Looking for the best safari parks in Kenya? Today’s safaris are much more sophisticated than those of the past, but for those headed to Kenya, an explorer’s spirit is necessary. From long treks into winding caves to kicking up dust on a safari trail, you should be prepared for adventure no matter what park you choose. Here are the top parks and areas in Kenya that are worth exploring on your next adventure.
Mount Kenya National Park – For the Adventurer Traveler
While it is a different side to this arid part of Africa, Mount Kenya is one of the best places to start if you want to get an understanding of the climate and wildlife differences. Kenya is surprising, and climbing to the top of Mount Kenya is quite an undertaking. However, you don’t need to climb to the top to get a vantage point of the beautiful wilderness and wildlife around you.
There is a helicopter adventure that takes you to one of the mountain peaks, giving your eyes access to a serene, permanent glacier at the top. This area of Kenya is unlike the other safaris since it’s alpine vegetation, but this is the sacred mountain for which the country gets its name. That’s why it’s a must for any trip to the area.
Special Considerations About Mount Kenya
While the temperature does not vary much, it’s typically cold weather around the mountain. The temperature rarely goes above 20 degrees Celsius. In addition, the mountain is best visited via Nairobi, where you can travel via the road or helicopter.
Masai Mara Game Reserve – For Animal Lovers
There is no other sight more surreal than seeing wildlife in their natural habitat on the Masai Mara Game Reserve. You can plan your entire stay and spend days exploring the area, going on a safari through zebra-filled fields. Every day, you wake up to a gorgeous skyline, occasionally filled with nearby hot air balloons or the wandering herd of wildebeest.
Lions frequent this area and take no notice of you as they teach their young how to hunt. The reserve is home to an exceptional amount of wildlife that can be experienced year-round. This boasts more than two million wildebeest, zebras and various antelopes that form the renowned Great Migration. East Africa’s wildlife is easy to enjoy at Masai Mara, which makes it a must if you want to see these exotic animals in their natural habitat.
Special Considerations for Masai Mara Game Reserve
This is one of the easiest locations to get to and observe wildlife in a park setting for Kenya, so it’s also one of the most popular. The best season is typically in the summer with July and October being called the best months to travel. However, visiting in April and May brings the most value but occasional downpours are something to be taken into consideration.
Amboseli National Park – For Elephant Fans
In the southeast region of Kenya, near the border of Tanzania, the Amboseli National Park is another beautiful area to explore, particularly if you want to watch roaming, grazing, playful elephants. However, the park is drier and filled with dust during the warmer months. For that reason, it’s also known as the park of “salty dust.”
For any explorer, the dust really isn’t a problem, especially when you get to see large elephant herds in their natural habitat. In the background, you can see the peak of Kilimanjaro, a truly dazzling sight. Other wildlife including buffalo, impala, lion, cheetah among many others is also easier to spot here due to the lack of trees.
The travel from time from Nairobi to Amboseli is about a four-hour drive, but still offers plenty of scenic views and exciting wildlife encounters. March and April will bring the least amount of guest due to short stints of rain, but this also creates dramatic backdrops for photographers which frequent the park. Driving down the now-dried-out Amboseli river bed is the perfect way to relax and watch mirages across the horizon, as exotic animals move peacefully around you.
Tsavo East and West National Park – For Wild Cats and Elusive Leopards
These are the largest parks in Kenya. In fact, Tsavo East and West are 20 times the size of Maasai Mara. These are also the wildest of the parks. Since the construction of the roadway split the two parks, many species hang out in the deserted, secluded areas. Lions, leopards, elephants, Cape buffalo, and rhinos can all be found grazing freely in this area.
In the West Tsavo areas, you can also explore caves and the Mzima Springs over ancient, extinguished lava fields. It’s quite a surreal sight. Tsavo East is often preferred more than the western side due to being somewhat larger and less easily accessed. However, with the thick bush drying back in the winter months, both areas offer superb game viewing and birding.
Most groups travel here from Nairobi, which is a 3-hour drive. There are also airstrips that connect the parks to the area as well. However, Tsavo West is the only side of the park with scheduled flights. The Tsavo West area is also considered hotter, climbing 40 degrees higher during January and February months. April and May are the worst times to visit because of the rain.