National Parks & Game Reserves
There are a number of special campsites in each park, favored by the mobile tented safari operators, which have to be pre-booked. Shaba also has an airstrip.
Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara National Reserve is probably the most famous and most visited Reserve in Kenya. It offers breathtaking views, an extraordinary density of animals including »the Big Five« (lions, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino) and many varieties of plains game.
An impressive feature is the annual migration of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles from the plains of the Serengeti that cross the Tanzanian border and rivers to reach the Mara’s grasslands from late June, tracked by predators: lion, leopard, cheetah, and hyena. Their dramatic river crossings are a reality for tourists visiting in early July to August. Accommodation ranges from stone built lodges to luxury tented camps. The area to the North owned by the Maasai offers great game-viewing, game walks and night games. Safari operators set up private camps for small groups seeking exclusive and traditional safaris out of the Reserve.
Samburu National Reserve
The mix of wood and grassland with river line forest and swamp is home to a wide variety of animal and birdlife. Buffalo Springs records over 365 species of bird. Game viewing and visibility is excellent. Reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, elephant, oryx, Somali ostrich, hippo, crocodile, gerenuk, buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena.
Shaba National Reserve is home to Joy Adamson’s Monument. It is notable for its hot springs. Samburu and Buffalo Springs, in particular, are popular tourist routes. There are a number of special campsites in each park, favored by the mobile tented safari operators, which have to be pre-booked. Shaba also has an airstrip.
Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo-East is one of Kenya’s oldest and largest National Parks: covering approximately 40% of the total area of all of Kenya’s National Parks. Its beautiful landscape and proximity to the Coast make it a popular safari destination.
It is accredited as one of the World’s leading bio-diversity strongholds, bushy grassland and open plains alternating with savannah and semi-arid acacia scrub and woodlands. Green swathes cross the Park where the river banks give rise to lush vegetation. North of Galana is a true wilderness. A number of leading tour guides offer private safaris in this area.
Tsavo East is recommended for photographers with its fabulous light and unbelievable views, in particular the Mudanda Rock and the Yatta Plateau, the world’s largest lava flow. Luggard’s Falls on the Galana River are remarkable for the shaped water-worn rocks. Game includes: elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, crocodile, waterbuck, kudu, gerenuk, and zebra and Aruba Hunter’s Hartebeest can be seen with its Lyre-shaped horns.
Home to some of the largest herds in Kenya, the elephants glow red after dust baths, blowing the vivid red dust through their trunks over their bodies. 500 bird species are recorded including ostrich and some migratory kestrels and buzzards stop at Tsavo-East during their long flight south.
Tsavo West National Park
Later in 1900 the notorious »Man Eaters of Tsavo«, man eating lions preyed on the railway linesman building the great Uganda Railway. The carriage from which they pulled a traveller is on display in Nairobi Railway Museum. Tsavo West has important historic connections as a major battleground in World War I where British and German troops battled for supremacy.
The Park is easy to reach, located off the main Nairobi-Mombasa road. It offers tremendous views with diverse habitats ranging from mountains, river forest, lakes and wooded grassland. Its plains border with the Southern Serengeti plains in Tanzania. Game includes: leopard, cheetah, buffalo, rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, plains game, crocodile and small mammals including mongoose, hyrax, dik dik and the nocturnal porcupine.
It is an excellent park for visitors who enjoy walking, offering a number of nature trails and the opportunity to explore the Chaimu volcanic crater and guides are available. Mzima Springs is a star attraction, a pool of natural spring water with underwater viewing hides for observing hippos. Chyulu Hills National Park is an extension of Tsavo West National Park. It was opened in January 1983 to protect its unique habitat and role as a vital water catchment area. The Chyulus are a volcanic mountain range with a mix of volcanic cones and barren lava flows, of which the most interesting is Shetani, meaning »Devil« in Swahili.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli is a place of stark contrast. Meaning a »place of water« in Maasai, Amboseli despite its sometimes dry and dusty appearance, has an endless water supply filtered through thousands of feet of volcanic rock from Kilimanjaro’s snow melt. These underground streams converge into two clear water springs in the heart of the park. The endemic dust is volcanic ash which spewed from Kilimanjaro a millenia ago.
During the dry seasons, a curious feature is the shimmering dry lake bed where false mirages of populated horizons, punctuated by real herds of zebras and wildebeests hover in front of visitors. The principal attraction in Amboseli is its vast herds of elephants within the park. The bull elephants here have some of the largest tusks in Kenya. Plentiful game includes the zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala and leopard. Caracal and serval cat can be seen. Birdwatchers can see pelicans, bee-eaters, kingfishers, African fish eagles, martial eagles and pygmy falcons. Amboseli is an important rangeland in Maasai culture. The ranch areas outside the park offer a wealth of game viewing and walking safaris.
Serengeti National Park
It was 1913 and great stretches of Africa were still unknown to the white man when Stewart Edward White, an American hunter, set out from Nairobi. Pushing south, he recorded: »We walked for miles over burnt out country… Then I saw the green trees of the river, walked two miles more and found myself in paradise.«
He had found Serengeti. In the years since White’s excursion under »the high noble arc of the cloudless African sky,« Serengeti has come to symbolize paradise to many of us. The Maasai, who had grazed their cattle on the vast grassy plains for millennia had always thought so. To them it was Siringitu – »the place where the land moves on forever.«
The Serengeti region encompasses the Serengeti National Park itself, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Over 90.000 tourists visit the Park each year. Two World Heritage Sites and two Biosphere Reserves have been established within the 30.000 km² region. It’s unique ecosystem has inspired writers from Ernest Hemingway to Peter Mattheissen, filmakers like Hugo von Lawick and Alan Root as well as numerous photographers and scientists – many of which have put their works at our disposal to create this website.
The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. The essential features of climate, vegetation and fauna have barely changed in the past million years. Early man himself made an appearance in Olduvai Gorge about two million years ago. Some patterns of life, death, adaptation and migration are as old as the hills themselves. It is the migration for which Serengeti is perhaps most famous. Over a million wildebeest and about 200.000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then swirl west and north after the long rains in April, May and June. So strong is the ancient instinct to move that no drought, gorge or crocodile infested river can hold them back.
The Wildebeest travel through a variety of parks, reserves and protected areas and through a variety of habitat. Join us to explore the different forms of vegetation and landscapes of the Serengeti ecosystem and meet some of their most fascinating inhabitants.
Ngorongoro Wildlife Sanctuary
In the 1920’s it was treated as part of the Serengeti. It is the largest unbroken volcanic caldera ( collapsed volcano) in the world, with the crater itself covering an area of 259 square kilometres and having walls over 600 meters high. It was formed by geological faulting in the eastern arm of the Great Rift Valley two to three million years ago. The volcano created was probably larger than Mount Kilimanjaro. the quick withdrawal of molten lava beneath it made the centre collapse, creating the crater we see today. the name Ngorongoro comes from a Mas
ai word, llkorongoro which was the name given to the age group of Masai warriors who wrested the highlands from the datong, their previous occupants. The datong had in turn taken them from their predecessors the Hadzabe (bushmen/hunter-gatherers). The name llkorongoro echoed the sound of the battle bells the Masai warriors wore when they first occupied the highlands in the year 1800. This sound »koh-rohngoroh« struck terror into the hearts of their enemies. The wa-masai have also given their own names to the walls and floor of the crater, the walls are known as en tiak which means sheer drop- while the floor is ramat meaning health- land.
Being a conservation area rather than a National Park the Masai are allowed to bring in their animals to graze and water, making it possible to see wild animals and domestic livestock in the crater together. We normally camp on the rim of the crater, (simba campsite) and from here, it is about one hours drive around the rim to the point where we reach the descent road. from here there are spectacular views across and down into the crater. It can be very cold at this height (2300 mts) so it is advisable to wear warm clothes until we reach the floor of the crater. the road follows a winding and very steep route known as the Seneto Descent. Wildlife the Ngorongoro Crater offers some of the best game viewing in all the National Parks of Tanzania. it has a rich variety of resident birds and animals that make the area their home. Its varied habitats support between 300-400 animals most of the year. In the crater the mandusi and gorogor swamps are areas of marshland, the lerai forest is dominated by yellow barked acacia trees, and in the centre is Lake Magadi, a soda lake, often visited by flocks of flamingo’s. The rainy season lasts from November through to May, with the dry season running from June through to October. June and July are the coldest months of the year. The rim of the crater is often shrouded in dense cloud. Most of the animals are resident here. All the typical plains herbivores, including wildebeest, zebra, grants and thomsons gazelle, are well represented. All the most sought after animals, cape buffalo, waterbuck, eland, hartebeest, lions, elephant, black rhino, hippo, jackal(-silver-backed and golden), are well represented. Cheetah and leopard are present but sometimes difficult to see.
Lake Nakuru National Park
The park lies in Central Kenya, 140km north-west of Nairobi, in Nakuru district of the Rift Valley Province. The ecosystem comprises of the lake, surrounded by mainly wooded and bushy grasslands. The park supports a wide ecological diversity with Flamingos (Greater and Lesser) and other water birds being the major attractions of the area. The ecosystem provides for about 56 different species of mammals including the white rhino and buffaloes and a variety of terrestrial birds numbering nearly 450 species.
Aberdares National Park
Visitors can also indulge in picnics, trout fishing in the rivers and camping in the moorlands. The Aberdare National Park, with an area of 767 sq km covers the higher areas of the Aberdare Mountain Ranger of Central Kenya, from altitude of 1829M to 4001M above sea level. The topography is quite diverse with deep ravines that cut through the forested eastern and western slopes. Animals easily observed in the park include; the Black Rhino, leopard, baboon, black and white Colobus monkey and sykes monkey. Rarer sightings include those of lions, the golden cat and the bongo- an elusive forest antelope that lives in the bamboo forest. Animals like the eland and spotted and melanistic serval cats can be found higher up in the moorlands.
Bird viewing is rewarding, with over 250 species of birds in the park, including the Jackson’s Francolin, sparry hawk, goshawks, eagles, sunbirds and plovers.
Mt. Kenya National Park
Mt. Kenya National Park is located to the east of the Great Rift Valley, about 175km North-East of Nairobi. The ecosystem lies in Central and Eastern provinces of Kenya. At 5.199 m the mountain is the second highest peak in Africa. Mt. Kenya is an important water tower in the country. It provides water for about 50% of the country’s population and produces 70% of Kenya’s hydroelectric power.
??UNESCO inscribed Mount Kenya as a World Heritage Site. Its described as one of the most impressive landscapes in Eastern Africa with its rugged glacier-clad summits, Afro-alpine moorlands and diverse forests that illustrate outstanding ecological processes.
Savora Salt Lick Game Lodge
Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge offers an unparalleled safari experience. The entire lodge is raised on high stilts above watering holes and feeding pastures offering a spectacular view of the wildlife from above and all around. The Lodge is situated in the midst of the Taita Hills Sanctuary, a private wildlife conservancy of 28.000 acres at the foot of the Taita Hills bordering Tsavo West National Park, one of the world’s largest game reserves. The Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge offers luxury accommodation and facilities and is the perfect place in an unforgettable setting to explore the natural environment around.
The Sanctuary provides a safe environment to over 50 species of mammals and 300 species of birds within 28.000 acres of rolling savanna and woodland habitats. Large numbers of wildlife come to drink at the waterholes, so Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge provides a rare opportunity to view animals at close proximity in their natural habitat. The lobby, restaurant and terraced bar all provide excellent views and photographic opportunities, while an underground tunnel and bunker with ground level windows provides unbelievably close yet safe access to a variety of wildlife as they drink. The waterholes are illuminated by powerful floodlights as it gets dark, to make sure that you witness all the activity throughout the night.
The Sanctuary is a success story in sustainable conservation where wildlife – including elephant, lion, buffalo and giraffe – thrive. Game drives are tightly controlled to ensure that animals are not harassed and some areas are completely closed to vehicles. This commitment to responsible ecotourism, which has been so well supported by visitors, ensures that the Sanctuary and all its wildlife will continue to prosper.