Mount Elgon National Park, Saiwa Swamp National Park, Central Island National Park, South Turkana Reserve, Nasolot National Reserve

National Parks and Reserves in Kenya

56. Mount Elgon National Park

Mount Elgon National Park.  Image Courtesy of Safari 254

Mount Elgon National Park (169 km2) lying close to the Kenya-Uganda border comprises all the forests and the mountain area above 2440 metres contour; on the Kenyan side. Mount Elgon, the major geological feature of the park, rises to 4313 metres at its highest area known as Koitoboss Peak. This is Kenya’s second highest mountain.  The forest glades within Mount Elgon National Park contain plenty of wildlife, and elephants in particular, but the park is essentially more revered as a scenic park. It is particularly much-liked as a walking park and the relatively gentle slopes allow for easy expeditions, mostly aiming for the series of caves, some that are famous as elephant caves. There are 4 campsites within Mount Elgon National Park, as well as, Kapturo Cottages run by Kenya Wildlife Service. Chorlim Gate (the main gate) is located 33 kms west from Kitale Town.

57. Saiwa Swamp National Park

Saiwa Swamp National Park. Image Courtesy of Trip Advisor

Established in 1974, the small 3 km2 Saiwa Swamp National Park is indubitably Kenya’s smallest National Park, created principally to protect the Sitatunga; a rare aquatic antelope. Saiwa Park encompasses a swamp which contains some of the last remaining rare Sitatunga in Kenya. “Seats have been fixed up in trees surrounding the swamp so that visitors can sit and observe these long-hooved, aquatic bushbuck”. The swamp itself, fed by the Saiwa River, features a lovely blend of forest that can be explored by means of a raised wooden boardwalk. KWS operates Saiwa Swamp picnic site, Sitatunga campsite, and the Tree Top Hut (a self-catering tree house). There is also the privately-run Sirikwa Tented Camp which is located just 6 kms from the turnoff into the park. Saiwa Swamp National Park is worth visiting on any trip that plans to take in Mount Elgon National Park. It lies 24 kms northeast of Kitale via A1 Kitale-Kapenguria Road.

58. Central Island National Park

Central Island National Park in Turkana County. Image courtesy of Steepes Travel

Central Island National Park, the second largest of the triad of islands in Lake Turkana, is aggrandized for its three separate crater lake tubes which hold three beguiling lakes filled with emerald-green water. Each of these lakes – Flamingo Lake, Tilapia Lake and Crocodile Lake – are named after the native inhabitants; with the latter providing breeding grounds for the world’s largest concentration of Nile crocodiles. Central Island is within reach of many sites of interest about Turkana County and easily accessed on a short boat ride from various bays like Ferguson Gulf and Eliye Springs. It’s located 5 kms coastal from Ferguson Gulf.

59. South Turkana National Reserve

South Turkana National Reserve. Image Courtesy of Incentive Travel Limited

Leaving Lokichar en-route Kainuk 65 kms southerly one finally arrives at South Turkana National Reserve nearby Katilu. This little oasis, teeming with a variety of fauna and flora, defies the odds of this austere, seared and arid inhospitable Turkana County.  Some of the notable wildlife are gazelles, dik-diks, lions and cheetahs, zebras and hyenas. South Turkana National Park is also home to large basks of crocodiles, over 80 species of birds, sweeping landscapes, hiking trails and camps.  There is a ring-road that runs across the park from near Lokoro in the east, to Katilu in the west. It remains fairly underdeveloped and unexplored.

60. Nasalot National Reserve

Nasalot National Reserve

As you cross the peripheral region between Marich Pass and Kainuk Town, the bulk of the Cherangani Hills form fine views fading away to the west as the road gradually deeps towards the vast semi-arid lowlands. Past the exit to the Sekerr Range, the drive to Nasolot Reserve and Kainuk is fascinating as the mountains suddenly give way to unvarying shrubland. At Kainuk-Turkwel Junction, just 15 kms from Marich Pass Center, the road to the left leads to Nasolot and the other proceeds to Kainuk. On the short 10 kms stretch from Kainuk-Turkwel Junction to Nasolot National Reserve the road runs parallel to the Turkwel River. The 92 km2 Nasolot National Reserve is typified by sweeping bush and shrubland with only the high-reaches of the Nasolot Hill spotting a wooded floral profile. From Nasolot Hill one can catch fine views of Sekerr Range, to the south. Gazetted in 1979, near the Turkwel Gorge, Nasolot National Reserve is famed for its prolific but shy wildlife. It harbours a big elephant population estimated at 510 in 2010.

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  1. Lake Baringo National Reserve, Lake Bogoria National Reserve, South-Western Mau National Reserve, Rimoi National Reserve, Lake Kamnarok
  2. Mount Kenya National Park, Mwea National Reserve, Bour-Algi Giraffe Sanctuary, Rahole National Reserve, Arawale National Reserves
  3. Boni National Reserve, Ruma National Park, Bisanadi National Reserve, Buffalo Springs National Reserve, Shaba National Reserve
  4. Amboseli National Park, Kakamega National Reserve, Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve, Watamu Marine National Park, Malindi Marine Reserve
  5. Kisumu Impala Sanctuary, Ndere Island National Park, Mwingi National Reserve, South Kitui National Reserve, Shimba Hills National Reserve
  6. Diani-Chale Marine National Reserve, Kisite Mpunguti National Marine Park and Reserve, Dodori National Reserve, Kiunga Marine National Reserve, Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
  7. Chyulu Hills National Park, Ngai Ndeithia National Reserve, Malka Mari National Park, Losai National Reserve, South Island National Park
  8. Marsabit National Reserve and Park, Sibiloi National Park, Meru National Park, Mombasa Marine National Reserve and Park, Nairobi National Park
  9. Mount Longonot National Park, Crescent Island Game Sanctuary, Hell’s Gate National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, Bonjoge National Reserve
  10. Masai Mara National Reserve, Aberdare National Park, Samburu National Reserve, Maralal Game Reserve, Lake Kanyaboli National Reserve
  11. Kora National Park, Tana Primate National Reserve, Tsavo East & Tsavo West National Parks, Mutejwa National Reserve
  12. Mount Elgon National Park, Saiwa Swamp National Park, Central Island National Park, South Turkana National Reserve, Nasolot National Reserve