Tours Travel

National parks: tips for enjoying 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 center. In this unique urban adventure, you can take some photos of the wide savanna with the city skyline in the background. Black rhinos are the highlight of this incredible wildlife park. It was Kenya’s first national park and is a local treasure for Nairobians.

The best way to enjoy the park is to start early in the morning so you can see the animals in their most active state. You can enjoy a picnic lunch in the park and follow some of the walking trails before ending with another safari. If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can book a private safari in an open-sided KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) safari vehicle.

We had several visits to the Nairobi National Park until 2015, first in January with Richard and then in February with Hasse and his family. The beautiful saddle-billed stork appeared among the wildebeest and zebras, who decided that the path was a good place for a dust bath. Lasse arrived with his family in April and Jeppe’s family in July when they came across a lion he had just killed. Elands are very common in this park: they are very shy and often disappear in the other parks in Kenya. Giraffes abound and the birdlife is incredible. With Celia and her friends in June we saw a Leopard Tortoise, two lionesses and some buffalo getting intimate in the “Jacuzzi” (that is to say, watering hole). In May, the Sunrise of Africa school in Kitengela had a visiting teacher from England and invited her to the park at the end of her work. Linda accompanied Sammy, the school principal, and Sammy’s daughter. They enjoyed breakfast in the park in between their animal sightings, which included lions, eland, zebras, and impalas. The herbivores were all together in a clearing, almost like a garden of Eden. The lion had a freshly hunted impala that he took to the bushes to eat in peace. In 2014, Pauline and Auriole 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 bushbuck, Fish Eagle and so many hartebeest.

Along with the National Park are the Nairobi Safari Walk and the Nairobi Animal Orphanage, dubbed “Nature Refuges”. The animal orphanage provides shelter for injured wild animals and orphaned young animals. Animals are treated, but sadly many will never be rehabilitated in the wild. However, the orphanage is associated with several international breeding programs, so the work there is very important. We visited the Animal Orphanage with Lindsay and got the best Serval Cat sighting you will probably get. There are lions, leopards and buffalos and of course many monkeys run like mad across the grounds. It’s kind of sad to see these animals trapped behind bars when their siblings are out roaming free.

The Safari Walk is an elevated boardwalk that offers great views of the national park, with observation points at the waterholes where wildlife is most frequently encountered. We walked with Xavier along the boardwalk and saw a cheetah resting on the lush green grass. Xavier also had an amazing safari in the park, where he saw a lioness with a playful young cub, an ostrich sitting on her eggs, Grant’s gazelle, secretary bird, rhinoceros and even a leopard.

For non-Kenyan residents, admission to the national park costs $ 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 depending on the number of people in your group and the time you want to spend in the park). The Animal Orphanage and Safari Walk cost $ 22 each and are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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