The Top 10 Game Parks and National Reserves in Kenya

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Did you know that tourism is the second-largest source of foreign exchange revenue after agriculture? Kenya is one of the best tourist destinations in the world. It is known for its remarkable diversity, landscape, wildlife, and culture.

Each year, Kenya receives at least 2 million visitors. This figure does not include domestic tourists. There are numerous tourist destinations like national parks where you can take a safari with your loved ones.

With all these options, you may feel overwhelmed choosing the right holiday destination in Kenya. We are here to relieve you of the stress and hassle. We can guarantee you quality and memorable moments once you visit these destinations. You will not have to break your bank to visit the destinations.

National Parks in Kenya

National Park /Game Reserve

Attraction Features & Activities

Wildlife

Maasai Mara National Reserve

The great wildebeest migration
The Maasai culture
The hot air balloon
Big game Walking safari
Bird watching  
Baboons, Wildebeests, Lions, Cheetahs, Ostriches, Crocodiles, Hippos, Monkeys, Wild dogs, Hyenas, Assortment of birds, Zebra, antelopes

Amboseli National Reserve

The large herd of big tusked elephants
Great view of Mt. Kilimanjaro in TZ (highest peak in Africa)
Game drives  
Lions, Elephants, Buffalos, Giraffes, Hyenas, Wild dogs, Antelopes, Gazelles Zebra

Tsavo National Park

Game drives
Bird watching
Big 5 Explore
Chaimu caves
Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary
Rhino, Buffalos, Elephants, Gazelles, Lions, Cheetahs, Baboons, Hyenas

Samburu Buffalo Springs & Shaba National Reserve

Game Drives
Bird watching
Lions, Leopards, Zebras, Antelopes, Buffalos, Elephants, Crocodiles, Baboons, Giraffes

Lake Nakuru National Park

Pink flamingo gathering
View-points such as Baboon cliff, Lion hill
Makalia waterfall
Honeymoon Hill
Rhino, Monkeys, Zebra, Baboons, Antelopes, Waterbucks, Flamingoes, Lions, Pelicans

Meru National Park

View of Mt. Kenya
Tana river
Adamson’s Falls  
Giraffes, Antelopes, Zebras, Bats, Guinea fowls, Lions, Buffaloes, Cheetahs, Hippos, Wild birds, Ostriches, Monkeys

Mt. Kenya National Park

Pristine
Wilderness
Views of Mt. Kenya
Diverse flora and fauna
Leopards, Zebras, Tree hyrax, Bushbucks, Waterbucks, Black rhinos, Buffalos, Moles, rats, mongoose

Hell’s Gate National Park

Plants and wildlife
Rock features & caves
Hot Springs -Olkaria Geothermal Station
Nature Trails
Zebras, Antelopes, Giraffes, Hyenas, Eland, Gazelles, Assortment of wild birds

Olpojeta Conservancy

Diverse wildlife
Equator Line  
Black rhinos, White rhinos, chimpanzees

The Aberdare National Park

Wild animals
Beautiful scenery
Waterfalls
Buffalo, Hyena, Kurdu, Elephants, Warthogs, Baboons, Monkeys, birds
List of Game Parks in Kenya

1. Maasai Mara National Reserve

Wildebeests Maasai MaraThe Maasai Mara National Reserve, popularly known as Mara, is a must-visit. It is one of the most popular safari destinations in Kenya. The reserve is located in the must-visit part of Kenya along the Great Rift Valley.

It is adjacent to the Serengeti National park in Tanzania. The reserve was named after the ancestral inhabitants- the Maasai people.

The word Mara means spotted circles of trees, savannah, scrub, and cloud shadows hence the name Maasai Mara. It is 180km from Nairobi city. Here are the top attractions you enjoy when you visit Maasai Mara:

  • The great wildebeest migration
  • The Maasai culture- it is one of the untapped cultured on the planet
  • The hot air balloon
  • Big game
  • Walking safari
  • Bird watching

The entry fees for the park are as tabulated:

CATEGORY

NON-RESIDENTS

INSIDE PARK

OUTSIDE PARK

EAST AFRICAN RESIDENT

KENYAN CITIZEN

Adult

US$ 70

US$ 80

Ksh 1,200

Ksh 1,000

Child

US$ 40

US$ 45

Ksh 500

Ksh 300

Student

US$ 40

Ksh 500

Ksh 300

2. Amboseli National Reserve

Elephants in AmboseliThe national park is a top tourist destination in Kenya after Maasai Mara. Amboseli is a Maasai name that means salty dust, which is a true description of the park’s parched conditions.

The park is located in southeast Nairobi. It only takes four hours to travel to Amboseli from Nairobi via road. The park has an airstrip if you use air to reduce the time you take to access it.

While in Amboseli, you are guaranteed a perfect view of large herds of big-tusked elephants. You will hardly get such a perfect opportunity in other national parks in Kenya. The Amboseli is famous for two things:

  • The large herd of big tusked elephants
  • The great view of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania- the highest peak in Africa.

 Also, in Amboseli, you are bound to spot big cats, such as lions and cheetahs. Other wild animals like giraffes, impalas, elands, waterbucks, gazelles, and more than 600 species of birds are also scenery to behold.

The entry fees for Amboseli National Park are as follows:

Category

Non-residents

Residents

Kenyan Citizens

Adult

US$ 60

Ksh 1030

Ksh 850

Child/students

US$ 30

Ksh 515

Ksh 215

If you love everything to do with nature, then this place is for you. In Amboseli, there are 5 natural habitats to explore. They include; a dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli, wetlands with sulfur springs, savannah, and woodlands

3. Tsavo National Park

Buffaloes in TsavoThis is one of the largest national parks in Kenya. It is sliced into two; Tsavo West and Tavo East. The park is situated in a semi-arid area previously known as the Taru desert.

Tsavo East and Tsavo west account for 4% of the total country area. This safari destination gives you the best sceneries- rivers, waterfalls, savannah, volcanic hills, a massive lava-rock plateau, and wildlife.

 Tsavo East allows you to capture the best photo moments of elephants rolling and bathing in the red dust. You also have an opportunity to see the Yatta Plateau, one of the world’s longest lava flow, Mudanda Rock, and Lugard Falls.

The entry charges for Tsavo East for Kenyan citizens, residents, and non-residents are as shown below:

Category

Non-residents

Residents

Kenyan Citizens

Adult

US$ 52

Ksh 1030

Ksh 515

Child/students

US$ 35

Ksh 515

Ksh 215

Tsavo West is a bit wetter. Here, you have an excellent opportunity to enjoy Mzima Springs, Chaimu Crater, and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary. You hardly get any wildlife here because of the denser vegetation.

4. Samburu, Buffalo Springs, and Shaba National Reserves

This national park is located in the arid region in the remote north of Kenya.

Have you heard of Elsa the lioness that was made famous in the film Born Free? Well, it was raised at Shaba national reserves by George and Joy Adamson. The wildlife in the three reserves is adapted to northern Kenya’s climatic conditions.

The park fees for Shaba, Samburu, or Buffalo National Reserves are as follows:

Category

Non-residents

East Africa Citizens

Kenyan Citizens

Adult

US$ 70

Ksh 1000

Ksh 500

Child/students

US$ 40

Ksh 1000

Ksh 500

 The most common animals in the park are Grevy’s zebras, Somali ostriches, gerenuks, and long-necked antelope. A top attraction at the Samburu National Reserve is the Sarara Singing Wells. This is where locals sing as they haul water for their cattle to drink.

5. Lake Nakuru National park

Flamingos in L. Nakuru National ParkLake Nakuru National park is located at Nakuru along the Great Rift Valley. This national park is famous for the huge flocks of pink flamingos. They flock to Lake Nakuru, one of the soda lakes found in Rift Valley.

When you visit the park, elation is not a gamble. The park has a rich diversity of wildlife. You might sight Lions, leopards, warthogs, waterbucks, pythons, and white rhinos. Also, the park plays a significant role in protecting the largest Euphorbia candelabrum forest in Africa.

The entry fees for Lake Nakuru are tabulated below:

Category

Non-residents

Residents

East Africa Citizens

Kenyan Citizens

Adult

US$ 60

Ksh 1030

Kes 860

Ksh 860

Child/students

US$ 35

 

Ksh 215

Ksh 215

6. Meru National Park

Complete Wilderness, the park is located along the slopes of Mt. Kenya. The park boasts one of the best-undisturbed environments.

Meru National Park has numerous species of birds, thus a perfect destination for bird watching. The park fees for Kenyan citizens and non-residents are as follows:

Category

Non-residents

Residents

Kenyan Citizens

Adult

US$ 52

Ksh 300

Ksh 300

Child/students

US$ 35

Ksh 215

Ksh 215

There are several species of snakes in the park. In the grassland vegetation, you will see beautiful zebra paintings grazing with gazelles.

Carry your essentials when visiting the park to take advantage of the spectacular environment.

7. Mt Kenya National Park

Mount Kenya National Park is found in the central highlands, east of the central valley. It is a UNESCO world heritage site. The tallest mountain in Kenya and the second-largest mountain in Africa.

It was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions. Mt Kenya has three peaks; the highest is Batian, followed by Nelion and Lenana.

The entry fees for Mt. Kenya National Park are:

Category

Non-residents

Residents

Kenyan Citizens

Adult

US$ 52

Ksh 430

Ksh 430

Child/students

US$ 20

Ksh 250

Ksh 250

Sceneries vary from glaciers, lakes, alpine forests to dense pockets of bamboo. You may also sight animals such as elephants, black and white Colombus monkeys, buffalos, hyenas, and leopards.

8. Hells Gate National Park

Hell's Gate National ParkHells Gate National park is one of the few parks in Kenya that allows you to engage in camping activities. Also, you can explore on your own by foot or bicycle. How awesome is that?

Enjoy excellent hiking and climbing opportunities at the park with two extinct volcanoes; the red cliffs of Hell’s Gate Gorge, Obsidian Caves, and Fischer’s Tower.

The fees for Helps Gate National Park are tabulated below:

Category

Non-residents

Residents

Kenyan Citizens

Adult

US$ 30

Ksh 300

Ksh 300

Child/students

US$ 20

Ksh 215

Ksh 215

Olkaria Geothermal Station, a unique African project, sits in Hells Gate National park. The park has various wildlife, which includes leopards, baboons, hartebeest, eland, ostriches, gazelles, and more than 100 species of birds.

The Oloor Karia Maasai Cultural Centre within the park is an excellent place to familiarize yourself with the Maasai culture.

9. Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Ole Pejeta Conservancy is located 200km north of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. It is a few kilometers from Mt Kenya National Park. The park’s aim is conservancy and sustainability.

Here, you are guaranteed a perfect sight of the big five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo). Other animals, such as cheetahs, hyenas, zebras, and hartebeests, are also found in the park. The Conservancy is a habitat for northern and southern rhinos.

The charges for Ol Pejecta Conservancy are as follows:

Category

Non-residents

East Africa Residents

East Africa Citizens

Adult

US$ 90-$110

Ksh 2600-Ksh 3500

Ksh 1400-Ksh 2000

10. The Aberdare National Park

The park is located 150km (93 miles) east of Nairobi. You can access this place from Nyeri and Naro Moru. Here are the top attractions at Aberdare National Park:

  • The beautiful mountain scenery
  • Picturesque waterfalls
  • Rare animals – Black Serval, Black Leopard (seldom seen), and the Eastern Bongo (a huge forest Antelope)
  • Watching animals come to the waterhole at the famous Treetops Lodge
  • Trout fishing
  • Hiking

Here are the charges for Aberdare National Park:

Category

Non-residents

Residents

Kenyan Citizens

Adult

US$ 60

Ksh 500

Ksh 500

Children/Students

US$ 20

Ksh 215

Ksh 215

You should consider several factors before deciding on a tourist destination to visit. One of those factors is cost. Ensure you have enough resources to facilitate travel, accommodation, and game park fees.

These national parks are located in different regions with different climatic conditions. It is crucial to ensure the climatic conditions of the area you choose do not negatively affect your health.

National Parks in Kenya FAQs

1. Which is the largest game park in Kenya?

Tsavo East & West National Parks form the largest game park in Kenya. The two cover an area of more than 21,000 square kilometres, making it among the largest in the world.

2. How many game parks are there in Kenya?

Kenya has one of the highest number of game parks in the world, at 54. Almost every county has a game park or reserve.

3. Which is the most popular national park in Kenya?

Nakuru National Park stands out because of its diversity. Therefore, it receives the highest number of visitors from across the world. 

4. What is the entry fee into a game park in Kenya?

Although prices differ from one game park to another, the cost is around ksh. 500 for residents and $40 for non-residents. The prices may vary a little bit from one reserve to another.

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1 COMMENT

  1. wow so many Parks in Kenya, I think all of them is so beautiful and has their own charming points, I can’t wait to visit there someday.

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