The Masai Mara Reserve is one of East Africa’s best known game viewing areas and adjoins the Serengeti Park of Tanzania, a land of undulating hills and rolling grasslands supporting a huge animal population. When a casual visitor is treated to the sight of lions in prides, sometimes numbering as many as thirty beasts with a handsome black-maned male in dominance. A cheetah roaming the plains to run down its prey or a leopard with its kill in the lower branches of the sausage tree. In the Mara River there are hundreds of hippos and some crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks. Elephant, cape buffalo, giraffe, gazelles, topi antelope and during the months from July to September the wildebeest and zebra migrations overflow into the Masai Mara from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Accommodation varies from camping, simple lodges to luxury camps and ranch homesteads. Most lodges offer the opportunity to take a hot air balloon safari in the early mornings, every day of the year, weather permitting.
Aberdare National Park
This park consists of high Alpine moorland and primeval forest. Rarely visited beyond the lower salient, many visitors stay at one of the two tree hotels, Treetops and the Ark. Both are situated in forest glades and overlooking water holes. Salt deposits lure the animals out from the forest and at dusk floodlights are switched on so that guests can view in comfort through the night. Many species pass through with some sightings of the elusive leopard and the rare bongo antelope. Each forest lodge is served by its base hotel, Outspan Golf & Country Club and Aberdare Country Club. Both are delightful country hotels with facilities and outdoor activities.
Mount Kenya National Park
This park was created around Africa’s second highest mountain. It is a favourite with trekkers and serious mountain climbers. The forest and lower slopes abound with elephant, Cape Buffalo and fantastic bird life, as well as Giant Forest Hog. There is one ‘Tree-hotel’, Mountain Lodge, which is 165 kms from Nairobi. Further north is the famous Mount Kenya Safari Club set on the edge of the forest leading to the lower slopes of the mountain. On the huge Ol Pejeta Ranch there is the luxury Sweetwaters Tented Camp.
Samburu National Reserve
There are three adjoining reserves situated in arid country north of Mt. Kenya, but watered by the Uaso Ngiro River and natural springs. Very scenic with craggy hills and everywhere the Doum palm trees following the water courses. Some unusual animal species can be found here: the Reticulated giraffe, beisa oryx, Grevy’s zebra and long-necked gerenuk. Leopard and crocodile can be seen most nights at the lodges where bait is set to attract them.
Amboseli National Park
A real gem of a park situated right at the foot of Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, which, at 5895 metres is an imposing attraction to the horizon. Elephants abound in the forest and swamps feeding on the lush grasses. Cheetah can be found on the salt flats. Giraffe wander through the forest whilst zebra and wildebeest feed on the open plains. The snow-capped dome of the peak of Kibo form a magnificent backdrop, making it a photographers’ paradise. Accommodation is in various camps and lodges.
Tsavo National Park - East & West
This huge park is split in two by the main Nairobi/Mombasa highway and covers a total area of 2000 sq.kms. Once famous for its large herds of over 60,000 ‘red’ elephants, so called due to the red murrum earth that they sprayed themselves with like talcum powder. Although these herds have recently been depleted due to poaching and drought, a strong drive by the Wildlife Services has brought peace to their lives and the populations are on the increase again. In Tsavo West are the Mzima Springs where hippo and crocodile can be viewed from the underwater hide. Further south, adjoining the park is the Taita Hills Sanctuary with its unique lodge at Salt Lick perched high on stilts of concrete overlooking water holes. Nearby is the luxury of Taita Hills Lodge. Tsavo West is bordered on the south by Mkomazi National Park in Tanzania.
Meru National Park
Meru, in the Northern Frontier district of Kenya, is untamed Africa at its most alluring. The animals are shy, unused to their human counterparts and the landscape is wild. Accommodation is now available in Elsa’s Kopje named after Elsa, the orphaned lioness reared by Joy and Goerge Adamson (from the movie “Born Free”) who eventually returned her to the wild in Meru. This park is singled out as the driest in the country with little rainfall although it is, in fact, criss-crossed with numerous rivers and streams running off nearby mountains. The landscape is blessed with dense ribbons of vegetation with magnificent stands of baobab trees, and doum and raphia palms running though dry valleys.
Lake Nakuru National Park
A soda lake frequented by hundreds of thousands of Greater and Lesser Flamingos lining the shore in a pink mass. It is also a sanctuary for both black and white rhinoceros and a small herd of rare Rothschild’s giraffe. There are two lodges inside the Park.