Wildlife is Calling? 4 National Parks you should See in East-Africa!

safari in east africa - the best parks (in our opinion)

You Know you are truly Alive,

when you Live among Lions

– Old African Proverb –

In the world of Today, Africa is probably the least tourist and least known continent of all.

Here, you can experience another way of life, another view on life, and the most breathtaking wildlife on Earth! 

In this blog, we already talked in the past about the South-Western part of Africa (and wrote also a full guide about visiting Namibia on the Road, or the best experiences to witness in Cape Town, South Africa).

Today, we shift east, as I would like to help you explore the best National Parks in East Africa (in our opinion!), with their enchanting wildlife and beautiful sceneries, perfect to spend an African Safari Holiday.

Choosing just 5 has been hard, and of course, there are many (maaany!) more gorgeous places to witness in the East part of the black continent, but I believe with these 5 you’ll already have plenty of nature to explore and plenty of incredible experiences to make you feel completely alive!

If an African Safari is on your bucket list, but you cannot decide where to go, this article is for you!

Enjoy sightings such as the great wildebeest migration in Kenya and Tanzania, trekking with gorillas in a Uganda Safari, or spot the big fives (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, buffalos) in the plains of the extensive Masai Mara and Serengeti Parks.

All places listed in this post can be visited alone with some preparation, although to get the most out of them I would always suggest you to join an exclusive African luxury safari with a private knowledgeable guide and a well-curated safari itinerary: joining locals you’ll waste less time and explore the most epic locations these national parks have to offer!

Said all this intro, let’s dive right in!

(or as Wild African animals would say, “Let’s go to the meat!” ahah ;D)

The 4 Most Breath-taking National Parks

in East Africa

1. Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Photo of Ambuseli National Park in Kenya - with Zebras

Originally known as Maasai Amboseli Game Reserve, this 151-square mile ecotourism hotspot in Kenya’s Rift Valley was first set aside for preservation in 1906, established as a national park in 1974, and declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1991.

Although primarily known as the best place in the world for viewing free-ranging elephant herds, Amboseli National Park also offers opportunities for cultural interactions with the indigenous Maasai people, extraordinary views of Mount Kilimanjaro (5985m), and a vast array of wildlife ranging from the “Big 5” mammals to over 400 species of birds.

Located 150 miles southeast of Nairobi, Amboseli is Kenya’s second most popular national park, attracting around 120,000 visitors annually. 

The name “Amboseli” comes from a Maasai word meaning “salty dust”, which describes the terrain left by the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli. The park is mostly flat, and green, alternated with dusty white terrains.

Along wetlands with sulphur springs, in the Amboseli National Park you can expect to witness both savannah and woodlands. 

At the nights, there’s almost no light pollution, and after a burning sunset or before a blazing dawn, the night sky looks limitless and makes you feel like just a tiny dot in the universe.

Wildlife in the Amboseli National Park

  • Leopards, Cheetah, Wild dogs, Buffalos, Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras, Lions, Crocodiles, Mongooses, Hyrax, Dik-dik, Lesser Kudus, and Nocturnal Porcupines + a prolific birdlife featuring over 600 species of

Why You Should Visit?

  • Elephant herds, Kilimanjaro Views, Big 5, meet the Masai Tribe, Incredible Nightsky!

2. Masai Mara National Park, Kenya

Photo of Gnus in Masai Mara National Park, East Africa

Too many emotions, too many colors, too much wilderness, and fantastic views to cram them into a text or a photo gallery!

Masai Mara is hands-down the best place in Kenya to observe the Big 5!

Said that, with grasslands and beautiful plains, the Masai Mara National Reserve is home to other wildlife species too including hyenas, hippos, elands, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, cheetahs, jackals, and impalas.

A “bucket list” dream for practically every traveler with a passion for wildlife, the Maasai Mara is part of the massive Serengeti ecosystem, which covers approximately 12,000 square miles in northern Tanzania and southwestern Kenya.

Maasai Mara is a prime destination for witnessing the annual Great Migration, which is widely considered the greatest African Safari spectacle and one of the world’s most suggestive natural wonders.

Every year millions of gazelles, wildebeest, and zebras make the arduous 500-mile trek northwest to Kenya in search of water and fresh grass.

The famous crossing at the Mara River, where hungry crocodiles lie in wait, is unlike any other safari spectacle you’re likely to see.

Of course, the Mara also offers numerous attractions at other times of the year, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, buffalo, hyenas, and more than 470 species of birds.

 

Wildlife in the Masai Mara National Park

  • Zebras, Hippos, Cheetahs, Giraffes, Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Crocodiles, Buffalos, Monkeys, Rhinos, and many more!

Why You Should Visit?

  • Witness the Great Migration and Countless Herds of Animals crossing the Mara River, meet the Masai Tribe

3. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

Gorillas in Bwindi National Park, Uganda

With swamps and bamboo dominating the landscape, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to a little less than half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas.

If you want to see gorillas, this is the place for gorillas: hike through the park and track the gorillas! ;D

In addition to those huge and incredible mammals, in the Bwindi National Park, you can also spot over 200 species of butterflies and 300 species of birds!

Bwindi is located in southwestern Uganda about 502 km from the capital Kampala.

By road, the journey takes 8-10 hours, but you can decide to try many experiences on your way: some popular stopovers include for example the equator crossing, a drum-making experience,  and photo hotspots in the constantly-changing African scenery.

If you just want to reach the park with no stops though, coming from Kigali (the capital city of Rwanda) makes up for quicker access to Bwindi, in just 3 3-hour drive.

Travelers can fly with Rwanda Air too, and then cross over to Uganda for gorilla trekking.

In addition to gorilla trekking, tourists can take village walks in the local communities: Bakiga and Batwa pygmies are offering cultural encounters: you can learn about their traditions, foods, dance performances, and arts and crafts 🙂

 

Wildlife in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

  • Gorillas, 200 species of Butterflies, 300 species of Birds, forest elephants, antelopes, black-and-white colobus, and L’Hoest’s monkeys, baboons, and chimps 

Why You Should Visit?

  • Gorillas and butterflies, Meet the Bakiga and Batwa pygmies tribes, the friendliness of the locals

 

4. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Three Giraffes in the Serengeti National Park, Kenya, East-Africa

Seeing Serengeti National Park included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list doesn’t surprise me… visiting it has been one of my dreams since I was a child: I remember watching my geography manual photos of the Serengeti over and over when I was in school… they got me so obsessed and in love with this place!

Seeing it in real, went just beyond my highest expectations and up in the sky! 😀

Serengeti is Tanzania’s oldest but most exciting national park, which together with the Masai Maara (that we’ve seen before), forms the complete Serengeti ecosystem (which spans across the two countries): Masai Maara is in Southern Kenya, while the Serengeti National Park is in the North of Tanzania.

Why is Serengeti perhaps the most famous national park in Africa and the best most renowned place for a Tanzania Safari?

This incredible park serves as a great vantage point to witness the annual Great Wildebeest migration, the movement of thousands of wildebeests and zebras into the Maasai Mara, which takes place from July to September.

Serengeti provides hot air balloon safaris where you have unobstructed views of its assorted wildlife, captivating scenery, and vast plains. We also inserted it in our Top best Places around the world where to fly with a Hot-Air Balloon!

Here you will get a chance to learn about the iconic Maasai culture and relax in comfort in the heart of Africa!

In a bid to maximize the tourist experience, luxury lodges and camps in the Serengeti with fantastic features can be found in or next to the park: the perfect starting points to enjoy your safari holiday!

 

Wildlife in the Serengeti National Park

  • Zebras, Hippos, Cheetahs, Giraffes, Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Crocodiles, Buffalos, Monkeys, Rhinos, and many more!

Why You Should Visit?

  • Witness the Great Migration and Countless Herds of Animals crossing the Mara River, Hot Air Balloon Experience over the Savannah, Developed Lodges, Night Game Drives

 

Conclusion and Advice

safari tour in africa - stock photo

And here we are at the end of the article!

In this article, we’ve seen the TOP 4 National parks in East Africa which offer the greatest safari experience!  

The Amboseli National Park, the Masai Maara, the Bwindi Forest, and the Serengeti are all magical places that can offer a memorable experience that, trust me, will surely last for a lifetime!

Said that, before going, I also would like to stress the importance of supporting this ecosystem’s preservation, both for the good of the many species living wild in those parks and for the next generations of travelers that perhaps will want to live the same experiences we did.

Respecting animals, leaving no trace, supporting the local economies, and opt for eco-friendly accommodations are only a few of the actions you can take to do your part! Here you can find a list of 10 Ideas to make your Traveling more Sustainable and Eco-Friendly!

Last but not least, I would like to ask you:

  • What do you think about the article? Was it useful to you?
  • Have you already had the chance to visit one of those African Parks before and live a Safari Experience?
  • What did you like most about your time there?

If you’d like to share your thoughts, we would be happy to hear them! 🙂

So please, let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading, and as always…

See you in the next article! 🙂

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