Wildlife Heart of East Africa: A tour guide to the 10 Premier National Parks

Wed, 01 Jun 2022 Lush Africa Safaris


Welcome to a world where nature’s grandeur unfolds in its purest form. In this comprehensive guide, we journey through East Africa’s Top 10 National Parks, each a testament to the continent’s unparalleled wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. From the bustling edges of Nairobi National Park to the serene expanses of the Serengeti, these parks offer more than just a safari; they invite you on an adventure of discovery and awe. Here, the roar of lions, the gentle giants of the savannah, and the spectacle of the Great Migration are not just sights to behold, but experiences that resonate deep within. Whether you’re an avid wildlife photographer, a nature enthusiast, or a traveller seeking to connect with the wild, these parks promise memories that will last a lifetime. Join us as we explore the diverse ecosystems, encounter majestic wildlife, and unveil the secrets of East Africa’s most treasured national parks.

10. Nairobi National Park, Kenya – An Urban Wildlife Oasis

Nestled beside Nairobi’s bustling centre, Nairobi National Park is a unique urban wildlife haven. A mere 20 minutes from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, this park offers a seamless transition from cityscape to wilderness. It’s a sanctuary where Maasai giraffes, lions, cheetahs, and a plethora of other species thrive against a backdrop of city skyscrapers. Notably, it shelters around 80 rhinos and an unusually large lion population for its size. This juxtaposition of natural and urban environments makes Nairobi National Park a surreal wildlife encounter.

Best Time to Visit: June to September Highlights: Nairobi Mosque, Galleria Mall, Ivory Burning Site Museum, diverse wildlife including rhinos and lions.

9. Murchison Falls, Uganda – A Historical Wildlife Haven

Steeped in cinematic and historical significance, Murchison Falls National Park, the setting for ‘The African Queen’, is Uganda’s largest conservation area. It’s a landscape adorned with palm trees and teeming with diverse fauna, including over 76 mammal and 476 bird species. The park’s heart is the majestic Murchison Falls, where the Nile’s power is unleashed in a breathtaking display. Wildlife spectacles abound along the river, with regular sightings of elephants, giraffes, and buffaloes, while its waters are a haven for hippos and Nile crocodiles.

Best Time to Visit: May to September Highlights: Majestic waterfalls, and diverse wildlife including lions, elephants, and chimpanzees in nearby Budongo Forest.

8. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania – A Wildlife Enthusiast’s Dream

Tarangire is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, particularly during the dry season when animals flock to its swamps. The park is rich in fauna, including elephants, lions, and cheetahs, amidst a landscape dotted with baobab trees and acacia shrubs.

Best Time to Visit: July to October Highlights: Elephants, lions, leopards, and a rich variety of other wildlife.

7. Amboseli National Park, Kenya – A Scenic Paradise

Known for its large elephant herds and the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli offers stunning panoramas and diverse wildlife, including zebras and hundreds of bird species.

Best Time to Visit: July to September Highlights: Views of Kilimanjaro, and diverse wildlife including giraffes and zebras.

6. Ngorongoro, Tanzania – A Natural Wonder

Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera, offers a breathtaking experience. Its lush floor sustains a rich tapestry of wildlife, including the Big 5.

Best Time to Visit: June to September Highlights: Black rhino, wildebeest, and a plethora of other species in a unique crater setting.

5. Akagera, Rwanda – A Premiere Safari Destination

Akagera National Park, with its diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife, offers a premium safari experience. From elephants to rare birds, Akagera is a must-visit for nature lovers.

Best Time to Visit: All year Highlights: Lions, rhinos, and a diverse bird population.

4. Bwindi, Uganda – The Realm of Gorillas

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a sanctuary for over 450 mountain gorillas. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers an intimate glimpse into the world of these majestic primates.

Best Time to Visit: All year Highlights: Mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and diverse birdlife.

3. Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda – A Birdwatcher’s Paradise

This biodiverse park boasts the highest bird species count in Africa, making it a birdwatcher’s dream. It’s also known for its tree-climbing lions and rich mammal diversity.

Best Time to Visit: All Year Highlights: Diverse birdlife, tree-climbing lions, and other wildlife.

2. Maasai Mara, Kenya – The Heart of African Wildlife

The Maasai Mara is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise, known for the Great Migration and an abundance of big game. Its landscapes offer unparalleled wildlife viewing opportunities.

Best Time to Visit: June to October Highlights: The Great Migration, big cats, and diverse wildlife.

1. Serengeti, Tanzania – A Legendary Wilderness

The Serengeti’s vast landscapes are synonymous with African safaris. Home to the Great Migration, it offers spectacular wildlife viewing year-round, including the Big Five.

Best Time to Visit: June to October Highlights: The Great Migration, an abundance of lions, leopards, and other wildlife.