The flora and fauna of Kenya is influenced by the wide range of altitudes and the variations in climate. Large mammals that browse in the grassland forest and graze in the grass dots most of the wildlife parks and reserves in the country. Acacia predominate in the Masai Mara, the low lying areas are home towards the coast host plays host to the baobab, an expansive branching tree which stands out in the grasslands. As elevations increase over 300 mts, forests of hardwood and evergreen thrive. Besides the many endemic plants, birds and wildlife, the topmost part of the mountain is covered by snow and that makes the scenery something to reckon with. As you climb into the mountains over 2000 mts, some areas are covered with dense groves of bamboo cedar and junipers. Bright orchids and flowering creepers co-exist among the trees.
With a coastline of approximately 536 km fronting the Indian Ocean, it offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, from the long white sandy beaches to some of the most diverse marine life in the Oceans. Along the coast mangrove predominate growing in the salty water and sandy soil of the swamps. Waterspots enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice. The warm and inviting ocean with protective reefs creates a perfect calm haven for swimming. Most of the resorts and hotels along the beaches offer a wide range of watersports. Water-skiing, scuba diving, sailing, jet skiing, parasailing and much more can be arranged with ease. Sea kayaks are also widely available, and are ideal for exploring remote caves and sheltered bays.
Info on Kenya’s Parks and Reserves
Kakamega Forest National Reserve
* Kenya’s only tropical rainforest
* Excellent bird viewing
* Unique species
* Game includes: rare monkeys & porcupines
* Nature trails, camping, picnics, night game walks
* Butterfly watching & snake observation
“A feast for the senses” said a visitor recently.
Kakamega Forest National Reserve is the only tropical rainforest in Kenya, left over from past millenia when dense rain forest stretched from West Africa, across Central Africa and into the highland areas on the west and eastern walls of the Great Rift Valley.
The forest has been a protected area of Kenya since its vital role in the eco-system was first recognized in 1933.
The sheer size and grandeur of these rainforest trees, some over a hundred years old, is impressive. The trees create a complete environment for the birds, insects, butterflies and wildlife, so plentiful in the area.
The forest includes some of Africa’s greatest hard and soft woods: Elgon teak, red and white stink woods and several varieties of Croton and Aniageria Altisima. Splendid orchids sit amongst the branches of the larger trees. Walking beneath the lush forest canopy the deep shade is pierced by flashes of colour, exotic birdcalls, the scents of wood, flower and moss. The best time to visit is during the rainy season, April to July, when the flowers are at their most beautiful.
There are 7 kilometers of trails with a team of ranger guides to escort visitors through the forest. The walk to Buyango Hill, the highest point in the forest, is a must for visitors. The indigenous trees lining the trails are identified on signs with their local and latin names.
Kakamega offers excellent primate viewing: Black and White Colobus are plentiful and the De Brazza Monkeys (known as ‘Karasinga’ in Swahili, thanks to its distinctive white beard) can be found in the adjacent Kisere forest area. Many rare species of primate are common here such as the Blue Monkey, frequently seen near the Ishiuki Falls, the Olive Baboon and the Red Tailed Monkey.
Lake Nakuru National Park
* Altitude: 4,000 – 5,767 Ft
* Area: 188 Sq. Kms.
* Distance from Nairobi: 157 Kms.
* Naishi Airstrip
* Opened June 1968
* Over 400 species of birdlife
* Over 1 million Flamingoes
* Plentiful & easy gameviewing:
Leopard, White Rhino
* Picturesque landscape & Yellow Acacia
Lake Nakuru is world famous for, and was created a National Park, to protect its stunning flocks of lesser flamingo, which literally turn its shores pink. Its birdlife is world renowned: a beacon for leading ornithologists, scientists and wildlife film-makers. The park spans an attractive range of wooded and bush grassland around the lake offering wide ecological diversity, from lake water, woodland to the rocky escarpments and ridges.
Lake Nakuru is a very shallow strongly alkaline lake 62 km2 in extent. It is set in a picturesque landscape of surrounding woodland and grassland next to Nakuru town. The landscape includes areas of marsh and grasslands alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, stretches of acacia woodland and rocky hillsides covered with a Euphorbia forest on the eastern perimeter.
Ranges from Cold, Hot and Humid, Hot and Dry. Annual rainfall is 965mm
*Flamingo (Greater and Lesser) and other water birds including a variety of terrestrial birds numbering about 450 species in total.
*Mammals: 56 different species including white rhinos.
*View-points: Lion hill, Baboon cliff and Out of Africa
*Hills: Enasoit, Honeymoon, Lion hill ridge etc.
*Unique vegetation: About 550 different plant species including the unique and biggest euphorbia forest in Africa,
* Picturesque landscape and yellow acacia woodlands.
Lake Nakuru lodge, Flamingo Tented Camp & Sarova Lion Hill Lodge.
Masai Mara National Reserve
* Altitude: 5,000 Ft
* Area: 1,510 Sq. Kms.
* Distance from Nairobi: 275 Kms.
* Opened November 1974
* Annual Migration
* Exceptional Game Viewing: Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant
* Mara River Hippo Pools
* Traditional Maasai Culture
* Views accross the Plains and Rolling Hills
The Masai Mara National Reserve is probably the most famous and most visited Reserve in Kenya. It offers breathtaking views (as seen in the film “Out of Africa”, much of which was filmed here), an extraordinary density of animals including “the Big