Kenya's national parks, administered, managed, and protected by the Kenya Wildlife Service, include some of the largest on earth. The Tsavo National Parks separated by a railway line and an A109 road provide a diverse flora and fauna with a variety of terrains stretching in the coastal areas of Kenya. The Sibiloi National Park, the acclaimed “cradle of mankind” is in the Turkana region of Kenya. The park provides a sanctuary for waterfowls and breeding places for the Nile crocodile. The Aberdare National Park in the rainy Aberdare Ranges also offers a rich and diversified flora and fauna.
Kenya's National Parks
Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West National Park located in Coastal Kenya covers a land area of about 3,500 square miles. This side of the Tsavo is more mountainous than the eastern shore. Tsavo West extends from the northeastern parts of Athi River towards the southwestern border of Tanzania. Rocky outcrops lie in the northern areas. The rest of the park has bushland savannah intersected with lava beds and volcanic ridges. There are also hills reaching as high as 1,800 meters like the Ngulia ranges and Chyulu Hills. Most of the park is hot and dry where acacia-Commiphora scrubs, short grass, and thorn trees. During the short rains, wildflowers appear, and the ground becomes decorated with Ipomoea, barleria, and thunbergia. Acacia trees fringe the rivers, and there are also many baobabs in the park. The park has magnificent scenery thanks to the Mzima Springs, an excellent road system, wealthy and diversified wildlife, a protected rhino reserve, incredible rock climbs, and a nature walk along the Tsavo River. Tsavo West has a variety of wildlife including the eastern black rhinoceros, African bush elephant, Cape buffalo, Masai lion, and African leopard. Other animals include hippopotamus, bushbaby, lesser kudu, hartebeest, and Masai giraffe. The park is under the management of Kenya Wildlife Service. Hunting is prohibited and the Orma and Waata community who used to live in the park before it became a national park relocated to other places in the nearby Taita Hills.
Tsavo East National Park
Tsavo East covers a land area 5,308 square miles. The park is located in a semi-arid area near Voi town in Taita Taveta County. Tsavo east is a flat dry plain. The Galana River flows through it. There is also the Lugard Falls and 300 kilometers of Yatta Plateau. Tsavo East is the largest protected area in the country. It provides a habitat for many large mammals such as a big herd of red elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard, rhino, and pods of hippos, crocodile, lesser kudu, waterbucks, generuk, and more than 500 bird species. Poaching is the primary threat facing the wildlife of this park. Kenya has no conservation measures put forward or in place to protect this park.
Aberdare National Park
The Aberdare National Park located in the Aberdare Ranges covers an area of about 296 square miles, and the Aberdare Salient lies to the east. The Aberdare Park is located approximately 100 kilometers from Nairobi City and runs over a terrain of mountain peaks rising to a height of 14,000 feet. There are also deep and V-shaped valleys with numerous rivers, streams, and cascading waterfalls. There is also a Bamboo forest, moorland forests, and rainforests in the lower regions. The most common animals include leopards, giant forest hog, East African wild dog, mountain reedbuck, eland, side-striped jackal, waterbucks, colobus and Sykes monkey. There are more than 250 bird species like the critically endangered Aberdare cisticola, sunbirds, sparry hawk, plovers, and Jackson’s francolin. Rare sights include the bongo and African golden cat. The park receives high rainfall throughout the year. Precipitation varies from 1000mm of rain to the northwestern parts and 3000mm to the southeast. The Aberdare serves as an important water catchment zone providing water to the Athi and Tana River and also the Northern and Central Rift drainage basins. Rhino Ark, a charity devoted to protecting the Aberdare National Park is the only form of protection conferred to the park.
Sibiloi National Park
Sibiloi National Park located on Lake Turkana northeastern shores in northern Kenya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. The Government of Kenya established the park in 1973 as a wildlife protection area and also a paleontological site. Sibiloi National Park covers a land area of 607 square miles. It is home Koobi Fora, an archeological site whose fossils remains have given the park “the cradle of mankind” status. The region consists of a semi-desert, open plains, and volcanic formations such as Mount Sibiloi which has a petrified forest. Sibiloi National Park forms an important breeding area for the Nile crocodile and also a stopover for migrant waterfowls. Terrestrial wildlife such as zebras, stripped hyenas, Grant gazelles, greater kudu, Beisa Oryx, cheetahs, leopards, and lions also live Sibiloi. There are also over 350 species of birds of both aquatic and terrestrial biomes. Human population living around the park includes the Gabra, Turkana, and Dassanach.
The Importance Of Kenya's National Parks
The national parks in Kenya are a beauty to behold. From those located in the arid regions of Turkana to the coastal plains, and the mountainous area of Central Kenya, the parks provide the best sights on the continent. The wildlife is diverse, the flora is rich, and the terrains are breathtaking. The way all these elements blend gives Kenya a sanctuary where wildlife and flora prosper naturally. Even so, these national parks hardly benefit from any conservation measure from the government. Kenya Wildlife Services is the only form of real and visible protection from illegal poachers the parks enjoy.
Kenya's National Parks
|National Parks of Kenya||Area|
|Aberdare National Park||296 square miles|
|Amboseli National Park||151 square miles|
|Arabuko Sokoke National Park||2 square miles|
|Central Island National Park||n/a|
|Chyulu Hills National Park||46 square miles|
|Hell's Gate National Park||26 square miles|
|Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Park||15 square miles|
|Lake Nakuru National Park||73 square miles|
|Malindi Marine National Park||n/a|
|Malka Mari National Park||579 square miles|
|Masai Mara National Park||583 square miles|
|Meru National Park||336 square miles|
|Mombasa Marine Park||77 square miles|
|Mount Elgon National Park||65 square miles|
|Mount Kenya National Park||276 square miles|
|Mount Longonot National Park||n/a|
|Nairobi National Park||45 square miles|
|Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park||8 square miles|
|Ruma National Park||46 square miles|
|Saiwa Swamp National Park||1 square mile|
|Sibiloi National Park||607 square miles|
|Tsavo East National Park||5,308 square miles|
|Tsavo West National Park||3,500 square miles|
|Watamu Marine National Park||n/a|