National Parks & National Reserves in Kenya: Kenya is one of those best safari destinations to explore on your next Africa safari and it offers memorable Kenya safaris to both Locals and foreigners to its over 60 national parks, game reserves and sanctuaries covering over 11% of the Kenya’s land area. Kenya’s national parks, Reserves and Sanctuaries takes travelers to the undisturbed and vast savanna, semi-arid desert, highlands, and the coastal area which all offer memorable experience for both solo travelers, group tours, family tours, honeymooners, school fam trips and many more.

There are various protected national parks that are managed by the Kenya wildlife services (KWS), game reserves, forest reserves and sanctuaries. Kenya is blessed with a thrilling Biodiversity of stunning fauna and flora species that range from over 1,100 species of birds, over 300 mammals, over 190 reptiles, and over 7000 species of plants that all make Kenya a great destination to explore while on an African safari to different countries in East Africa.

History of National parks and National Reserves in Kenya

As mentioned earlier, Kenya has over 60 protected National parks, Game reserves and sanctuaries that all protect various fauna and flora species. These are all well distributed across the country offering the best safaris starting from the heart of Nairobi city to the semiarid region in the Northern Kenya to the central highlands and rift valley region of Kenya and south to the coastal Kenya for beach lovers. All in all, whichever safari one chooses to do, there experience is incredible and breath-taking.

Protection of these beautiful national parks, National reserves and sanctuaries started during the British rule in the 1890s where in the early 1800s there was a history of humans hunting off the wildlife for food only without any monetary benefits at all thus humans started to hunt the big games like the Rhinos for their Ivory, and many other animals that all saw the population of these animals reducing at a faster rate to almost a point of near extinction in the wild. This saw the emergence of the law to guard and protect the wildlife in Kenya. Later on in 1945, the government launched more protected areas after which the Nairobi Royal Park was established as well in 1945.

By 1956 which was 10 years later, Kenya had 2 bodies that were governing the fauna and flora species ad these included the Trustees of national parks and the Game departments which worked hand in hand to ensure that the fauna of Kenya were well protected. The forest reserves were left under the management of Forest Department. All the national parks and reserves in Kenya were put under the wildlife management Act of 1976. You could be wondering about what makes the national park different from a reserve and the answer is that National parks are only habitats to wildlife species and locals aren’t allowed to reside inside the national parks. On the other hand, a reserves are open for humans to live with wildlife and in most cases these national reserves are managed by the local authorities and locals are seen grazing their livestock within the reserves.

In other words, all the National parks in Kenya are managed by the Notional government whereas the National Reserves in Kenya are under the management of the respective county officials.

National parks and National Reserves in Kenya
Nairobi National Park

Let’s have a look at what safaris are conducted in the national parks and national reserves in Kenya;

Obviously the major safari enjoyed in different national parks and national reserves in Kenya is none other than wildlife viewing safaris to view plenty of wildlife species that thrill in these parks and reserves.

The most famous of these wildlife viewing safari is the great annual wildebeest migration safari that sees the largest population of tourists who visit Kenya to witness this magical migrations especially during the period of river crossing where huge population of wildebeests joined by elands, zebras and gazelles are seen crossing a crocodile infested river to get to the opposite side of the river for fresher and greener pasture. The wildebeests can be seen both in Kenya’s Maasai Mara national reserve and in Tanzania’s Serengeti national park. This is one of the 7th wonder of the world and one of the best and fascinating experience to enjoy while on your Kenya safari to Maasai Mara national reserve. However, the challenge is that the great wildebeest migration is not seen on a daily basis, it is a seasonally thing thus f your major interest for taking on a Kenya safari is to watch the great wildebeest migration, I would recommend that you always get the accurate information of the exact month depending on the rain patterns since they climate changes, the migration period can as well change. It is at this time when carnivores are as well very active targeting their next meals. This is one of the best experience to watch. Apart from Maasai Mara national reserve, other national parks and reserves to explore in Kenya include,

Here is a list of National parks in Kenya;

  • Amboseli National Park
  • Tsavo East national park
  • Tsavo West National Parks
  • Nairobi National Park
  • Lake Nakuru National Park
  • Hell’s Gate National Park
  • Aberdare National Park
  • Chyulu Hills National Park
  • Mount Elgon National Park
  • Central Island National Park
  • Ruma National Park
  • Mount Longonot National Park
  • South Island National Park
  • Watamu Marine National Park
  • Meru National Park
  • Ndere Island National Park
  • Kisite Mpunguti National
  • Marine Park Marsabit national park
  • Sibiloi National Park
  • Kora National Park
  • Saiwa Swamp National Park
  • Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
  • Malka Mari National Park

National Reserves in Kenya;

  • Maasai mara national reserve
  • Samburu National Reserve
  • Buffalo Springs National Reserve,
  • Shaba National Reserve
  • Marsabit National Reserve
  • Malindi Marine Reserve
  • Kiunga Marine National Reserve
  • Mombasa Marine National Reserve
  • Nasolot National Reserve
  • Lake Baringo National Reserve
  • Lake Bogoria National Reserve
  • Boni National Reserve
  • South-Western Mau National Reserve
  • Lake Kanyaboli National Reserve
  • Shimba Hills National Reserve
  • Mwingi National Reserve
  • Diani- Chale Marine National Reserve
  • Maralal Game Reserve
  • Tana Primate National Reserve
  • South Turkana National Reserve
  • South Kitui National Reserve
  • Ngai Ndeithia National Reserve
  • Losai National Reserve
  • Rimoi National Reserve
  • Rahole National Reserve
  • Kakamega National Reserve
  • Bonjoge National Reserve
  • Bisanadi National Reserve
  • Crescent Island Game Sanctuary

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