8 Most Beautiful National Parks in Kenya

By Ken Hermer | 12 February 2024

Kenya is arguably one of the best countries for an African safari, offering a diverse range of expansive landscapes, breathtaking wildlife, and fascinating cultures.

Whether you want to witness the great wildebeest migration, spot the Big 5, or explore the rich Maasai heritage, the Kenya safari parks have something for everyone. You can also enjoy stunning views of Mount Kenya, the second-highest peak in Africa, or relax on the pristine tropical beaches of the Indian Ocean. With so many options, it can take time to choose where to go.

We enjoy robust partnerships with many notable camps and lodges in Kenya and Tanzania's most famous wildlife reserves. Should you want to venture into a reserve where we don’t have camps, we can still craft memorable safari adventures accompanied by sensational accommodations.

Here are, in our opinion, Kenya’s top destinations and suggestions that, if time allows, can be combined to offer you the outstanding variety you seek and experiences of a lifetime. Read on to find out more!

Nairobi National Park: Urban Safari in a Wildlife Haven


  • Spotting the Big 5
  • Visiting the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
  • Walking along the Hippo Pools Trail
  • Guaranteed black rhino viewing in a wild and natural setting

Should your travel schedule offer you the opportunity, and you want a swift and easily accessible safari experience, look no further than Nairobi National Park. This park is the world’s only wildlife capital, where you can see various animals roaming freely against the backdrop of the city skyline.

Nairobi National Park is just 7 km (4.3 miles) south of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital and largest city. It covers an area of 117 km² (45 sq² miles) and has a diverse landscape of grasslands, forests, rivers, and valleys. The park is home to over 100 species of mammals and 400 species of birds. You can spot endangered black rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, hippo and wildebeest.  A visit to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the park’s orphanage, where orphaned and abandoned animals are cared for and rehabilitated, is recommended.

Visitor activities include game drives, walking trails, picnic sites, and camping facilities. You can also enjoy educational programs, cultural events, and conservation initiatives. The park is a must-see destination for anyone who loves nature and wildlife. It is a place where you can witness the beauty and harmony of Africa’s flora and fauna within sight of the city while learning about the challenges and opportunities of conservation.

The Masai Mara: Kenya’s Pride and Joy


  • Incredible Great Migration viewing
  • Wonderful visits with the local Maasai communities
  • Fantastic spotting of the Big 5 and other wildlife
  • Memorable Hot-Air Balloon excursions

Although technically a National Reserve, not a National Park, the Masai Mara could not be omitted from this list. Millions of wildebeest and zebra migrate annually across the Mara River, searching for fresh pastures. This natural phenomenon, known as the Great Migration, is one of the ultimate spectacular wildlife events on the planet. 

A visit with the Maasai people is an essential cultural activity, best enjoyed from within a neighbouring private conservancy. Enjoy an educational interaction, learn about the Maasai culture and traditions, see their villages, meet the children, appreciate genuine and warm hospitality and witness splendid, colourful traditional ceremonies.

The Masai Mara is one of the best places to visit in Kenya and is home to the Big 5, some of Africa's most iconic and endangered animals. Here, you have an outstanding opportunity to spot them and other remarkable creatures such as cheetah, giraffe, hippo, crocodile, and over 500 species of birds.

For an unforgettable and exhilarating experience, take to the skies on a hot air balloon safari, soaring above the savannah and enjoying a bird’s-eye-view of the landscape and wildlife. End this adventure with a delicious champagne breakfast on the plains. 

Samburu National Reserve: Discover Extraordinary and Unique Wildlife


  • Game drives to see the Samburu “Special 5”
  • Sensational birdwatching
  • Fascinating and rewarding Samburu cultural visits
  • Best for quintessential African sunsets and delectable sundowners

Samburu National Reserve (also not technically a National Park, but too good to ignore) is a stunning wildlife sanctuary situated in northern Kenya. Spanning 165 square kilometres on the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro River, this reserve is home to diverse wildlife, beautiful landscapes and rich culture. Samburu is known for its rare and unique wildlife, including the reticulated giraffe, Grevvy's zebra, gerenuk, beisa oryx, and Somali ostrich. These animals are called the Samburu "Special 5" and can usually only be found in this region.

You may also spot other animals, such as lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, large elephant herds, buffalo, hippo, and crocodile. For those interested in birdwatching, the reserve offers over 450 species.

Beyond its wildlife, Samburu is also a cultural hub. You can visit local villages and learn about the traditions and customs of the Samburu people, who are a semi-nomadic tribe living in harmony with nature. You can witness their dances, ceremonies, and crafts and join them for a camel ride or nature walk. Samburu offers guests various activities, including game drives, birdwatching, bush meals, and sundowners.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy: A Rare Rhino and Conservation Success Story


  • Visiting the endangered rhinos and chimpanzees
  • Meeting the local communities and conservation team
  • Enjoy incredible views of Mount Kenya accompanied by romantic sundowners
  • Experiencing the thrill of game drives, night drives, and lion tracking

Waking up to the sound of lion roaring, hyena laughing, and birds singing as you sip your coffee in your cosy tent is enthralling. Gazing outside, a stunning view of Mount Kenya, the second-highest mountain in the country, fills your vision. You are in Ol Pejeta Conservancy, not a National Park but still a wildlife paradise and a role model for wildlife conservation.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to the Big 5 and many other amazing animals, such as giraffe, zebra, cheetah, and wild dog. It is also a sanctuary for some of the most endangered species in the world, such as the critically endangered black rhinos and the last two remaining Northern White Rhino. You can visit the rescued chimpanzees in their natural habitat and learn about their stories and personalities.

However, Ol Pejeta Conservancy is also about people and culture. You can meet the local communities who live and work in harmony with nature and witness the conservation team's efforts, who use trained dogs to protect the wildlife from poachers.

Your stay at Ol Pejeta Conservancy will be comfortable and memorable with a stay at Ol Pejeta Bush Camp, a charming tented camp on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River. Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, and lion tracking will fill your time. You will always have exciting activities in this incredible place.

Naboisho Conservancy: Community-led Conservation


  • Witness various massive pride of lions
  • Explore the diverse wildlife by day and night
  • Walk with the Maasai warriors and learn about their culture
  • Soar over the sweeping savannah in a hot-air balloon

If you want an authentic and unforgettable Kenyan safari experience while positively impacting the environment and the people, look no further than the Naboisho Conservancy. This private conservancy is a 50,000-acre (22,230-hectare) reserve bordering the famed Masai Mara National Park that provides an exclusive and immersive wildlife experience, benefiting both nature and the local communities.

The conservancy is home to one of Africa’s highest densities of lions. You will be spoiled for animal variety with large elephant herds, giraffe, cheetah, wildebeest, and more. Fewer vehicles are seen thanks to the conservancy's limit on the number of guests. Activities like twice-daily game drives, night safaris, fantastic walking excursions with Maasai warriors, exhilarating hot-air balloon safaris, and cultural visits can be enjoyed.

The best way to experience the Naboisho Conservancy is to stay at Naboisho Camp and Encounter Mara, which both offer high-quality accommodation, expert guiding, warm hospitality and contribute to wildlife conservation and the empowerment of the local communities.

The conservancy is a partnership between over 500 Maasai landowners who lease their land for wildlife protection and tourism. Conservancy fees provide them with sustainable livelihoods while supporting projects like the Mara Naboisho Big Cat Project, among others.

Tsavo West National Park: Explore Tsavo West’s Rich and Rugged Beauty


  • Exploring the ancient history
  • Climbing the majestic cliffs
  • Witnessing the diverse wildlife on game drives
  • Savouring stunning sunsets with sensational sundowners

Tsavo West is a vast, spectacular, rugged wilderness region in Kenya’s southeastern region. As Kenya’s second-largest national reserve, it covers 3,500 m² (9,065 km²). It consists of a savannah ecosystem with open grasslands, scrublands, Acacia woodlands, belts of riverine vegetation, rocky volcanic ridges, hills, and ancient lava flows. Tsavo West is one of the most scenic national parks in Kenya.

The region is known for its Late Stone Age archaeological sites, adding to this region’s mystique and allure. Rock-climbing enthusiasts will love the cliffs in areas of Tsavo West, offering sensational views of the distant peak of Mount Kilimanjaro and herds of giant tusk elephants roaming the plains below. With bountiful and gorgeous topography, the sunsets are pretty stunning.

Tsavo West is home to diverse wildlife, such as elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard, buffalo, and various plant and bird species. The Ngulia Sanctuary within the park provides a refuge and haven for some of Kenya's remaining Eastern black rhino. The Mzima Springs' permanent water supply is a popular attraction for wildlife, including hippo, elephant, crocodile, beautiful birds, and fish.

Photo by Josip Ivankovic

Amboseli National Park:vAmboseli: Elephants, Culture, and Kilimanjaro


  • Incredible elephant sightings
  • Fantastic walking safaris with a Maasai warrior
  • Amazing location for breathtaking views of Kilimanjaro
  • Educational and engaging Maasai cultural visits

Amboseli National Park is located near the border with Tanzania and offers breathtaking views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Imagine watching the sunrise over the snow-capped peak while elephants roam the grasslands below. This setting is one of the most beautiful places in Kenya, and a magical and iconic experience awaits you.

The park is famous for its massive population of elephant, among the most studied in the world. You can get close to these majestic animals and observe their behaviour, social structures, and communication. See lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhino, adding even more excitement. In addition, you can see giraffe, zebra, hyena, wildebeest, and many more.

Amboseli is also about culture, and the park is home to the Maasai people. You can learn about their traditions and lifestyle by visiting one of their villages and witnessing their colourful ceremonies and dances.

Mount Kilimanjaro’s snowcapped peak, best seen in the early morning or late afternoon, can be enjoyed on walking safaris to Observation Hill. The summit offers unforgettable views of Mount Kilimanjaro. The dry Lake Amboseli, sometimes filled with water and flamingo during the rainy season, is a great place to see the contrast between the park’s arid and wet habitats.

Photo by Harshil Gudka on Unsplash

Mara North Conservancy: A Private Safari Paradise


  • Witnessing the Great Wildebeest Migration
  • Exploring the conservancy on horseback and camping under the stars
  • Experiencing the Maasai culture
  • Enjoy the luxury of the camps and balloon rides, night drives, spa treatments, and fine dining

Mara North Conservancy (MNC) is a stunning private wilderness area located in the north-western zone of the Maasai Mara Ecosystem, which borders the Maasai Mara National Reserve. MNC was established in 2009 as a Not-For-Profit organisation to support conservation efforts in the Greater Maasai Mara Ecosystem.

The conservancy is a partnership between 12 Tourism Partner members, including six camps, three lodges, three riding outfits, and over 1000 Maasai landowners. The aim is to create a world-class conservancy that follows best-practice principles and has long-term commitments to the environment, wildlife, and local communities.

MNC believes in low-bed density tourism to provide an exclusive safari experience while minimising environmental impact. The conservancy is famous for its abundance of lions, the Great Wildebeest Migration, and the Maasai people, known for their distinctive customs and dress. It is undoubtedly one of the most renowned safari destinations in Africa. MNC is an area of high biodiversity, housing 550 bird species and 95 mammal species. Out of all the species found in the conservancy, MNC values the presence of lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, black rhino, buffalo, zebra, hippo, giraffe, hyena, and a wide variety of antelope species. The birding experience is also exceptional.

MNC has superb camps you can explore, and our Asilia safari planning team will be happy to assist you in choosing the ideal location.


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