In Kenya, lands surrounding wildlife protected areas (PAs), referred to as dispersal areas, have undergone widespread land use changes, but these have been little studied. This study investigated impacts of different land use types on wildlife distribution and composition. Transect data from stratified random sampling based on land use and vegetation type were analysed using correlation and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). Household density and cultivation intensity were negatively correlated with grass cover and were greatest on small-scale farms and lowest in a dedicated PA. Three patterns of wildlife distribution were identified. Wildlife density in communal grazing and the PA was significantly higher than on other land use types. While most wildlife used pastoral ranches in the wet season, larger herbivores moved to the PA during the dry season. Wildlife density along the grass cover gradient, which was a disturbance gradient, was dome shaped, indicating that wildlife tolerated moderate levels of disturbance. The primary factors influencing wildlife distribution were vegetation type and proximity to water sources in the dry and wet seasons, respectively. The apparent anomaly in the wet season is attributed to wildlife moving from Chyulu, which lacked seasonal ponds, to the lowland Masaai ranches, which had plenty of ponds. In both seasons, cattle density was the most important secondary factor. To mitigate declining wildlife trends, management should ensure a heterogeneity of vegetation types is maintained and wildlife retain access to seasonal water sources.