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The national parks and game reserves of Northern Kenya tend to be large, wild and visited by far fewer visitors than those of Southern Kenya. There are three main parks — Samburu National Park, Shaba National Reserve and Meru National Park.

Samburu National Park

Samburu National Park is located on the beautiful Ewaso Ng’iro River and known for its large elephant populations. There are a couple of larger lodges, however they stick to rigid game viewing hours and if you explore out of these times you have the park to yourself. The muddy waters of the river are home to numerous hippo and crocodiles and birds flit about the riverine forest. Away from the river, plains are home to Kenya’s rarer northern species including the gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Grévy's zebra as well as big game including buffalo, lion, leopard and more.

Shaba National Reserve

Shaba National Reserve lies to the east of Samburu and remains a relatively wild and unexplored area. Most easily accessible on a fly-in safari there are just two camps in opposite ends of the park, the one to stay in being Joy’s Camp, on the site of George & Joy Adamson’s original camp. Like Samburu, Shaba is home to lots of Kenya’s rarer northern species as well as big game. However, as the game is still unaccustomed to vehicles this is not a park for people to come and tick off big numbers, rather it is for those looking to enjoy wild game in a wilderness area.

Meru National Park

Finally Meru is well off the mainstream tourist circuit. With only two tiny camps and a couple of research stations this is a park to explore in open 4x4’s and on foot. Scenery in Meru is dramatic with towering kopjes covered in acacia woodland, grassy plains and small rivers and streams flanked by dense riverine vegetation. For many years the game was sparse and skittish in Meru, however in recent years numbers have increased strongly and game is more relaxed around vehicles. Elephant, black rhino, reticulated giraffe, Grévy's and common zebra, Grant's gazelle, lesser kudu and gerenuk are all present as well as black-maned lion, leopard and cheetah.

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Places to visit in the Parks & Reserves of Northern Kenya

Featuring heavily on our experiences of visiting the Parks & Reserves of Northern Kenya, these selected places are destinations that also prove consistently popular with our travellers. Our specialists can help you choose how to include them in your wider trip, based on your preferences.

Suggested itineraries featuring the Parks & Reserves of Northern Kenya

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in the Parks & Reserves of Northern Kenya, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of the Parks & Reserves of Northern Kenya

Places & hotels on the map

    Places in and around the Parks & Reserves of Northern Kenya

    Accommodation choices for the Parks & Reserves of Northern Kenya

    We've selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit the Parks & Reserves of Northern Kenya. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.