About 8% of the Kenya’s land mass is protected area for wildlife conservation. These are gazetted landscapes/seascapes that have been surveyed, and demarcated as National Parks or Reserves. These vary from forests, wetlands, savannah, marine, arid and semi-arid.
Kenya has 23 terrestrial Parks, 28 terrestrial Reserves, 4 marine Parks, 6 marine Reserves and 4 national homes. In addition to, 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 people living in wildlife areas.
Climbing to 5,199 meters, Mount Kenya is the second tallest mountain in Africa. The view 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 risky types 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.
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 homes 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 people who live around the park and meet their authentic culture.
Covered end to end in volcanic ash, the nightly glow of its South Island’s luminous vents has inspired many tales of ghosts and evil spirits. The island is home to a profusion of birdlife including 34 types of European migrants most amazingly viewed as they returned home between March and May.
At least 23 types 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, mainly swallow-tailed kites.
This park is ideal for game watching and has one of the world’s largest concentrations of crocodiles.
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 home of the rare and risky 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 think rushes and grass beds Bird 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.
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 defined by semi-desert home 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 350types of aquatic and terrestrial bird have been recorded in Lake Turkana.
Sibiloi is surrounded by the Turkana, the Gabra and the Dassanach who are people with very rich and unpolluted traditional cultures.
A mosaic of landscapes, ranging from riverine woodland and rolling savannah to fine escarpments and towering cliffs, Ruma National Park promises undiscovered wildlife treasures and undisturbed peace. It is also Kenya’s last remaining home for the risky 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.
Ruled by a small mountain covered in montane forest.
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is a home to 45 types of birds such as the white-browed sparrow weaver, grey- headed sparrow weaver and wildlife such as buffalo, pythons and monitor lizard. The mountain’s summit also offers visitors scenic views of Mount Kenya.
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, Magenta 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 and over 100 different types of birds.
Rising from the floor of the Great Rift Valley like a monolith is the extinct volcano of Mount Longonot. A special 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.
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.
Brilliant on a fine scale, the Meru and Kora sister parks feature fancy forest, coursing rivers, verdant swamp, khaki grasslands and gaunt termite cathedrals all under the sky’s great blue bowl.
Visitors can see Gravy’s zebras, elephants, Bohor reedbucks, hartebeests, pythons, and more than 427 recorded types of birds.
On the floor of the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by wooded and bushy grassland, lies the beautiful Lake.
Visitors can enjoy the wide ecological diversity and varied homes that range from Lake Nakuru itself to the surrounding.
Lake Nakuru National Park is ideal for bird watching, hiking, picnic and game drives.
The sight of dust-red elephant wallowing, rolling and spraying each other with the midnight blue waters.
while a 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 an adventure unlike any other in the Tsavo East.
The park forms the largest protected area in Kenya. Furthermore, it is a home to most of the larger mammals, and the prolific bird life features 500 recorded types.
A short drive out of Nairobi’s central business district is the Nairobi National Park. There is a wide variety of wildlife and varied birdlife with over 400 types recorded. Visitors can enjoy the park’s picnic sites, three campsites and the walking trails for hikers.
Lovely steep forested ravines and open moorland defines the Aberdare National Park. The park provides a home for elephants, black rhinos, leopards, spotted hyenas, olive baboons, among others.
Visitors can indulge in picnics, trout fishing in the rivers and camping in the moorlands. Bird viewing is rewarding, with over 250 types of birds in the park.
Named for the intense geothermal activity within its borders.
Hell’s Gate National Park is a remarkable quarter of the Great Rift Valley. Amazing view 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.
In addition to, the bio-diversity that included raptors, visitors can enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing and a natural spa.
Nevertheless, far to the north of Kenya, there is a think forested mountain and three crater lakes.
they provide a haven for a variety of birdlife, mammals and reptiles. Meanwhile, the beautiful Marsabit National Park is a refuge for huge tusked bull elephants, varied birdlife and reptiles. Lastly, hikes in the think forest, can be enjoyed along with camel rides, bird watching and visits to the singing wells.
Meanwhile, Kampi ya Simba is the former home of George and Joy Adamson.
Kora National Park offers a pristine desert dotted with tall icebergs.
while, Tana River is where 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.
Meanwhile, appearing starkly from the blue-green waters of the largest permanent desert lake in the world.
Furthermore, Lake Turkana, the Central Island is made up of three active volcanoes that belch sulphurous smoke and steam.
While, three crater lakes provide breeding grounds for the world’s largest mass of Nile crocodiles.
However, the Central Island has a campsite where visitors enjoy the beautiful haunting sight of the lake.
while the moon rises over the menacingly smoking craters.
From the sight of fifty million gallons of crystal clear water gushing out from the under parched lava rock to the Shetani lava flows. However, the savannah ecosystem forms of open grasslands, scrublands, and Acacia woodlands, belts of riverine vegetation and rocky ridges.
Similarly, Tsavo West offers some of the most fine game viewing in the world.
while, attractions include elephant, rhino, Hippos, lions, cheetah, leopards, Buffalos, diverse plant and bird species
Further north along Kenya’s amazing Indian Ocean coast is the Kiunga Marine National Reserve. However, this pristine ecosystem includes a chain of about 50 calcareous offshore islands and coral reefs in the Lamu Archipelago.
Lastly, the reserve provides ideal chances for wind surfing, diving and snorkeling, water skiing and sunbathing.
Furthermore, the green turtles, special coral gardens, the Gede Ruins–the Watamu Marine National Park & Reserve has it all. Meanwhile, the park is part of a complex marine and tidal homes along the Kenya’s north coast.
While, it has rich and varied bird life, fish, turtles and dugongs.
Visitors can enjoy the white sandy beaches, snorkeling, water skiing, windsurfing and glass bottomed boat tours.
Nevertheless, warm Azure Ocean, swaying coconut palms on white sandy beaches are to be found in the Mombasa Marine. However, the park lies between Mtwapa and Tudor Creeks.
while, its blue waters are ideal for wind surfing, water skiing, snorkeling and diving.
They also provide a home to colorful variety of marine types and interesting migratory birds.
Nevertheless, unspoiled, beautiful and sun kissed.
However, Kisite Marine Park was established to protect the scenic islands and special homes of endemic animals and migratory birds. Meanwhile, it lies in the coral gardens south of Wasini Island
Furthermore, Kisite is one of the most rewarding snorkeling locations at the coast. Visitors can also enjoy bird watching, diving and of course, sunbathing.
Furthermore, from swimming with zebra fish to windsurfing, this beautiful slice of Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline provided the perfect getaway. Meanwhile, the park is endowed with fine resources and various types of shorebirds.
Visitors can also enjoy glass bottom boat rides, snorkeling, camping and beach walks in this veritable paradise.