Game Parks & Reserves

What parks will you visit on IE’s Kenya wildlife safari travel package?

Masai Mara
Kenya’s Masai Mara Reserve (695 square miles) features verdant savannah grasslands and lone acacia trees that evoke the classic image of this country. The safari in Out of Africa was filmed here. Rains in April and May, brought about by trade winds, attract wildebeest and other grazing animals from the Serengeti. They typically stay in the Mara between July and October. There is so much to see, including zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, cheetahs, a variety of colorful birds, leopards and prides of lions.

Sitting just above the Equator, Samburu offers a very different landscape, and animals that you won’t find anywhere else. Samburu is a unique ecosystem...a semi-arid desert. It is home to several animals that you will not find in most parks south of this point, such as the Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, beisa oryx, gerenuk and Grevy’s zebra. Since Samburu is so dry and sandy, field of vision is typically high and game viewing is excellent. There are populations of lion, cheetah, elephant and leopard. Birdlife is strikingly colorful and abundant with 300 recorded species, including golden-breasted starling, moosebird, bushshrike and a variety of weavers and rollers. Olive baboons and vervet monkeys are common here.

Sweetwaters Game Reserve is a private ranch with views of snow-covered Mount Kenya. This game reserve is home to all the “Big Five” and has the highest ratio of game-to-area of any park or reserve in Kenya. Its popular waterhole, floodlit by night, provides excellent nighttime game viewing as well. Sweetwaters is part of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. The Ol Pejeta conservancy is home to 84 black rhinos (Diceros bicornis michaeli). Conservation of endangered species in their natural habitat represents a major part of Ol Pejeta’s mission. Black rhinos remain critically endangered and efforts to successfully conserve this species and ultimately develop a viable national population will represent a landmark achievement in wildlife conservation. In Kenya the numbers of black rhino dropped from an estimated 20,000 in the 1970s to less than 300 animals in the 1980s. Through various conservation initiatives, the remaining black rhino population has been protected from intense poaching and the current population in Kenya is estimated at 539. One major challenge to coping with the gradual but steady increase in rhino numbers will be the limited availability of areas with suitable habitat and adequate security, the expansion of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy will help in this regard by providing a further 75,000 acres of prime black rhino habitat.

Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park has been called the greatest bird spectacle in the world, a title it well deserves. Most of the lakeshore was made into a National Park by the Kenyan Government in 1961, the remainder in 1968. Whatever else lives and breathes throughout the length and breadth of the Rift Valley, the greatest faunal success story belongs to the flamingo. There are about five million flamingos belonging to six different species in the entire world. Of these, at least three million live on the lakes in the Great Rift Valley. There are only two species in this vast gathering and their names fit their physical appearances — the Greater and the Lesser Flamingo. Apart from differences in plumage and beak, they appear similar in formation and coloring, but they represent the extreme ends of the size scale of the flamingo family, one standing almost six feet tall, the other being about half that height. On this one small lake, barely four miles by six miles in size, it is possible to see two million birds. So stunning is the Flamingo spectacle on Lake Nakuru that it is easy to overlook the lake's other bird life. Four hundred species have been recorded around the lake.