National Park Recommendations in East Africa

We’ve compiled a list of 10 National Park Recommendations for the keen safari-goer in East Africa. Click the pictures below the map to find out more, and please leave your comments in the forums.

Amboseli National Park

“Amboseli National Park might not be able to compare with the for sheer variety of wildlife, but for viewing large herds of very large elephants this park is second to none. And what better backdrop could there be than the mighty Kilimanjaro? It is true that Amboseli lacks the big-5 experience of other national parks in , but for wow factor that backdrop and the desert-like surrounding landscape is simply unbeatable. That is, of course, provided you visit on a clear day…”

Hell’s Gate National Park

“Though currently still a worthwhile enough experience, Hell’s Gate National Park sadly has a questionable future ahead of it, especially now that government-led fracking has (quite evidently) begun here. Rumour has it that the park may soon enough be demoted from its national status – and when that happens, who knows what will become of the resident wildlife. For now, giraffes will continue to carefully avoid the miles of piping that litters the park, and sizeable herds of zebra and eland will continue to roam the rocky and impressive landscape. Come here before it really is too late.”

Lake Nakuru National Park

“Lake Nakuru National Park is firmly on the tourist circuit, and for good reason. This national park has a beautiful lakeside setting, it’s one of the easiest places in to see rhinos, and it’s beside the fairly well facilitated city of Nakuru (which is only a couple of hours from ). It can’t compete with the or for wilderness factor or sheer diversity of wildlife, but it’s certainly worth a morning or afternoon heading between other parks.”

Maasai Mara National Reserve

“If you’ve done any research at all into East African safaris then you’ll have no doubt heard of the Maasai Mara. The Mara is ‘s premier game viewing spot, but it’s only a small portion of the area that extends into the even more famous Serengeti in . Come here at the right time of year and you’ll be privileged to witness one of the world’s most impressive natural spectacles. Visit the reserve at almost any other time of year and you’ll still be graced with a gorgeously wild and beautiful environment filled with a variety of African wildlife. It doesn’t matter how long you come here for, it will never be enough. An enthusiast could spend a lifetime exploring this huge reserve, and most tourists can easily handle a few days and still be left wanting more. But the situation here isn’t all positive. The Maasai tribes who have hunted in this land for generations now live in less-than-clean villages surrounding the limits of the reserve. These peoples are constantly at battle with both the preservation of the reserve and with maintaining their own ways of life.”

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

“Like the in neighbouring (which is part of the same Virungas Mountain range), the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the prime spots in East Africa to track mountain gorillas. Of course, just like these places, you’ll have to first pay the rather exorbitant fees to do so, sadly very little of which actually goes to the staff in the park. But don’t be deterred if you simply cannot justify such a luxurious experience, the park itself is quite breathtaking and definitely worth getting into just to explore the habitat these wonderful creatures have for so long inhabited. With multiple impressive volcanoes to hike, numerous nature walks and the opportunity to track golden monkeys too, you could easily spend a couple of days visiting the park… if you have the time, the money and the inclination.”

Murchison Falls National Park

“As far as safari experiences in go, Murchison Falls National Park has it all. Affordable tours run by operators such as zip in and out of the park daily, there’s a much more visible amount of wildlife here than in the more classic , there are giraffes(!), and the park boasts one of ’s most impressive waterfalls. The sense of wilderness here really is something, with close-call campsite encounters with hippopotamus and warthog that just wouldn’t be allowed in more popular electric-fence ridden . Murchison Falls NP is pretty far from though, so if you’re coming on one of those , be prepared to spend long days travelling to and from the park. Once here though, it’s difficult not to be impressed, especially during the or .”

Nech Sar National Park

“While it’s not a big hitter in the East African scene, Nech Sar National Park does offer a wild and exciting safari experience in the Ethiopian south. You can expect to see prehistorically giant crocodiles here (they’re easier to spot than in other countries nearby) and a tonne of birdlife. Just come here more for the experience than wildlife, otherwise you might be somewhat disappointed.”

Queen Elizabeth National Park

“Queen Elizabeth is one of the most popular and archetypal national parks in . With forests, lakes and open savannahs, QENP has a varied and beautiful landscape with favourable conditions for game viewing. Indeed, it’s an excellent place to do a self-drive budget safari, with camping on the Mweya peninsula between grazing hippos and warthogs a truly memorable and exciting experience. But while QENP may be a great place for a first-time safari, if you’re already well versed in chasing down the big 5 then you might want to look elsewhere – perhaps north to . In truth, sightings of predators in the park are not as common as you might expect, and even the tree-climbing lions of can spend weeks at a time over in the DRC instead of inside the boundaries of the park. Maintenance is pretty bad too, with terribly potholed roads and overgrown tracks making the experience somewhat wilder than you might be prepared for – and leading one to question where those expensive park fees actually go. Nevertheless, QENP is a fantastic wilderness experience, especially if you’re fully prepared for destination Kob City.”

The Simien Mountains National Park

“The Simien Mountains offer some of the most premier hiking in this part of , but come in the wrong season and you’ll lose those fantastic views to mist. It’s not only the +4,000m peaks that draw travellers, but small packs of the highly rare Ethiopian Wolf are seen here with regularity – as are large troops of rather hirsute geladas! While the hiking is both challenging and rewarding, the conditions within the park are rustic at best. Most travellers can expect to find poor value for money, poor cleanliness and poorer access to nutrition while on multiday hikes here. Ultimately, it’s the scenery, the wildlife and the tribal people that have lived here for many years that make this remote location of the globe a worthwhile experience.”

Volcanoes National Park

“Volcanoes National Park truly is a beautiful location in East Africa and one of the premier tourist draws in , especially for . If you’ve come this far for exactly that reason then you won’t be disappointed, but for those without the extravagant amounts of money necessary to partake then don’t fear. There’s still plenty on offer in the national park, especially if you like hiking. The isn’t an amazing experience as hikes go, but it does allow the opportunity to enter into the mountain gorilla’s habitat, and what a habitat it is. It is quite the shame that humans have encroached so close to the base of the Virunga volcanoes in both and , leaving these fascinating mountain gorillas very little choice as to whether or not they are ‘tracked’ by 80-sum visitors daily. Nevertheless, whether you visit now or visit when you are old and rich, you’ll undoubtedly be touched by your experience in the Volcanoes National Park.”