Which Is the Best Safari in Kenya?

Want to have a magical experience? Well, Kenya is a country chockful of them. Filled with an envious diversity in landscapes and wildlife, Kenya is probably one of the most beautiful countries in the world. That beauty is evident in the country's many stunning parks and reserves. 

The Big Five roam the wilderness, mountains jut up in the sky, and beautiful lakes, forests, and beaches dot the land. There's a reason why the country receives so many tourists every year. It is a prime destination for those who want to experience a Kenyan safari.

So which is the best safari in Kenya? Read ahead and see for yourself.

Please contact us for tour planning assistance for Kenya safari tours from Nairobi.

The Best Safaris in Kenya

If you're looking for the best safaris in Kenya, you've come to the right place. Here are some of the best national parks and reserves in the country:

Masai Mara National Reserve 

Located in southwestern Kenya and adjacent to the Serengeti, the Masai Mara is widely considered to be the best safari in Kenya. The national reserve was initially established in 1948 as a wildlife sanctuary before being designated a game reserve in 1961. 

Masai Mara is a vast and beautiful flat grassland made of long, thin grass and acacia trees. Three rivers drain into the reserve: the Sand, Talek, and Mara. On the western edge of the Mara, you'll find the East African Rift's Esoit Oloololo Escarpment. 

As for the reserve's wildlife, you are in for a treat. The big 5 can be viewed in this reserve throughout the year, including the black rhino. In fact, the Mara has one of the largest populations of black rhinos in Africa. Hippos and crocodiles live in significant numbers in the three rivers. Cheetahs roam the Mara in large numbers, hunting prey and displaying their iconic speed. 

The Masai Mara is known for the large number of carnivores it hosts, from lions and leopards to African wildcats and African golden wolves. Over 470 species of birds have been found in the park, including the secretary birds, crowned cranes, and ostriches.

Every year in July and August, the world's largest wildlife migration occurs. Millions of wildebeests, gazelles, zebras, topis, and common elands cross the rivers from the Serengeti into the Mara. On land and in the river, predators can be seen in large numbers waiting to catch the migrating prey—it's one of the most incredible sights in the world. No wonder it's been chosen as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and one of the Ten Wonders of the World. 

Visit the Maasai Mara for the best Kenya safari tours.

Nairobi National Park

The only national park in a city! The Nairobi national park is about 7 kilometres from the capital. At 117.21 km2, this is one of the smaller national parks in Africa. Despite this, it has a large and diverse wildlife population. 

The park is mainly an open grass plain. In the west, there's a highland dry forest; in the south, you'll find a permanent river and a riverine forest. You'll also see deep rocky valleys, gorges, and broken bush tracts. Except for the elephant, the big five can be found in the park. Not only that, it's one of the most successful rhino sanctuaries in the country. Other animals include cheetahs, blue wildebeests, gazelles, impalas, jackals, baboons, spotted hyenas, ostriches, crocodiles, and many more. 

This is probably the most accessible national park because of its proximity to Nairobi. Watch giraffes stroll through the park while the city sits as a background. Visit the Ivory Burning Site Monument, the Animal Orphanage, and the Nairobi Safari Walk.  

If you've been looking for affordable Kenya safari packages that you can take advantage of during your business trip to Nairobi, then you must visit the Nairobi national park.

Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru National Park lies near Lake Nakuru. Like the Nairobi National Park, this park is small at 188 square kilometres. Lake Nakuru, a shallow, alkaline, covers a third of the park. There are alkaline swamps and marshes bordering the lake. 

You'll find grassland, acacia forests, and bushlands in the surrounding areas. The breathtaking blue-green lake is home to millions of flamingoes nesting along its shores. Sometimes you can hardly see the lake's surface thanks to the flamingoes creating a mass of fuchsia pink as they wade through the water. This is the greatest bird spectacle on the planet and why this park is considered one of the best safaris in Kenya. The birds feed on the algae that thrive in the lake's warm waters. 

Flamingoes aren't the only birds in the park; there are over 400 species of birds like avocets, grebes, ducks, and terns. 

If bird watching isn't your cup of tea, you'll be happy to learn that there are other animals. Both black and white rhinos are present in the park, as well as leopards, hippos, waterbucks, impalas, lions, buffalos, zebras, hyenas, wildcats, baboons, and many more. 

Go on picnics at this idyllic national park or go on a game drive and witness the flamingo spectacle.

Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East National Park was opened in 1948. It is found in southeastern Kenya and covers 13,747 square kilometres making it one of the largest national parks in Africa. The park's land is primarily flat, comprised of semi-arid savannah and grassland. Athi and Tsavo River converge to form Galana River inside the park. 

The sometimes harsh terrain and open vastness are breathtaking. Beautiful scenery isn't all that this park has. The biodiversity is renowned worldwide. All members of the Big Five can be found in the park along with gerenuks, spotted, striped hyenas, yellow baboons, dik-diks, zebras, and gazelles. There are over 500 species of birds too. Now you know why Tsavo East is known as the "Theatre of the Wild."

If you visit the park, don't forget to hike, watch birds, and go on game drives as part of your Kenya safari holiday package.

Amboseli National Park

Considered one of the best safaris in Kenya, Amboseli National Park is a real treat for travellers. Gazetted in 1974, the park covers 392 square kilometres. Though the climate is semi-arid, the landscape of the park is diverse. 

Amboseli is made up of woodlands, savannah, sulfur springs, two swamps, a chain of seasonal lakes, and the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli. Mount Kilimanjaro rises majestically into the air, forming an awe-inspiring backdrop. Members of the big 5 animals are here, so you'll see free-ranging elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, and rhinos. 

The park boasts 600 aquatic and ground bird species. As well as cheetahs, wild dogs, impalas, spotted hyenas, giraffes, blue wildebeests, zebras, and more. 

As a visitor, you can participate in game drives, birding, and even camping. 

Aberdare National Park 

Aberdare National Park is 160 kilometres from the capital, making it perfect for Kenya safari tours from Nairobi. The park is about 767 square kilometres and is part of the Aberdare Mountain Range. 

The park has many landscapes, from a mountain peak 4000 metres high to deep valleys filled with rivers, streams, and waterfalls, to moorlands, rainforests, and bamboo forests. 

Aberdare National Park has a large population of eastern black rhinos, lions, waterbucks, bushbucks, elephants, black and white colobus monkeys, jackals, buffalos, etc. Not only that, there are over 250 bird species in the park. 

The park has a bit of fascinating history. This is where Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth after her father's death. 

While in the park, you can participate in fun activities like game drives, hiking, bird watching, and camping.

Hells Gate National Park 

Hells Gate National Park is found south of Lake Naivasha. Established in 1984, the park is 68.25 square kilometres in size. The park's geography comprises savannah, high cliffs, hot springs, and geysers. Thanks to the last two features, there are hot rocks and the odour of sulphur in certain parts of the park. 

There are two extinct volcanoes in the park and Hells Gate Gorge, whose red cliffs contain two volcanic plugs. When it comes to wildlife, you can see lions, leopards, cheetahs, and 160 bird species.

Activities in the park include hiking through the gorges, mountain biking, camping, bird watching, and viewing the wildlife. 

Going on a Kenyan Safari

Before you embark on a private safari in Kenya, here are some essential items to bring with you:

  • Passport (must be valid for at least the next 6 months)

  • Health and Travel Insurance

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Prescription Medication

  • Check with your GP what medication you need while travelling

  • Anti-malaria medication

  • Antihistamine for allergies and insect bites

  • Painkillers

  • Insect repellent

  • 2/3 pair of neutral–coloured cotton trousers or chinos (no jeans, remember temperatures can hit 28°C)

  • 2 pairs of shorts

  • At least 4 t-shirts or short-sleeved shirts

  • 2 long-sleeved t-shirts or shirts

  • Swimming clothes

For a complete list of what to bring, including the proper documentation and more clothes, you can check out our complete Safari Packing Guide.

The best safari in Kenya depends on what you're looking for. For the renowned great migration, try the Masai Mara. If the sight of hundreds of thousands of pink flamingoes sounds like it could take your breath away, go to Lake Nakuru National Park. That's the thing about Kenyan parks and reserves; there's something for everyone. Those who want to climb mountains, who want to see natural hot springs, and who wish to see the Big Five can all get something when they visit the country. 

Contact us via the contact form below, and we’ll curate incredible Kenya tour packages for you!