The Amboseli National Park
The park is located in Kajiado County, 140 kilometers south of Nairobi in the Rift valley province found in Kenya. The governing body of the park is Kenya Wildlife service in conjunction with the Kajiado county and the Maasai community. Park was set aside as the southern reserve for Maasai in 1906 but returned to local control as a reserve in 1948. The park was formerly called Masai Amboseli game reserve before the name was changed to Amboseli national park in the year 1974. The park covers 392 square kilometres which makes it one of the biggest parks in Kenya. The word Amboseli means ‘salty dust’ in Maasai language. The ‘salty dust’ was the volcanic ash that occurred during the Mt.Kilimanjaro eruptions thousands of years ago. The local people are mostly the Maasai people but people from other communities have settled around the area attracted by the strong economy in the area that has grown due to tourism and good agricultural climate that exists along the swamps. The area is famous for being among the best places in Africa to get close and watch great elephants due tothe high elephant population which can be seen walking and grazing in large herds. The area has low rainfall averaging 350 mm which makes the area one of the best wildlife viewing experiences in the world as one can visit at any time of the year. The animals found in the area include elephants, buffalo, Impala,lion, cheetah, hyena, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest. Over 400 species of bird such as the water birds, pelicans, kingfishers and 47 types of raptors can be seen in groups along the park. Amboseli national park also offers spectacular views of the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro which during the early light at dawn is adark hue with purple-like colour and the snow appearing into an ethereal pink.It also protects two of the five parks in the area and there is a dried uppleistocene lake. Ecosystem is mainly savannah which spread across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The roads in Amboseli have a loose surface of volcanic soil that is dusty during the dry season often crossed by whirlwinds sending columns of dust in the sky and impassable during the wet season. The park is centred on a large hill with spectacular views of the surrounding plains.
There are lodges to accommodate visitors and also camps for those who love camping hence assuring you of having great time with a visit to Amboseli.
Masai Mara National Game Reserves
Masai Mara is located in the south –western part of the rift valley province of Kenya. It was originally established in 1948 but extended to the east in 1961 in order to cover a large area and it’s governed by Trans-Mara in conjunction with Narok county government.The park is a continuation of the Serengeti national park found in Tanzania stretching 1510 square kilometres raising 1500 to 2170 metres above the sea level. It’s bounded by Serengeti Park to the south, Siria escarpments to the west and Maasai pastoral ranches such as Koiyaki, Lemek, Olkinyei and Naikara to the east and north. The area was named after Maasai people the original inhabitants of the area and also with their description of the area when looked at from distance beyond. “Mara” which in Maasai language means ‘spotted’ is used to describe the vast the trees and savannah in the area. Masai regard themselves not only as residents of the area but are as much as part of the land as land is part of their lives. The park is famous for its big cat population, great number of game and the marvelous migration of over 1.3 million wildebeest, Thomson’s gazelle and zebras in a single herd. Wildlife that can be viewed includes cheetah, wildebeest, hyena, jackals and black rhinoceros.It hosts over 570 species of bird and also the unique co-existence of the Maasai with the animals makes it a unique wilderness. The environment is mainly grassland and riverine forest which contain clumps of the distinctive acacia.The main rivers of the park are Talek River and Mara River which contain large numbers of hippopotamus and the Nile crocodiles. There is also a spectacular view of elephants and buffalos as they wallow in the wide Masia swamp. The wildebeest during the migration mass together on the Mara banks before they can brisk their way across the raging water to reach the fresh pastures. They struggle along the swift currents and the waiting hungry crocodiles leaving one mesmerized by this world wonder. The migration also brings new life as there are predators that follow them such as the hyena and the big cats.
There is great game viewing as the wardens’ control car movements around animal sighting and also regular patrols to control poaching which ensures no unauthorized killing of the wild animals. Lodges and camping facilities are available for tourists who visit the park.
The Meru National Park
Meru national park is located in the Eastern part of Kenya with the nearest town being Meru. It’s in the east of Meru 350 kilometres from Nairobi. The park can be accessed from Nairobi via Nyeri –Nanyuki – Meru which is 350 kilometres from Nairobi, via Embu to Meru, via Mauato Murera gate which is 35 kilometres. It was established in 1966 and is governed by Kenya Wildlife service. It covers an area of 870 square kilometres bordered by Bisanadi national reserve and also incorporates Kora, Rahole andMwingi reserves. Residents around the area are mostly the Meru and Borana tribes’people who live in harmony and good co-existence with the animals. Between the year 2000 and 2005 Kenya wildlife service helped International Fund restore the park from near destruction as one of the promising growing tourist destination parks in East Africa by solving the poaching problem that had started in the 1980s. The number of elephants is now growing since the Kenya Wildlife Service has ensured there are security patrols to control any poaching threat and improve security in the area. Flora in the park is mostly bushes in the north,wooded grassland in the west, open grassland in the east and south. There are dense riverine forests of Doum and Raffia palm which contain different beautiful scenery from the wide open plains with many rivers to the woodlands on the slopes of Nyambene mountain range, to the north-east of Mt. Kenya. Animals that can be found include elephant, hippopotamus, lion, leopard, cheetah, blackrhinoceros and some rare antelopes. The most common tourist attractions are home of the conservationists George Adamson and Joy Adamson the authors of the biographical book and award winning movie ‘Born Free’ which helped make the park famous hence increasing the number of visitors making it the most famous park in the Eastern Province, beautiful views of Mt. Kenya the great Tana river which is the largest river in Kenya. There are also more than 300 species of bird such as kingfishers, rollers, starlings, weavers which can be seen flying above the horizon and also in large groups in the Tana banks. These amazing views ensure your trip is worth the time and it’s an experience you will live to remember.
These marvellous attractions have continued to attract more tourists in the area making it one of the successful parks in Kenya.
There are lodges and camping facilities provided to the tourists by the Kenya wildlife Service.
The Nairobi National Park
It’s located 7 kilometres south of the centre of Nairobi which is Kenya’s capital city. The park was established in 1946 as the first national park in Kenya. It’s also the only park in the world that is surrounded by a city without affecting or threatening people or their way of life. It covers an area of 117 square kilometres and its altitude ranges between 1533 metres to 1760 metres above sea level. The nearness of urban and natural environments has caused conflicts between animals and people which threaten animal migration routes as there is an electric fence which limits movement in and out of the park.
When the British colonists first arrived in Kenya and wanted to settle where the park is located, Athi plains east and south of what is Nairobi today had a lot of wildlife. The Maasai herded their cattle among the wildlife while the Kikuyu community farmed the forested highlands above Nairobi. When the British formed the city, the population started growing which created danger as animals could roam in the city at night as there was no barrier. To protect the lives of the people, the colonial government confined the animals’ in the large plains to the west and south of Nairobi setting the area aside as a game reserve.
The area has a dry climate: from January to March it’s hot and dry, April to June it’s hot and wet while from July to October it’s warm and wet. The environment is open grass plain with scattered acacia bushes while uplands in the western have highland dry forest with species of Olea Africana, Calolendrum. The lower slopes have grassland which contains Cypress; Themeda species also there is a riverine forest along the south.
The park has a diverse wildlife population which include the buffalo, baboon, black rhinoceros, cheetah, lion, leopard and hippopotamus. There are also up to 500 species of bird in the park which tend to be attracted by small dams built along the Mbagathi River to provide more water for the animals during the dry season. Migrating herbivores such as wildebeest and zebra can be seen gather at the park during the dry season.
Although it has a small size, it has a small size, it boasts to have one of the Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries which allow visitors to see the black rhinoceros in its natural habitat.
The park is open throughout the year for tourist to watch and view the game.
The Sibiloi National Park
Sibiloi national park is commonly known as the cradle of mankind due to the remains and discoveries of the evolution that the area is known and associated with. It’s located in Eastern Kenya approximately 800 kilometres from Nairobi covering an area of 1570 square kilometres. The preferred means to access the park is by air since it’s a long a weary journey by road. It lies on the north eastern shore of Lake Turkana in the northern part of Kenya. It was established in 1973 by the government of Kenya for the protection of wildlife and the paleontological sites found in the area. The park is governed by Kenya wildlife Service. In the year 1997 it was listed as UNESCO World Heritage site as part of Lake Turkana national parks due to its combination of wildlife and paleontological sites as it holds strong mankind history. It was named after the view of Mt. Sibiloi at Ali Bay on the south perimeter. It’s most famous for the remains of Australopithecus and early homo– fossils which were moved to Nairobi before the park was established butnon-humanoid fossils are on display on the park which includes the giant tortoise and the 18 – 20 feet long crocodile. It also houses Koobi Fora museum and Koobi Fora research base located to the north.
The landscape is mostly dry, arid and hot especially between December to March with strong winds which blow both in the morning and evening. The area is beautiful with panoramic scenic views of the expansive wilderness. It has low rainfall of less than 250mm per annum but some places around the area may fail to rain throughout the year with the coolest months being May to September. The park contains different types of habitats starting from the lake shore with water vegetation, desert like lava rock terrain as well as savannah plains to reverine forest. Animals found include dry country species such as the gerenuk,Oryx, gravy’s zebra, tiang (a sub-species of topi) and the common burchell’s zebra can be spotted grazing and moving along the park. There are also many species of birds such as pelicans, heroin, ducks, flamingos, gulls, African skimmer can be seen on the shore line.
Although there are few tourists due to its location in the interior, one is assured of experiencing the history that lies in the Sibiloi wilderness.
The park has lodges and camping facilities for tourists.