National Parks – Tips on how to enjoy Nairobi National Park

National Parks – Tips on how to enjoy Nairobi National Park

The ‘only wildlife capital of the world’ is Nairobi with a 117 square kilometer national park just seven kilometers from the city centre. In this unique urban adventure, you can take several photos of the wide savannah with the city skyline in the background. The black rhinos are the highlight of this amazing wildlife park. It was Kenya’s first national park and is a local treasure for the people of Nairobi.

The best way to enjoy the park is to start early in the morning so you can see the most active animals. You can enjoy a picnic in the park and follow some of the walking trails before finishing with another game. If you do not have your own vehicle, you can book a private game drive in a KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) open safari vehicle.

We had several visits to Nairobi National Park in 2015, first in January with Richard, then in February with Hase and his family. The beautiful saddle-billed stork appeared among wildebeests and zebras who decided the road was a good place for a dust bath. Lasse came with his family in April and Jeppe’s family in July when they came across a freshly killed lion. Elands are very common in this park – they are very shy and often disappear in the other parks around Kenya. There are many giraffes and the birdlife is amazing. With Celia and her friends in June, we saw a Leopard Tortoise, two lionesses and several buffaloes making out in the “jacuzzi” (i.e. waterfall). In May, Sunrise of Africa School in Kitengela had a visiting teacher from England and invited her to the park after work. Linda accompanied Sammy, the school principal, and Sammy’s daughter. They enjoyed breakfast in the park among their animals, which included lion, eland, zebra and impala. All the herbivores were together in a meadow that looked almost like a garden of paradise. The lion had a freshly caught impala, which he took into the bushes to eat in peace. In 2014, Pauline and Auriol were very lucky to see about nine black rhinos in one area, as well as a group of rock hyraxes. On my first visit I saw a bush, osprey and so many wildebeest.

Co-located with the National Park are the Nairobi Safari Drive and the Nairobi Animal Orphanage called the Wildlife Sanctuaries. The orphanage provides shelter for injured wild animals and for orphaned young animals. The animals are treated, but unfortunately many will never be returned to the wild. However, the orphanage is affiliated with several international breeding programs, so the work there is very important. We visited the animal orphanage with Lindsey and got the best Serval Cat sighting one can get. Lions, leopard and buffalo are all there and of course lots of monkeys roaming the grounds. It’s kind of sad to see these animals locked behind bars when their brothers are just out there roaming free.

The Safari Walk is an elevated boardwalk that offers excellent views of the national park, with viewing points at water bodies where wildlife is most commonly found. Xavier and I walked along the boardwalk and saw a cheetah lounging on the lush green grass. Xavier also had an amazing game in the park, spotting a lioness with a young playful cub, an ostrich sitting on her eggs, Grant’s gazelle, a secretary bird, a rhino and even a leopard!

For non-Kenyan residents, entrance to the national park costs US$46 and is open from sunrise to sunset. Depending on the type of car you choose, a half-day excursion can cost from US$150 per person, including the park fee (the price varies according to the number of people in your group and the length of time you want to spend in the park). Entrance to the Animal Orphanage and Safari Walk costs US$22 each and is open from 8am to 6pm.

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