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Kenya Parks

About 8% of the Kenya’s land mass is protected area for wildlife conservation. Protected areas are best known as gazetted landscapes/seascapes that have been surveyed, demarcated and gazetted either as National Parks and/or National Reserves. These vary from forests, wetlands, savannah, marine, arid and semi-arid. Kenya boasts of 23 terrestrial National Parks, 28 terrestrial National Reserves, 4 marine National Parks, 6 marine National Reserves and 4 national sanctuaries. In addition KWS manages over a hundred field stations/ outposts outside the protected areas. As noted above protected areas in Kenya are categorized either as parks or reserves. The distinction between the two categories is: in parks there is complete protection of natural resources and the only activities allowed are tourism and research. On the other hand in reserves, human activities are allowed under specific conditions. These activities are for instance fishing in marine reserves or firewood collection in terrestrial reserves. It is worth mentioning that a lot of Kenya’s wildlife lives outside Protected Areas, this is because most of the protected areas are not fully fenced, and hence wildlife moves in and out of these areas in search of pasture and water during certain periods within the year. When they move out of the protected areas, they interact with people on private and community land causing human wildlife conflict. This therefore requires that KWS embraces a strategic partnership with communities living in wildlife areas.

MOUNTAIN KENYA NATIONAL PARK
“Come touch the sky”
Climbing to 5,199 meters, Mount Kenya is the second tallest mountain in Africa. The scenery surrounding this designated World Heritage Site is breath-taking. It is pristine wilderness with lakes, tarns, glaciers, dense forest, mineral springs and a selection of rare and endangered species of animals, high altitude adapted plains game and unique Montane and alpine vegetation.
Visitors can enjoy mountain climbing, camping and caving with the mountain’s rugged glacier-clad peaks providing the perfect backdrop.

AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
“Home of the African Elephant”
Crowned by Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, the Amboseli National Parks is one of Kenya’s most popular parks. The name “Amboseli” comes from a Maasai word meaning “salty dust”, and it is one of the best places in Africa to view large herds of elephants up close. Nature lovers can explore five different habitats here ranging from the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli, wetlands with sulphur springs, the savannah and woodlands. They can also visit the local Maasai community who live around the park and experience their authentic culture.
“The Isle of Mystery”
Covered end to end in volcanic ash, the nightly glow of its South Island’s luminous vents has inspired numerous tales of ghosts and evil spirits. The island is home to a profusion of birdlife including 34 species of European migrants most spectacularly viewed as they return home between March and May. At least 23 species breed here, including Goliath heron, and African skimmer, while African open-billed stork, Duck and Gulls feed on the shores and the volcanic island lakes attract lesser flamingos. Birds of prey are also abundant, especially swallow-tailed kites. This park is ideal for game watching and has one of the world’s largest concentrations of crocodiles.
SAIWA SWAMP NATIONAL PARK

“Sanctuary of the Sitatunga antelope’’
A veritable haven for nature lovers, the Saiwa Swamp National Park is a forested paradise filled with exotic flowers, trees and birds. It is also the habitat of the rare and endangered semi-aquatic Sitatunga antelope and as a preserve for the rare De Brazza’s monkey. Within this tropical wetlands and mosaic of riverine forest, sedges and acacia woodlands, with fringing dense rushes and grass bedsBird life is abundant. Water birds include the lesser jacana, grey heron and the African black duck while the forest shelters the Narina trogons, the collared and orange-tufted sunbird, the yellow bishop, Hatlaub’s marsh widow bird and the Noisy Ross’s turacos which are difficult to miss.

SIBILOI NATIONAL PARK
“The Cradle of Mankind”
Located on the wild and rugged shores of Lake Turkana – the cradle of mankind – Sibiloi is home to important archaeological sites including Koobi Fora where the fossil remains have contributed more to the understanding of human evolution than any other site in the continent. The area is characterized by semi-desert habitat and open plains flanked by volcanic formations including Mount Sibiloi, where the remains of a petrified forest can be seen. Sibiloi serves as a stopover for migrant waterfowl and is a major breeding ground for the Nile crocodile. Terrestrial wildlife includes zebras, Grant gazelles, lions, leopards, stripped hyenas, Beisa Oryx, greater kudu, cheetahs and northern topi among others. A total of over 350 species of aquatic and terrestrial bird have been recorded in Lake Turkana. Sibiloi is surrounded by the Turkana, the Gabra and the Dassanach who are communities with very rich and unpolluted traditional cultures.

RUMA NATIONAL PARK
“Dramatic Valley of the Roan Antelope and Oribi”
A mosaic of landscapes, ranging from riverine woodland and rolling savannah to magnificent escarpments and towering cliffs, Ruma National Park promises undiscovered wildlife treasures and undisturbed peace. It is also Kenya’s last remaining sanctuary for the endangered roan antelope. Ruma lies on the flat floor of the seasonally watered Lambwe River Valley bordered by the Kanyamwa Escarpment to the South-East, and by the volcanic plugs of the Ruri Hills to the north. Ruma’s birdlife is exceptional. The park is also the only protected area in Kenya where the globally threatened blue swallow, a scarce intra-African migrant, is regularly recorded. Blue swallows, which depend upon moist grassland for both feeding and roosting, arrive in Kenya from their breeding grounds in Southern Tanzania around April and depart again in September.

OL DONYO SABUK NATIONAL PARK
“Ultimate Panoramic Experience”
Dominated by a small mountain covered in montane forest, the Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is home to 45 species of birds including the white-browed sparrow weaver, grey- headed sparrow weaver, African pied wagtail, mourning dove, augur buzzard, African hawk eagle and purple-breasted sunbird. Buffalo are the dominant animals in the ecosystem and other wildlife include bushbucks, leopards, olive baboons, aardvarks, porcupines, mongoose, pythons and monitor lizard. The mountain’s summit also offers visitors scenic views of Mount Kenya.

NDERE ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
“Island of Serenity and Beauty”
Located on Lake Victoria, this island is a haven for birds. Covered mostly in grassland, Ndere Island provides beautiful scenic views of the Homa hills to the south, Mageta Island to the east and the glimpses of Kampala in Uganda beyond the south west horizon. The lake shore supports a wide variety of animals including hippos, monitor lizards, Nile crocodiles, several fish species, snakes, baboons, impalas, the rare sitatunga antelopes, water bucks, zebras and warthogs. Over 100 different species of birds can be seen here including African fish eagles, black headed gonoleks and grey headed kingfishers.

MOUNT LONGONOT NATIONAL PARK
“Sheer Adventure”
Rising from the floor of the Great Rift Valley like a monolith is the extinct volcano of Mount Longonot. A unique feature is the thick forest that lies within the crater of the mountain. The crater rim also provides great scenic views across the beautiful Rift Valley all the way to Lake Naivasha. Major wildlife attractions at Mount Longonot include buffaloes, elands, lion, leopard, bushbucks, common zebra, giraffe and Grant’s gazelles.

MOUNT ELGON NATIONAL PARK
“Untamed Wilderness, Secluded Splendor”
High in the mist-wreathed hills of western Kenya is a towering volcanic giant, crowned by a vast caldera etched by glacial tarns, honeycombed by labyrinthine caves, fissured by valleys and cascaded by streams. Visitors can explore the forest, see the elephant caves and also enjoy biking, hiking, and rock on the eighth highest mountain in Africa, Mount Elgon.

MERU NATIONAL PARK
“Complete Wilderness”
Brilliant on a magnificent scale, the Meru and Kora sister parks feature luxuriant jungle, coursing rivers, verdant swamp, khaki grasslands and gaunt termite cathedrals all under the sky’s great blue bowl. Little visited and utterly unspoilt, few places are comparable to the remote and rugged atmosphere found here. Visitors can see Grevy’s zebras, elephants, Bohor reedbucks, hartebeests, pythons, puff adders, cobras, buffalos and more than 427 recorded species of birds.
LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
“A beautiful wildlife haven”
On the floor of the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by wooded and bushy grassland, lies the beautiful Lake Nakuru National Park. Visitors can enjoy the wide ecological diversity and varied habitats that range from Lake Nakuru itself to the surrounding escarpment and picturesque ridges. Lake Nakuru National Park is ideal for bird watching, hiking,picnic and game drives.

TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK
“Theatre of the Wild”
The sight of dust-red elephant wallowing, rolling and spraying each other with the midnight blue waters of palm-shaded Galana River is one of the most evocative images in Africa. This, along with the 300 kilometer long Yatta Plateau, the longest lava flow in the world, make for an adventure unlike any other in the Tsavo East. The park forms the largest protected area in Kenya and is home to most of the larger mammals, vast herds of dust –red elephant, Rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, pods of hippo, crocodile, waterbucks, lesser Kudu, gerenuk and the prolific bird life features 500 recorded species.

NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK
“The World’s only Wildlife Capital”
A short drive out of Nairobi’s central business district is the Nairobi National Park. Wide open grass plains and backdrop of the city scrapers, scattered acacia bush play host to a wide variety of wildlife including the endangered black rhino, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes and diverse birdlife with over 400 species recorded. Visitors can enjoy the park’s picnic sites, three campsites and the walking trails for hikers.

ABERDARE NATIONAL PARK
“Majestic Peaks, Moorlands and Intriguing Falls”
Picturesque, steep forested ravines and open moorland characterise the Aberdare National Park. The park provides a habitat for elephants, black rhinos, leopards, spotted hyenas, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, buffalos, warthogs and bushbucks among others. Rare sightings include those of the Giant Forest hog, bongo, golden cat, serval cat, African wild cat, African civet cat and the blue duiker. Visitors can indulge in picnics, trout fishing in the rivers and camping in the moorlands. Bird viewing is rewarding, with over 250 species of birds in the park, including the Jackson’s Francolin, Sparrow hawks, goshawks, eagles, sunbirds and plovers.

HELL’S GATE NATIONAL PARK
“A Walk on the Wild Side”
Named for the intense geothermal activity within its boundaries, the Hell’s Gate National Park is a remarkable quarter of the Great Rift Valley. Spectacular scenery including the towering cliffs, water-gouged gorges, stark rock towers, scrub clad volcanoes and belching plumes of geothermal steam make it one of the most atmospheric Parks in Africa. Hell’s Gate is an ideal venue for a day trip from Nairobi where, in addition to the bio-diversity that includes raptors, visitors can enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing and a natural spa.

MARSABIT NATIONAL PARK
“A remote paradise for nature lovers”
Far to the north of Kenya, a densely forested mountain and three crater lakes provide a haven for a variety of birdlife, mammals and reptiles. The beautiful Marsabit National Park is a refuge for huge tusked bull elephants, diverse birdlife and reptiles. Hikes in the dense forest, wreathed in mist can be enjoyed along with camel rides, bird watching and visits to the singing wells.

KORA NATIONAL PARK
“The Last Wilderness”
Home to the Adamson’s’ Camp – Kampi ya Simba – the former home of George and Joy Adamson, the Kora National Park offers a pristine wilderness dotted with tall inselbergs and graced by the Tana River on which the Adamson’s Falls, Grand Falls and Kora Rapids are found. Visitors can enjoy the diverse birdlife, fishing in Tana River rock-climbing and also visit George Adamson’s grave.

CENTRAL ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
“The Gem of Lake Turkana”
Emerging starkly from the blue-green waters of the largest permanent desert lake in the world, Lake Turkana, the Central Island is made up of three active volcanoes that belch sulphurous smoke and steam. Three crater lakes, Crocodile Lake, Flamingo Lake and Tilapia Lake, provide breeding grounds for the world’s largest concentration of Nile crocodiles. Central Island has a campsite where visitors can enjoy the beautifully haunting sight of the lake’s luminous waters wash up onto a black lava beach while the moon rises over the menacingly smoking craters.

TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK
“Land of Lava, springs, Man-Eaters & Magical Sunsets”
From the sight of fifty million gallons of crystal clear water gushing out of from the under parched lava rock that is the Mzima Springs to the Shetani lava flows, Tsavo West is a beautiful, rugged wilderness. The savannah ecosystem comprises of open grasslands, scrublands, and Acacia woodlands, belts of riverine vegetation and rocky ridges including the Poacher’s Lookout where visitors can see the teeming herds in the plains below. Tsavo West offers some of the most magnificent game viewing in the world and attractions include elephant, rhino, Hippos, lions, cheetah, leopards, Buffalos, diverse plant and bird species including the threatened corncrake and near threatened Basra Reed Warbler.

MARINE NATIONAL PARKS
KIUNGA MARINE NATIONAL RESERVE
“An Enchanted underwater World”
Further north along Kenya’s spectacular Indian Ocean coast is the Kiunga Marine National Reserve. This pristine ecosystem incorporates a chain of about 50 calcareous offshore islands and coral reefs in the Lamu Archipelago. Visitors can view the teeming sea life in the coral reefs, sea grass and extensive mangrove forests which are a refuge for sea turtles and dugongs. The reserve provides ideal opportunities for wind surfing, diving and snorkeling, water skiing and sunbathing.

WATAMU MARINE NATIONAL PARK
“Haven of the Green Turtle”
Green turtles, unique coral gardens, the Gede Ruins – the Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve has it all. The park is part of a complex of marine and tidal habitats along the Kenya’s north coast with rich and diverse bird life, fish, turtles and dugongs. Visitors can enjoy the white sandy beaches, snorkeling, water skiing, windsurfing and glass bottomed boat tours.

MOMBASA MARINENATIONAL PARK AND RESERVE
“Allure of natural beauty”
Warm Azure Ocean, swaying coconut palms on white sandy beaches are to be found in the Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve. The park lies between the Mtwapa and Tudor Creeks and its blue waters are ideal for wind surfing, water skiing, snorkeling and diving. They also provide a home to a colorful variety of marine species including crabs, starfish, stone fish, cucumbers sea urchins, corals, turtles, sea grasses and interesting migratory birds including crab plovers.

KISITE MARINE PARK
“Home of the Dolphins”
Unspoiled, beautiful and sun kissed, the Kisite Marine Park was established to protect the scenic islands and special habitats of a wide range of endemic marine animals and breeding migratory birds. It lies in the coral gardens south of Wasini Island and encompasses three small coral rag forest islands, each with considerable areas of fringing reef. Kisite is one of the most rewarding snorkeling locations at the coast. Visitors can also enjoy bird watching, diving and of course, sunbathing.

“The Coral Garden”
From swimming with zebra fish to windsurfing, this beautiful slice of Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline is provides the perfect getaway. The park is endowed with magnificent resources such as fringing reefs, coral gardens in the lagoons, sea grass beds, mangroves, mudflats, marine mammals, turtles and various species of shorebirds. Visitors can also enjoy glass bottom boat rides, snorkelling, camping and beach walks in this veritable paradise.