While other protected areas boast of the big five game, Ndere Island National Park is unique on its own way. This magnificent national park is incredibly an island of serenity and beauty for many reasons. The 4.2 square kilometers protected area lies on Lake Victoria and it offers visitors with that amazing freshness that truly gets them out of the usual environment right from its stunning grass, butterflies, flowers and above all, this park features as bird watchers paradise. Besides, this magical conservation area also comes with breathtaking scenic views of the Homa hills to the south, Mageta Island to the East as well as Kampala in southwest and many surrounding areas that will leave you thrilled.
Ndere Island National Park was established in 1986 mainly to offer refuge to its distinct wildlife species that thrive along the Lake shores most of which include monitor lizard, hippos, Nile crocodiles, variety of fish species, baboons, snakes such as puff adder, pythons, vipers; aardvark, baboons, monkeys, impalas, the unique sitatunga antelopes, zebras, warthogs and water bucks and many more. If you love birding, then this is one of the best destinations that you should consider visiting while on Kenya safaris. Over 100 avian species call this spectacular park their home and the notable ones that you shouldn’t miss to spot out include the black headed gonolek, grey headed kingfishers, Goliath heron, African fish eagles to mention but a few.
This incredible island isn’t only credited for its wildlife species but its spectacular vegetation is something worth exploring altogether. The park mainly comprises of the grassland, featuring largely tall grass of loudentia natalensis species. Its grass comes in brown color especially during flowering stage and it is of no doubt that the Island’s top becomes brownish and this explains what most locals call ‘Chula rabour.’ This Island is also intermixed with indigenous species of trees and shrubs for instance dovyalisx, macro calyx, Carissa adulis, euclea divinorum and many more. Its woodland and forest remains thrive along the lower edge of the Island nearly as expansive as the bush land and as you explore this national park, do not miss to catch a glimpse at its remarkable papyrus reeds on the shoreline. Locally the word Ndere denotes the ‘meeting place.’
Getting to Ndere Island National Park
Ndere Island National Park is 432 kilometers off Nairobi city and it can be accessed both by road and air. By road, visitors on Kenya safari can set off through Kisumu-Bondo route where you will branch off to your left after Holo market or left at Kombewa shopping center to the park headquarters straddled between Bao and Asat beach. Ndere Island National Park headquarters is 12 kilometers’ drive on tarmac road. Alternatively, intending travelers on safari in Kenya can also take a boat from Kisumu and it takes visitors approximately 45 minutes for speed boats direct from Kisumu city to Ndere Island National Park. In case you opt to use a boat ride through Kisumu, you are advised to come along with an umbrella, sun glasses, sun screen and hat and make sure that the boat that you intend to use is fully equipped with safety jackets.
By air, you can fly to Kisumu Airport about 60 kilometers away from Ndere Island Park headquarters.
Activities in Ndere Island National Park
If you are planning to travel to Ndere Island National Park this coming holiday, there is no need to worry about what to do as there are numerous tourist activities for you to excite you and you will certainly have the most enjoyable vacation while on safari in Kenya and they include the following;
Ndere Island National Park boasts of its 100 distinct bird species and for bird lovers, this is one of the best spots for you sight for the hammer kop, goliath heron, African fish eagle and many more. If Kenya is your dream destination for bird watching, then never miss to be amazed by sounds of birds that thrive within Ndere Island National Park that make it a birder’s paradise.
Ndere Island National Park offers the most exciting traditional boat rides that are organized by within the surrounding communities and visitors get opportunity to explore the park’s island and other adjacent places that amaze travelers who travel Kenya for African safaris. While on traditional boat ride, do not miss to pay a visit to adjacent sister Islands which equally reward travelers with the most thrilling experiences of lifetime.
Wildlife viewing and Sport fishing
For life changing wildlife experiences in Kenya, Ndere National Park should be one of the must to visit destination as you enjoy your vacation in Africa. The prominent wild animals to spot out while on game viewing include the crocodiles, hippos, dik dik, vervet monkeys, baboons, zebras, jackals, impalas and others that thrive within the island as well as the motor lizards which can be spotted on unique semi-aquatic antelope’s wading via the papyrus reeds of the island shorelines.
Other activities to engage in the park include nature walks through the large open grassland and woodlands, hiking, scenic viewing, picnicking and many more. The park is however open for visitors throughout the year.
Accommodation in Ndere Island National Park
There are limited accommodation facilities within Ndere National Park however, there are camping options for you to stay spend a night over while on safari in Kenya. The park features 2 (two) Kenya Wildlife Service campsites especially the Boa campsite. The notable lodges that can easily be accessed from the park include Kisumu Resort, Hexagon Mbili Farm Lodge, Kisindi Lodge, Kisumu City Central Resort, Parkview Safari Hotel, apartments, Lakewood Hotel Dunga Hotel, Spa Homa Bay Lodge, Kisian Self Catering, Rock Resort Hotel, Sunset Hotel, Kiboko Bay Resort, Dunga Resort and many more.
In conclusion, Ndere Island National Park is one of Kenya’s smallest protected areas that reward visitors with authentic African experiences that come once in a lifetime. The park features a number of wildlife, reptiles, birds as well as distinct kinds of vegetation that are all worth exploring while you are on safari in Kenya.