Known for its spectacular wildlife and stunning landscapes, East Africa is home to a number of extraordinary national parks that offer scenic views, exciting experiences, and unique flora and fauna. Here, tourists can enjoy unforgettable experiences, such as cycling tours, game drives, camping, hot air balloon rides, and walking safaris! Here are some of the top, most visited, national parks in East Africa.
1. Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti is one of the most majestic areas in the world, known for its wild animals, and diverse landscapes, as it is home to lakes, hills, river valleys, gorges, and springs. At this wildlife reserve, tourists can spot cheetahs, zebras, black rhinos, hippos, elephants, lions, buffaloes, giraffes, hyenas, antelopes, gazelles, jackals, and foxes! Tourists can take cultural tours to nearby Maasai villages, enjoy a safari, or watch the Great Migration of wildebeests! Top locations within the Park are Bologonja Springs, Grumeti River, Olduvai Gorge, Retina Hippo Pool, Lobo Valley, Naabi Hill, and Seronera River Valley!
Elephants at Serengeti National Park, Image Source: ludi via Pixabay
2. Ngorongoro Crater
A top visited park in East Africa is the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, a vast grassland home to wildebeests, zebras, monkeys, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, warthogs, antelopes, hyenas, oryx, lions, antelopes, elands, buffaloes, impalas, and gazelles, as well as rare and endangered species such as the black rhino and black maned male lions! Travellers can easily find good accommodation and facilities such as safari cars and tour guides, and the locals are friendly and cooperative, making the experience wholesome and enriching.
3. Maasai Mara
One of Kenya’s top tourist spots, the Maasai Mara, is famous for its safaris, where one can enjoy wildlife or game viewing. Visitors can spot the glorious ‘Big Five’ (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes), gazelles, antelopes, zebras, wildebeests, hippopotamus, Nile crocodiles, foxes, dik-diks, monkeys, warthogs, aardwolfs, baboons, and mongooses! The region is named after the Maasai people, who wear red robes and carry spears. The locals are friendly, and tourists can interact with them to learn about their culture and heritage!
Maasai Tribe Kenya, Image Source: David Mark via Pixabay
4. Nairobi National Park
Despite being one of East Africa’s smallest parks, this Park has abundant wildlife, as it is home to gazelles, warthogs, lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, buffaloes, ostriches, and approximately 400 species of birds! As one of the top visited parks in Kenya, it is famous for its rhinoceros sanctuary, as it has more than 50 black rhinos!
Rhino Nairobi National Park Kenya, Image Source: Alex Strachan via Pixabay
5. Selous Game Reserve
Another top destination is the gorgeous Selous Game Reserve, which is an excellent spot for bird watching, as it is home to over 350 species of exotic birds. These include storks, owls, lapwings, kingfishers, palm nut vultures, kestrels, parrots, herons, and eagles. The breathtaking destination also allows visitors to spot elephants, giraffes, antelopes, zebras, waterbucks, wild dogs, hyenas, hippos, impalas, buffaloes, wildebeests, and lions!
6. Tarangire National Park
Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park receives up to 160000 visitors every year! The Park is great for game viewing and bird watching, as animals can easily be seen as the foliage is thinner, and the region welcomes many migratory exotic birds! Tourists can spot leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, elands, impalas, waterbucks, wild dogs, gazelles, mongooses, badgers, lions, monkeys, and baboons, and even the extraordinary elephant migration! The park is the 6th largest in Africa and is known for its large elephant herds and scenic views.
7. Lake Nakuru National Park
Kenya’s Lake Nakuru National Park is famous for its biodiversity, being home to animals such as white rhinos, zebras, impalas, baboons, African buffaloes, giraffes, vervet monkeys, waterbucks, cheetahs, colobus monkeys, wild dogs, lions, and leopards! The park is great for birdwatching, as tourists can spot a large number of flamingos, as well as fish eagles, storks, hammerkops, and yellow-billed pelicans! The park is home to around 400 species of birds, most of which migrate from lake to lake within the Rift Valley. The park is great for camping, and game drives, and travellers can hike up to breathtaking Makalia Falls!
Flamingos at Lake Nakuru National Park, Image Source: Rolf Dobberstein via Pixabay
8. Gombe Stream National Park
Despite being one of the smallest Parks in Tanzania, Gombe is visited frequently. Famous for Jane Goodall’s research work with chimpanzees, the park is also home to primates such as baboons, red colobus, blue monkeys, and vervet monkeys. Visitors can also spot 200 species of migratory and exotic birds, including pelicans, ospreys, palm nut vultures, storks, hornbills, guinea fowl, barbets, cuckoos, rollers, hawks, owls, and eagles! Tourists can trek up to the lower slopes where they can easily spot the chimpanzees!