PROPOSED NATIONAL PARK AND RESERVES
Validity Period: YEAR-ROUND
Transport: 4×4 Land Cruiser/Safari Van
Difficulty Level: Relatively challenging. Suitable for age 12years and above
PROPOSED NATIONAL PARK AND RESERVES
Mara is the Maasai word for “spotted”. From the air, the visual effect of the Mara thickets looks like spots, hence the name –Masai Mara Game Reserve. The Maasai Mara is the only park in Kenya that contains all of the infamous “big five” – rightly named big five, not because of their size, but because they were among the most poached animals in the country – some for their horns believed to be aphrodisiacs, others for their skin. In spite of this, the Maasai Mara has continued to be a safe haven for these animals.
The Massai Mara boasts more than 450 species of birds, including raptors. The park is home to an astonishing number of animals, umbrella shaped trees, beautiful sunsets (always at the same time every day of the year), the winding Mara River and the rugged Ololoolo Escarpment. Here you have the option of enjoying another once in a lifetime experience – floating above the Mara River and the game rich African savannah in a hot air balloon.
Situated on the western side of the Great Rift Valley, Loita Hills rises up to a maximum altitude of 8,300ft (2,500m) and includes the Namenkio Sacred Forest filled with cedar, podo and strangler fig trees, waterfalls, and spectacular birdlife. Some 2,000 Colobus monkeys roam the trees. You are also likely to find evidence of elephant, buffalo, baboon, bushbuck, bush pig, leopard and hyena. The waterhole is frequented by a variety of animals and nights in camp can be a cacophony of noises. The Hills are one of Kenya’s last remaining true wilderness areas. The low-lying mountain range is located south of Nairobi and northeast of the Masai Mara. It is widely believed that this rarely visited area is home to the most traditional of Kenya’s Maasai. Pockets of remote forests and wide open plains surrounded are by stunning hillsides and dotted with roaming wildlife. This isn’t an area for viewing big game, rather a place to enjoy the scenery, walk with the local Maasai, and learn more about their culture and communities. A wonderfully peaceful place to begin or end a safari trip in Kenya.
Mt Longonot National Park
Mount Longonot, a young volcano rises to 2,776 m above sea level. Covering an area of 52 Km2, the park lies 90 Km from Nairobi in the Naivasha – Rift Valley province. The name Longonot is derived from the Maasai word Oloonong’ot meaning mountains of many spurs or steep ridges. The sides of the mountain have beautiful v-shaped valleys and ridges. The stony soil has little vegetation, but the crater has an impenetrable forest. Due to the nature of the terrain Mount Longonot has no roads and visitors hike to the top and rim of the crater. Extinct volcano and crater forest, scenic landscape, views of Lake Naivasha and the Great Rift Valley are some of the major attractions. Animals around here include; antelope, buffalo, elands, lion, leopard, Bushbucks, zebras, giraffes, Grant’s gazelles, and Thomson’s gazelles. The park is a paradise for birds of prey.
Hell’s Gate National Park
Hell’s Gate National Park covers an area of 68.25 square km and is situated in the environs of Lake Naivasha about 90 km from Nairobi. Hell’s Gate has two gates that are used by visitors – the main Elsa Gate and the Olkaria Gate. The latter also serves the Olkaria Geothermal Station that is located inside the National Park. One of the few parks in Kenya where people are allowed to walk on foot and view animals, it is characterized by diverse topography and geological scenery. Hell’s Gate is an important home of the “bearded vulture,” otherwise known as, lammergeyer, a very rare species known to live on the cliffs. It is common to see these winged creatures soaring high into the clouds, bone in beak, before releasing the bone onto the rocks below, where the force unleashes the treasured bone marrow for the bird to enjoy. There are various species of wildlife, including eland, buffalo, lion, giraffe, zebra, leopard, impala, Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle, klipspringer, rock hyrax and Chandler’s mountain reedbuck. Attractions include game viewing, including sightings of raptors nesting in cliffs, spectacular gorge walks, hot springs, scenic landscape, the Geothermal Station, and learning about Maasai culture.
 Those wishing for a more luxurious safari may purchase the addition option to travel in a LandCruiser
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