Your all in one informational guide to East Africa‘s most conspicuous and interesting national parks known for mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, insects, trees and flowers as an essential companion on any safari to the region.
They say, “You can’t please everyone.” Well, “they” surely haven’t been to the astonishing national parks of Kenya – for these parks truly offer something for everyone.
Nairobi National Park – Incredibly, within sight of downtown Nairobi you can spot lion, leopard, buffalo, giraffe, and so much more just minutes away from the big city.
Masai Mara National Reserve – the densest concentration of lions in the region, the Mara is home to the Great Migration. This is the largest movement of animals on the planet. Up to two million gazelle, wildebeest and zebra flow into the park in a yearly cycle of survival. Here is where the Maasai people live and practice their herding lifestyle.
Samburu National Park – home to close to a thousand great elephants plus the native Samburu people, this peaceful park presents opportunities to spot unusual species, birdlife, and African wild dogs.
Amboseli National Park – framed by towering Mt. Kilimanjaro at its southern border, the park’s dense concentration of elephants guarantees sightings of the noble creatures.
Lake Nakuru National Park – though they are endangered, you’re sure to see black rhinos in the park’s protected sanctuary. Birdlife abounds with sightings of fuchsia flamingoes.
At Ol Pejeta Wildlife Sanctuary the rhinos are shielded, safe from poaching so their numbers will increase. Located here as well, the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary takes in orphaned and wounded chimps. It’s the only place in Kenya where you can enjoy the antics of these intelligent creatures.
Kisite Mpunguti Marine National Park – snorkel and dive with the dolphins and turtles by an immense coral barrier reef, sometimes called the rainforest of the sea.
Watamu Marine National Park – Brilliant lagoons and dazzling coral gardens hold sea turtles, hundreds of fish and manta rays.
Malindi Marine National Park – Africa’s first marine park offers fringing coral reefs with turtles, dolphins, innumerable fish, and shorebirds.
Aberdare National Park – This paradise of waterfalls, cool mountain breezes and thick rainforest is the opposite of what most people picture as the typical African park.
Mt. Kenya National Park – the second highest mountain in Africa.
Meru National Park – There’s jungle, rivers, rolling green hills and all the wildlife they support in this untamed and beautiful park. This is where Joy Adamson, of “Born Free” fame released Elsa the lioness back into the wild.
Everything about Tanzania is epic. Tanzania is blessed with spectacular natural landscapes supporting a universe of wildlife all expressed in a series of vibrant national parks. Close to fifty percent of the country is devoted to conservation, so you can easily travel between these vast green spaces, enjoying one safari experience after another.
Serengeti National Park – An immense horizon of land and wildlife. Over 3,000 lions and wildebeests by the millions. Named one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of Africa”, these endless plains and grasslands are home to all of Africa’s Big Five and one of the richest fields of wildlife in the region.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area – One of the most extraordinary habitats on the planet, the Ngorongoro is home to over 25,000 animals.
Mount Kilimanjaro National Park – It’s the highest peak in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
Tarangire National Park – Elephants rule here with numbers exceeding 3,000! And over 700 lions make for exciting safaris with great herds of wildebeests, zebras, and buffalo.
Lake Manyara National Park – Maybe the prettiest park in Tanzania -Flamingoes, unique Manyara tree-climbing lions and much more.
Arusha National Park – A small but incredibly versatile park boasting rainforests, alpine moorlands and the heights of Mt. Meru.
Great mountain ranges, deep “impenetrable” forests, magnificent cascading waterfalls and the world’s treasure of primates – these are the rich natural heritage of Uganda’s National Parks.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – this is where you’ll trek to find the endangered mountain gorilla. A world of steep mountain rainforest, it supports over 300 gorillas, half the world’s population.
Queen Elizabeth National Park – the variety of wildlife here is rich and sightings are common. You’ll be watching for lions, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, and elephants. The park even features unique tree-climbing lions.
Kibale Forest National Park – this is a thick rainforest overflowing with primates like the red colobus and L’Hoest’s monkeys. Forest elephants also rumble through the woodlands and a special treat – over 250 species of butterflies and hundreds of bird species.
Rwenzori Mountains National Park – this UNESCO World Heritage site offers visitors a world of waterfalls, lakes, and glaciers atop some of its mountain peaks. This beautiful but uncrowded park contains several rare plants and animals.
Kidepo Valley National Park – the lost valley encircling this park is a stunning canvas of perhaps the most beautiful landscapes in the country. You’ll find animals here not seen elsewhere in Uganda like cheetahs, aardwolves, bat-eared foxes, and lesser kudus.
Murchison Falls National Park – Uganda’s largest park contains another gift from the Nile – in the narrow gorge here, the wide river is squeezed and suddenly plummets with astonishing power down into Lake Albert. The result is an unforgettable explosion of cascade and thunder you can feel in your bones.
When you think of Rwanda what comes to mind? Impossibly green rolling hills and mountains? Brilliantly rich national parks? Bamboo forests and the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas? Or, chimpanzees, golden monkeys, and olive baboons?
Volcanoes National Park – the mountainous Virunga volcanoes are spellbinding with their deep emerald carpet sweeping over the five majestic peaks. Tucked away in these hills and rainforests live the elusive mountain gorillas, one of the last spots on the planet where you’ll find them.
Nyungwe Forest National Park – a great swath of biodiversity presented in equatorial rainforest. The highlight here is the opportunity to track chimpanzees. For an exciting and unusual perspective of the park’s rich diversity, ascend the canopy walkway amongst the treetops for sky-high views of butterflies, birdlife, and orchids dotting the landscape.
Akagera National Park – but not all the parks of Rwanda are mountainous. Akagera offers savannah, marsh, low hills, and forest that support topis, zebras, impalas, giraffes, rhinos… even elephants and lions.
Amboseli National ParkNorth West of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Amboseli National park lies immediately North West of Mt. Kilimanjaro, on the Kenya / Tanzania border. Amboseli is known as the best place in Africa for getting up close to free-ranging elephants. The population is so robust here that sightings are guaranteed!
Samburu National ReserveRift Valley province of Kenya
Samburu national reserve is situated at the Southern Corner of Samburu District in the Rift Valley province of Kenya. Elephants? Samburu boasts over 900 of these peaceful creatures… the herds gathering at the life sustaining river. Meanwhile beneath the river’s muddy brown waters, a significant population of Nile crocodile can be spotted, waiting for their prey.
NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREAAn Extinct Volcano Filled with Wildlife
Visiting Ngorongoro Crater is like stepping into an adventure movie: a sprawling, forested volcanic crater teeming with lions, cheetahs and flamingoes! Stretched out before you in this near-perfect blue-green caldera resides the densest concentration of wildlife in Africa. You only have to descend the crater walls with your guide to enter one of the most extraordinary habitats on the continent.
An Extinct Volcano Filled with WildlifeIt’s said the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the best place to see all the “Big Five”. Where else could you find the highest density of predators in Africa, plus giant tusker elephants and seas of fuchsia pink birds? The 25,000 large animals here, living in the world’s foremost, intact volcanic caldera have earned the accolades that come with the titles of World Heritage Site and Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
'The Widest Variety of Wildlife'All can agree that this rich variety of scenery is the perfect habitat for a variety of safari animals unequaled in Uganda.
Bwindi Impenetrable National ParkMisty Hillsides, Thick Jungle, and Gorillas
How many parks can boast of having half the world’s population of gorillas? Welcome to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park! Its rich rainforests host over 600 mountain gorillas – giving you plenty of opportunities for trekking and discovery. It’s a not-too-be-missed African safari experience.
Bwindi’s population of mountain gorillas is comprised of 36 families, 19 of which are habituated – that is, they are used to visitors trekking in to observe them. With a professional guide, your chances of finding a gorilla family are excellent.
Misty Hillsides, Thick Jungle, and GorillasThis great jewel of a reserve is actually an ancient forest, dating back 25,000 years, one of the few spots on the African continent to have survived the last ice age. The park’s longevity and literal deep forest roots have created an immense diversity of wildlife and glorious displays of orchids, ferns, and flowers.
Kidepo Valley National Park'A Brilliant Wilderness of Wildlife'
Perhaps one of the most remote parks in Africa, Kidepo Valley National Park is not on everyone’s must-see list. But that would be a mistake, as Kidepo presents some of the most striking safari scenery in Uganda. Plus, there is wildlife found here that’s not seen elsewhere in the country.
'A Brilliant Wilderness of Wildlife'The journey to this rugged park is worth the effort to find its resident cheetahs, aardwolves, bat-eared foxes, and caracal. Of Kidepo’s 75 species of mammals, you’ll enjoy the company of elephants, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, jackals, leopards, wild dogs, and hyenas. Plus, Nile crocodiles can be seen in its two rivers – the Kidepo and Narus.
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