5 Kenyan Parks and conservancies to have unique close encounters with the endangered rhinos.
Kenya is known for its authentic and natural parks that make it a top safari destination. Not many may be aware that Kenya also plays a very big role in conservation efforts. The rhino, being an endangered species, has had the Kenyan government along with private stakeholders make great efforts to see that this species are protected. Rhino sanctuaries have been created within the KWS managed parks as well as community and private conservancies to ensure the survival of this iconic pachyderms.
These intelligent and affectionate creatures have inhabited the Earth for 60 million years, but in the last century their numbers have been on an astounding decline from millions roaming the African wilderness to fewer than 5000 left, in isolated sanctuaries in Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, and Tanzania.
How to tell the difference between a black rhino and white rhino?
The Eastern Browse (Black) Rhino (Diceros bicorni micheali)
Black rhinos are bush-browsers and carry their heads high; the mouth has a triangular, hooked upper lip evolved for stripping leaves and thorns off bushes and low-growing trees.
White Rhinos is Kenya are in two sub species.
The Northern white Rhino – (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) Only 3 remaining in the world all at Olpejeta
Southern Grass (White) Rhino (Ceratotherium simum) the most abundant and social of all rhino species.
White is actually a mispronunciation of the Dutch word for wide, a reference to the square upper lip of the white rhino; the species is a grass grazer, and the neck is longer, and the head bigger, pitched downward towards the ground. Although white rhinos are bigger and heavier than black rhinos. Colonial trophy hunters lumped the black rhino, along with the elephant, lion, leopard, and buffalo, as one of the Big Five because it is the more dangerous rhino species to hunt—it’s faster and more aggressive.
Unfortunately, consumers in China, Vietnam, and other Asian countries who buy illegal rhino horn for traditional medicine do not distinguish the source, and poaching for all rhino species is on the rise.
Despite the numerous challenges facing this species below are some of the parks & conservancies to spot the rhinos in Kenya.
HOME OF THE BLACK RHINO
Nairobi National Park is one of the best places in the world to observe the Eastern Browse (Black) Rhino (Diceros bicorni micheali) in the wild. One of the most successful rhino sanctuaries under the management of Kenya Wildlife Service. The park is famous world over as the only safari park you can get close sighting of African wildlife – 4 of the big five, Rhinos, Lions, Buffalo & Leopard roam the park with a backdrop of the capitals’ towering sky scrapers.
One of the premium parks in Kenya. It is branded the “Bird Watchers Paradise’ known for its abundance in Avi fauna, more conspicuously the flamingos. Located on the south western tour circuit, on the base of the great rift valley. Lake Nakuru National Park is one of the oldest rhino sanctuary more so for the white rhino. These are not many in number but if you are lucky you might sport several during your visit.
Masai Mara National reserve is the greatest wildlife reserve in Kenya. This park is renowned for the great, annual migration of wildebeest from the Serengeti National Park to Masai Mara game reserve. Apart from this natural phenomenon, which is also one of the last remaining great migrations in the world, Masai Mara is the only park where you will find all The Great Five – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino – with ease. The government has made an effort of restoring the black rhino species in Mara by translocating them from other sanctuaries in the country. The community is also playing a significant role in ensuring their survival by establishing a private conservancy where the few remaining White rhinos (Only 2 pictured above) thrive under 24 ranger security.
In north central Kenya you can visit The 75,000-acre Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a mixed wildlife and cattle ranch operation with 88 eastern black rhino and three of the world’s last surviving northern white rhinos. The three at Ol Pejeta—some of the rarest creatures on earth—have been dehorned as a deterrent against potential poaching.
You will have guaranteed sightings of eastern black, southern white, by staying at;
- Solio Game Lodge, situated on the privately owned 16,800-acre Solio Game Reserve.
- Borana Lodge within the Borana conservancy.
- Lewa conservancy is also one of the best places to spot both of the rhinos species.
- The Sera Community conservancy. http://www.sarunisamburu.com/saruni-rhino-rhino-tracking/saruni-rhino1.htm
Stay at any of the conservancies above, get the the unique rhino tracking experience, the only places you get to do that in East Africa: an amazing walking safari that provides a uniquely thrilling adventure, but also allows guests to actively contribute to the protection of this iconic species.
Forming part of the greater Kora Conservation Corridor, Meru National Park is located in the Eastern part of Kenya. It is a premium park that has been dwarfed by parks like Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru. The “Born Wild” movie was shot here and it is a park worth visiting for those who love quiet, serene environments. If you spend the night at the Rhino River Camp. The Rhino Sanctuary section of Meru Park is just on the camps door step! This gives you the opportunity to see the Big Five (and more) when enjoying a drive through this amazing wilderness.