Self-drive has become a trend with safari holidays in Africa. So, this has taken a position in Kenya where several travelers have opted to hire a car and take on self-drive trip. Deciding to explore Kenya on a self drive is among the adventure thrillers that the magical Kenya can offer.
Kenya hosts some of the greater adventure encounters on the African continent and some of these encounters seek and poses in highlight themes of African safari. Kenya boast for having over 20 national parks and reserves which are scattered all over the country. These various parks offer differing adventure experiences according to the nature and the environment of the park.
For years, some of the Kenya’s parks has scooped the position of being Africa’s number one national park. These has attracted and pulled many to come and experience such adventure wonders. So, down we are laying some of the best 5 national parks and reserves which you can consider visiting when on a self-drive trip in Kenya.
- Masai Mara National Reserve
On a road trip it’s about 6 hours to drive to the Masai Mara from Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. The Masai Mara National Reserve is undoubtedly Kenya’s best and one of the most famous in Africa. Situated in the southwest of the country sharing borders with Serengeti National Park of Tanzania border. Here, animals are able to roam freely across the two national parks and the wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles populations of this area, in particular, make some seriously epic annual migrations in search of fresh grass grazing lands.
These immense wildlife migrations is probably the most dramatic of these spectacles is the wildebeest migration. This is when about 2.5 million wildebeest make their way from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara.
The trek mainly happens in the months of July and August, the huge herds of wildebeest then arrive in the Masai Mara in September. If interested in watching this dramatic world-famous scene, late summer is the best time to visit Masai Mara National Reserve. Lest, the big cats like lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas can be sighted in grassy plains and regular rainfall support a huge population of herbivores.
- Amboseli National Park
Seated behind the wheels of your safari rental, then wondering where to drive! Shouldn’t worry, just count Amboseli National Park on among the best spots not to miss. If not the best, can’t miss to be the second known, desired and dominating tourist destination in Kenya.
Okay, after Masai Mara another tourist destination you can talk or consider about is Amboseli National Park. The park became famous for its huge elephant population, making it the one of the best places in Africa to draw closer to the magnificent and giant creatures.
Besides the elephants, expect watch the Big 5 games here along with many more wildlife species. The landscape of the park also encompasses a huge range of landscapes from wetlands, savannah, woodlands, and thorn-bush through to the dry lakebed of Lake Amboseli. This diverse set of ecosystems ensures great numbers and diversity of wildlife.
In the park’s marshes and lakes, expect to sight as many birds as possible, these include; pelicans, kingfishers, crakes, egrets, and even the Madagascar heron.
The magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro forms a jaw-dropping backdrop to your safari pictures, so if you’ve ever seen photos of elephants gracefully framed by snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, they were probably taken here.
- Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park is situated north of Nairobi capital within the arrays of the Great Rift Valley. It’s one of the easily accessed parks from Nairobi about 3 hours of driving. Nakuru is a shallow, saltwater lake boasting an abundance of wildlife and spectacular landscapes. The lake, which sits 1,754m above sea level.
Lake Nakuru National Park became a wetland site of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1990 and was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2011. The park is very famous for its vast flamingo population which form a pinky colored waters of the lake. The flamingos here can be seen all year-round, sometimes in such large numbers that the lake appears pink.
However, the severe floods of 2012, relentlessly compressed the flamingos’ breeding and feeding grounds, which resulted into reduction in the number of birds. Nevertheless, there is some promising signs of numbers increasing again recently.
Lake Nakuru National Park is actually one of the best places in Kenya to see rhinos in the wild. The park is home to both white and black rhinos which made the park to be declared a Rhino sanctuary in 1983. Abundant of wildlife call the rhinos their home including; lions, cheetahs, hippos, buffalos, waterbucks, impala, giraffes and zebras among many other species can be spotted at this great Kenyan national park.
When driving yourself around also know this that the reserve has a strong reputation for leopard sightings, leopards is among the hardest wild animal to spot on an adventure. Lake Nakuru is also a birders hotspot, with hundreds of species drawn to the water and surrounding wetlands.
- Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park was established in 1946, and was the first national park in Kenya. The park is located in a proximity city of from Nairobi’s high towers. This park makes Nairobi the only city where you can find lions and leopards roistering within the capital. This is after you have decided a 5 minutes’ drive to the park.
This little gem in the capital of Kenya is actually one of the most accessible wildlife destinations in the country. Nairobi National Park is very easy to reach, no hustle when driving to this park. Only a maximum of 10 minutes is enough from Nairobi central business area. The park suggests a perfect genesis when starting an exodus to the rest of other Kenya’s other top destinations including Mombasa, Amboseli National Park, and Tsavo East National Park.
Nairobi National Park hosts 4 of the Big 5, is home to 100 mammal species, and is also known as a rhino sanctuary, a breeding area for the rhinos in Kenya. The park is a perfect spot for watching the rare black rhino, as well as for capturing some unusual wildlife shots.
- Hell’s Gate National Park
The towering cliffs, dramatic gorges, and rock towers, trails of geothermal steam that rise from the scenery. This leaves no question that Hell’s Gate National Park is one of Kenya’s most enticing and worth you guided drive (self-drive) holiday vacation. Entering the gates of this park maybe you don’t know where it all ends from, or it route of sinner’s final destination (jokingly).
The park isn’t home to any dangerous predators, which means it is actually possible to enjoy both walking and cycling safaris in this amazing spot. And maybe it disqualifies it from conceiving the perception of the name.
With extraordinary sceneries and landscapes, hiking, and hill biking draw you close to some of Africa’s most wonderful creatures. Imagine riding peacefully through a geothermal landscape as you pass grazing zebras, giraffes, impala, gazelle, antelope, and buffalo just meters away. It’s amazing, and without doubt that cycling in this park creates a real set of mind piece.
The looming cliffs and rock towers of Hell’s Gate also offer opportunities for keen climbers, and scaling them is a great way to get the best view of the surrounding gorges and lime-streaked cliffs. Several travelers on a self-drive have even include a visit to the nearby hot springs and geothermal health spa, making this a definite top Kenyan safari spot!