Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park information
Welcome to Kenya’s most accessible yet incongruous safari experience. Set on the city’s southern outskirts, Nairobi National Park (at 117 sq km, it’s one of Africa’s smallest) has abundant wildlife which can, in places, be viewed against a backdrop of city skyscrapers and airliners coming in to land at the nearby airport. Remarkably, the animals seem utterly unperturbed by it all.
The annual wildebeest and zebra migration that takes place in July and August can be seen here (albeit in significantly lower concentrations than in the Masai Mara), and there are generally large aggregations of antelope and buffaloes here year-round.
Nairobi National Park has acquired the nickname ‘Kifaru Ark’, a testament to its success as a rhinoceros (kifaru in Kiswahili) sanctuary. The park is home to the densest concentration of black rhinoceros (over 50) in the world.
Lions and hyenas are also commonly sighted within the park; park rangers at the entrance usually have updates on lion movements. You’ll need a bit of patience and a lot of luck to spot the park’s resident cheetahs and leopards. Other regularly spotted species include gazelle, warthog, zebra, giraffe, ostrich and buffalo.
The park’s wetland areas also sustain approximately 400 bird species, which is more than in the whole of the UK.
A little further into the park, the Ivory Burning Monument marks the spot where, in 1989, Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi burnt 12 tons of ivory at a site near the main gate. This dramatic event improved Kenya’s conservation image at a time when East African wildlife was being decimated by relentless poaching.
The park’s main entrance is on Langata Rd. Other entrances are on Magadi Rd and the Athi River Gate; the latter is handy if you’re continuing on to Mombasa, Amboseli or the Tanzanian border. The roads in the park are passable with 2WDs, but travelling in a 4WD is never a bad idea, especially if the rains have been heavy.
Unless you already have your own vehicle, the cheapest way to see the park is on the park shuttle , a big KWS bus that leaves the main gate at 2pm on Sunday for a 2½-hour tour. You need to book in person at the main gate by 1.30pm.