National Parks and Reserves in Kenya
11. Boni National Reserve
On a much grander scale, but more easily approached from Lamu, is the 1,339 km2 Boni National Reserve, located at the extreme southeast corner of Garissa County; in between Dodori National Reserve, in Lamu County, and Lag Badana Bushbush National Park, in Somalia. Established in 1976, as a dry season refuge for elephants and other wild animals, this way-out backwoods reserve, covering a vast area of indigenous coastal forest, has a sizable concentrations of valuable hardwoods, most of which are listed as very rare, vulnerable or endangered. Its 680 km2 forest section is the only notable forest in Garissa County. Enclosed in this rarely visited forest are many ancient sacred and traditional groves used by the Bajuni, Somali and Boni Communities as well as a handful of historic sights and cultural landmarks. The open canopy forest of Boni National Reserve is a part of the broad and continental Northern Zanzibar-Inhambane coastal forest. In recent years, its gained unwelcome notoriety as a foxhole for the Al Shabaab.
12. Ruma National Park
Originally dubbed the Lambwe Valley Game Park, the 120 km2 Ruma National Park lying within the Lambwe Valley was set up in 1966 as a protection area for the endangered roan antelope. “This species has never been abundant in Kenya and the game laws of 1909 gave it special protection on account of its scarcity”. Located close at hand with Lake Victoria and bordered by Gwasi Hills and the Kanyamwa Escarpment (in the east and west) and by the volcanic plugs of the Ruri Hills (in the north), the drive to Ruma National Park is a wildly beautiful one. Moreover, its relatively flat terrain which makes it easy to drive across the park offers unbroken scenery. This does, however, make it harder to spot game, because one can hardly see more than the length of the glades. It is found 42 kms from Homa Bay via C19 Homa Bay-Ruma Road and 28 kms from Ndhiwa.
13. Bisanadi National Reserve
The 601 km2 semi-arid patch covered by the Bisanadi National Reserve, 50 kms south of Garba Tula Town, is generally-speaking a wildlife dispersal area for the contiguous Meru National Park, Mwingi and Kora National Reserves. The veldt unspoiled wilderness of Bisanadi National Reserve, set in a virtually unpeopled, rugged and totally untamed boondocks, offers trippers an interesting excursion into an unusual landscape that is seldom travelled. There is no accommodation at Bisanadi National Reserve and callers to the park must have a strong mind to venture off-the-beaten-circuits. Bisanadi also offers avid anglers some pristine fishing spots along River Tana and River Rojewero. It is more easily accessed through the Meru National Park, using the Kenya Wildlife Service Murera Gate.
14. Buffalo Springs National Reserve
The 131 km2 Buffalo Springs National Reserve lying to the south of Samburu National Reserve, separated by the River Ewaso Nyiro, also forms part of the wide-ranging Samburu Wildlife Conservation Area established to safe guard the integrity of this great rangeland and to perpetuate its wildlife. Unique to both these reserves – Buffalo Springs and Samburu – is that they were the foremost reserves in Kenya to have google street view, providing virtual representation of their surroundings on Google Maps. Both offer good game viewing and much of their beauty arises from their wide and open un-tamed and un-fenced frontiers. Although their elephant and rhino populations were much reduced by poaching in the 1970’s, concerted efforts by both Government and conservation counsels have turned around their fortunes. The demographic catalogue of the elephants utilizing Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves, collected from 1998 through 2003, designates that their elephant populations were increasing at an average rate of 4.6% per year. These free-ranging elephants constitute 18% of the 5400 elephants counted in the aerial census of 2002 within Samburu and Laikipia Counties. Ashnil Samburu Camp and Samburu Simba Lodge – both on the fringes of River Ewaso Nyiro – are the two main accommodations at Buffalo Springs National Reserve. The reserve is located 28.5 kms north of Isiolo Town.
15. Shaba National Reserve
Set up in 1974, just 52 kms from Isiolo Town, the exotic 60 km2 Shaba National Reserve, flanked to the north by River Ewaso Nyiro and more or less completely encircled by the expansive Sera Community Conservancy offers one of the most secluded and ways-out idyllic safari destination in Isiolo County and perhaps in the whole of Kenya. The reserve itself is never without a good concentration of wildlife, and what’s more, its un-wooded landscape makes it easy to spot game. There is a road running along the banks of River Ewaso Nyiro, and around each bend on the river a wonderful ever-changing landscape unfolds. By evening, the sandy banks along River Ewaso provide a splendid set-up to enjoy the awesome eventides. Shaba National Reserve is home to Sarova Shaba Lodge and to Joy’s Camp. Sarova Shaba Lodge, situated alongside the striking River Ewaso Nyiro – typified by doum palms and sand banks – is a haunt of beauty and although it’s off the beaten track it boasts of a fulsome swimming pool and other amenities like electricity, bar, and gazebos. From either of these establishments, holiday-makers get to enjoy open-top game drives, guided bush walks and excursions to Magado Crater. It’s found 52 kms north of Isiolo and is served by two airstrips.
- Lake Baringo National Reserve, Lake Bogoria National Reserve, South-Western Mau National Reserve, Rimoi National Reserve, Lake Kamnarok
- Mount Kenya National Park, Mwea National Reserve, Bour-Algi Giraffe Sanctuary, Rahole National Reserve, Arawale National Reserves
- Boni National Reserve, Ruma National Park, Bisanadi National Reserve, Buffalo Springs National Reserve, Shaba National Reserve
- Amboseli National Park, Kakamega National Reserve, Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve, Watamu Marine National Park, Malindi Marine Reserve
- Kisumu Impala Sanctuary, Ndere Island National Park, Mwingi National Reserve, South Kitui National Reserve, Shimba Hills National Reserve
- Diani-Chale Marine National Reserve, Kisite Mpunguti National Marine Park and Reserve, Dodori National Reserve, Kiunga Marine National Reserve, Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
- Chyulu Hills National Park, Ngai Ndeithia National Reserve, Malka Mari National Park, Losai National Reserve, South Island National Park
- Marsabit National Reserve and Park, Sibiloi National Park, Meru National Park, Mombasa Marine National Reserve and Park, Nairobi National Park
- Mount Longonot National Park, Crescent Island Game Sanctuary, Hell’s Gate National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, Bonjoge National Reserve
- Masai Mara National Reserve, Aberdare National Park, Samburu National Reserve, Maralal Game Reserve, Lake Kanyaboli National Reserve
- Kora National Park, Tana Primate National Reserve, Tsavo East & Tsavo West National Parks, Mutejwa National Reserve
- Mount Elgon National Park, Saiwa Swamp National Park, Central Island National Park, South Turkana National Reserve, Nasolot National Reserve