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10 Best National Parks in Kenya

Kenya boasts of over 24 national parks, 15 national reserves, and 6 marine parks in Kenya.
Raksha Kulkarni
Kenya, a country in east Africa, is famous for its scenic landscapes. It is also referred as the Wildlife Capital.
Tourism is the second largest source of income in Kenya, considering the number of national parks and reserves here.
Kenya boasts of large population of animals like Cheetah, Hippopotamus, Wildebeest, Zebra, Giraffe, and thousands of different bird species. The term ‘Big Five’ includes lions, leopards, rhinoceros, Cape Buffaloes, elephants; abundantly found here.
Let's check out the best national parks here to witness the beautiful wildlife.
#1. Masai Mara National Park
The Masai Mara is the most visited national park in Kenya with 100 different species of mammals and birds. The national park boasts of amazing grasslands and the Siria escapement, a picturesque plateau.
People come here to witness the migration of wildebeests and zebras from Serengeti National Park, in the months of July to October.
The major tourist attractions here are Ol Kinyei Conservancy, Mara Triangle, and the Mara River.
#2. Tsavo National Park
The Tsavo National Park covers an area of almost 9,000 square miles and is the largest in Kenya. It is hence divided into two parts –Tasvo East National Park and Tasvo West National Park.
This reserve covers a large area like rocky landscapes, grasslands, and waterholes; home to leopards, Maasai Giraffe, lions, Hartebeest, etc. The park consists of almost 675 lions!
Yatta Plateau, Mundana Rock, Mzima springs, and Lake Jipe are main tourist attractions over here. One company even has a license to take you on a walking safari, if you feel adventurous.
#3. Aberdare National Park
The national park is located in the Aberdare Mountain Range and boasts of huge mountains and pretty waterfalls. The national park is also known for great hiking trails like the Elephant Mountain.
The park is famed for the big five, black rhino, giant forest hog, elephants, African golden cat, and a range of antelope and gazelle. There are more than 250 bird species too.
#4. Lake Nakuru National Park
The park surrounds the alkaline lake in the Great Rift Valley region. It is an oasis for birds, especially the pink flamingos and pelicans that feed on the algae.
The park works for conservation of almost 100 rhinoceros, pythons and Rothschild’s giraffe. Other animals here include the warthog, cheetah, ostrich, baboon, and lion. Activities here include bird watching, hiking, and game drives.
#5. Nairobi Park
Established in 1946, it is the 1st national park in Kenya and is only a few minutes way from the Nairobi district. It is perfect mixture of diverse wildlife with the skyscrapers as the backdrop.
One can enjoy a good picnic, camping at the 3 sites, and walking trails. There are a wide range of species like the black rhino, African leopard, giraffe, elephant, hyena, cheetah, zebra, and lion here.
#6. Hell’s Gate National Park
The unusual name Hell’s Gate National Park is derived from the geothermal vents in the area. Activities that can be enjoyed here are rock climbing trekking, mountain biking, and bird watching. It is definitely a birders’ paradise.
The area is naturally diverse and boasts of dramatic cliffs, water-eroded gorges, volcanoes, and hot springs. The Olkaria Geothermal Station, Hell’s Gate Gorge, the Mervyn Carnelley Raptor Hide are some of the attractions here.
#7. Amboseli National Park
The park not only boasts of abundant wildlife but also of a magical view of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The national park consists of a high population of the huge Tuskers, 50 different mammal species, and over 400 bird species.
Other tourist attractions are the Observation Hill, Lake Amboseli, Masai Village, and the Sinet Delta.
#8. Samburu National Reserve
The reserve boasts of many rare animal and bird species like the East African Oryx, long-necked gerenuk, and the endangered Grevy’s zebra. The semi-desert park is also home to almost 450 bird species.
The park is less crowded and visitors can enjoy wildlife in peace. There are camel safaris here. The other two neighboring reserves are Shaba and Buffalo Springs.
#9. Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya is the highest peak in Kenya and second highest in Africa. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park surrounds it and preserves the rare wildlife and plant life here.
The diverse ecosystem attracts lot of hikers. The snow-clad mountain, breathtaking panoramas, and stunning glaciers are key highlights here.
#10. Arabuko Sokoke National Park
The Arabuko Sokoke National Park is a forest in the coastal region of Kenya and only a small part of the forest beholds the national park.
This reserve is home to endemic plant and animal species like Clarke’s weaver, Sokoke Pipit, Amani Sunbird, and more than 49 reptile species. You can even spot animals like African buffaloes, Savannah elephants, Colobus Monkeys, Waterbucks, etc.