10 Best Game Parks in Kenya
1. Amboseli National Park
– Area: 392 km2, Location: Kajiado County
Amboseli National Park is perhaps the most favoured park by photographers against the backdrop of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and its flat terrain. It runs across the dry Maasai savanna plains which harbour enormous wildlife resources. Amboseli is administered by the local Maasai through the Kajiado County Council and derives its name from the Maasai term “dry river bed” in reference to Lake Amboseli; which over dry weather is smooth enough to drive across, only forming a shallow lake in rainy seasons. Lake Amboseli is quite a spectacular feature. As the heat haze, it forms a remarkable mirage and at times it is difficult to distinguish between the mirage and the actual surface of the water. Amboseli National Park has a tremendous concentration of big game especially around the waterholes famed for its rhinos, elephant herds and is also one of East Africa’s best spots for viewing cheetahs. The smooth country makes it easy to drive across with one very useful observation point, consisting of a small hill overlooking the main swamps, and named the “Observation Hill”.
2. Meru National Park
– Area: 890 km2, Location: Meru County
This of course is where Elsa the lioness was rehabilitated back to the wild. Born Free and its 1966 movie adaptation tell the story of Elsa’s rearing from a small cub by Joy Adamson and her Kenya game warden husband George, who had shot Elsa’s mother. Within 3 years, the cub had grown to a 250-pound adult, without losing her tameness and affection for George and, in particular, Joy. But the Adamsons were determined to release Elsa to the wild, and did so in Meru National Park. Aside from being one of best watered National Parks with numerous permanent rivers draining from Nyambene that crisscross the park before joining up to River Tana. Meru National Park is laid out with well tended roads, campsites and lodges. The scenery varies from heavily wooded country in the north to semi-arid to the south with roads to three adjoining national parks.
3. Marsabit National Reserve & Park
– Area: 360 km2, Location: Marsabit County
The misty montane mosaic rising gently out of the near desert country between the Kaisut and Chalbi deserts and overlooking Lake Paradise and Mt. Marsabit has something romantic about it. The name of the prominent volcanic bump “Mt. Marsabit” was derived from the white explorers description of the place as “Mars a bit” an old English word to mean “high and cool”, or again, Marsabicho which in Rendille means surrounded by mist, in reference to Mount Marsabit. On the slopes of Mount Marsabit, just a short distance from Lake Paradise, is a lodge and campsite. Marsabit National Park is famed for its scenery, beautiful Crater Lakes and some of the largest elephants in Kenya. It is also the jumping off place to the very remote and desolate Chalbi Desert – across “Kenya’s open museum of culture” inhabited by pastoralist communities who have stayed their traditional ways for many decades. Further north lies the Sibiloi National Park.
4. Sibiloi National Park
– Area: 1,570 km2, Location: Marsabit County
Although not a common travel corridor, its remoteness has preserved its awe-inspiring natural beauty. Sibiloi National Park is plausibly the northernmost touring destination in Kenya, which, for all the difficulty of getting there, is a rewarding place to visit. And more than any other park it offers an element of surprise. Its petrified forest, diversity of fauna, flora, Koobo Fora Museum, the tempestuous Lake Turkana, North and Central Islands are some of its fine and prominent attractions. Sibiloi National Park lies on the north-eastern shores of Lake Turkana, the largest desert lake in the world, in an arid near desert area of scrubland. However along the shore itself are large populations of zebras and oryx. The shore is also home to one of Africa’s largest extant bask of crocodiles. Sibiloi also contains vast fossils, famous as the source of man’s prehistoric past.
5. Lake Nakuru National Park
– Area: 188 km2, Location: Nakuru County
The shallow 80 km2 lake encircled by wooded acacia and bounded by Menegai Crater in the north, Bahati Hills in the north-east, Lion Hills in the east, Eburu Crater in the west and Mau Escarpment is a year-round timeless beauty. Lake Nakuru supports a dense bloom of the blue-green algae which is the major food source for the flamingos. The Lake is one of the world’s spectacular attractions for ornithologists. At most times of the year the lake shore is marked by an epic shimmering pink band, upto 20 yards wide. On closer approach this is seen to be flamingos – millions of flamingos. The flamingos are by no means all. More than 300 other species of birds have been listed in this park. The finest views of Lake Nakuru can be enjoyed from park’s three famed vantage points – Baboon Cliff, Lion Hill or Out of Africa Hill. The park encompasses the whole of the lake bed and a strip of the surrounding terrain and it’s one of the most visited parks.
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