Safari Destinations in Kenya

When the topic of an African safari is brought up, Kenya  must be one of the first destinations which comes to mind. It is after all, the birthplace of the safari and was the first country to introduce the concept of the Big 5. A Kenyan safari is a must for anyone looking to see a huge array of wildlife but knowing exactly which park or reserve to travel to can be tough. With that in mind, we’re highlighting the five places in Kenya for a safari that we feel are the best.

Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara is Kenya’s top safari destination. It is located in the Southwestern region of Kenya bordering with Tanzania’s Serengeti national park. Popular for its alluring savannah landscape, the Mara is home to Africa’s largest concentration of wildlife. Do you want to see the big cats, large mammals such as elephants, rhinos, and buffaloes, you name it? Masai Mara National Reserve will treat you to all of it. And oh, the dramatic Wildebeest Migration! This is the most iconic escapade in the Mara. Every year between July and October, millions of grazers dominated by mostly wildebeest cross the Mara River from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania in search for lush green pastures and water.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Visitors from around the world are drawn to Lake Nakuru to witness the huge flocks of flamingos gathering at the lake, as well as the 300+ plus other species of bird which call the park home. Although the numbers of flamingo and pelican congregating in the area has decreased in recent years, it has been known to rise to up to 1.5 million. It’s not just birdlife which inhabits Lake Nakuru en masse, the park was declared a rhino sanctuary in 1983 and currently has a very healthy population of both black and white rhino. If you venture south to the forested area below Flamingo Hill, you’ll find the popular lion-spotting region, where you’ll see the lionesses sleeping in the trees as well as a few leopards. Lake Nakuru National Park is also a sanctuary for the endangered white rhinos and black rhinos, the Rothschild’s Giraffes. More wildlife species that can be spotted in Lake Nakuru national park include; lions, leopards, impalas, antelopes, bush bucks, and baboons.
Samburu National Reserve
Deriving its name from the Samburu people who have been native to the region for many years, Samburu National Reserve is one of Kenya’s smaller parks in comparison to the likes of the Masai Mara but is teeming with life, nonetheless. The unrestricted savannah grassland has the Ewaso Nyiro River passing through it, which attracts an abundance of wildlife including a huge population of Nile crocodile, and the reserve is also home to the ‘Samburu Special 5’, the rare northern species which inhabit the park. These are the Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and the beisa oryx. The reserve is also occupied by the Samburu people who are traditional nomadic pastoralists.
Nairobi National Park
Did you know that Nairobi, Kenya’s capital is the only city in the world with a National Park at its entrance? Yes, it is. Located just at the southern end of the city centre, Nairobi National Park boosts a variety of wildlife and birds. The Park has two game viewing options; one on a game drive through the Park and on a safari walk on the canopied bridge. Expect to appreciate nature and immense sights of buffaloes, lions, gazelles, zebras, giraffes, leopards, warthogs and over 400 bird species. With a combination of a trail through the amazing sites, luxurious hotels and lodges in Nairobi city, visiting Nairobi National Park can be another enthralling experience.
Tsavo National Park
Tsavo National Park is one of Kenya’s oldest National Park located in the semi-arid area near Voi town in the Taita-Taveta County South-eastern Kenya. The Park covers the largest protected area of about 13,747 square kilometres. Decorated with rocky hills, wetlands, dormant volcanoes, a bed of igneous rocks and natural springs, the Park is commonly referred to as the embodiment of wilderness. The Park divided into two; Tsavo East which is characterized of mostly savannah and semi-arid grasslands and Tsavo West National Parks which is characterized by mostly mountains and savabbah woodland. Tsavo is home to a variety of wildlife species among which include; a range dust-red elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, lions, leopards, hippos, crocodiles, water bucks, oryxes, gerenuks, lesser kudus, cheetahs, giraffes, and vervet monkeys.
Meru National Park
This is one of the lesser-known National parks in Kenya but has a lot to offer. Meru National Park is located east of Meru about 350km from Nairobi City. The Park features a massive unspoiled stretch of dry-grassland, rolling hills and riverine habitats that habor the various wild animals and bird species. Meru offers great sights of reedbucks, gazelles, zebras, giraffes, hartebeests, elephants, lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, hippos, crocodiles and jackals, among others. And as the birdwatchers will be impressed by more than 427 recorded bird species in the Park, the snake fanatics will be happy to know about the pythons, cobras and puff adders, among other species can be encountered in Meru.
Aberdare National Park
Characterized by steep forested gorges and open moorland grassland, Aberdare National Park provides a habitat for several wild animals, primates and birds. The Park is located in Aberdare Mountain range in central Kenya. Common wild animals in Aberdare include elephants, black rhinos, spotted hyenas, buffaloes, warthogs, leopards, olive baboons and black and white colobus monkeys. Other possible species include African golden cats, serval cats, civet cats, blue-duikers, Giant Forest hogs and Bongos, to mention but a few. Aberdare National Park is also home to over 250 recorded bird species among which include; Sparrow Hawks, Sunbirds, Plovers, and Eagles, among others.
Kenyan Coastline
Another famous safari destination in Kenya is its coast. Protected by an offshore coral reef barrier in Mombasa, Kenya’s coastline offers breath-taking beaches and tropical waters with a display of activities such as snorkelling, fishing, swimming, scuba diving and kite surfing among others. Often flooded by groups of families, holiday makers, adventure lovers and honeymooners, Kenya’s coastline offers the perfect getaway safaris in East Africa. With a range of flawless lodges, hotels and Airbnb’s, visitors get to enjoy exquisite safaris in Mombasa. The most visited places at the coastline include Diani located about 19 kilometres south of Fort Jesus, Mombasa. Diani consists of the destination’s most esteemed beaches, Wasini Island and the Wasini Marine National Park located south of Diani. Diani also offers one of the best snorkelling hubs in Africa.