The Central Highlands of Kenya, located north of Nairobi, encompass several famous national parks across its expanse. This region offers some of the most spectacular landscapes of verdant jungle, clusters of conifers and shamba-dotted plains, all on a rugged mountain backdrop. At the heart sits the magnificent Mt. Kenya, but there are several other ridges of mountains winding across the region, like the Matthews and Aberdare Range. Between these ranges, fertile valleys have bloomed into a patchwork of coffee plantations, now acting as the main export for the area.
Mt. Kenya juts up out of wildlife-laden plains of Mt. Kenya National Park to create such a breathtaking landscape that it inspired the name of the country in which it sits. The Matthews Range offers a secluded mountain experience that while less iconic than Mt. Kenya, is no less beautiful. The juniper and cycad forest that sits between its rocky peaks harbors not only the indigenous Samburu people, but also wildlife like elephants, buffalo and leopards.
Samburu National Reserve curves along the banks of the Ewaso Ng-iro River. Due to the precious water provided by the river, the ecosystem is able to support thick riverine forests, groves of doum palms and a spectacular array of wildlife. Lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants and buffalo can be seen wandering across the plains while hippos and crocodiles wallow in the river and over 350 species of birds flit about. An ornithologist's dream, the reserve's bird life includes Carmine bee-eaters, ostriches, lilac-breasted rollers, Marabou storks and countless other fascinating species.
Meru National Park is a tangle of sky-high grasses, verdant jungle and lush swamps that conceal elusive wildlife. Look carefully and watch as creatures like elephants, hippos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, black rhinos and rare species of antelopes reveal themselves. Once riddled by poaching problems, staunch conservation efforts have made this park into one of the most promising areas for game-viewing adventures.
Laikipia Plateau is mostly covered by privately owned ranches of which many have been turned into wildlife conservancies like Lewa, Ol Pejeta, Solio, Borana, Ol Lentille, Loisaba, Tumaren, Mugie and more.