Malka Mari National Park is a national park of Kenya, situated along the Daua River on the Kenya-Ethiopia border in the Northern part. It is approximately 1,500 square kilometres in size. It is accessible via the Mandera Airport, and is probably the least visited national park in the nation. The park is mostly semi-arid bushland and scrubby grassland with riparian woodland and along the river. There are plants in the park that are unique to the area.
Some of the animals that live in the park are the Somali giraffe, crocodile, hyena, agama lizards, antelopes, vultures, dik-dik, 7 Nile crocodiles, zebra and genet.
Over 20 species of birds can be found here, including streptopelia decipiens, cichladusa guttata, ploceus dichrocephalus and the rare corvus ruficollis the desert crow.
Malka Mari is an International Union for Conservation for Nature (IUCN) Category II park was given the status in 1989.
The park is covered by scenes of semi-arid bush and scrubby grasslands with dots of riparian woodland and palms along the Daua River, Malka Mari National Park was gazetted in 1989 due to its reportedly high concentration of wildlife. The area is considered a site for plant endemism (NBU, 1992) and a potential Important Bird Area.
The park covers an area of 876 km2 and lies along the Daua River on the Kenya-Ethiopia border to the extreme North East of Kenya on the Mandera plateau, Mandera County. Coupled with spectacular scenery, the park is home to a variety of wildlife, birds, aquatic species, important ecosystems and a water catchment that provides refuge for wildlife during the dry seasons.
The park is braced with history with Old colonial military graves, Old colonial building, Hills steps valleys and Mountains. Ruins e.g. Goro Ade and Colonial airstrip.
It has also riverine, riparian vegetation, small Hills steps and valleys.
Attractions of Malka Mari National Park
There are sufficient number of animals which makes it a perfect park for an awesome family safari tour in kenya. Some of the wildlife present are; reticulated giraffes, Oryx, lesser kudu, grater kudu, Impalas, Thompson Gazelles, waterbuck.
Carnivores found in the park include;Lion, Cheetah, Spotted Hyena, Jackals, Leopard and Wild dogs. Crocodile hippos and fish are also found in river Daua inside the park.
Malka Mari National Park is home to different species of plants .The area has been identified as unique plant endidimism. The vegetation cover is of trees, shrubs, herbs, Forbes and grass species which includes Delonix elata, Terminalia Euphorbia , Acacia , Mellia vulcansii, Aristida ; Chloris; Commiphora ; Combretum ; Aloe ; Sensiveria among other species .
There are also plenty of medicinal plants which are found in the park.
The park is situated in a hot and dry region of Kenya making the park a semi-arid bush land with scrubby grassland.There are other sections with riparian forest and palms like the riverbanks of Daua.
Activities done in Malka Mari National Park
Hot air ballooning:
This is one of the best and the safest means to enjoy the wonderful wild experiences in the Kenyan national park.This is because the balloons travels slowly and all pilots have undergone extensive professional and international trainings.They are usually carried out usually early in the morning hours with rewardable aerial view as you go wondering about the spotted hyenas returning back to their dens after grazing, antelopes ,Zebras, among other animals in their habitat undisturbed.
Malka Mari national park like all the other national parks and game reserves in kenya are under the management of Kenya wildlife service and because of their conservation efforts the park is home to a plenty of wildlife which can be explored by tourists who visit the park contributing greatly to robust tourism industry. Some of the animals likely to be seen in the park are; spotted hyenas, antelopes, zebras, Dik-Dik, genets, zebras, gazelles, giraffes, Gray Wolf, Mountain lions, Bobcats, Moose, Coyotes, Bighorn sheep and Nile crocodiles along Daua river and many more.
Park Entry fee
Park Fees – Citizen/Residents
Adults Kshs 300/=
Child/Student Kshs 215/=
Adults – 25USD
Child/Student – 15 USD
Camping – Citizen/Residents
Special Campsite Public Campsite
Adult Kshs 250 Kshs 200
Child/Student Kshs 200 Kshs 150
Adult 35 USD 20USD
Child/Student 20USD 15USD
How to get to Malka Mari National Park
There are several routes to take to the malka mari national because of its distance from Nairobi.
From Nairobi by Road
This road to Malka Mari National park from Nairobi through the northern Tarmac Road to Isiolo and then proceed to Moyale Town on the Ethiopian boarder. From Moyale take the road on the eastern side through Yabdus and Sara Hills via Takaba drive which is 160 km before Diverting to North pass through a colonial military centre of Derkale until Bannissa Town a distances of 65 km from Takaba. This is the safest and the most secure route to access the park.
The second road is driving Through Thika -Garrissa – Wajir -Mandera Road until the border Town Of Elwak in Mandera County. Take Elwak –Takaba road a distances of 140 kilometres. From Takaba drive North to Bannissa town a distances of 65 km .It’s a journey of an estimated distances of 1400 km from Nairobi to Bannissa.
From Nairobi by air
There are three functional airstrips
Takaba airstrip- This Airstrip is in Takaba Town south of Bannissa town 65 km Bannissa, it’s in good condition and Currently there is local passenger flight operating in this area Twice a week that is on Sunday and Tuesday. They are Shillow Tours and Buko Travellers. For you to access the Park need to hire a vehicle drive North through Takaba – Bannissa .A distances of 65 km until you reach Bannissa town.
Malka Mari air strip -This is an old colonial Airstrip inside the park and but it’s not in good condition and it has some undergrowth. Currently there is no daily local flight operating in this area.
Mandera main airstrip –This Airstrip is found in Mandera Town. Its operation and ,management is under the control of Kenya Defence forces. It’s in a perfect good condition, they have two daily local Passenger flight companies Shillow Tours and Buko Travellers. For you to access the park you need a vehicle drive west of Mandera town before arriving at Rhamu town and Divert to Rhamu-Ola-Bannissa road before arriving at Bannissa town. It’s an estimated distances of 270 km of Marram Road.
Elwak airstrip-This airstrip is in Elwak town and in good condition. Currently there is local passenger flight operating in this area but twice a week only by Shillow Tours and Buko Travelers on Sunday and Tuesday. To access the park you hire a vehicle and proceed west and take Elwak –Takaba road before reaching the rocky town of Takaba a distances of 140 km from Elwak .From Takaba you drive North to Bannissa town a distances of 65 km.
The Best time to visit malka mari national park
Malka Mari National Park is one of the parks in kenya that can be visited throughout the year because of its semi-arid dry parts and dense bushes, which provide good visibility to view or spot animals in the park.
Accommodations at Malka Mari National Park
Malka Mari national park hosts some of the best and prestigious tourist accommodations in Kenya. Which offer best quality services, tasty food, great wild experiences and safety. Some of the best Hotels to stay in include De L Horloge, Al-Marwa Hotel, Galana Palace Hotel just to mentioned few. The hotels offering a variety of options to choose from depending on your budget.From midrange, budget to the most luxurious for a wonderful and memorable safari Holiday in kenya.