The biodiversity of their flora and fauna has made Kenya’s national parks famous all over the world. 10% of the country’s area consists of national parks. All different habitats are represented in the 42 parks: from desert to mountain forest to water protection areas on the Indian Ocean. The tourism facilities are exceptionally good. There are numerous organized safaris, but vehicles and equipment can also be hired. Balloon flights, which offer a bird’s-eye view of wildlife, are becoming increasingly popular; It is advisable to book early, especially in the Masai Mara National Reserve. All of the following national parks (excluding Masai Mara National Reserve and Samburu Game Park) are under the management of the Kenya Wildlife Service (Internet: www.kws.org ) (see addresses ).
Aberdare National Park encompasses a densely forested mountain range that lies close to Mount Kenya and rises to 4000m. Elephants, rhinos, rare forest antelopes such as bongo and dik-dik antelopes, leopards, lions and various species of monkeys live here. Most visitors prefer to watch game from the two elevated lodges ( Treetops and The Ark ) that overlook a lane that’s lit at night. Lush mountain plants grow in the mist of the higher slopes. There are numerous waterfalls, the largest being the 300m high Guru Waterfall.
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The Amboseli –By Kenya’s standards, the national park is almost small at just under 400 square kilometers and is located on the border with Tanzania, 220 km from Nairobi. The beautiful view of snow-capped Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, attracts many visitors. The park consists of savannah landscape and wetlands and is best known for its elephant population. There are also around 400 different species of birds, amphibians and reptiles. Among other things, lectures are offered in which you can learn something about the culture of the Maasai.
The Masai Mara National Reserve ( Internet : www.game-reserve.com/kenya_masai-mara.html) is located 390 km from Nairobi in the south-west of the country. The vast plain is crossed once a year by huge herds of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and antelope migrating north from the Serengeti of neighboring Tanzania. The animals are often pursued by lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena. Exhausted, they gather at a point on the Mara River, where they wait in long lines to be crossed. The spectacle is best viewed from one of the three hot air balloons that rise from Governor’s Camp. There are 13 bush camps and two lodges ( Mara Serena Lodge and Keekorok Lodge ) in the reserve. Grosvenor’s Camp has one airstrip and is one of the best equipped camps. On the bluff outside the reserve is a luxury hotel with good views of the plain.
Meru National Park, 280 km from Nairobi, covers an area of 870 sq km. Elephants, hippos, giraffes, zebras, gazelles, kudu and oryx live here. It is also home to over 300 bird species. This park is one of the wilder and more pristine nature reserves. The equator runs through the 600 sq km Mount Kenya National Park, which consists of forest, bare rock and snowfields on the mountain tops. The protected area starts at 1800 m altitude and rises to over 5000 m. The climb is very nice, professional equipment is not required; however, one should allow enough time to avoid altitude sickness. It is advisable to take the tour with a guide. On the way you can stay in mountain huts. You have to bring your own warm clothes, a sleeping bag and food. The mountain is one of the last hunting grounds of the black leopard and the habitat of the rare black and white colobus monkey.
Kisumu is a commercial center on Lake Victoria. From here you can visit Mount Elgon National Park.
One can buy Khanga, Kitenge and Kikoi clothes on Bishara Street in Nairobi and in Mombasa and in the markets. Naturally colored kiondos bags with strong leather straps are available from a particularly good cooperative in Machakos. Wood carvings, batik work, pearl jewelry and stone work are also nice souvenirs. The sale of souvenirs made from wild skins (including reptile skins and pelts) is prohibited. Shop opening hours: Mon-Sat 08.30-12.30 and 14.00-17.30.
Most Nairobi hotels and resorts have evening dances with live music or nightclubs. One can also find some African nightclubs. Nairobi offers a wide range of cinemas showing American and European films.
Local beef, chicken, lamb and pork are exceptionally good. Depending on the season, trout, Nile perch, lobster, shrimp or Mombasa oysters are also available. Some game park lodges serve game, including buffalo steak marinated in local liquor and garnished with berries and often wild honey and cream. The staple foods of most Kenyans are corn, including cornmeal, and beans. In the small hotelis, chai (tea made with milk and sugar) and mandazi (fritters) are very popular. In Nairobi and Mombasa you will find a large selection of restaurants, in the smaller towns there are mainly restaurants in the hotels. Beverages: Local beer (Tusker and White Cap) and bottled soda water are available for purchase across the country. Kenya Cane (sugar cane liquor) and Kenya Gold (a coffee liquor) are other alcoholic specialties. The traditional beer Uki is brewed with honey.
Many hotels in Nairobi meet international top standards. There are also cheap hotels. Hotel bills must be paid in foreign currency or via a foreign account. Categories: The accommodations are divided into four groups: city hotels, holiday hotels, country hotels and lodges. Within these groups, classification is based on the service offered and the facilities available. The categorization is based on strict criteria that reflect comfort, service, sanitary facilities and safety. Further information from the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers & Caterers, Mombasa Road, Heidelberg House, 2nd Floor, PO Box 9977, 00100 Nairobi. Tel: (20) 60 44 19. (Web: www.kahc.co.
Camping is not officially forbidden anywhere in Kenya, but it can be dangerous in remote areas. Wild animals and shifta (armed bandits) are to be expected, the latter of which can be found in the extreme north of the country. A list of campsites is available from the tourist office.
Other accommodation options
In all major cities. For more information from the Youth Hostel Association: Kenya Youth Hostels Association, Ralgh Bunche Road, PO Box 48661, Nairobi. Tel: (02) 72 17 65. (Web: http://www.yhak.org/)
Protestants (45%), Catholics (33%), Muslims (10%), indigenous religions (10%) and minorities of Jews and Hindus.
Social Rules of Conduct
Western European customs reflect British influence across the country. Kenyans are generally very friendly. Dress is casual, and everyday wear is accepted everywhere except for special social occasions. Smoking: There is a nationwide public smoking ban. Tipping: If no service charge is required, 10-15% is reasonable. Plastic bags: Possession of plastic bags carries a hefty fine and possible imprisonment.
Best travel time
The coastal areas are tropical with cooling monsoon winds. In the lowlands it is hot and mostly dry, in the highlands it is more moderate with four seasons. Nairobi has a pleasant climate all year round due to its high altitude. Temperatures are much higher at Lake Victoria, e.g. T. heavy rainfall.
Area (sq km)
53,771,296 (Source: homosociety)
Population density (per square km)
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