The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is mandated to manage 23 National Parks, 4 marine national parks,6 marine national reserves,28 National Reserves, and 4 National Sanctuaries in Kenya. What you perhaps did not know is that there are fully furnished bandas owned KWS that you can actually stay in during your holiday.
The KWS self- catering bandas are facilities within these parks. Not only do you get to watch wildlife and enjoy nature but also enjoy a getaway in the heart of the wild! Here is a list of some of the places you should check out and the parks they are located in, plus the cost.
Shimoni Cottages-Kisite Mpunguti National Park
The Shimoni bandas are set in Shimoni town mainland, Kwale County. They are ideal for tourists visiting Kisite Mpunguti National Park and Wasini Island. The cottage overlooks the pristine white sandy beaches, lagoons, coral reefs.
You can enjoy a range of activities including diving, snorkeling, and boating at the Marine Park. At just a price of Kshs 2000 per night. They are in one and three-bedroom fully furnished bandas.
Kinna Cottages-Meru National Park
If you find yourself in Meru National Park, Kinna Cottages is one of the KWS accommodations you should stay at. The cottages provide a unique experience of viewing among the over 300 bird species, beautiful landscapes, wildlife and a rare sighting of the Big 5 in the park.
The cottages have a capacity of two.
Resident price: Kshs 3,500 Non residents: $80
Naishi Guest House- Lake Nakuru National Park
The attractive stone cottage is ideally situated in the center of Lake Nakuru National Park shaded by acacia trees. The cottages come complete with 2 bedrooms, single and double beds. The cottages are well furnished with a lounge area overlooking the scenic views across game-filled plains.
The flamingo dotted lake and the free-roaming white rhinos are definitely something to look forward to.
Resident price:Kshs16,000 Non residents: $250
Sirimon Cottages-Mount Kenya National Park
The Sirimon Bandas stand out in the green vastness of the park. The rustic old fashioned brick roofs and rough white-washed fieldstone walls give it a unique look. It is located 25km from Nanyuki in Mount Kenya National Park and Reserve. Climbers are a common sight here as a rest here to acclimatize to the altitude.
Each banda accommodates four people, has a hot water shower and a self-catering kitchen with scenic views of the mountain and the dense forest.
Resident Price: Kshs 4,000 Non residents: $80
Isukuti Guest House-Kakamega Forest Reserve
Hidden in a dense Kakamega forest reserve the Isikuti cottage, which has equipped kitchen and bathroom offers quite an intimate getaway feel. The reserve is just 415km away from Nairobi via Nakuru and Kapsabet towns.
Nature lovers are treated to a show with over 300 bird species and 400 butterfly species. The forest has over 300 indigenous tree species. An abundant species of primates and snakes are found here.
It can sleep up to four people.
Resident Price: Kshs 4,000 Non residents: $50
Simba Cottages- Amboseli
With 5 accommodation options to choose from Simba cottages have something for everyone. Take in spectacular views of the towering Mount Kilimanjaro. The Simba cottages offer a vantage observation point of the large elephant herds in their swamp habitat.
You can enjoy nature walk around the cottages, a camping adventure surrounded by the sounds of the forest and sighting of wildlife. Common wildlife found in the reserve include; elephants, hippo, buffalo’s lion, and leopard.
Resident Price: Kshs 4,000 Non residents: $90
Sable Cottages-Shimba Hills National Reserve
Located within the scenic Shimba Hills National Reserve, about 15 km from Kwale town the cottages are nestled above the forest canopy. The ancient huts provide a vantage viewpoint of the Mombasa town. The serene surrounding with leading paths littered with dry leaves will make you feel like you have been flung off to the other side of the world.
Enjoy a refreshing walk on the nature trails on a visit to Sheldrick falls, take in the unadulterated lush coastal forest views and air. You can watch the unique sable antelope, buffalo, waterbuck, reedbuck, hyena, warthog, giraffe, elephant, leopard, lion, and baboon.
Resident Price: Kshs 3,000 Non-residents: $50
Chui Cottages-Amboseli National Park
Want to unwind? Chui cottages will take you back in time! They are located in Amboseli national park intermittently spaced by indigenous trees. The cottages replicate ancient African architecture huts with grass thatching and minimal modern furnishing.
Take in spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro and the large elephant herds often viewed from the observation point in their swamp habitat. To add to that a thrilling windsurfing experience is definitely a must-try while here.
Resident Price: Kshs 4,000 Non-residents: $90
Kilimanjaro Annex- Amboseli National Park
For the more modern tourist, The Kilimanjaro Annex is a welcome option. It is located in Amboseli National Park about 228 Km from Emali or through Tsavo west. The annex offers scenic views of Mount Kilimanjaro with a range of other activities including camping, picnics and game views.
The Annex is complete with three bedrooms, a bathroom with bath and shower, Sitting area, well-equipped Kitchen and housecare.
Resident Price: Kshs 6,000 Non-residents: $100
Batian Guest House Mt. Kenya
Set at the foot of Mount Kenya Batian guest house stands out in alpine pastures with an impressive landscape, including over 800 plant species and a diverse range of wildlife.
Large herds of elephants are commonly sighted from the guest houses. Other wildlife that can be seen here are buffalo, colobus monkey, leopard, waterbuck elephant, hyena, baboon.
The guest houses come in 4, 2 and 1 bedrooms well furnished with a sitting area, fully equipped kitchen, dining area and a lounge overlooking the expansive scenery.Resident Price: Kshs 10,000 Non-residents: $180
Fishing Lodge -Aberdares National Park
The ultimate getaway is here! The fishing lodges are right in the heart of Aberdare National Park, providing the perfect spot for trout fishing, walking safaris, hiking and a chance to see spectacular waterfalls, moorland scenery, and diverse wildlife in their element; lions, buffaloes, elephants, and rhinos wander free in the park.
The cabins have a variety of accommodations including 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms with a capacity of 7. It can be accessed via Nyeri (Treetops gate) or via Naivasha (Mutubio gate).
Resident Price: Kshs 14,000 Non-residents: $210
Alia Bay-Sibiloi National Park
Alia Bay guest houses are in Sibiloi lake National Park on the shores of Lake Turkana. It is accessible by a 2-3 day drive from Nairobi via Marsabit and North Horr. If you don’t fancy a road trip charter a plane at one of their two airstrips. It has 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, a sitting area, a kitchen, and a dining area. A resident caretaker is available at the guest house.
You can camp on the shores of Lake Turkana or enjoy a lesson on the history of mankind at Kobi Fora museums or go boating and fishing on Lake Turkana that hosts the world’s largest Nile crocodile population.
Resident Price: Kshs 10,000 Non-residents: $200
Oribi Guest House-Rumi National Park
With a scenic view of Ruma National Park, this guesthouse is perfect for wildlife spotting. Common wildlife found here includes black rhino, oribi, bohor reedbuck, leopard, buffalo, hyena. It is just 42 km from Homabay town and has 3 bedroom houses with the ability to house 6 people.
Did you know the last sanctuary of the endangered roan antelope is found in this park?
Resident Price: Kshs 5,000 Non-residents: $100
Kamboyo Guest House-Tsavo National Park
The rustic red-bricked Kamboyo Guesthouse is located 232km south-east of Nairobi off the main Nairobi-Mombasa road. The cottage is nested in the beautifully rugged Tsavo-west National Park with splendid views of Mount Kilimanjaro. If you enjoy hiking you can have a fun time at the camp.
Close attractions include the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, Mzima Springs and Shetani lava flow and a chance to see the big five.
Four-bedroom accommodation is available with a capacity of 8 people.Resident Price: Kshs 15,000 Non-residents: $240
Kapkuro Cottage- Mount Elgon National Park
Kapkuro Cottage is perched on the beautiful slopes of Mt Elgon. there are 2 cottages with one well-furnished bedroom, bathroom sitting area and kitchen.
The cottage offers a vantage point for wildlife viewing of the diverse Mt Elgon Park including buffalo, colobus monkey, leopard, waterbuck elephant, hyena, baboon. Cave hiking in the trails of Ngwarisa Kitum and Makingeni, bird watching, and game drives are some activities you can enjoy here.
The unique bat-filled caves are growing attraction, where elephants herds often come to mine salt.
Resident Price: Kshs 3,000 Non-residents: $40
Tree Top Hut-Saiwa Swamp National Park
A treetop adventure is probably on every adventurer’s checklist. If it is on yours too the Treetop hut is just for you! It is located in Kenya’s smallest national park Saiwa Swamp,22km from Kitale- Kapenguria tarmac road. The unique tree-house ideal for two is one of its kind. The natural park offers a range of activities for guests including sightseeing at Saiwa swamp, Sitatunga antelope, boardwalks, bird watching, and educational talks.
The tree-top hut houses two. Tag your loved one along!
Resident Price: Kshs 2,500 Non-residents: $50
Koitoboss Guest House-Mount Elgon National Park
The Koitoboss Guesthouse is located in Mount Elgon National Park. The guest house can host 6 people complete with a fully equipped kitchen. The lodges are perfect for bird watching with scenic views of the park. The Park is known for its iconic volcanic flow valleys and caves.
Anyone up for a good sport can challenge themselves to rock climbing.
Price: Kshs 6,000 Non-residents: $180
Murera Cottage-Meru National Park
The Murera cottage is 348 Km from Nairobi on the Nairobi-Nanyuki-Meru-Maua route. It is located in the Meru National Park allowing guests to enjoy rare sightings of the Big 5 among other wildlife. The great terrain at the park makes for refreshing picnics and nature walks
Price: Kshs 3600 Non-residents: $80
Meru Guest House
Price: Kshs 8,000 Non-residents: $150
For more information on bookings and facilities visit kws.go.ke
Note: KWS does not accept cash transactions, payment is through Mpesa, direct deposit to their bank account or you can swipe your card.