The Maasai Mara national reserve forms the northern part of the vast Serengeti ecosystem. Located to the Southwest of Nairobi and forming the border with Tanzania, it spreads over 1510km square of rolling plains, sudden rocky outcrops and green winding rivers. It is arguably Kenya’s most popular game sanctuary boasting of the world’s annual migration of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles to and from the Serengeti plains across the Tanzania border and the Mara river to reach the Maasai Mara grazing fields.
The dramatic crossing of the river and the preying on the migrants by predators can be viewed. There is a profusion of all types of wildlife including the big five. We should also remember that a part of the movie ‘Out of Africa’ was made here. Hot air balloon Safaris are readily available here.
Lake Nakuru national park is located on the edge of Nakuru town, approximately 180km from Nairobi. It is set in a picturesque landscape of both surrounding woodland and grassland. The landscape includes areas of marsh and grasslands alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, stretches of acacia woodland and rocky hillsides covered with a Euphorbia forest on the eastern perimeter.
It was gazetted to protect the colony of flamingoes as well as provide sanctuary for such endangered species like the white Rhino and the Rothschild giraffe. Predators are also residents of this park. It surrounds Lake Nakuru, which is a shallow alkaline lake and the world’s famous home of millions of flamingoes. The number of flamingoes depends on the water level which determines the quantity of algae on which the birds feed on.
Tsavo national park comprises of Tsavo East, Tsavo west and Chulu hills. With over 21,000 km sq of bushy grassland, open plains and semi-arid acacia shrubs, it is the largest game sanctuary in the world. This park is located halfway between Mombasa and Nairobi. Its fascinating and inspiring landscape and proximity to the Kenya’s coast makes the park a popular safari destination. Apart from wildlife, one main attraction here is the marvel of Mzima springs, replenished with two hundred and twenty million litres of crystal-clear water every day from the underground streams stemming from the lava massif know as the Chulu hills, 40-50 kilometers away.
It is ideal for photography on account of its unlimited sunlight and the expanse of the Yatta plateau- the world’s largest lava flow. One outstanding feature of this game sanctuary is its huge population of red elephants which derive their red colouring from the rich red earth of the park. Other wildlife includes; buffaloes, rhinos, lions, hippos, leopards, cheetahs, kudus, gerenuks, zebras, hilora antelope etc. Tsavo occupies its place in the world from the marauding lions of Tsavo which have been immortalized in a book entitled ‘man eaters of Tsavo’ written by Colonel J.J Patterson.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Ol Pejeta is a private 90,000 acres Conservancy which is home to Kenya’s largest population of black rhinos, a large number of elephants, cheetahs, lions, leopard and plains game including the rare Northern species such as Grevy Zebra, Jacksons Hartebeest and Beisa Oryx. In addition, the Wildlife Education Centre is interesting for both children and adults alike. The Chimpanzee Sanctuary for orphaned chimps offers the opportunity to learn about the perils facing chimpanzees in the wild.