This modest monument in Nairobi National Park commemorates the founding of the park in 1946 - the first national park in Kenya, which opened the door for the subsequent proclamation of iconic parks such as Masai Mara and Amboseli.
Nairobi National Park is located only 7km from the Nairobi CBD: as a result, it is arguably the most accessible game game you'll ever encounter, and is easily explored on a half day trip.
It irks me that sometimes seasoned game viewers can be unreasonably snobbish, and convey a sense that if you haven't trekked days and days to see a particular beast or location, you're somehow compromised the value of the experience. On this basis, the overall accessibility of Nairobi National Park would make it easy for the the gamespotting zealots to belittle the experience as 'wildlife lite', which would be both unfair and untrue.
Nairobi National Park was Kenya's first game park, and was proclaimed as early as 1946. The park is primarily acacia-dominated savannah with some wooded thickets, and is a lovely spot, even discounting the wildlife. One of its advantages is that the topography is not flat, and there are a couple of vantage points from which you can get excellent views out over the park to the city skyline beyond. The mammal life is dominated by herbivores - zebra, giraffe and a whole range of antelope - and you'd have to be very unfortunate indeed not to see a good number of species. There is really good birdlife, much of which is large and will appeal even to the 'non twitcher': it's not often that you're lucky enough to get a good view of a secretary bird snootily stalking through the long grass in search of a tasty snake, and the vultures are just great! Other common (but nonetheless endearing) animals that you're almost guaranteed to spot are warthogs and ostrich. Compared to other East African game parks, I wouldn't claim that Nairobi National Park offers as many close encounters with big cats (although they do have lion, leopard and cheetah), but even if you don't see them, I would venture that you'll be so excited by what you do see that you won't mind.
The park offers guided tours which are advisable for two reasons, the first of which is that it negates the need for you to have your own vehicle. In order to improve your game spotting, it's best to have an elevated viewpoint which allows you to look out over the landscape, which the purpose-built safari vehicles offer, and also having a guide who knows what he's looking for is invaluable (since beginners take some time to 'get their eye in').
There are dedicated picnic areas, but there is no accommodation in the park. For up-to-date details on admission fees and other details, please see the website below.
So, if you're planning to visit Africa on business or pleasure, and won't necessarily have the chance to do any game viewing elsewhere, why not consider flying Kenya Airways, stopping off for a day in transit, and then catching your connecting flight? For the price of a night's accommodation and a visa (depending on which passport you hold, and generally available on arrival), you'll have the opportunity to recuperate from your long haul flight and enjoy a taste of that iconic African wildlife experience that you might not otherwise get around to: my only warning is that once you're hooked, you'll want to return time and time again!
Update (July 2011): My husband was recently in Kenya on business, and was intrigued to discover how his client avoided the horrific Nairobi traffic on his commute to and from work. It turns out that his client has offices near the airport (which abuts the Nairobi National Park), and he has bought an annual pass so that he can drive to and from work through the park. Now that's a commute that I wouldn't mind having!
A good opportunity for a Safari here in this National park. The ride takes about 4 hours but because it cost about 100$, I decided to avoid it. Instead we sat at the restaurant for lunch because I thought to give this extra money to the poor.
For people though who have never been on a safari, this 4 hour safari is worth it!
You can see about 50 different species of mammals.
Just in the outskirts of Nairobi is this small game park, which has everything but elephants. The special feature is that, with clear skies, you can find yourself gazing at a lion, buffalo or giraffe with the skyscrapers of Nairobi in the background.
I was told the best time to visit this park is at the end of the dry season, when the grass is at its lowest.
Because of it's location, there are many visitors, both tourists and residents but you are guaranteed to see an abundance of game, seemingly unaware and unafraid of humans. At the Western end of the park is an area where they take care of orphaned baby animals.
Nairobi National Park is one of the most successful of Kenya's rhino sanctuaries that is already generating a stock for reintroduction in the species former range and other upcoming sanctuaries. Due to this success, it is one of the few parks where a visitor can be certain of seeing a black rhino in its natural habitat.
Other animals tonote include the annual wildebeest and zebra migration in July/August.
If like me you don't have time to go to the famous game parks like Masai Mara and the Serengeti, you can visit Nairobi National Park. Although it is near the capital, there is a lot to see of animals in their natural habitat. The park is signposted so that you know what animals tend to frequent each area.You must keep in your car as these are wild animals, but you can be quite close to some of the animals like zebra.
There is a children's corner near the entrance where orphaned, and baby animals can be seen.
Easily one of the most popular things to do in Kenya is going on safari, and for good reason: the region holds some of the most fascinating large mammals on the planet. However, for some of us, due to work or finanaces, the possibility of going on an extended safari is out of the cards. Luckily, those people who planned out Nairobi had us in mind when they set aside a tract of land next to the city for Nairobi National Park. Created after WWII, Nairobi NP encompasses about 29,000 acres at the edge of the city, which plays home for giraffe, zebra, antelope, buffalo, and (supposedly) a few lions as well. We did not see these elusive predators, but plenty of the herbivores were present. It is a driving park, so make sure you have a vehicle that can handle some rough roads.
But it is worth a day's drive, especially if you are unable to view the natural wildlife in any other way. Entrance fees are US$40 a person ($20 for children under 18, and $15 for students).
Nairobi National Park occupies around 200 sq. kilometres, offering to visitors three separate units; Animal Orphanage, Walking Tour and Safari Tour.
Walking tour, by the well marked paths, takes few hours enabling visitors to see animals in what is almost their natural environment. The predators, however, such as lions, leopards or cheetahs are isolated from the other animals.
The pictures you can see are made during my walking tour.
I cannot not to mentioning the sense of discrimination I feel when paying for the admission, regardless if it is museum, safari park or whatever. There are at least three different levels of prices, one for the locals, one for those who are coming from the neighbouring countries to Kenya and the price for the tourists out of Africa. While the ticket for the locals cost 200 kes (approx. 0,20 euros), me as a tourists have to pay it 800 kes!
The Nairobi National Park is right next door to the International airport and it is not uncommon to land in Nairobi with the pilot pointing out a giraffe or two next to the landing strip! “Welcome to Kenya!”
Situated approx. 40 minutes drive from the city centre, if you are not intending to “do a safari” this is probably the most ideal park for you to experience some of Africa’s wildlife.
The park is advertised locally as the park with 4 of the big 5, the elephant being the only one of the 'big 5' not found within the parks boundary. You may be lucky enough to spot a leopard, lion, buffalo or rhino here though!
Lions, zebras, hartebeest, white rhinos, baboons, buffalo, and all only minutes from the city of Nairobi.
Nairobi Nat'l Park is very convenient to get to and makes for an excellent day safari. You can be driving through the busy city streets and five minutes later be face to face with a rhino.
There are places where you can get out of your car and an armed guard will escort you on a nature trail where you can see the river that runs through the park and try to see what kind of animals are visiting. The nature trail by the river is inhabited by vervet monkeys, who are very sociable and curious, we enjoyed them as they ran ahead of us and behind us, every bit as curious as we were about what animals were lurking in the brush. We were warned though that any animal could be on the nature trail, and that is why we had an armed guard.
Nairobi Nat'l Park is a great place to get a small taste of safari without having to go for days at a time. You can be in before breakfast and out of there at lunch.
A small piece of advice: The guards located in the park who watch out for the tourists are VERY bored people. They will more than appreciate a newspaper or magazine to read to help them pass the time. They are great guys!
Just a few miles from the centre of Nairobi, the park is 117 square km. It was the first Kenyan national park, opened in 1946 and is now the headquarters of Kenya Wildlife Service. The park is unique in being a protected game reserve within the boundaries of a major city. Lions, cheetahs and rhinos are said to be present in the park, although we did not see them. Of the Big Five, only elephants are missing. Over 100 species of mammals are found here and 400 species of birds have been recorded in the park. This was my first experience of seeing a giraffe in the wild, and I fell in love immideately. The park is seasonal and depends on the annual migration. The area is currently unspoilt but due to the encroaching civilisation, the park may disappear in the near future. The countryside varies from open grassy plains to forested river banks.
While in Nairobi it's near and easy to get to the Nairobi National Park (a sort of a safari experience virtually within the city). There is an adjacent zoo (orphanage) and a giraffe center where you can feed the animals.
The "Bomas of Kenya" (near to the above places) give you a funny experience of the dances and traditional huts of Kenyan tribes.
A half-day sight-seeing of the city center is worth considering (especially if you like to see contrasts of rich and poor, modern and scruffy).
A great culinary experience (especially for meat lovers) is the world-famous Carnivore restaurant with the possibility to taste some local game.
The magnificent white rhino.
It was amazing to see this great beast at relatively close quarters.
In fact, with the skill of our local guide we were able to see a mother with her young.
Whilst we were watching her from a safe distance, she was definitely keeping an eye on us!
We visited the park in the late afternoon. We made a lot of detours in the area where normally the lions are, but we didn´t see any lion around.
In another area of the park at a parking place we saw a lot of people very busy with the preparations for a huge party in the middle of the nature. There were tents, large tables, huge amounts of drinks and food. It looks really crazy to organize such a party at this place.
On our way back to the exit of the park we saw some buffalos, zebras, impalas and a lot of giraffes again.
THe Nairobi National Park is the oldest park in Kenya, established in 1946. It´s unique to have so many different animals so close to the city. There are lions, zebras, giraffes, buffalos, cheetahs, leopards, rhinos and gazelles.
We saw a lot of giraffes not far from the entrance of the park. They were so close to the car, that we could almost touch their heads.