Twende Likizo: Road Trip Southwest National Parks

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You have some time off over Christmas, and you’re already mapping out a plan. Kenya’s Southwest National Parks are the ultimate destination with their magnificent beauty, breathtaking landscapes, volcanic formations, and the rich red soil.

In just 8 days, you can explore the expanse of the 5 southwest National Parks by game driving, hiking and camping. Since they are within driving distance of each other, you’ll have enough time to lounge in between.

Southwest National Parks Itinerary 

Day 1: Amboseli National Park

Start your trip before dawn to make it to Amboseli before the scorching afternoon. The easiest route and the most scenic from Nairobi is via Kajiado to Namanga which runs parallel to the Tanzanian border. On arrival, request for a guide at the gate who’ll show you the camping and picnic sites.

Alternatively, book your full-board accommodation at the prestigious Ol Tukai Lodge set on the observation hill near the temporary Lake Amboseli.

Waking up to views of the mighty Kilimanjaro with wildlife as the foreground is quite the rewarding experience to get you going for the rest of the week.


Day 3: Chyulu National Park

From Amboseli, head over to the volcanic hills; a short 3-hour drive away where you will have to stretch your legs after days of soaking in the views of the Kili.

While you’re still psyched up, expend your energy hiking the Chyulu Hills, wandering into the caves and picnicking at the summit of the cones whilst you admire the immense savannah.

Chyulu Hills


Day 4: Tsavo East National Park

Before nightfall, start your 2-hour journey to Voi Gate, Tsavo East to avoid getting lost.

During your stay, take it easy and unwind at the Voi Safari Lodge which has waterholes thereby attracting a good number of wildlife.

The topography of the Tsavo East is mainly flat with few herds of tusker elephants hence ideal for walking safaris and bird tours.


Tusker Elephant

Day 6: Tsavo West National Park

Crossing over from the Tsavo East to Maktau Gate, Tsavo West is a short 65km drive.

Tsavo West is perfect for game drives as there are more wildlife particularly near Mzima Springs in the north.

On the two-day trip around the Tsavo West, if you are the adventurous type, you can camp on the shores of both Lakes Chala and Jipe.

Lake_Chala Tsavo West

Day 8: Shimba Hills National Park

The final day will take you the south coast of Kenya, in the second largest coastal forest in East Africa. The drive from Maktau Gate in Tsavo West to Shimba Hills is a 5-hour drive away.

Take a few days rest at Shimba Hills Lodge and fuel up with the hotel’s meals on full board basis.

Sheldrick falls at Shimba Hills Reserve

Southwest National Parks  Essentials

For this road trip to the southwest national parks to be a success, a 4-wheel drive is a must. Also, ensure to have:

  • Mobile Payment or any cashless payment for the national parks and reserves
  • Drinking water
  • Picnic items
  • Camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight (this can be rented at the KWS offices)
  • Binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
  • Mosquito repellent creams
  • Pack light-coloured clothing that camouflages with nature. Avoid floral patterns and dark colours

The Jumia Travel Online Guide has details on the park fees and activities as well as how to get to each of the southwest national parks in Kenya.

“I’ll do it tomorrow” the Kenyan Proverb that makes travel seem overly expensive and out of budget. Like every year, lots of tourists wait until the last minute to get a plan for their Christmas holidays. However, November is the perfect time to get started on the bookings so as to avoid last minute.


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