Nairobi National Park is undeniably the world’s capital of wildlife. Not only is it credited for its close proximity to the city center but also as the only world’s conservation area with diverse wildlife and birdlife. The 7-10 kilometers’ drive protected area also boasts of being the only most accessible and the rarest safari destination not only in Kenya and for city dwellers on safari in Africa, this should be a must to include destinations in your travel plan. Nairobi National Park is located within River Embakasi and it covers an area of about 117 square kilometers. It is credited for its diverse faunal and floral species that depict the true Kenyan landscapes; vast grass plains which come with scattered acacia bush. The western part of this park features most of dry forest and a permanent River with a riverine forest and not to forget its rugged valleys and gorges. Besides, man made dams have also been developed to offer more habitat to most of its birdlife and other aquatic life. Most of the herbivores depend on these dams for water especially during the dry season. The southern side comes with Athi Kapiti plains and Kitengela migrant and dispersal site and they are significant spots for most herbivores dispersal. There are several hyraxes thriving on the rocks on the road side and while you are on your safari, you will catch a glimpse at klipspringer or mountain reedbucks which still remain unexploited.
Founded in 1946, Nairobi National Park is undoubtedly the oldest of all the protected areas in Kenya. It is credited for its four of the big five game in Africa which include the rhinos especially the black rhinos which makes the park the most popular and significant rhino sanctuary in Africa with over 50 individuals that thrive within it ever since they were re-introduced to this protected area. There are also lions, leopards and buffaloes for you to catch a glimpse at while on wildlife safaris in Kenya. Nairobi National Park is also famous for most of its ostriches and wildebeest migrants which flock into this destination during summer time. The annual wildebeest and zebra migration occurs from July to October where over 1.5 million wildlife species can be sighted flocking looking for water and pasture. This makes July and August the perfect time for visitors to make their dreams come true with these remarkable species. Other wildlife species that you shouldn’t miss to spot out in this remarkable conservation area include the Maasai giraffes, hyenas, elands, zebras, coke’s hartebeest, grant’s and Thompson’s gazelles, warthogs, cheetah, jackal civet, genet, impala, and not to forget hippos and crocodiles which thrive within Embakasi River. With this diversity, Nairobi National Park is exceptionally one of the best safari destinations that you should consider visiting for incredible game drives. Wildlife spotting in this protected area is conducted both in the morning and afternoon when most of the wildlife can be active offering visitors the most spectacular views while in their luxurious safari land cruiser.
For bird lovers, there are over 450 bird species waiting for you to spot. The northern migrants also feature via the park around late March to April. Keen visitors on birding safari to Nairobi National Park will be amazed with bird species like crowned eagle, flightless ostrich, red collared widowbird, Kori buzzard, Walberg’s honey birds, helmeted guinea and many others. There are also walking trails at hippo pools, ivory burning site monument, Nairobi safari walk and the orphanage, 5 picnic sites and many more. The park also attracts visitors for turtle and tortoise viewing as well as bush dinners, weddings and film production. You will therefore need to come along with enough drinking water, binoculars, guidebook, camera, sunscreen, sunglasses and picnic items.
When to visit Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park stands between altitude 1500 meters and 1700 meters and experiences its peak season around July to March and this is the period when the park experiences its dry season. The wet season occurs from late March to June and navigating through the park tends to be challenging. A short wet season is also experienced from October to December. For the most excellent wildlife species, you can pay a visit to the park early or late in the day.
How to get to Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is reachable on tarmac road about 7 to 10 kilometers off Nairobi capital city and you can use private or public means of transportation. There are 6 major gates that offer access to the park and they include the east gate, Maasai, Mbagathi, Banda, Cheetah and Langata gate. The other alternative is by air and tourists can fly and land into Kenyatta International Airport and Wilson Airports. The park entry fees include KES.150 for East African citizens, 300 for East African residents and non residents $20 and these apply for adults. For children or students-East African citizens pay KES 50, East African residents pay KES 150 and $10 for non residents. Interested visitors are also required to come along with safari cards, for citizen-you will need a valid passport or national ID and resident-valid passport and re-entry pass.
Accommodation in Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park has no lodges however; there are many comfortable accommodation facilities within Nairobi city center for you to spend a night on while on Kenya safari. They cover all travelers’ interests whether you are a budget or luxury traveler. The prominent lodging facilities around the park for you to spend a night include Nairobi Tented Camp and this is the only lodge which is located within the protected area. It features 8 guest tents and offers that authentic African experience; bathrooms with bucket shower, private veranda, comfortable bed and many others. For visitors who will be around the unfenced southern area of the protected area, the best option is the tier 1 Emakoko-this is a family owned facility and runs ten rooms. This lodging facility straddles within a 15 acre land and surrounded by River Mbagathi and Emakoko. The northern side of the conservation area features Ole Sereni Hotel and African Heritage House. Ole Sereni Hotel comprises of 134 guest rooms and suites with modern amenities like LCD television, internet and air conditioners. The African Heritage House consists of six (6) room galleries which depict most of African cultures including lots of textiles, handcraft materials, variety of art and many more. Eka Hotel Nairobi also features more than 170 rooms and suites. You can also choose to spend a night in the older Panari Hotel which comes with over 136 rooms and it comes with, spa, dinning options, lounges, ice skating rink, fitness center and many more. Other hotels and lodges around the park include Hotel Troy at Langata, Nyati Hill Cottages at Kingfisher picnic site, Karen Country Lodge and Conference Center, Kileleoni Mara Camp, Osoita Lodge, Ololo safari lodge along River Mbagathi a mention but a few.
In conclusion, Nairobi National Park is not only one of the smallest wildlife conservation areas in Africa but also the most exceptional safari destination that shouldn’t miss out in your bucket list. If you are living within Nairobi capital city or you are planning for your next holiday to Kenya, this is one of the perfect destinations that reward travelers with amazing encounters whether you are interested in unique wildlife, birds or other rare tourist attractions.