Overview – Kora NP

Anthony Ham
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Kora National Park is the former home of famed wildlife conservationist, George Adamson, or ‘baba ya simba’ (Father of Lions). It was here that the lion Elsa, of Born Free fame, lived. The former reserve had serious problems with poachers in the 1980s and 1990s – George Adamson was murdered by poachers here in 1989. There are plans for creating a lion sanctuary at Kora. Until then, the main appeal is its pristine, untouched wilderness, which can be explored by any self-sufficient adventurer.

Best Time to Go June to September (Little to no rainfall)
High Season December to March and July to October (Not busy)
Size 1,787km² / 690mi²
Altitude 202-533m / 663-1,749ft

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent wilderness appeal
  • Great birding
  • Beautiful scenery with several waterfalls
  • Fishing in the Tana river
  • Historic sites associated with Adamson's life
  • Relatively low animal densities and no habituation to vehicles and people
  • No tourist facilities or accommodation

Kora NP Safari Reviews

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  • Scenery
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  • Wildlife
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Kora is connected to several other parks and reserves including Meru National Park. All the big safari animals roam across the borders and can be found in Kora. Due to heavy poaching, animal densities are quite low, however, and the park shouldn’t be visited for the typical wildlife experience. Elephant, hippo, hyena, and several antelope species are just some of the animals you could encounter.


The scenery of Kora is its main appeal. The endless plains are interrupted by inselbergs, or domed hills, which seemingly 'float' above the landscape. The beautiful Tana River forms one of the boundaries of the park, and magnificent doum palms line its banks. Features of the Tana River include Adamson's Falls, Grand Falls and the Kora Rapids.

Weather & Climate

The weather and climate of Kora is comparable to that of Kenya in general. More info:

Best Time to Visit

Kora can be visited throughout the year, but the roads can become very difficult to navigate in the Wet season. The grass is very long in the Wet season too, making animals more difficult to spot. The best time for visiting is in the Dry season from June to September.

Getting There

Kora is 280km/173mi to the northeast of Nairobi. A fully-equipped 4x4 is essential. If on an independent trip, it is advisable to travel with a companion.

Health & Safety

Please read our vaccinations and malaria page for Kenya, and our general wildlife viewing safety precautions page for more info:

Want to Visit Kora NP?

Kora NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
George Adamson’s Lasting Legacy

Devastated over the years by drought and poaching, Kora is a work in progress. It began as a game reserve created by George Adamson, the grand old lion man of Kenya, and was gazetted as a national park after his murder by Somali bandits in...

Latest User Review
Mr Liu Zilong  –  
China CN
Reviewed: Feb 28, 2020

Great hotels with nice people surrounds you, nice driver provides good service to us. All animals are amazing and so close to the window. We saw the big 5, special 5,and much more more. We learned so much about the animals and their...

Full Review