Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Wasatch on March 20, 2007

We have never been to a game reserve not worth a visit; some are worth more than others. The best:

[1] The Ngorongoro Crater, an extinct volcano crater 12 miles across, home to the greatest concentration of big game on the planet. The crater’s steep walls, rising 2,000 feet, benefit the animal population by providing security, no outlet for migration, and a good year-round water supply. Ngorongoro is in Tanzania, not far from Kenya’s Masai Mara, so it is an easy addition to a safari leaving from Nairobi. Ngorongoro is the place not to miss.

[2] Masai Mara, the northern extension of the Serengeti Plains, is the last place on that great range to dry up in summer. We saw lots of animals in mid-June in the Mara, but then, traveling south across the rest of the Serengeti in Tanzania, dried up grasses and less wildlife. Although we had technically missed the great wildebeest migration, we nevertheless passed columns of wildebeest stretching for miles across the Mara. Our guide assured us this was nothing compared to the main show. If you want to chance the Long Rains, put Serengeti at the top of the list.

[3] Lake Manyara, if the elephant population has recovered. The most popular part of the park is the thin forest at the
north end of the lake, which was, when we were there, loaded with elephant. The lake is home to lots of shore birds. Lake Manyara is home of the famous tree-climbing lions, which require luck to see.

[4] Tsavo’s water holes assure a good parade of animals, even in the dry season. Tsavo East features lion and elephant. Tsavo West is home to Mizma Springs, where an underwater viewing room provides some sightings of fish, crocodiles, and hippos.

[5] Amboseli features large elephant herds with Mt. Kilimanjaro for the backdrop. The mountians attract rain, so the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro are more lush that the parks on the plains, making Amboseli a safe bet in the dry season.

[6] Tatia Hills, Salt Lick Lodge, which has a ground level viewing blind right at the edge of the water hole connected to the lodge by a tunnel. Here, we reached out the window and rubbed an elephant’s knee. Well, actually, we pounded on it to see if we could get his attention. No dice. We were less noticeable than the bacteria on your fingers.

We’ve also been to Taranjire, Asrusha, Aberdare, Mt. Meru, Samburu, Buffalo, Lake Nakuru, Lake Baringo, Lake Naivasha, Crescent Island, and Mt. Kenya. As I said, all worth a visit, but not quite as much as the first group. Mt. Kenya and Aberdare are forest parks, very different from the plains parks. The lakes can be most impressive if the flamingos are in residence. Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha is unique–I arrived by rowboat and walked among the animals. Watch your step–the ground is well fertilized by the grazers, and never get between a hippo and water.

Jeep safari tours
Governor's Camp
Nairobi, Kenya

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