Best Kenyan Game Reserves to see the Big Cats
Kenya is a year-round safari destination that offers amazing sightings of African wildlife including, the Big cats. The country boasts of diversity which includes enchanting landscapes with sweeping plains that are home to abundant wildlife and also hosts the best Kenyan game reserves to see the big cats. There are also majestic snow-capped mountains such as Mount Kenya (5199m), as well as tropical palm-fringed beaches along the Indian Ocean coast. The country is bisected by the Great Rift Valley from north to south.
If you’re looking for the best Kenya game reserves to see the big cats, then Masai Mara and Samburu National Reserves are the places to visit. The reserves are home to an abundance of big game, the Masai Mara is especially excellent for big cats sightings. The big cats can be seen throughout the year.
Which are the big cats of Africa?
You can’t do a safari in Kenya and miss seeing the lion – the King of the Jungle
Lions are the biggest of the cats. Lions are large cats with short, tawny coats, white underparts, and long tails with a black tuft at the end. They are sexually dimorphic and male lions are the only cats with manes. They are the only big cat that lives in groups, which are called prides. In each pride, there are only one to three males together with several lionesses.
Lion prefer patrolling grassy plains and open woodlands. During the day, lions can be found lying in the shade of an acacia tree or basking in the golden sun on the African savannah.
Solitary and shy, leopard are very well camouflaged and amazingly good at hiding. Leopards tend to hunt at night, and take their prey up trees where possible. Just seeing a leopard is a thrilling experience and watching one hunt is an amazing privilege. Watch our latest sighting:
Leopard have perhaps the most varied habitat range and can be spotted in semi-arid regions, savanna grasslands, mountainous environments and riverine forests.
The Cheetah is built for speed with a narrow, lightweight body and long slender limbs cheetah can reach speeds of up to 110kmph. They need plenty of space to make the most of their spectacular acceleration. Cheetahs are best seen in the dry season where the grass is short enough to reveal their ground hugging shapes. They’ll often choose a vantage point such as a termite mound, to scan the savannah for prey – stealthily stalking as close as possible before bursting into action.
Best game reserves to see the big cats in Kenya.
Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara is Kenya’s most famous reserve, and for good reason too. With the open savannah grasslands and far-reaching,endless plains making the big cats easier to spot. Game viewing reaches its peak between August and October during the annual Wildebeest Migration, with the arrival of the numerous wildebeest herds. This makes it the best Kenyan game reserves to see the big cats.
It is home to the Great Wildebeest Migration where millions of wildebeest along with thousands of zebras, impalas, elands and gazelles wander across the East African plains in search for better grazing while facing a series of predator such as the Lions, Hyenas, Leopards and Cheetahs. There is certainly nowhere else in the world you can marvel at this spectacular natural occurrence.
Samburu National Reserve
Samburu National Reserve doesn’t only boast of a breathtaking landscape and unique ecosystem, it also displays an incredible wildlife concentration It is a good choice for the best kenyan game reserves to see the big cats. Among the wildlife to spot includes; lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants and buffalos. Unique to Samburu’s arid north are the Samburu Special Five: the rare Grevy’s Zebra, Beisa Oryx, long-necked Gerenuk, Somali Ostrich and the Reticulated Giraffe with its striking net pattern.
For ultimate Kenya safari adventure in search of the Big cats, we recommend exploring two or more parks/reserves so that you can discover the country’s diverse landscapes, flora and fauna.
You’ll also be lucky to sight all members of the big five of Africa.
Here are our recommended packages: