The national parks and reserves in Kenya are found in various places around the country. Some are small in size while others are very big in size. Some are known throughout the world while others are just famous locally but all for really good reasons.
Tourists visit Kenya all year round to have a taste of the safari experience in Kenya. Safaris in Kenya are usually fun packed with tourists having a lot of activities and adventure during the safari. The national reserves and national parks in Kenya have various accommodation facilities that tourists can use whenever they visit want to go on safaris.
Tourists visiting Kenya for safaris can either choose to use safari camps, safari lodges, hotels or tented camps. There are very many of these facilities around the country. Some are in the national reserves or national parks while others are outside the perimeter of the national parks and national reserves.
The prices in these hotels, lodges and safari camps vary from place to place. There is no fixed rate for accommodation. These prices also vary throughout the year. Hotels change their rate depending on what season it is. There are high and low seasons when it comes to tourism in Kenya. The high season always experiences an influx of the number of tourists visiting the country while the low season experiences a low turnout compared to the high season.
During the low seasons, the rates of different accommodation spots usually drop by a considerable margin. It is usually very significant that many tourists choose to visit Kenya during this period to take advantage of the low charges. Other camps usually choose to close down temporarily until normalcy resumes in the parks.
Top National Reserves and National Parks in Kenya
So what are the most famous national reserves and national parks in Kenya? If you are planning come for safaris in Kenya, it is important that you know what the best places are to visit and what activities to expect when you visit these places.
You have a big decision to make because unless you have all the time to spend on holiday and all the money, you can never visit each national reserve and national park in Kenya. You will have to do a good research on your best destinations to visit and make sure they fit on your holiday timeline. While making these decisions, it is important that you also consider your budget for your holiday.
Below are some of the most popular national reserves and national parks in Kenya that you need to consider when visiting Kenya. These are ideal destinations for safaris and are famous among tourists who visit Africa.
The Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara National Reserve is found in Masai Mara. Masai Mara is in Rift Valley province and the closest town to the Masai Mara National Reserve is Narok Town. The native inhabitants of the area the Masai people and therefore the area gets its name from the Masai people and consequently the national reserves’ name is coined from the name of the place.
The Masai Mara National Reserve is the most popular safari destinations in Kenya and it is also quite popular in Africa. This is home to countless wildlife species and therefore a great place for safaris and adventure in Kenya. It is home to the big 5, that is, the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo.
There are also other very many interesting animals that call Masai Mara home. These include cheetahs, hyenas, zebras, gazelles, giraffes and many others. When you go for game drives in the Masai Mara, these animals can be easily seen and if you have a good guide, you will be taken to various spots famous for various animals you are interested in.
The Nairobi National Park
The Nairobi National Park is one of the most interesting national parks in the world. This is because it is the only national park that is found with a city. Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya and the busiest of all the towns in Kenya. Nairobi is a metropolitan with all walks of life residing in the city.
The National Park is about 7km from the city’s CBD and just a few minutes ride will get you to the entrance of this national park. From the Nairobi National Park, you can see the tall buildings of Nairobi town and it is usually a great experience even to the city dwellers. It is convenient in that you do not have to travel long distances to see the big 5 or other animals on safari.
The animals are kept within the park’s perimeter by a fence but many times some of the animals make it out of the perimeter and cause a buzz around the neighboring areas. Just a few months back photos made rounds around the world. Some lions made it out of the national park to cause a snarl up of traffic as motorists got a rare treat of the wild beasts wrestling it out on the usually busy Langata Road.
The Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park is also in Rift Valley. The national park gets its name from the Lake Nakuru that is found in the area. The lake is famous for its pink flamingo cover. It is an ideal place for bird lovers and the serenity of the area makes it an ideal destination for holidays.
There are other very many animals you can find in the park including the rhino of course other water animals and fish like Tilapia. There are very many hotels and lodges in Lake Nakuru that tourists can use when they visit the area. Nakuru is close to Nairobi and therefore offering a bit of convenience especially to domestic tourists.
The Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks
These twin national parks are found in the coast province. You can access these national parks from Mombasa, Voi or Malindi. The area is generally semi arid and dusty but is very rich when it comes to wildlife. This is the place to visit if you are particularly interested in seeing elephants.
The Tsavo East National Park and the Tsavo West National Parks are separate National Parks and therefore one cannot simply hop in and out of both. There are very many attractions in these parks including springs and Tsavo is also rich archeologically. There are also countless activities to do in Tsavo including rock climbing among other adventurous activities.
The Mount Kenya National Park
The Mount Kenya National Park is one of the best places for adventurous safaris in Kenya. There are very many activities that tourists take part in when they visit the Mount Kenya National Park. This national park is found in the central province of Kenya and get its name from the Mount Kenya, the tallest mountain in Kenya and the second tallest in Africa.
Apart from the wildlife in the park, tourists also get the rare treat of climbing Mount Kenya. There are different peaks that you can climb but each has its own fair share of challenges to deal with. It is always a thrilling experience to make it to the top and back and that is why Mount Kenya National Park gets tourists visiting the area all throughout the year.
The Amboseli National Park
Amboseli is also one of the most popular spots for safaris in Kenya. It is just south of Masai Mara and is rich in both flora and fauna. However, it is most famous for its scenic views of the Mount Kilimanjaro. From various safari camps and safari lodges in Amboseli, you have a great view of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro which has its foot in Kenya.
There are very many animals to see including the big 5. The Amboseli has the Savannah vegetation and the weather in the area is just about right for safaris. The Amboseli National park is also famous for elephants and therefore is an ideal safari destination if you are particularly interested in elephant’s activities.
There are other very many national reserves and national parks in Kenya. These include Kakamega Rain Forest National Reserve, Hell’s Gate National Park, Meru National Park, Sibiloi National Park and Buffalo Springs National Reserve among others. All these national reserves and national parks in Kenya make safaris in Kenya a memorable experience and will surely leave you wanting for more.
Tourist Attractions when Visiting Kenya
When visiting Kenya, there are very many tourist attractions to choose from. The tourists attractions in Kenya are found all over the country and therefore it is important that before you come for you holiday, you do a good research so that you know the places you will be spending your holiday.
Below is a list of the best tourist attractions in Kenya
Attractions in the Coast
- Gede Ruins
- Fort Jesus
- Vasco da Gama Pillar
- Wasini Island
National Reserves and National Parks in Kenya
- Masai Mara National Reserve
- Nairobi National Park
- Tsavo National Parks
- Amboseli National Park
- Lake Nakuru National Park
Towns to Visit
- Malindi and Watamu
Kenyan Highlands Attractions
- Mount Kenya
- Lewa Conservancy
- The Great Wildebeest Migration
- The Lamu Festival
These are among the best tourist attractions in Kenya. However, there are very many more tourist attractions that you can see when you are in Kenya. Once you get to Kenya, you may also learn of other attractions that are not really celebrated but might be something you want to experience.
Best Kenya Travel Tips
Below are a few Kenya travel tips that you need to know before visiting Kenya. These travel tips will ensure that you have a memorable holiday in Kenya.
- Do NOT forget to carry your photograph especially if you are going on a safari. Target morning hours and the evening hours to get the best shots. You tour guide will come in handy in picking out the best locations for photography.
- You will get to see many different wildlife and therefore it is important that you equip yourself with information on the different animals that you are likely to see and therefore giving you an opportunity to ask your guides the right questions. Download safari apps that will also guide you during the safari.
- Ensure that you choose the best accommodation spot for you. There are many hotels, lodges and safari camps in Kenya. Do a good research on accommodation before you book into any place.
- There are different times of the year that you can choose to visit Kenya. If you are interested in particular events such as the great wildebeest migration, ensure you time your holiday well. If you are on a budget it is probably best to visit during the low seasons. Learn the climate pattern of Kenya so that you are not surprised by the weather during your holiday in Kenya.
- You can practically wear anything you wish when you are on your holiday in Kenya. However, it is important that you know what safari attire to park if you are planning for a safari in Kenya.
- Major international currencies are acceptable when you visit Kenya. However, you may need to change some of your pocket cash into the local currencies.
I hope these few Kenya travel tips help you out the next time you are visiting Kenya so that you have the most memorable experience in this beautiful country.
Travel Packing Light
Travel Packing Light: If In Doubt, Leave It Out
In a recent post, I admitted to having a packing problem — namely overpacking — so that I have to lug a large suitcase on many plane or train trips rather than a lighter, much handier carry-on-size bag (21 or 22 inches long). It spurred me to write “Seven Reasons for Packing Light,” mostly learned the hard way.
But I like to think that after my last trip — a week-long European cruise in February — that I’ve learned my lesson. I’d convinced myself there were extenuating circumstances: it was winter, so I needed heavier clothes; it was a cruise, so I would only need to unpack once; and it was a business trip (a story assignment), so I needed dress clothes and shoes for the ship’s semi-formal nights.
And, of course, my large bag had wheels, as does virtually every suitcase these days, so I could easily wheel it through airports and on level ground. And it being an overseas flight, there would be no extra charge for checking the bag. So, giving in to what seemed the inevitability of a large bag, I loaded it up with contingency clothes: extra shirts, extra shoes, extra trousers. The “you never know when you might need it” syndrome. It all added up to one heavy, bulky suitcase.
My Big Mistake
New York City train stations and airports are notorious for escalators not working, with no elevators in sight. This means lugging or dragging a heavy suitcase up or down sometimes long — very long — flights of stairs, only to have to squeeze onto a crowded commuter train. What to do with my oversized bag? In my recent case, it meant blocking a crowded train aisle. Conductor not pleased. Other commuters irate, throwing dirty looks. Embarrassing for a professional traveler.
So I’ve decided that unless I’m going on a trip that absolutely requires special equipment — such as heavy hiking boots and hiking sticks and multiple sweaters in the Himalayas — that I’m packing light from now on. That means no checked bags, and no bags I can’t easily carry up or down stairs or get into overhead bins on trains or planes.
Here are 10 general tips on how to pack light. In subsequent posts, I’ll have tips specific to women, and others for men.
* Particularly when it comes to clothing, keep this old chestnut in mind: “Lay out everything you think you need, then pack only half of it.” For instance, if you think you’ll need four shirts, you’ll probably do fine with two. (However, if you lay out so much that half still equals a mound the size of a small-town landfill, you’ll definitely have to check a bag.)
* Another way to look at the above rule: “If in doubt, leave it out.” You can always buy a needed — or wanted — item at your destination.
* Open your (carry-on sized) suitcase and pack your absolute essentials first (nothing terribly valuable, of course, in case you have to gate check your bag or leave it in an overhead bin that’s out of sight; valuables go into your “personal” carry-on, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, or briefcase that will fit under an airline seat).
Once you’ve packed your essentials — and I’m talking shoes (preferably one pair, while you wear the other en route), underwear, one or two shirts, a pair of trousers (you’ll wear the other on the plane), a few socks if you’re wearing shoes other than sandals), toiletries with TSA-approved small-sized containers, a crushable hat or cap for sun protection, and some specific items for women and men that I’ll get to in subsequent posts — then you can add borderline items only if there’s space. For example, you may want to pack bulky computer cords or charging equipment in this bag if you’re reasonably sure it won’t be out of your sight.
* Take advantage of “miracle” fabrics that can be washed out and dry easily overnight or even while you’re eating lunch. That means you can wear them over and over, even if they get sweaty, and they are much lighter and more breathable than wool, cotton, etc. I have a down “sweater-jacket” that can roll up into a small stuff bag that’s easily crammed into the corner of a suitcase. It fits snugly and provides warmth, especially if worn under an outer jacket if needed.
* Use packing cubes. Rather than digging around in your suitcase for an elusive pair of socks, pack your shirts (or underwear, trousers, etc.) in packing cubes — nylon containers that fasten with Velcro or zippers and keep your clothes neat and unwrinkled. You don’t even need to unpack them at your destination — just remove a piece of clothing as needed and if it’s still clean after wearing, fold and return it to the packing cube.
*Use compression packing bags. These are bags you fill with dirty clothes (usually) and then roll them up as a one-way valve pushes out the air, forming a flattened pack that takes up much less space and keeps your dirty clothes separate as well.
* Use every inch of space. Stuff extra socks or anything you can roll up into a small ball (such as a belt) inside packed shoes or anything hollow.
* Wear your heavy jacket, blazer, or heavier pair of shoes onto the plane so you don’t have to pack them. Fill pockets with extra handkerchiefs, Kleenex packs, etc.
* Remember that in general, as a leisure traveler you won’t be expected to be as turned out and stylish as you might be at home. Still, there are easy ways to look good (tips on those to come in subsequent posts).
* This may seem obvious, but it’s commonly overlooked amid all the other last-minute travel arrangements:check the weather at your destination before you pack. If it’s going to be dry and sunny, leave your rain gear at home. (It’s always prudent to carry a compact, fold-up umbrella, however.) If the weather is going to be cool and you’ll be nowhere near a beach, sandals are probably dispensable.
* Be sure that your personal carry-on — where you carry your passport, wallet (or extra wallet — more on that in the men’s tips post) or little purse, any other valuables, prescription medications, electronic equipment (laptop, tablet, cell phone, charger, etc.), reading material — is large enough to hold what’s needed and that your passport, cash, and a pen (for filling out forms) are readily accessible. Having shirt or jacket pockets while traveling is also extremely handy.
Next up: Packing tips for women.
Readers, if you have any favorite packing tips that I haven’t covered, please feel free to add by leaving a comment — thanks!
How to travel responsibly
How to travel responsibly, being a responsible budget traveler Tourism in developing countries can be both a blessing and a curse – each individual leaves his or her mark upon a place.
Small decisions that we make along the way as travelers insure that future travelers find a place as welcoming and magical as we did.
Travel and tourism should be planned and executed as a means of individual growth and development. When practiced with an open mind, it is an awesome source of self education, mutual tolerance and for learning about the diversity and wonderful nuances that make our planet such an interesting place.
Everyone has a responsibility for creating and promoting responsible travel and tourism. Governments, business and communities must shoulder their share of the load, but as a budget traveler you can support this in many ways that make a huge difference:
- Open your mind to other cultures and traditions. It will transform your trip and you will earn respect and welcome of the local people. Be tolerant and respectful, making sure to observe social and cultural traditions and practices.
- Respect human rights. Exploitation in any form conflicts with the fundamental purpose of travel.
- Help preserve natural environments. Leave things the way you found it – or better. Protect wildlife and habitats and do not purchase products made from endangered plants or animals….this includes animal products, novelty insects, etc…
- Respect cultural resources. Activities should be conducted in a way that respects the artistic, archaeological and cultural heritage of a place.
- Support the local economy – they need it. Purchase local handicrafts and products using the principles of fair trade. Bargaining for goods should reflect an understanding of a fair wage – don’t fall victim to traveler scams, but that merchant probably needs the difference more than you do.
- Get up to date about the destination’s current health situation prior to departure and be assured that your health and personal security will not be threatened. Make sure that you have the means to remain healthy and happy before you arrive in a new place.
- Learn as much as possible about your destination and take time to understand the customs, norms and traditions in an effort to avoid accidentally offending the local population.
- Learn the local laws so that you do not accidentally break them. Refrain from all trafficking in illicit drugs, arms, antiques, protected species and products or substances that are dangerous or prohibited.
Responsible travel is not complicated. Getting into the mindset that you are going to leave a place in better shape than you found it by doing your part and encouraging others, will ensure that the doors will be kept open for future budget travelers!
provided by StepUpTravel.org
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