List of National Reserves in Kenya and Their Locations

Inside the Maasai Mara and other fascinating national reserves in Kenya.

Shimba Hills National Reserve. Picture/Kenya Wildlife Service.

List of National Reserves in Kenya and Their Locations

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is a state organ under the Ministry of Tourism mandated to manage wildlife on behalf of the Kenyan public.

The KWS also manages 5 marine parks, 7 national reserves, orphanages, and sanctuaries.

Kenya’s national reserves are rich in wildlife with some including Maasai Mara putting Kenya on the world map.

The following are the national reserves found in Kenya;

1. Maasai Mara National Reserve

    1. Maasai Mara game reserve is a top tourist destination in Africa, mentioned as an ultimate destination for big game viewing.
    2. Combined with Tanzania’s Serengeti to the south, the two are the greatest wildlife reserves with spectacular ecosystems.
    3. The Maasai Mara covers over 1,500 square kilometers and is home to over 95, 500 mammals and bird species respectively.
    4. The annual wildebeest migration is designated as one of the world’s greatest spectacles.
    5. Happening between July and October every year, there is no other place to see other than The Mara and Serengeti.
    6. It is also equipped with plush accommodation facilities as well as numerous Safari services.
    7. The Maasai Mara is located in Narok County, southwest Kenya, about 225 kilometers from Nairobi.
    8. It is a smooth 5-6 hours drive from Nairobi to the Sekenani Gate of Maasai Mara.
    9. You can also take a direct flight into Maasai Mara from Nairobi, Mombasa, Diani, and Malindi.
    10. Some of the wild animals found in Maasai Mara include;
        1. Lions
        2. Buffalos
        3. Cheetahs
        4. Hyenas
        5. Giraffe
        6. Elephants
        7. Rhino
    11. Click here for more information about Maasai Mara.


Where is Maasai Mara National Reserve
Maasai Mara National Reserve


Also read: List of Marine National Parks in Kenya And Their Locations


2. Mwea National Reserve

    1. Mwea National Reserve is a savanna eco-system integrated with hills and scattered trees.
    2. Some of the defining features of Mwea National Reserve is the confluence of the Tana and Thiba Rivers.
    3. Inside the reserve are also Masinga and Kamburu hydroelectric power generating dams.
    4. The Mwea National Reserve is located in Mbeere, some 200 kilometers from Nairobi.
    5. Some of the wildlife attractions available at the Mwea National Reserve include;
        1. Hippos
        2. Elephants
        3. Buffalo
        4. Rothschild giraffes
        5. Zebras
        6. Lesser kudu
        7. Impala
        8. Waterbuck
        9. Bushbuck
        10. Warthogs
        11. Baboons
        12. Black-backed jackal
    6. You can travel via the Nairobi-Thika-Matuu-Masinga Dam road to access the reserve.
    7. You can also fly directly to the Masinga airstrip.


Mwea National Reserve. Picture/Kenya Wildlife Service


3. Shimba Hills National Reserve

    1. The Shimba Hills National Reserve is one of the largest coastal forests in East Africa.
    2. It is second to the Arabuko Sokoke forest in Kilifi County.
    3. Shimba Hills is known for its elephant density which is the highest in Kenya.
    4. The Sable antelope also has its home in the Shimba Hills National Reserve.
    5. Other attractions at the Shimba Hills Reserve include;
        1. Leopards
        2. Snakes such as pythons and cobra
        3. Giraffes
        4. Wild pig
        5. Vervet monkey
        6. Ostrich
        7. African Hawk
        8. Sunbird and over 100 other bird species.
    6. Take the Mombasa Diani Road and then switch to the tarmac climbing to Kwale town to access the main gate.
Shimba Hills National Reserve. Picture/Kenya Wildlife Service.


Also read: List of All National Parks in Kenya And Their Locations


4. Kakamega Forest National Reserve

    1. The Kakamega National Reserve constitutes 44 square kilometers of rainforest canopy with numerous bird species.
    2. It is home to over 400 bird species including the  Blue Headed Bee Eater and Grey Parrots.
    3. Some of the attractions in Kakamega Forest National Reserve include;
        1. Bush Pig
        2. Debrazza Monkey
        3. Black-lipped cobra
        4. Forest Cobra
        5. Gabon Viper
        6. Bird watching
        7. Rock Climbing and hiking
        8. Bush pig
        9. Colobus monkey
        10. Rhinoceros Horned Viper
    4. The Kakamega Forest is what has remained from the ancient Guineo-Congolian rainforest that once sprawled the continent.
    5. The reserve is 418 kilometers from Nairobi through Nakuru and Kapsabet.
    6. You can also fly to Kakamega, Kisumu, or Eldoret and travel by road to the park.


Picture/Kenya Wildlife Service.


5. Mwingi Game Reserve

    1. The Mwingi Game Reserve is a hot, dry, and remote wilderness in Mwingi, Kitui County.
    2. Some of the attractions at the Mwingi Game Reserve are;
        1. Adamson’s Falls
        2. Fishing and boat rides on the Tana River
        3. Grave of Elsa the lioness
        4. Fly camping
        5. Former home of Joy and George Adamson (Kampi ya Simba)
        6. Game viewing
    3. You can access the reserve through Thika and Mwingi Towns, before driving to Kyuso village.
    4. You can also access it from Meru National Park via the Adamson’s Bridge through Kora National Park.


Mwingi Game Reserve. Picture/Kenya Wildlife Service


6. Nasolot Game Reserve

    1. The Nasolot Game Reserve is a rugged but beautiful terrain towered by Mount Melo and Nasolot Hill.
    2. Some of the greatest attractions in this reserve include;
        1. Bird watching
        2. Nature walks
        3. Scenic views from the Nasolot Hill
        4. Fishing
        5. Camping
        6. Elephants
        7. Lesser kudu
        8. Bushbucks
        9. Duiker
        10. Lion
        11. Leopard
        12. Kirk’s dik-dik
        13. Spotted hyena
    3. You can visit this 92 square-kilometer game reserve by air and road.
    4. The Nasolot Game Reserve is located 146 kilometers north of Kitale, off the Kitale-Lodwar Road.
    5. The gate is located 6.2 kilometers off the highway.
    6. You can also go by air to the Turkwel airstrip or Kaputirr airstrip.


Nasolot National Reserve. Picture/Kenya Wildlife Service


7. Malka Mari National Reserve 

    1. Malka Mari National Reserve is an extensive wilderness made of sprawling semi-arid grasslands and Palms along the course of the Daua River.
    2. The reserve stretches for most of the Kenya-Ethiopia border up to the farthest northeastern part of the country on the Mandera plateau.
    3. Given its large area, the Malka Mari is home to many wild animals.
    4. Some of the key features and attractions at the Malka Mari National Reserve include;
        1. Old colonial military graves
        2. Goro Ade ruins
        3. Old colonial installations such as an airstrip and building
        4. Reticulated giraffes
        5. Carnivores such as lions, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, jackals, leopards and wild dogs
        6. River Daua has crocodiles and hippos, as well as breathtaking riparian vegetation.
        7. Bird watching
        8.  Impalas
        9. Thompson Gazelles
    5. To visit Malka Mari, drive along the northern tarmac through Isiolo up to the border town of Moyale.
    6. From Moyale take the road heading east towards Takaba, Bannissa, and Derkale to get to the game reserve.
    7. You can access the Malka Mari National Reserve through the following airstrips in northern Kenya;
        1. Rhamu airstrip in Rhamu town, Mandera North Constituency
        2. Takaba Airstrip has local passenger service twice a week.
        3. Mandera Main Airstrip in Mandera town
        4. Elwak Airstrip in the border town of Elwak.


8. Bisanadi National Reserve

    1. Bisanadi National Reserve is a stretch of wilderness to the north of the Meru National Park.
    2. Some of the wildlife attractions in this hot arid game reserve include;
        1. Lions
        2. Cheetahs
        3. Elephants
        4. Rhinos
        5. Buffalos
        6. More than 400 bird species
    3. Other attractions at the Bisanadi National Reserve include;
        1. Boat rides on River Tana
        2. Fishing at Tana and Rojowero rivers.
    4. You can access Bisanadi Reserve through the Meru National Park at Murera Gate.