Iconic Kenya, 4 amazing wildlife areas beyond the Mara

Kenya, known for its world famous national parks, including the iconic Masai Mara, holds more wildlife wonders waiting to be discovered. Four gems, often lesser-known, showcase the country’s diverse landscapes and rich biodiversity.

Meru National Park
Nestled in the heart of Kenya, Mt Meru National Park features stunning landscapes and wildlife, gaining fame through the iconic tale of Joy and George Adamson in ‘Born Free.’ This enchanting park spans approximately 870 sq km and boasts a rich tapestry of habitats and wildlife.

Home to over 400 bird species and a diverse array of wildlife, including elephants, Grevy’s zebra, cheetah, reticulated giraffe, lion and gerunuk, Mt Meru National Park offers a truly immersive experience. With limited annual visitors, it remains a hidden gem, a must-visit on your Kenyan safari.

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Wildlife drive from Elsa’s Kopje

Samburu National Park
An arid and semi-arid ecosystem are the hallmarks of this large national park. Located in northern Kenya, the park extends to approx. 165 square kilometres with the Ewaso Nyiro River forming the border to the south, which separates it from the Buffalo Springs National Park.

Despite its more arid terrain the park plays host to plentiful wildlife including all the key species such as lion, elephant and leopard. In addition some rarer species can also be found here, such as the Grevy zebra, Somali ostrich, gerenuk and Besia oryx. Boasting over 450 bird species, Samburu promises a unique safari experience, perfect for those seeking unusual wildlife encounters.

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Grevy’s zebra seen on a wildlife drive from Sasaab Camp, Samburu National Park.

Chyulu Hills
Located to the south east of Nairobi and between Tsavo West and Amboseli, lie the Chyulu Hills National Park. A stunning mountain range and volcanic field, this park offers a wonderful combination of scenic beauty and excellent wildlife viewing. Lush rolling hills stretch as far as the eye can see. The landscape, formed by ancient volcanic activity, is both dramatic and serene and characterised by dome-topped hills, open acacia woodlands, dense forests and plains.

On clear days the views of Mount Kilimanjaro are some of the best and the park also features the largest lava tube in the world. Wildlife viewing here is both productive and peaceful, with only a handful of camps in the area and many on their own private conservancy. Elephants, lion, zebra, giraffe, hyena and much more besides can all be seen on game drives, walking safaris or, for experienced riders, from the back of a horse.

Iconic views, Chyulu Hills

Wildlife viewing from Ol Donyo, Chyulu Hills

Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Whilst not strictly a national park, this conservancy is a haven for wildlife. Located in Central Kenya, in the Laikipia region, it is nestled between the foothills of Mt Kenya and the Aberdares. Previously a cattle ranch, the conservancy was bought in 2004 by a UK based conservation organization, Fauna and Flora International, with financial backing from a private international philanthropic organization.

The conservancy has gone from strength to strength ever since and now has one of the largest populations of rhino in East Africa. It is also home to the last two northern white rhino in the world. Both females, they live in a sanctuary. Necessarily all of the rhinos are heavily protected, and this is just one of the more unusual activities which visitors can learn more about.

In addition to the key wildlife species such as elephant, leopard, lion, buffalo, zebra and giraffe which can be seen, there are some other more rare species as well. These include cheetah, wild dog, serval, oryx and Jackson’s hartebeest. Ol Pejeta is also home to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, the only place in Kenya where chimps can be seen. All of the chimpanzees at the 24,000 acre sanctuary have been rescued and live in a natural enclosure.

Sanctuary Tambarare Activities Wildlife - Ganders Travel

Elephants, Sanctuary Tambarare, Ol Pejeta

Kenya really is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to wildlife viewing. Scenically beautiful, with iconic views and rarer wildlife species as well these are just four of the wildlife viewing areas which work well for first timers or experienced safari travellers. For more information about holidays to Kenya or if you would like to discuss other destinations and options, please give us a call or email Lucinda. We would be delighted to help you put together a fabulous holiday.