Kenya - Destinations
Hell’s Gate National Park Kenya
Kenya is a country of stunning natural beauty and Hell’s Gate National Park isn’t an exception as its part of the wildlife reserves. Hell’s Gate National Park is situated south of Lake Naivasha in Kenya, North West of Nairobi the country’s capital.
The park was established in 1984. Hell’s Gate National Park is named after a narrow break in the cliffs, once a tributary of a prehistoric lake that fed early humans in the Rift Valley. It was named so by explorers Fisher and Thomson in 1883.
The park is relatively small according to African national park standards, it covers an area of about 68.25 square kilometers (26 sq. mi). In altitude the park raises up to 1,900 meters (6,200 ft.) above sea level.
This is also one of the most atmospheric Parks in Africa with the towering cliffs, water-gouged gorges, stark rock towers, scrub clad volcanoes and belching plumes of geothermal steam.
Hell’s Gate National Park is known for its wide variety of wildlife and for its scenery including Fischer’s Tower, central tower columns and Hell’s Gate Gorge. Hell’s Gate Gorge is lined with red cliffs which contain two volcanic plugs, off of Central Tower is a smaller gorge which extends to the south, with a path that descends into hot springs that have rocks hot enough to cause burns and sulfuric water.
A visit to the park is cheaper because it is near Nairobi and also has lowered park fees compared to other Kenya national parks. With its proximity to the capital of Nairobi, the park is ideal for day trips
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is Kenya’s capital wildlife park situated south of the Nairobi capital and at times referred to as the world’s wildlife capital. Nairobi National Park is situated just about 16km away from the Nairobi capital on an approximate drive time of 30 minutes.
The very short distance from the bustling business capital makes the park very unique and worth being referred to as the world’s wildlife capital.
Its diversity and open grass plains has given a unique backdrop to the city scrapers. The park was officially opened in 1946, and was the first national park established in Kenya.
The city close Nairobi National Park is fenced on three sides. However, the southern boundary is open allowing migratory wildlife to move between the park and the adjacent Kitengela plains.
Despite its relatively small size (covers an area of 117.21 square kilometers/45.26 sq. mi), Nairobi National Park hosts various wildlife populations and is one of Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries. In altitude, the park ranges between 1,533 and 1,760 m (5,030 and 5,774 ft.) therefore making it easy to visit.
Maasai Mara National Park Kenya
Maasai Mara National Reserve is situated in the southwest of Kenya along the Great Rift Valley area in Norok county Kenya adjacent to Serengeti National Park of Tanzania.
Maasai Mara national reserve was established in 1961 as a wildlife sanctuary and currently covers 1510sqkm. The park is bordered by Siria escarpment in the west, Serengeti in the south, and Maasai pastoral ranches on the north, east, and west. The park has the Maasai Mara River and Talek River as key draining rivers. The vegetation of the park is mostly opened savannah grassland with seasonal rivulets, doted acacia trees.
The park is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve, it has an incredible and most spectacular ecosystem and possibly the world’s top safari big game viewing eco-system. All the big five can be viewed from Maasai Mara which is Elephants, Leopards, Lions, Buffalos, and Rhinos with the highest number of black Rhinos in Africa. Maasai Mara National Park is approximately 270km from Nairobi city and it takes 4-5hours by road and 40-45 minutes by flight.
The best time to visit Maasai Mara is in July – October which is a dry season. This time allows incredible movement of animals and the big cats. To get the utmost incredible safari in Maasai Mara, it’s recommended that you take a 3 to 4 days safari. This period allows you to explore the park to its maximum and for photography lovers, the longer you stay, the more chance of getting the ultimate photo.
Samburu National Reserve
Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve is one of the conservation areas that is host to beauties of the wild. The reserve is found in the southeastern corner of Samburu District in the Rift valley province of Kenya in Samburu county. Its location is very distant from the busy capital making human encroachment limited and therefore having intact its beauty with natural serenity.
It covers an area of about 165 square kilometers on an altitude range from 800 to 1230 meters above sea level. The serenity of the park is appealing to see with two mountains known as Koitogo and Ololokwe with their backdrops creating a great sightseeing destination.
Samburu Reserve is located nearby the Ewaso Nyiro River which attracts plenty of wildlife from the surrounding savannah plains. The Ewaso Nyiro River is northern Kenya’s biggest river where most animals in the reserve go to quench their thirst. Diversity in the reserve is very amazing with one of the most memorable moments being when the lioness known as Kamunyak adopted a baby oryx.
Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East National Park is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Kenya. Park covers 13,747 square kilometers and it was opened in April 1948.The Park is situated in a semi-arid area previously known as the Taru Desert, near the town of Voi in the Taita-Taveta County of the former coast province. The park is half of the large Tsavo national park, the other section is referred to as the Tsavo East National Park.
The park is named after the Tsavo river which flows from west to east of the park. Within the park is a place that is referred to as one of the world’s biodiversity strongholds where the Tsavo Rivers converge to form the Galana River. The Tsavo East National Park is generally flat and with dry plains across which the Galana River flows. Mostly the park consists of semi-arid grasslands and savanna.
The park forms the largest protected area in Kenya and hosts most of the larger mammals and a prolific birdlife. With its vastness, the park feels undiscovered with its vast open spaces. The park is good to visit because of the good wildlife viewing and present big five, excellent birding opportunities, great wilderness appeal and the beautiful landscape.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is one of the wildlife viewing destinations in the magical Kenya and sometimes referred to as “home of the African Elephant”. Its name is derived from a Maasai word that means “salty dust”.
The park is often called “Land of Giants” because of the impressive elephants that roam the park, best for up close viewing. Amboseli was home to Echo, who is probably the most researched elephant and the subject of many books and documentaries. Echo died in 2009 when she was about 60 years old.
Amboseli is excellent for wildlife viewing, four of the Big Five (excluding rhinos) can be spotted, there are outstanding elephant sightings, clear views of Kilimanjaro on clear days, excellent birding opportunities as well as a good range of accommodation types.
Best time of the year to visit Amboseli National Park is during the months of June to September and January to February because it’s during these months when the rain totals are low and therefore the park is drier.
It is during these months when animals gather around water holes and therefore easy to spot. The roads in the park have loose surface of volcanic soil that is dusty in the dry season and impassable in the wet season.
To access the park, tourists can reach either by road or air as there is a small airport in the park.
Aberdare National Park
Aberdare National Park is located north of Nairobi in Nyandarua and Nyeri County –Kenya. The park sits on an area of approximately 766square kilometers and forms part of the Aberdare range.
Aberdare National Park contains a wide range of landscapes, v-shaped valleys intersected by streams, rivers, and waterfalls. The moorland, bamboo forests, and rainforests are found at lower altitudes.
Aberdare National Park hosts over 250 bird species including the endangered Aberdare cist cola, Jackson’s spy fowl, African goshawk, plovers, sunbirds, African fish eagle, etc. it also harbors Lions, Leopards, elephants, olivebaboon, black and white colobus, monkey, eland, duicker, giant forest hog, bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, cape buffalo, etc.
Lake Naivasha National Park
Lake Naivasha National Park is commonly known as “sheer adventure” is located northwest of the capital city of Kenya. (Nairobi)
The name Naivasha came from a Maasai word Naiposha meaning “rough waters” and was named by the locals. The National park was established in 1995 covering an area of 140 square kilometers.
Lake Naivasha National Park is surrounded by two lakes that is L. Oloidien and L. Sonachi and also has a unique feature – an extinct volcano called Mount Longonot and a thick forest that’s found along the cratered mountain.
Lake Naivasha National park is dominated by acacia trees that are mostly found on the banks of the lake and is also habitant to over 350 bird species especially along the shores of the lakes and nearby Hells gate National Park.
The national park has got beautiful attraction features like Crescent Island where animals freely roam around and are easily accessible by either boat or 4*4 vehicle passing through the muddy swampy roads.
Lake Naivasha is a major attraction site for bird lovers for it harbors over 350 species of birds especially during the rainy seasons. The thick papyrus at the lake is home to weaver birds, African fish eagles, gonolek, Palearctic, oxyura, red knobbed coot, flamingo, African spoonbill, porzana pusilla, etc.
The park also harbors animals like Leopards, Lions, Hippos, Giraffes, Zebras, and Buffaloes, etc.
Activities conducted at the park include boat cruising on the Naivasha Lake, Hike Longonot mount, horse riding, Birding and Game viewing, etc.
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