Kenya national parks and reserves are major tourist attractions. Kenya is the “home of the safari” with 54 national parks and game reserves scattered in various parts the country.
Kenya’s national parks and game reserves are where people – Kenyans, visitors and tourists go to experience the best Kenyan safaris.
Below you will find links to more information about Kenya national parks and game reserves, including an overview, photos and interesting facts about each of the main Kenya national park.
If you’re interested in making one or more of these parks your Kenyan safari destination, you’ll want to review the information on how to get to and around the parks, what to see and do, accommodations and camping sites, suggestions on how and where to book your safari, admission fees and the best time to visit each of the national parks in Kenya.
Kenya parks and game reserves – sights and attractions in Kenya
Masai Mara National Reserve
The most famous and most visited of Kenya’s national parks is the Masai Mara National Reserve. It offers breathtaking views and a chance to see Kenya’s “big five” animals – rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards and buffalo.
The Masai Mara (or The Mara) is the best park to visit to enjoy the spectacular and world-famous annual wildebeest migration that takes place in Kenya every year.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is Kenya’s second most popular national park after the Mara. Located 160 miles from Nairobi, the park offers a stunning view of both Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru.
In addition to the beautiful sunsets and sunrises of Mt. Kilimanjaro, you can enjoy an eclectic array of animals, including large herds of elephants, and wildlife habitats, such as swamps, from atop The Observation Hill.
Aberdare National Park
Majestic peaks, moorland, deep ravines, streams and cascading waterfalls define the spectacular landscape of Aberdare National Park.
Aberdare is an ideal park for topography enthusiasts and bird watchers who also want a chance to view elephants, black rhinos and other game wildlife.
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is a major Kenya attraction for tourists to Nairobi, offering them a chance to enjoy Kenya’s wildlife from within the city.
Located less than 10 miles from Nairobi city, Nairobi National Park is also a rhino sanctuary and you are guaranteed to see a black rhino during your visit.
You can also enjoy buffalo, zebras, wildebeests and a host of birdlife. With picnic sites and nature trails, the park offers plenty of fun for Kenyans and tourists alike.
Tsavo East National Park
Now a separate park from the original Tsavo, the Tsavo East National Park is a very popular park for tourists from Kenya’s coast. It’s less than 100 miles from Mombasa and is served by several airstrips.
Tsavo East is the park where you can see the infamous “Man-Eaters of Tsavo” lions, as well as elephants, rhinos, birds and other wildlife.
Tsavo West National Park
Occupying 30 percent of Kenya’s total park area, Tsavo West National Park is one of the largest national parks in Kenya. It is easily accessible from the Mombasa-Nairobi highway and borders Tanzania to the south.
Tsavo West offers tremendous views of a landscape packed with diverse wildlife habitats, rocky ridges, acacia woodlands, isolated hills, semi-desert scrubs and mountain forest.
Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya, which is Kenya’s highest mountain, lies within the Mount Kenya National Park. The park flourishes with pristine wilderness, glaciers, snow-capped peaks, flora and fauna.
It is an ideal park for hiking and mountain climbing, as well as for viewing some of Kenya’s rare and endangered animal species.
Lake Nakuru National Park
About 95 miles northwest of Nairobi is Lake Nakuru National Park, popular for it’s pink flamingoes.
For those who love birds and bird watching, Lake Nakura offers a picturesque landscape, and is home to over 400 bird species, including both the greater and lesser flamingoes, as well as game animals such as the white rhinos.
Samburu National Reserve
Located in the Samburu district of Kenya is the Samburu National Reserve, a rugged, semi-desert park that has remained almost undisturbed by mankind.
In its remoteness, the park is an ideal retreat for those who enjoy calm and natural serenity.
This former home to “Elsa the Lioness” is full of birdlife and Kenyan game animals, and is a great park to spot the elusive Kenya leopard.
Meru National Park
Meru National Park is located 350km (220miles) northeast of Nairobi and offers a spectacular view of Mt. Kenya. It is in this small savannah park, with its pristine landscape of wooded grasslands, thorn-bush and wilderness, that George Adamson and Elsa the Lioness lived.
Mount Elgon National Reserve.
In Mt. Elgon National Reserve, located in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province along the Kenya-Uganda border, you will find elephants living in caves.
This park, situated on Kenya’s second highest mountain, Mt. Elgon, is lush with fauna and flora, caves and waterfalls, hot springs and mountain peaks.
Mount Elgon is an ideal reserve for trekking, rock climbing, bird watching and hiking.
Saiwa Swamp National Park.
As the smallest park in Kenya, this 1.9m² park lies below the the Cherangani Hills in the Rift Valley and is served by the Kitale airstrip. It is home to the semi-aquatic sitatunga antelope and various species of birds.
This swampy park is so small that you don’t need to drive. Simply walk over to camp at the park, enjoy the antelope or view the birds.
Shimba Hills National Reserve.
Located 20 miles in the Kwale district, to the south of Mombasa, Shimba Hills National Reserve is a dissected plateau with scenic landscapes comprised of rivers, valleys and hills – an ideal topography for bird-shooting.
Kenya’s national parks are managed by the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), who are also responsible for protecting all Kenya wildlife animals and species. Kenya national reserves, on the other hand, are managed by the local county councils within their jurisdiction.
If you are going on a Kenya safari tour, it is possible to combine your tours and visit more than one park at the same time.
Some of the parks are close to each other. However, for the best chance of spotting the animals in any park, go on one of the game drives that take place during the early morning hours or late in the evening when most of the animals are active and moving around.
During the day around the parks, tourists are invited to engage in other types of safaris, such as air balloon rides, cultural tours, and bird viewing, or to simply enjoy time in the lodge or camping site.