Kenya’s Southern Tourist Circuit (Amboseli National Park, Tsavo East National Park, Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Shimba Hills National Reserve)

Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park sits at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro which is Africa’s highest free standing Mountain. Amboseli is characterized by typical rolling grassland savannah, swamps and patches of acacia woodland posing no obstruction for game viewing. This park is commonly referred to as the classic Hollywood image of Africa because of the magnificent backdrop of roaming herds of large mammals (elephants, buffaloes, wildebeest, burchell’s zebra, eland e.t.c.) in the vast plains.

The park is dominated by the swamps whose main source of water being underground supplies originating from the glacier of Mount Kilimanjaro. Therefore, quite a sizeable number of wildlife are spotted around swamp making it easier for wildlife spotting while on game drive in Amboseli

Wild animals present include herds of large mammals (elephants, rhino. buffaloes, hippos, wildebeest, zebraand giraffe among others), predators (lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, wild dogs). Others include caracal, cheetah, jackal, serval cat, warthog, reptiles (crocodile,python, puff adder, black mamba, monitor lizards), mongoose, rock hyrax, dik- dik, thompson, impala, lesser kudu, nocturnal porcupine and over 600 bird species (pelican, Egyptian goose, pelicans, bee-eaters, kingfishers and many types of eagles)
Wild animals present include buffalo, elephants, zebra, giraffe, oryx, lion, leopard, bushbuck, eland, giant forest hog, bush pig, reedbuck, mountain steenbok, reptiles (black mamba, puff adder, rock python, gecko, tortoise and lizard) and over 500 bird species

Activities here include game viewing, sightseeing, photography, hot air balloon safari, bird watching.

Facts:

Amboseli offers the best views of Mount Kilimanjaro
Only place you are assured of a perfect photo of large sized elephants with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background
Only place allowing for easy game viewing because of the enabling vegetation cover

Tsavo West National Park

Tsavo West National Park once was the battleground between the British and German troops during the World War battle. The park is also world known for the man eater’s lions during the construction of the Kenya – Uganda Railway line in the colonial era. Sitting on the migration corridor for a number of migratory bird species that migrate from the Northern Hemisphere this makes the park an Important Bird Area (IBA) especially between the months of September and December every year. The savannah ecosystem comprises of open grasslands, scrublands, and Acacia woodlands, belts of riverine vegetation and rocky ridges.

Major highlights include: -

Mzima Springs is a fresh underwater pool that attracts wildlife. It has the underwater viewing chamber that enhances the game viewing of crocodiles, hippos and thousands of primitive fish.

Shetani Lava is the lava flow that came from the earth’s crust 200 years ago resulting from volcanic activity. The local people believe that this was the work of the devil hence the Swahili name ‘‘shetani’’, meaning devil.

Chaimu Crater in Tsavo West experience a lot of birdlife hence offering a magnificent opportunity for you to watch abundant birdlife like falcon, eagle and buzzard, starling, weaverbird, hornbill, roller, raptor, heron and stork that frequent here.

Wild animals present include leopard, cheetah, wild dogs, buffalo, rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, crocodile, mongoose, hyrax, dik- dik, lesser kudu, and nocturnal porcupine and over 600 bird species among them the endangered corncrake and basra reed warbler

Chyulu Hills National Park

Chyulu Hills is volcanic mountain range that is characterized with volcanic cones and barren lava flows boasting as one of Kenya’s recent volcanic feature in Kenya which dates back to 500 years ago. It is a wilderness destination from where you can enjoy the spectacular view of Mount Kilimanjaro to the west
Wild animals present include buffalo, bushbuck, eland, elephant, leopard, warthog, wildebeest and zebra and birdlife.

Activities here include game viewing (night and day), horse riding, mountain hiking, sightseeing, photography, bird watching, Maasai village visit, cave explorations and guided nature walks

Facts:
Longest lava flow in the world

Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East National Park is the mother of all protected areas and the first protected area to have been introduced in Kenya’s history. The park sits on the eastern edge of the inland plateau characterized by bushy grasslands and rocky open plains alternating with semi-arid acacia scrub and woodland, with the Galana River cutting a green swathe across the park. Tsavo East sits in the middle between Nairobi and Mombasa making it the most preferred destination for clients from Mombasa. It is also in Tsavo at Ithumba where the rescued and nurtured orphaned elephants from Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Sanctuary Elephant are re-introduced back to the wild.

Major highlights in this park include: -

•    The whole experience of encountering the large herds of red dusted elephants wallowing, rolling and spraying each other with the waters of palm-shaded river Galana is one of the most evocative images of Africa
•    Aruba Dam: - The beautiful Aruba dam located on the riverbank of the seasonal river Voi that attracts abundant wildlife that visit the dam to drink and wallow in the dam.
•    Mudanda Rock - This whale –back shaped rock lies across a river forming a natural dam. Frequent visitors to this area are the herds of elephants.
•    Yatta plateau: - This is the world’s longest lava flow stretching 300km and attracts migrating birds from around the world hence an ornithological paradise attracting migrating birds from all over the world
•    Lugards Falls – The fall is on river Galana and was named after captain Lugard, the first proconsul to East Africa. The whole experience is the spectacular view of water as it plunges into the crocodile infested pools and the water rapids. 
•    Galana river trail: - This is along river Galana, which is a bird sanctuary, is known for migratory birds usually between the months of September & December (kestrels & buzzards) every year.

Wild animals present include herds of red dust elephants, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, hippo, crocodile, waterbucks, lesser kudu, gerenuk, hirola and over 500 bird species among them the kestrels & buzzards

Activities here include game viewing, sightseeing, photography, bird watching

Facts:

Wilderness destination
The largest protected area in Kenya
The first protected area to have been introduced in the region
Important Bird Area (IBA) site especially for migratory bird species (kestrels & buzzards)

Taita Hills Game Sanctuaryis a privately owned game sanctuary that comprise of Dabida, Sagalla and Kasigau hills. The sanctuary is an ideal destination for bird and game lovers including lions, elephants, leopards, giraffes and cheetahs. The African violets trace their origin to Taita.

Shimba Hills National Reserve 

Shimba Hills National Reserve is one the largest remaining coastal forest in the region. Its vegetation cover comprise of forestlands, exotic plantations, scrublands and grasslands. It is at Shimba where the highest density of elephants is found owing to its rich flora and fauna that in turns supports the high density of elephants.

Wild animals present include endangered sable antelope, largest herds of elephants, giraffes, leopard, genet, civet cat, hyenas, waterbuck, bush pig, buffalo, African bush baby, bushbuck, coastal black and white colobus, bushy tailed mongoose, fruit bat, blue duiker, bush duiker, red duiker, greater galago, black-faced vervet monkey, sykes monkey, serval cat, black and red shrew, knob-bristled suni shrew, reptiles (python, cobra, lizard, and gecko) and 111 bird species (ostrich eagle, African hawk; falcon, cuckoo, guinea-fowl, crested crane, honey guide, hornbill, quail, sunbird) .

Activities here include game viewing, hiking, sightseeing, photography and bird watching

Facts:

Shimba Hills supports the highest density of elephants in Kenya
Perfect escape from Kenyan coast for a day trip or overnight stay