Kisumu Impala Sanctuary, Ndere Island National Park, Mwingi National Reserve, South Kitui National Reserve, Shimba Hills National Reserve

National Parks and Reserves in Kenya

21. Kisumu Impala Sanctuary

Entrance to Kisumu Impala Sanctuary. Image Courtesy of KWS

This is located just 3.1 kms from Kisumu Museum via Busia Road onto Awour Otieno Road and Tom Mboya Road. It can also be easily reached using various options on the labyrinthine network of roads in Milimani including via Achieng Oneko-Harambee Roads and Ring Road-Harambee Roads. Gazetted in 1992 as a national sanctuary, the 1 km2 Kisumu Impala Sanctuary set along the eastern shores of Kavirondo Gulf hosts an impressive variety. It was primarily set up a holding area for animals that require special protection and care, in this fast-growing region. It also provides a safe and sound grazing area for hippos from Lake Victoria. It sits across from Kisumu International Airport, on the western side of the Gulf, and north of Dunga Beach. Hallmarked as “a lake shore walk with the impalas”, a term derived from the herds of impalas which roam freely in the sanctuary, it offers a pleasant afternoon’s trip. The sanctuary has plenty of other animals to include: hogs, ostriches, monkeys, jackals, hyenas, duickers, hippos, zebras, lions and cheetahs, and over 115 bird species recorded. It offers a surprisingly pleasant game viewing experience far more than its size suggests.

22. Ndere Island National Park

Ndere Island National Park

This is found 25 kms from Kisian, taking a left turn shortly after Holo Market at Got Kodero Nyabondo Nomiya Church and in due course through Nyaguda and Bodi Markets before arriving at Kamuga Bay for a short boat ride to the island. A good pair of binoculars will better the experience at Ndere Island National Park ten-fold. Besides its diverse wildlife, on a pleasant weather day, one can glimpse the skyline of Kampala, in Uganda, in the distant horizon. Among its other pleasant sights include views of Nyakagera, Rambugu, Osope, Maboko and Mageta Islands and Homa Hills. The 4 km2 Ndere Island National Park is mostly covered by grassland that supports a good variety of grazers like the semi-aquatic Sitatunga antelope, water bucks, impalas and warthogs which can all be seen happily roaming the park. The lake shore supports plenty of wildlife that are home in the water including hippos, Nile crocodiles, several fish species and snakes. “Over 100 different species of birds can be seen here including the African fish eagles, the black headed gonoleks and the grey headed kingfishers”.

23. Mwingi National Reserve

Mwingi National Reserve

Previously known as Kitui-North National Reserve, sometimes dubbed as the Mwingi North National Reserve and more proper as Mwingi National Reserve, this occupies about 745 km2 in the northeast edge of Kitui County. It is one of four protected and contiguous areas which consist the larger 4,400 km2 Meru Conversation Zone alongside with Meru National Park (in the north), Bisanadi National Reserve (northeast) and Kora National Reserve (east). As a result, this Reserve is a designated as a “wilderness zone” by Kenya Wildlife Service which allows for fly camping, camel and horseback safari. The Reserve is flanked on the northern frontier by the River Tana. Due to the fact that Mwingi National Reserve is bordered by other reserves, it is frequently visited by various game from the neighboring parks. Animals that are found in Mwingi Reserve include caracal, elephant, hippo, leopard, lion and different antelope species among others. Traditional game viewing is still extremely restricting and there is no accommodation. Trippers aiming for the reserve must have a strong wish to venture off the grid. It can be accessed via C93 Mwingi-Kathwana Road turning off at Kamuwongo Centre and through Kyuso Village or via Meru National Park.

24. South Kitui National Reserve

South Kitui National Reserve

The 1,831 km2 South Kitui Reserve National Reserve is situated 30 kms east of Mutomo on the eastern edge of Kitui, and 10 kms north of Tsavo East National Park. Gazetted in 1979, and placed under the trusteeship of the defunct Kitui District Council, there was little development invested hitherto, but of a more recent development it has become a focal-point for conservation and efforts to revamp it are currently on-going. It had been, for five decades, an extensively degraded, encroached and ravaged area. Like Mwingi National Reserve, neither is at all well known. Both lack accommodation and easy access routes through their dense and dry bushland habitations. In 2013, during the aerial census of elephants carried out in Tsavo-Mkomazi Ecosystems which include Tsavo East, Tsavo West, Chyulu and Mkomazi National Parks, South Kitui National Reserve and Taita, Kulalu and Galana Ranches, a total of 12,866 elephants were counted – 12,843 in Tsavo Ecosystem and 23 in Mkomazi National Park representing an increase of 15% over three years with an annual average increase of about 4.9%.

25. Shimba Hills National Reserve

Shimba Hills National Reserve.

Either using the turnoff at Waa or an alternative one just 2 kms ahead, Shimba Hills National Reserve is about 16 kms off the A14 Likoni-Ukunda Road along the C106 Kwale-Kinago Road through Kwale Town; the county’s headquarters. From Kwale Town, it’s a short 3 kms drive to the park gate. Established in 1968, in part to save the Sable antelope, the 300 km2 Shimba Hills National Reserve also supports a motley collection of wildlife including species of the rare Roan’s antelope. Into the bargain, it is also one of the most scenic in Kenya with rolling hillocks, open grasslands, and patches of rain forest overlooking Indian Ocean. There is plenty to enjoy on a walking safari around the reserve including stellar views of Pengo and Taita Hills, Shimba Range, the Coastal Plain, convergence of the seven rivers, the rain forest and Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary. By far, the crowning-stroke for trippers to Shimba Hills is a visit to well-liked Giriama Viewpoint en-route Sheldrick Falls, with breathtaking out and out views of the disparate ecological gamut. The 20-rooms tree-house style Shimba Hills Lodge is the prime lodge at Shimba Hills National Reserve. It’s open daily year-round. Park charges are Shs. 300-Citizens, 600-Residents and USD 22-Non Residents.

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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