Camping in Kenya’s national parks
Kenya’s national parks are beautiful and affordable places to camp on budget safaris. Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) manages Kenya’s national parks and offers both public and special campsites. The daily, per-person rates range from Kshs. 200 for citizens and residents to $50 for non-residents, depending on the campsite type and location. Campers must also pay the daily rate for park entrance. looking to utilize public campgrounds. Private campsites offer more amenities and are only available to those who can afford or book them in advance.
When done in a safe and responsible way, camping can be an incredible experience that allows you to truly appreciate Kenya’s beautiful landscapes and wildlife. With the right preparation, camping in Kenya’s National Parks can be an incredible and rewarding adventure.
Public vs. special campsites
There are two types of KWS campsites available in national parks: public and special. If you are looking for an affordable place to camp that does not require advanced bookings, look into public campsites. The public campsites at each park are usually situated close to the main entrance. They offer basic toilet and shower facilities, but you will need to bring your own camping equipment such as tents and sleeping bags. If you want a more private experience, look into special campsites. They typically do not include any amenities, but you are guaranteed to have the whole site to yourself.
- Campsite shared with other campers
- No advanced booking required
- Daily per-person fees
- In most cases, basic camping facilities are provided (e.g., water, toilet, bathroom)
- Exclusive use of campsite
- Advanced booking required with the warden or KWS headquarters
- Daily per-person fees, plus a one-time booking fee
- Facilities are not provided unless otherwise stated
Campsite locations in national parks
Planning to camp in national parks
All campers must bring their own camping supplies, such as tents and sleeping bags. Make sure you have plenty of mosquito repellent, sunblock, headlamps/flashlights, first aid supplies and warm clothes for cold nights. Another important item to bring is a portable water filter or purification tablets in order to make sure your drinking water supply is safe. You can review KWS’s lists of safari and camping essentials for more ideas about what to bring.
- Research: Make sure to research the area you are interested in camping at ahead of time. You need to know if the park is open and what rules, regulations and restrictions apply.
- Prepare your packing list: Be sure that you have all the necessary gear such as tents, sleeping bags, blankets etc. Bring enough food and water to last throughout your stay.
- Choose a safe location: When you get to the park, choose an area that is well-lit and away from wildlife. Familiarize yourself with the rules of the park such as where campfires are allowed and which areas are off-limits.
- Follow safety protocols: Respect the natural environment and follow all park rules. Never leave your campsite unattended at night and always be aware of your surroundings. Read this guide explaining the safety and security situation in Kenya.
Tips for camping in national parks
When camping in Kenya’s National Parks, you will need to observe basic safety guidelines. First and foremost, never camp alone in the bush; always find a group of people or a designated campsite to stay at. Ensure that you have enough camping supplies for the duration of your stay and never leave food out in the open. And, most importantly, always pay attention to park-specific safety regulations.
When choosing a campsite in any of Kenya’s national parks, it is important to select a spot away from animal pathways. Make sure there are. Make sure your tent is securely set up and all belongings are locked away. It is also important to never leave a fire unattended, as bush fires can spread quickly.
- Follow the KWS rules, regulations and guidelines at all times
- If not renting one of our campervans, bring your own camping equipment such as tents, sleeping bags, blankets etc
- Bring enough food, water, and supplies for your stay
- Keep a clean campsite by disposing of rubbish properly
- Have a back-up plan in case of bad weather
- Respect the local culture and environment by not disturbing wildlife or flora
Rules for camping in national parks
When camping in Kenya’s national parks and reserves, it is important to adhere to the rules set by KWS.
- Pitch your tent only at designated campsites
- Do not disturb or interfere with wildlife
- Refrain from engaging in any activities that may alter the natural environment of the park
- Do not litter or bring in any hazardous materials
- Respect other campers and park staff
- Keep campsites clean by taking all trash with you
- Do not bring any single-use plastic product into parks
- Check with KWS about fire regulations before starting a campfire. Some parks restrict campfires to designated areas only
Booking a campsite
Public campsites do not have to be booked ahead of time. You can pay the daily camping fees at the park’s entry gate.
You can book a special campsite by contacting KWS at +254 726 610 533 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The nonrefundable reservation fee is Kshs. 7500 per booking, per group.
Location-specific camping guides
- Amboseli National Park has one public campsite.
- Aberdare National Park has two public and eight special campsites.
- Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the most popular safari destinations in Kenya. As a national reserve, it is run by Narok County rather than KWS.
- Lake Naivasha: There are conservancies and privately-run campsites around Lake Naivasha. Hell’s Gate National Park has the closest KWS campsites.
- Mt. Kenya National Park has seven public campsites.
- Nairobi National Park does not have campsites inside the park. There are several affordable campgrounds within a few minutes’ drive of the park entrance.