boasts the only chimpanzees in all of Kenya. Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary is an additional haven that is combined with OI Pejeta, protecting Kenya’s only endangered chimpanzee population. The conservancy’s efforts are focused on endangered species in particular, putting emphasis on sustainability and innovative practice.

MOMBASA

Mombasa is the second largest city in Kenya and the largest port in East Africa. Mombasa is a tropical city that borders the Indian Ocean and inhabits a population of roughly 1.2 million people. The city consists of a combination of Indian, Arabian and African influences and has been under the control of many countries in the past, thus contributing to its diverse mix of cultures. Traditionally Mombasa functioned as a historical trading center and many aspects of this history are still visible today, including a historical “Old Town”. The island of Mombasa contains many beautiful beaches and is home to world-class hotels as it is a prime tourist destination with people continuously drawn to the white sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters.

LAMU

Lamu is a small town on Lamu Island and is Kenya’s oldest town that has remained populated for the last 700 years or more. This is unique as most other Swahili settlements as old as this have been left abandoned. Lamu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 and consists of beautifully preserved buildings with architecture influenced by Swahili, Arabic, Indian and European cultures. The city is also unique as visitors are forced to walk or use alternative transportation such as donkeys as vehicles are not permitted down the narrow streets.

LAMU

Lamu is a small town on Lamu Island and is Kenya’s oldest town that has remained populated for the last 700 years or more. This is unique as most other Swahili settlements as old as this have been left abandoned. Lamu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 and consists of beautifully preserved buildings with architecture influenced by Swahili, Arabic, Indian and European cultures. The city is also unique as visitors are forced to walk or use alternative transportation such as donkeys as vehicles are not permitted down the narrow streets.

MALINDI

The town of Malindi is located roughly two hours from Mombosa by car and consists of its own historical sites and beautiful beaches. Although the town is not as large or bustling as Mombosa, it boasts its own rich culture and attractions to visitors including its own Marine National Park. Malindi is diverse in culture and known for its Italian influence as there is a large Italian population, it is sometimes referred to as Kenya’s “little ltaly”. The town consists of incredible beaches allowing visitors to take part in a variety of water sports and activities such as surfing, snorkeling and diving.