Kenya is home to several national parks and wildlife reserves. If you are interested in ecotourism and want to explore some of the famous wildlife areas in Kenya, then take flights to Nairobi, the capital city of the country, today. Here are some of the popular national parks and wildlife reserves you must consider visiting whenever visiting Kenya. These include Aberdare National Park, Chyulu Hills National Park, Kakamega Forest National Reserve, Kiunga National Marine Reserve, Marsabit National Park & Reserve, Nairobi National Park, and Shimba Hills National Reserve. Let us explore these wildlife areas and see what all they have to offer to the quintessential eco-tourist. You will surely enjoy visiting these renowned wildlife reserves and national parks in Kenya.
Nairobi National Park
The Nairobi National Park is the only protected wildlife area in the world, which is situated quite close to a capital city. It has a unique savannah ecosystem and is only 7 km away from Nairobi city centre. You will find different types of vegetation here. Scattered acacia bush in open grass plains are predominant. The national park is also home to man-made dams providing favorable habitat to aquatic biomes and certain species of birds. Over 400 bird species have been recorded till date at the Nairobi National Park. Major wildlife attractions here include elands, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, buffaloes, hyena, cheetah and leopard. Among other attractions worth exploring includes the Elephant Orphanage, Nairobi Safari Walk, the Ivory burning site Monument, and the walking trails at hippo pools.
Aberdare National Park
The Aberdare National Park is spread in an area of 767 sq km covering the higher areas of Central Kenya’s Aberdare Mountain Ranges. The park has a diverse topography with deep ravines cutting through the forested western and eastern slopes. You can easily see animals such as sykes monkey, black and white Colobus monkey, baboon, leopard, and black Rhino. Animals such as the bongo, the golden cat and lions are rarely seen. Over 250 species of birds can also be seen in the Aberdare National Park. These include plovers, sunbirds, eagles, goshawks, sparry hawk, and Jackson’s Francolin. You can pursue other activities as well such as camping in the moorlands, trout fishing in the rivers, and picnics.
Chyulu Hills National Park
The Chyulu Hills National Park comprises the eastern flanks of Chyulu Hills including nearly half of the forest area. The Chyulu Hills, where the national park is located, is a magical land of black frozen lava laden with blazing red-hot poker trees of shoals of extinct volcanoes. The park is home to many wild animals such as mountain Steinbok, reedbuck, bush pig, giant forest hog, leopard, elephant, eland, bushbuck and buffalo. Insects such as Tsetse fly, butterflies, and dung beetles are commonly sighted here. Among the reptiles found here include lizard, tortoise, gecko, rock python, puff adder, and black mamba.
Kiunga National Marine Reserve
The Kiunga National Marine Reserve is a great marine ecosystem in Kenya incorporating a chain of nearly 50 calcareous offshore islands and coral reefs in the Lamu Archipelago. The inner islands, which are more sheltered and larger, are covered with tangled thorny vegetation including creepers, aloes and grass. Migratory seabirds can be found in large numbers nesting in the small outer islands. Extensive mangrove forests, sea grass and valuable coral reefs are conserved in the Kiunga National Marine Reserve, which also acts as a refuge for dugongs and sea turtles. Major wildlife attractions here include reef fish, olive ridley, sea turtles, sea star, sea urchins and lobsters. The Kiunga National Marine Reserve is also an important site for sunbathing, water skiing, snorkeling, diving and wind surfing.
Shimba Hills National Reserve
The Shimba Hills National Reserve is situated approximately 33 km south of Mombasa town in Kwale district of coast province. One of the largest coastal forests in East Africa is found here. The coastal ecosystem here comprises of diverse habitat including grasslands, scrublands, exotic plantations and forestlands. The Shimba Hills National Reserve is rich in flora and fauna and has the highest density of African elephant in Kenya. The reserve is home to several bird species, prominent being the Zanzibar Red Bishop, Croaking Cisticola and red-necked Spurfowl. Major wildlife attractions here include Knob-bristled Suni Shrew, Black and Red Shrew, Serval cat, Sykes Monkey, Black-faced Vervet Monkey, Greater Galago, Red Duiker, Bush Duiker, Blue Duiker, Coastal Black and white Colobus, Bushbuck, , African Bush Baby, Buffalo, Bush pig, Waterbuck, Hyenas, Civet cat, Genet, Leopard, Giraffes, Elephants, and endangered Sable Antelope.