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Tips for visiting national parks

 Nairobi National Park.

Familiarise yourself by doing background research on the reserves you are planning to visit. You will find such information from KWS, which manages the country’s national parks and game reserves. The Ministry of Tourism, individual parks, and other institutions like the Kenya Tourism Board also have such information

Keep within the designated areas: As much as it may be tempting, do not go off-road. Going outside the designated areas such as boardwalk paths, marked roads and paths, and trails could damage the park’s fragile ecosystem. The guidelines protect the parks, and visitors as well. 

Plan the time of your visit: You can plan to explore the lesser-visited areas of a park or visit at a time when the popular attractions are not at their height or visitation such as Maasai Mara, which attracts thousands of visitors during the Great Migration.

Follow the “leave no trace rule”: The rule which is also referred to as “Pack It In, Pack It Out”, is an ethos followed by outdoor adventure enthusiasts to help preserve natural areas – this means that whatever you bring with you, you take it back with you – whether it be garbage, food waste or camping gear. 

Only pack out what you brought with you: Here, a visitor is encouraged to remove any litter you might find in the parks, but not to take off with any souvenirs from the natural areas. It would be a huge environmental disaster for instance if Meru National Park had 500,000 visitors in a year and each one of them thought, it was no big deal to pick a wildflower or pocket a rock. This would seriously affect the park’s ecosystem and future visitor experience. 

Keep to these principles while visiting national parks and reserves:

Plan ahead

Travel/Camp on durable surfaces

Dispose of waste properly

Leave what you find

Minimise campfire impacts

Respect wildlife

Be considerate to other visitors

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