Tuesday, July 15, 2008

National Parks of Kenya and Kenya National Parks,

Kenya National Parks

The parks range from the snow capped mountains to the low savannah grasslands; from the scenic knuckle shaped ranges of the Aberdares national park to the rough arid national parks of Samburu, Shaba and buffalo springs; from the undulating picturesque landscape of the rift valley to the central green and lush central Kenya highlands; from the white powdery sandy beaches with turquoise colored water to the inland blue-green crater lakes; from the savannah grass of Masai Mara to the mangrove forests of the coast. The Kenya tour wildlife found in these parks is equally diverse as the vegetation and landscape.

One of Kenya's original Nairobi National Parks established in 1948, it features 117 sq. kms of pristine savannah and yet is only 8 kms from the city centre. Large populations of Giraffe, Wildebeest, Eland and Gazelle dominate the plains. Of the big five only the Elephant has not been spotted. Prides of Lions appear at the entrance of Mbagathi Gorge. This park, so convenient to the business traveler also offers the spectacle of a Nairobi silhouette on the near horizon. Bounded by the Athi River to the south with its Hippo pools, here there are two animal orphanages including Daphne Sheldrick's Home for Orphaned Elephants and Rhinos.
Accommodation: Masai Safari Lodge

At 20,807 sq. kilometers, Tsavo is larger than Wales and Jamaica. The Park lies midway between Nairobi and Mombasa. Its red earth characterizes its rivers and Elephants. A safari here will turn your hair red! The Chyulu Hills feed Mzima Springs with 20 million litres of crystal clear water daily. A remarkable oasis supporting Hippos, Crocodiles, Gazelle, Zebra, Giraffe and thick Acacia forests filled with chattering Birds and Monkeys. Outstanding vantage points include Ngulia Escarpment and Voi out in the east. The Chyulu Hills out west and the outstanding lava flows/cones, as at Shitani (near Kilaguni Lodge), are a fascination unequalled to many geologists.
Accommodation: Salt Lick/Taita Hills, Ngulia Safari Lodge, Finch Hatton Camp, Voi Safari Lodge, Lake Jipe Lodge and Kilaguni Serena Lodge

One of the most popular National Parks right on the Tanzania border, offering a unique spectacle - the backdrop is snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro. Located 165 kms S.E. of Nairobi and encompassing 392 sq kms. The park is entered from the North via Namanga. You can expect to see a proliferation of Giraffe and Elephant. The 56 species here includes Baboon, Velvet Monkey, Lion, Cheetah, Rhino, Zebra, Wildebeest and Grant's gazelle. With a seasonal lake that attracts Flamingo, birdlife spotted in this region includes the Taveta Golden Waver and the Malachite Kingfisher.
Accommodation: Amboseli Lodge, Amboseli Serena Lodge, Kilimanjaro Safari Lodge, Ol-tukai Lodge and Tortilis Tented Camp.

The Masai Mara is located in the southern Kenya tourism circuit right in the midst of the vast savannah landscape with unending vistas of grass, velds supports the highest numbers of wildlife in Kenya Masai warrior country. The sheer numbers of the fearful, leaping and kicking wildebeest catches the crocodile by surprise forcing them to give way from the stampede and guaranteed death from trampling. Since food is moving, the predators, including the awesome African lion accompany the blue wildebeest across valleys, velds and rivers as they eat the sick, weak, old and the lost ones in the Africa’s grandest wildlife march. Nothing is as breathtaking as observing the wildebeest river crossings in the Masai Mara. This keeps the crocodiles happy for the next month or two. I guess they must be impatiently watching their calendars by now for the next annual wildebeest’s migration in the Masai Mara.

The Mara's gentle fertile climate bounded by The Rift Valley, offers perhaps the richest stocked reserve set within some 1672 sq kms - an unlimited spectacle of wildlife. Located 268 kms west of Nairobi, the emphasis here is on game. Herds of immense Elephants, browse among Lion, Buffalo, Thompson's Gazelle, Zebra and Topi. You may occasionally sight a Rhino or Leopard. In the Mara River Hippos play and Crocs bask on the banks. The annual migration of millions Wildebeests follows the rains north. It is only in the Masai Mara that a herd of elephants will graze together.

Accommodation: Governor's Camp, Kichwa Tembo Camp, Mara Interpids Club, Mara Serena Lodge, Mara Sarova Camp, Mara Simba Lodge, Mara Sopa Lodge, Mara Safari Club, Keekorok Lodge, Ol Kuruk Mara and Siana Springs

The distance between Nairobi and Lake Naivasha is 90 km, near the Hell's Gate National Park which is located between Naivasha Lake and Longonot and Suswa volcanoes.
The park provides a variety of wildlife, unusual flora and many species of birds and is one of the two only Kenyan parks where climbing, walking and biking are allowed, the other park walking is allowed is Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha. Covered by ashes from the Longonot eruption which occurred hundreds of years ago, the park is famous for its geothermal station, Lower Gorge and spectacular sceneries (cliffs, volcanoes, gorges, geothermal steam).

The park has very good and well equipped camping sites and there is a large choice of popular water sports, bird and game viewing in private ranches and walks at Crescent Island and Crater Lake. The Hell’s gate and Lake Naivasha are ideal venues for a weekend retreat.

Hills climber should not miss the opportunity to climb the immense Mt Longonot (2,776 m - 8,328 ft) rising in the arid plains of the Rift Valley. You need to count one hour to access the top of the lowest rim and 3 hours to follow the path around the narrow edge of this almost perfect conical shape crater filled with dense bushed and wooden vegetation. The Mount Longonot is a Kenyan National Park (52 km2) and game abounds on the slopes of Longonot, particularly on the west side. Lake Naivasha, one of the largest freshwater lake of Kenya and close to Nairobi, the lake is the favorite destination for most of people from Nairobi. The lake offers a lot of attractions, like the Crater Lake, the Joy Adamson house, the Crescent Island and sport activities.

Accommodation: Lake Naivasha Country club or after the day out you can drive back to Nairobi hotels.

In this range of mountains everything is on a grand scale. The highest is 13,120 feet. Mutant Alpine plants include the 18 feet high Seneccio - flowering only once in 20 years! Huge trees cover the lower foothills. This fairyland of awesome majesty and beauty - a unique ecosystem is fuelled by the perpetual and sometimes heavy rains. Teeming with fish, crystal clear streams feed icy rivers, which plunge in glorious waterfalls, the grandest acquiring its name from Thompson who explored the area in 1883. At its east lies The Ark and Treetops on the Elephant migration trek to Mt. Kenya. You may also see the Rhino.

Accommodation: The Ark, Treetops Lodge and Aberdare Country Club.

Nakuru and nearby (about 12 kms) Elementaita, playing host also to Cormorants, Pelicans, Black Winged Stilts, Avocets and in winter a mass of Ruffs. Just north is the Menengai Crater (85 sq. km). This protected habitat also supports a few Lions and herds of Buffalos. Tall Acacia trees forest game includes an occasional Leopard or Black Rhino. Close by is Lake Elementaita.

Accommodation: Lake Nakuru Lodge, Sarova Lion Hill Lodge and Lake Elementaita Lodge.

Aqua fresh mountain air, glorious views, peace and tranquility. This, the country's highest mountain sits astride the Equator. This National Park skirts the 10,500 feet contours and encompasses three principal zones upwards. First, bamboo jungle and thick mountain forests dress the vast gentle slopes; then the alpine zone with its giant vegetation, including the Giant Groundsel, towering some 18 feet in height. Finally the rock peaks perpetually clad in glaciers and snow-fields. Game is best spotted below the park boundary in and around the forest from the Mountain Lodge.
Accommodation: Sweetwater’s Tented Camp, Mount Kenya Safari Club, Naro Moro River Lodge and Mountain Lodge.

Get away delight for the connoisseur who may well chance upon a Leopard. Dramatically hot under the harsh equatorial sun, watered by the Ewaso Nyiro River, rich in huge Nile crocodile & hippo, Samburu is 331 kms North of Nairobi and set within the lands of the colorful Samburu Pastoralists. The reserve contains rarely found species including Reticulated Giraffe, Blue legged Somali Ostrich, Grevy’s Zebra and the long-necked Gerenuk (Antelope Giraffe). Within Shaba we have the sharp contrast of riverine forest around the four springs within its rugged wilderness.
Accommodation: Samburu Serena Lodge, Buffalo Springs Lodge, Shaba Sarova Lodge, Samburu Lodge, Larsen’s Camp and Samburu Intrepids Club

Best remembered as the setting where Elsa, Joy Adamson's lioness, was returned to the wild, Meru provides a stunning combination of diverse habitats. On the lower slopes of Mt. Kenya, it remains an un-spoilt wilderness. Dense riverine forests attract Leopards, and a full complement of 'the big five' including Black Rhino, in a dramatic setting adorned with doum palms. Over 300 species of birdlife have also been recorded. Wooded thorn bush and grasslands in volcanic rock, give way to open red soil grasslands over in the east. Highlights include Mulika Swamp and the noisy Adamson's fall where the Rojweru and Tana rivers converge.

Just north-west of Shimba Hills lies Mwalunganje watered by the Manolo River, a favorite haunt of big tusker male Elephants, and where they take their entertaining mud baths. The area with its surrounding thick forest became a reserve to open up a connecting corridor for the elephant trek south en-route to Shimba Hills. The conservation area is recognized for its role in the development of young independent male Elephants in their demanding life ahead. The terrain is diverse, riverine forest gives way to deciduous woodlands and dry baobab bush land, here the rare Sokoke Scops Owl can be sighted.

This relatively compact game sanctuary of 192 sq kms is just 30 kms from Mombasa and comprises rainforest, which opens out into gentle hills, rolling savannah and riverine forest. Sea breezes maintain a cool climate. Here Elephants can be seen trailing their young, the graceful Giraffe, numerous species of Antelope and on occasion the proud and magnificent Lion. Both Taita Hills Lodge and the distinctive thatched towers of Salt Lick, provide the traveler with Hilton amenities and service. Tents at Taita Hills satisfy a thirst for a bush safari.

National Parks of Kenya and Kenya National Parks,

No comments: