The national parks in Kenya are unique. Wildlife seeks its match.
In contrast to the parks in southern Africa, Kenya has preserved its wild and original face.
The Masai Mara is Kenya's most animal-rich reserve, both in terms of the number of species and the number of individual animals. Although it is not a typical elephant area, there are good stocks. In 1973, 720 animals were estimated, in 1977 703 were counted and in 1982 and 1987 there were 1100 elephants. You walk in both directions across the state border. Since Kenya's government has recognized its showpiece value for tourism, efforts to conserve elephants are remarkably large. From September to November, flocks from the Serengeti migrate through Masai Mara. The wildebeest, zebra, thomson gazelle and eland antelope of the area are known for their extensive hikes, depending on the dry season and the rainy season. Over the course of a year, they have been wandering the entire Serengeti from north to south into the adjacent Masai Mara and back for millennia.
The landscape of the Tsavo West is very diverse and clearly hilly, more mountainous and wetter than that of the larger Tsavo East. From the plane protrude numerous volcanic cones. In the northern part of the park Acacia Commiphora savannas dominate with individual trees (eg baobabs). Individual rocks and ridges dominate the landscape. In the densely wooded Ngulia area some rocky hills reach heights of about 1,800 m.
In a so-called "Rhino sanctuary", some of the last black rhinos in the area are sheltered in a fenced area under the protection of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). At the foot of the Chyulu Hills lies the Shetani lava field, which originated about 200 years ago and is still largely free of vegetation. The black lava purifies meltwater from Mount Kilimanjaro, which exits the Mzima Springs spring. It consists of two spring basins from which 250 million liters of crystal-clear water flow daily and in which numerous hippos and Nile crocodiles live. A shelter allows the observation of these animals and countless fish under water. Since 1966, an aqueduct supplies large parts of Mombasa with this spring water.
The park is characterized by grass and bush savannahs and semi-desert steppes. These alternate with acacia forests, canyons, individual rock groups and island mountains. Seasonal rivers in the southern part are Voi River and Mbololo River. Permanently running water Athi River and Galana River (this arises above the Lugard Falls by the confluence of Athi and Tsavo River). Along the rivers are narrow gallery forests. Standing waters are u. a. At Mundanda Rock (natural damming through rock face) and at the Aruba Dam, there are also smaller waterholes, often created by elephants. Gneiss and slate soils dominate, parts of the park are of volcanic origin. A flat and extensive lava ridge, the Yatta Plateau, runs along the western border in the east of the Athi River; It is the longest lava field in the world.
The landscape of this national park is characterized by soda-colored gray dust. Acacia forests, swamps and open savannah alternate and provide a home to many big-game species. There are wildebeests, zebras, Grant and Thomson gazelles, impalas, giraffe gazelles, ibexes and some black rhinos. Predators include lions, cheetahs, hyenas, African wild dogs and two species of jackals. At the center of the Amboseli National Park are palm tree thickets. Around the numerous swamps, which are fed by Kilimanjaro and represent despite the seasons and from year to year changing extent very abundant water resources grow, grows grasses, papyrus, rushes, salt-contracting bushes and Gelbrindenakazien. The large, alkaline Amboseli Lake (Lake Amboseli), which gave the National Park its name, covers about one third of the park area, but is only seasonally filled with water. Between the swamps in the southern part of the park and the Amboseli lake is a channel-like connection.
The unique natural spectacle of the approximately two million flamingos made it necessary to protect the animals at an early age. In a first step, the colonial government declared in 1961 the southern two-thirds of today's park to a bird sanctuary. In 1967, under the new black African government, the park became the first bird sanctuary in Africa. In 1969, the park was extended to the whole lake and the surrounding area and has since grown to 188 km². 450 species of birds, including 90 waterfowl, have been recorded. More than 50 mammal species (antelopes, waterbuck, monkeys, buffalo, giraffes) and snakes are registered here, and you can even see lions. The park has no elephants, it is too small for that. On the eastern shore of the lake grows the largest pure tree euphorbia (Euphorbia candelabrum) in Africa. The baboon cliffs on the southwestern edge offer the visitor a magnificent view of the whole lake and the scenery of the Flamingo colonies. These baboon cliffs are among the few places where you can and can safely leave the car. Usually, as the name implies, baboons, English baboons, live here. When you approach the lake, you smell and hear the birds with their loud rattling sound. Very well you can see in the breeding season and the Flamingonester with the eggs or chicks.
The lake is home to a remarkable variety of birds. Here, around 300 species of birds were counted, such as ibises, African eagles, goliath herons, marabou, pelicans and cormorants. Around the lake giraffes, antelopes, hippos, wildebeest and zebras can be seen.
The LUMO Wildlife Sanctuary is a private game reserve. It is located near Mwatate in Taita-Taveta county in the former coastal province, about 220 km from Mombasa. It covers an area of 125,000 hectares. The reserve is formed by the Lualenyi, Mramba Communal Pasture Area and the Oza Group Ranch, hence the acronym "LUMO".
LUMO is located next to the Tsavo West National Park and the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, serving as an important wildlife Corridor between Tsavo West and Tsavo East. It houses Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Masai Lion, Masai Giraffe, Zebra, Hartebeast, Impala, Waterbuck, Thomson's Gazelle, less Kudu, Dik-Dik and other smaller animals, including a great variety of bird life.
Between the two largest elevations, Ol Donyo Lesatima (also Ol Doinyo La Satima, 3999 m) and Kinangop (3906 m), runs at an altitude of over 3000 m, a saddle of alpine heathland. In addition to the high moor areas, there are also scrubland and mountain forest including bamboo. Gorges with streams and waterfalls cut through wooded slopes to the east and west. It is an important water catchment area for the Tana and Athi rivers.
In the National Park you can go on safari, but this must be done. Camps and lodges are also available in the national park. Special attractions of the park are the waterfalls Karuru, Gura, Chania and Magura.
Right next to the Aberdares lies the private game reserve Solio. It is especially known for its rhino population, but also elephants and big cats have a home here. Since this area has been privately owned for many generations and the animals have never been hunted accordingly, impressive game drives are guaranteed here.