Zebra in the plains of Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

The Best Safari Parks in Kenya

If you’re the type of traveller who dreams of seeing the natural world in all its glory, chances are you’ve spent some time fantasizing about a safari trip! Safaris are an incredible way to see animals – even rare or endangered animals, occasionally – in their natural habitat. Travellers are able to observe these wild animals from a safe distance, while supporting conservation efforts; truly a win-win situation.

If you have been dreaming about the perfect safari trip, you’ve probably spent some time thinking about a Kenya safari (and if you haven’t, start!). Not only will you have chances to see the Big Five (the five biggest game animals travellers can see on a safari: elephants, buffalo, rhinos, lions, and leopards), you’ll have jaw-dropping views of Mount Kilimanjaro in nearby Tanzania, stretches of amazing beaches, and incredibly welcoming locals.

Travel on: A safari tour

The best time to visit Kenya for a safari

Kenya is known as a year-round safari destination, but there are always things to consider when deciding when to visit this beautiful country! Much of the wildlife can most easily be seen during the dry season, from late June into October. There are a couple of reasons for this: firstly, the dry season means animals gather in massive packs around available water, meaning a visit to a waterhole can mean checking every animal off your list with one game drive! Secondly, the Great Migration – a natural event in which millions of wildebeest and zebras travel from Tanzania into Kenya – reaches the Masai Mara reserve in July and remains until October. Not only will this mean guaranteed sightings of these grazing animals, it also increases your chance of spotting a predator or two!

The best safari parks in Kenya

The only thing left to do, really, is decide where in Kenya you’d like to visit! Thankfully, there’s no shortage of amazing safari parks in Kenya – here are a few of our favourites.

Masai Mara National Reserve

Easily the most famous safari park in Kenya, Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the best safari destinations in the world! One of the main reasons this expansive park attracts so many visitors is the Great Migration – from about July to October, travellers will be able to witness herds of wildebeest and zebras in the millions travelling from nearby Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to Masai Mara in search of food and water. This experience is one of nature’s most incredible natural occurrences, so travellers looking for something truly amazing during their safari should put Masai Mara National Reserve at the top of their list.

Hundreds of cape buffalo crossing a river in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Witness the Great Migration in Masai Mara National Reserve | © Rohan Reddy/Unsplash

Amboseli National Park

Located in southern Kenya, Amboseli National Park is best known for one animal in particular: elephants! Travellers dreaming of seeing this impressive member of the Big Five should consider a visit to Amboseli National Park, as visitors are almost guaranteed views of large elephant herds. Beyond the wildlife, Amboseli also provides amazing natural views – here, travellers have the chance to wake up in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro; the highest mountain in Africa and one of the famous Seven Summits.

An elephant with two calves in Amboseli National Park
Connect with elephants in Amboseli National Park | © Githinji Wanjohi/Unsplash

Buffalo Springs National Reserve

Buffalo Springs National Reserve in northern Kenya is a popular safari destination – here, travellers will enjoy sightings of classic safari animals such as giraffes, elephants, lions, cheetahs, and African buffalo, as well as more unique animals, such as the endangered Grevy’s Zebra, or the Somali ostrich (a larger bird than the Masai ostrich). There is also some incredible bird life in Buffalo Springs National Reserve, with a species for every day of the year – over 365 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve!

Three Masai Ostriches in the plains of Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Somali Ostriches are very different from their Masai counterparts, shown here | © elCarito/Unsplash

Lake Nakuru National Park

Calling all photography lovers! Lake Nakuru’s colours will leave you breathless. Known as a haven for several animals – including both black and white rhinos – Lake Nakuru is filled to the brim with amazing sights. The park serves as a protected area for relocated animals, such as Rothschild’s giraffes, which were relocated from western Kenya from 1977. Lake Nakuru is also a fantastic spot to look for one of the rarer members of the Big Five – in recent years, leopard sightings have become increasingly-common in the park. One of the biggest draws of Lake Nakuru? The area’s flamingo population is massive, and serves for perfect photos of bright pink against vivid blue water.

Zebra by the water in Nakuru National Park
Land and sea in Lake Nakuru National Park | © elCarito/Unsplash

Samburu National Reserve

Made famous by the award-winning book and movie Born Free, Samburu National Reserve is possibly best known as being the place in which conservationists raised Elsa the Lioness. Travellers looking to spot some of Africa’s most famous predators should certainly head to Samburu – here, you’ll find large amounts of Nile crocodiles, cheetahs, leopards, and, as the reserve is part of a Lion Conservation Unit, there are countless opportunities to spot these amazing creatures here.

Samburu National Park, Kenya
A safari camp in Samburu National Park | © David Clode/Unsplash

While no one is guaranteed good weather conditions or sightings of specific animals on a safari, choosing Kenya for your safari is sure to be an amazing experience. Whether you’re setting out in search of the country’s colourful birdlife, looking for the Big Five, or just trying to soak in as much of this beautiful country as possible, it’s easy to see why Kenya is a top safari destination!

Which safari park would you most like to visit?

Maggie is a life-long traveller with a special affinity for the United Kingdom. When she's not reading, writing, or dreaming about her next trip, you can find her talking at length about her dog to anyone who'll listen.

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