Amboseli National Park lies approximately 150 miles south-east of Nairobi very close to the Tanzania border. The snowcapped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro rising up, dominates every aspect of Amboseli and is the perfect backdrop to a safari. A relatively small park but supports over 50 mammal species and has a rich birdlife. Years ago this was the locale around which famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Robert Ruark spun their stories of big game hunting in the wilds of Africa. This region is also the home of the noble Maasai people. These tall, proud nomads have established a legendary reputation for their prowess in battle and single handed acts of bravery in fights with wild animals. Perhaps more than any other community in Kenya, the Maasai have learned to live in complete harmony with their environment and the wildlife which surrounds them. A part of the park is composed of a dried lake bed which in the shimmering heat produces mirages. Underground rivers from Kilimanjaro's melting snows feed permanent swamps and springs. These serve as watering places for the wildlife through times of drought. As a result, this area is particularly good for game viewing during the dry season.
Game viewing includes lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, cheetah, buffalo and a host of plains game, creating Kenya's most sought after photographs.
Samburu National Park is situated in the northern province of Kenya. It is rugged and a semi-desert park. To get here you will cross the equator at Nanyuki and go to the northern hemisphere.
The river Uaso Nyiro is the lifeline and the nerve center of this reserve and is bustling with a huge population of crocodiles. The game reserve is renowned for it's rare species of animals that can only be found in this park,such as the long necked gerenuk, gravy's zebra, reticulated giraffe, and the beisa onyx. The leopard is a frequent visitor in this park and most evenings it pays a courtesy call to the lodges guests as it feeds on bark on a tree across the river. The park has an abundant species of birds and can turn even the most reluctant guest in to an avid bird watcher. It is considered by Ornithologists a paradise for bird viewing. There are great photo opportunities as you sip cocktails and watch the African sunset in the orange flamed sky.
The Masai Mara National Reserve is in the south western part of Kenya and forms part of the greater eco-system that encompasses the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The Masai Mara is one of the best known and most visited reserves in Africa. The park is surrounded by concession areas and tribal lands of the Masai tribes people.
The Masai Mara consists of open savannah, rolling grasslands and undulating hills. July to September sees the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle coming from the plains of the Serengeti. Driven by dry conditions in the Serengeti and led by the lightning and thunder to the north, huge herds of mammals cross the Tanzanian border and rivers to reach the Mara's grasslands. The exact route and timing of the migrating wildebeest and zebra dependents on climatic conditions.
The migration is not limited to the confines of the Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara National Park. Instead, the migration covers a vast area known as the Serengeti eco-system and Masai Mara. This eco-system includes a number of private reserves and concession areas, including The Grumeti Game Reserve, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Loliondo Game Controlled Area. These together form a huge area for the migration. When planning a trip to see the migration it is vitally important to understand the best place to be based at any point in time. The Wildebeest and Zebra basically move in a huge anti-clockwise direction. While June/July is a good time to around the Grumeti River, August/September/October is better in the Masai Mara,etc.
The Ngorongoro Crater and surrounding highlands are one of Africa's most beautiful regions. Volcanic craters form stunning backdrops to some of the richest grazing grounds in Africa. The most famous is without question the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera; home to the highest density of big game in Africa. With 600 metre high walls and a rich volcanic floor that plays host to the big five, the Ngorongoro is one of the continent's most famous safari destinations.
The Ngorongoro is the best place in Tanzania to see the big five. A healthy population of black rhino and is home to a strong population of lion, leopard and hyena along with large herds of wildebeest, buffalo and zebra. Other game in the Ngorongoro includes serval cat, cheetah, jackal, Grant's and Thompson's gazelle, flamingo and bat eared fox, along with approximately 400 species of bird.
Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequalled for its natural beauty and scientific value. With more than two million wildebeest, half a million Thomson's gazelle, and a quarter of a million zebra, it has the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa. The wildebeest and zebra moreover form the star cast of a unique spectacular of the annual migration.
The name 'Serengeti' comes from the Masai language and appropriately means an 'extended place'. The National Park, with an area of 12,950 square kilometres, is as big as Northern Ireland, but its ecosystem, which includes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Maswa Game Reserve and the Masai Mara Game reserve (in Kenya), is roughly the size of Kuwait. It lies between the shores of Lake Victoria in the west, Lake Eyasi in the south, and the Great Rift Valley to the east. As such, it offers the most complex and least disturbed ecosystem on earth.
A unique combination of diverse habitats enables it to support more than 30 species of large harbivores and nearly 500 species of birds. Its landscape, originally formed by volcanic activity, has been sculptured by the concerted action of wind, rain and sun. It now varies from open grass plains in the south, savannah with scattered acacia trees in the centre, hilly, wooded grassland in the north, to extensive woodland and black clay plains to the west. Small rivers, lakes and swamps are scattered throughout. In the south-east rise the great volcanic massifs and craters of the Ngorongoro Highlands. Each area has its own particular atmosphere and wildlife.
Chobe National Park
The Chobe National Park is located in Botswana’s north eastern district, with the Chobe River forming the park’s northern border. It is flanked in the south west by the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve, and by the Chobe forest reserves which run parallel to the Zimbabwe border in the east. From its north-east entry gate, it’s less than 100km to Victoria Falls. Chobe has one of the greatest concentration of elephants of any national park in Africa. They are most visible during the dry season when they congregate around the water sources, especially the Chobe river.
You can see 4 of the Big 5 in Chobe: elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo,but not (or very rarely) rhino. Chobe has a multitude of antelope including the rare sable.
Explore the Okavango Delta by mokoro, on foot or on game drive. A maze of sparkling lagoons, meandering channels and overgrown islands teeming with wildlife, Botswana’s Okavango Delta lies like a sparkling jewel at the heart of the Kalahari Desert.
Known as “the river that never finds the sea”, crystal clear channels spread over the thirstlands of the Kalahari with their papyrus fringed banks and fertile floating islands. Adapted for a life in and out of water, the elegant red lechwe and shy sitatunga are found in this watery wilderness. Lion, cheetah, leopard and African wild dog share the floodplains with large herds of elephant and buffalo.
Hippo inhabit the deeper channels and lagoons, while honey badgers can be seen in broad daylight. Tall termite mounds are homes for families of dwarf and banded mongoose. Experience the delicate details of the glistening waterways on a mokoro (dugout canoe) ride, where iridescent dragonflies, frogs of every colour and jewel-like kingfishers live in the papyrus lined banks.