Did you receive your Kenya visa? Then you can start preparing the rest of your trip. The country has no less than 27 national parks and more than 30 nature reserves. This article describes some of the most beautiful national parks and nature reserves in Kenya.
Masai Mara nature reserve
The Masai Mara is perhaps the best known nature reserve in Kenya. It is located in the south-west of Kenya and borders the Serengeti, a plain of savannahs and woodlands that stretches across Tanzania and Kenya. Every year the Great Wildebeest Migration takes place here, a natural spectacle in which millions of zebras, wildebeests and gazelles migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara and back again later in the year.
The best time to witness this migration is between August and November. The crossing of the Mara River usually takes place in August or September. In October or November, the animals return to Tanzania. But a visit to the Masai Mara is also worthwhile in other months. The Big Five can be spotted throughout the year in this nature reserve.
The great migration
Amboseli National park
A much visited national park in the south of Kenya is Amboseli, which lies at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. The national park is known for its large and ancient population of elephants, estimated at around 600. Apart from elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions and rhinos can be spotted in Amboseli. The swamps and lakes in the west of the park are home to flamingos and pelicans. Amboseli is not only popular with tourists because of the many wild animals that live there, but also because of the magnificent view of Mount Kilimanjaro. You can photograph elephants with snow-capped mountain peaks in the background.
Amboseli is only a two-hour drive from Tsavo National Park. A visit to both national parks can therefore be combined. Moreover, both national parks are easy to reach from the capital. From Nairobi, you should take into account a four to five-hour journey by car to Amboseli and five to six hours to Tsavo. Tsavo can also be reached by car from Mombassa in around five to six hours. With an e-visa for Kenya, you may arrive at either Nairobi or Mombassa airport. Travellers from Tanzania to Kenya can use the Namanga, Taveta and Loitokitok border crossing points, which are relatively close to the national parks.
Tsavo Nationaal park
Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya, and it is among the largest national parks in the world. It consists of two parts: Tsavo West and Tsavo East, which are separated by a railway line and the highway between Nairobi and Mombassa. Tsavo West has a varied landscape with volcanoes, swamps, waterfalls and lakes. One of the highlights of the western part of the national park is the Mzima Springs, a series of springs with crystal-clear water (filtered through lava rock), where hippos and Nile crocodiles can be spotted and where you can take beautiful walks.
Unlike Tsavo West, Tsavo East has a flat and dry landscape, but precisely because nature in the eastern part of the national park is less lush, it is easier to spot animals in this part. Tsavo East is much larger than Tsavo West and is home to more than 10,000 elephants, which, due to the red colour of the earth in the national park, are also referred to as the “red elephants of Tsavo”. Besides elephants, buffaloes, crocodiles and zebras can also be admired here.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park owes its name to Lake Nakuru that lies in the national park. It is especially known for the large groups of flamingos, which can be found there because of the large quantity of algae in the lake. Due to extreme rainfall and flooding between 2012 and 2014, there are fewer flamingos to be found here these days, but apart from flamingos, the national park also houses cormorants, fish eagles, pelicans, giraffes and rhinos.
Kenya visa online application
To visit one of Kenya’s national parks you will need a visa. Since 2021, tourists can only use the electronic visa (e-visa Kenya) which can be applied for online. To apply for the visa, fill in the online application form and pay the fee. Subsequently, some documents must be provided, including a scan or photo of your passport and a booking confirmation or letter of invitation. The application will then be processed. As soon as the visa is approved, you will receive a confirmation by e-mail and text message.
Are you excited about the national parks but unable to decide which one to visit? The e-visa allows you to stay in Kenya for up to 90 consecutive days. This gives you more than enough time to tour the country and visit various national parks and nature reserves. Read more about the validity period of the Kenya visa.