APR 08, 2020SHARE
Game Reserves in Kenya 2020
Kenya offers some of the most spectacular wildlife viewing on the African continent. From coastal plains and mountainous plateaus to bubbling soda lakes and grasslands that stretch into the horizon, the country is host to a rich variety of habitats and wild inhabitants. To protect and monitor them, much of Kenya’s wild-lands are divided up into game reserves, which benefit from funding, special regulations, and dedicated protection. With over 40 parks in the country, however, it can be difficult choosing which ones to visit. To help you plan your safari, we’ve put together this handy guide on the best game reserves to check out in 2020.
#1 – Masai Mara National Reserve
Comprising over 1,500 square kilometres of pristine wilderness, the Masai Mara is undoubtedly one of the best places to see wildlife in Kenya. Sitting in the South-West of the country, the reserve encompasses sprawling plains, forests, and rivers.
While all of the Big 5 can be seen within this corner of Kenya, the most spectacular wildlife event is the Great Wildebeest Migration. From the end of July to October, the reserve plays host to up to one and a half million wildebeest as they travel on their annual migration in search of water and fresh pastures. Visitors may see them take their chances against stalking crocodiles as they cross the river Mara, or flee for their lives from hunting lionesses.
Wildebeest jumping into river
#2 – Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru is just one of eight ‘soda lakes’ to be found in Kenya’s Rift Valley. Taking its name from the Masai term for ‘dusty place’, the lake itself is fairly shallow and inhospitable to most wildlife on account of its highly alkaline waters. These conditions, however, are ideally suited for algae – the principal food source of the lesser flamingo. The best time to see these brightly-coloured birds congregate on the lake is during the dry season (from June to August); the lower waters have a greater salinity during this period, which means an abundance of tasty algae for the flamingos.
Apart from the sight of hundreds of pink birds lining the shore, the Lake Nakuru area more generally holds some special wildlife-viewing opportunities. Due to a concerted conservation effort, for instance, around 150 white rhinos and 50 black rhinos can be found in the park.
Flamingos standing in lake
#3 – Laikipia Plateau Reserve
Formerly used for ranching during the colonial era, the Laikipia Plateau consists of 9,500 square kilometres of land that extends from the base of Mount Kenya to the Northern Frontier District. The reserve is divided up into a number of conservancies, many of which concern themselves primarily with the protection of elephants. There are around 7,000 of these majestic animals within the reserve, and approximately a third of them undertake an annual migration northwards through age-old routes towards the Samburu Reserve.
Alongside elephants, visitors may also catch a glimpse of the lesser-known Grevy’s Zebra, which is one of Northern Kenya’s key endemic species. The reserve holds around a quarter of the total global population of this endangered species of zebra, which is distinguished from the more widely known plains zebra by narrower stripes, a white belly, dorsal stripe, round ears, and a brown muzzle.