All you need to know about Nairobi National Park
This is the only national park in the whole world that is located in a capital city. A short drive out of Nairobi’s central business district is the Nairobi National Park. A wide open savannah plains with a backdrop of city skyscrapers,it host a wide variety of wildlife. Nairobi National Park provides a bush atmosphere that will be experienced in most of other popular parks without having to travel far from the city. It is ideal for people on transits with a few hours to spare or those who are pressed with time.
The 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 world’s densest concentration of black rhinos. Nairobi National Park is one of the most successful of Kenya’s rhino sanctuaries. It 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 you can be certain of seeing black rhinos. The Park is home to over over 400 birds species. It is also home to more than 100 mammal species with a spectacular wildebeest and zebra migration.
The weather is predictable at Nairobi National Park as it adheres to longstanding climatic patterns. The Wet season has two periods of rain with an intervening period of drier weather. The park’s high altitude means cool air is the norm at night.
Wildlife and Birds of Nairobi National park
Wide open grass plains and backdrop of the city scrapers, scattered acacia bush of Nairobi National Park play host to a wide variety of wildlife including the endangered black rhino, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes and diverse bird-life with over 400 species recorded. The park is home to 4 of the Big Five (Buffalo, Leopard, Lion, Rhino). Wildebeest are present in the park during migration in August and September. You will probably be able to spot a number of bird species such as Eagles plus lots of water birds.
Nairobi Safari Walk
It is Just outside the main entrance to Nairobi National Park, off Langata Rd. This safari walk is a sort of zoo-meets-nature-boardwalk. With lots of birds as well as other wildlife including primates and big cats. Children in particular get a chance to get closer to the animals than they’re likely to do in a park. On the Nairobi Safari Walk, visitors on a Nairobi half or full day safari can learn about conservation and the natural environment in Kenya. The walk features simulated wetlands, forests and grassy plains or savannah. It displays rare animal and plant life with comprehensive interpretation.
Attractions in Nairobi National Park
Picnic Sites (Nairobi National Park)
Nairobi National Park has several picnic sites where you can stop and break your day up. Mokoiyet, Kingfisher and Impala are the most popular picnic sites, they have tables and thatched bomas for shade. The picnic sites are also open to the animals. There is a KWS clubhouse where you can buy food and drink close to the entrance to the park.
The Ivory Burning Site at Nairobi National Park
The Ivory Burning site is credited as being one of the most important landmarks in animal conservation. Kenya’s animal population has been decimated by poaching. With the tusks of elephants, rhino horns and exotic animals skins fetching huge prices on the black market. In a demonstration that rocked the world, two of Kenya’s presidents have burned the poached tusks at the landmark site. The Ivory Burning site can be visited just inside the gates of Nairobi National Park. A monument is erected to remind the world that Kenya continues in the fight to protect its animals.
Hippo Pools and Nature Trail
The Hippo Pools is one of the only places in the park where you can stretch your legs. The short guided walk is patrolled by armed officers. It gives you an opportunity to breathe in the serenity of the park whilst spotting hippos as well as birds.
Things to do in Nairobi Kenya
Kiss a Giraffe at Giraffe Center
If you’re feeling flush, then a trip to Nairobi’s Giraffe Center is a definite must in Nairobi. Protecting the highly endangered Rothschild Giraffe is at the center of the work here and your visit obviously supports their efforts. It’s heart-warming to learn that center have been very successful in their endeavors and many giraffes have been released into Kenyan National Parks to help swell the population.
Visit the Karen Blixen Museum
Originally, it is the farmhouse where Karen Blixen, heroine of the movie Out of Africa, lived. This beautiful colonial building is now a museum dedicated to her life’s story. Set in lovely grounds, this is a nice place to wander around in its own right. You can therefore easily spend an enjoyable afternoon here.
Visit Baby elephants at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
If you haven’t seen any elephants yet, then a trip to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is certainly the place. It was established in 1977, in memory of the late David Sheldrick. He was a key anti-poaching activist. Here, orphaned baby elephants are cared for and raised, before being introduced back into the wild.
The trust actually occupies a part of the Nairobi National Park. The baby elephants wander in the park when they are not being shown to tourists. Largely speaking the trust is also involved in some excellent conservation projects. Stopping to learn more about the work they do is indeed one of the great things to do in Nairobi.
The fantastic National Museum is one of Kenya’s best. A visit here is definitely one of the top things to do in Nairobi. It has great ethnological exhibits as well as some super information about Kenya’s different tribes. The museum is set in delightful grounds and therefore well worth exploring for a few hours.
Visit a Souvenir Shop/Masai Market
If bargaining is your forte, then you are going to have a blast at the incredible Masai Market. Kenya is renowned for its handcraft and jewellery made from ceramic beads. Another gem in the best things to do in Nairobi list is splurging your money in the Masai market. From traditionally made beautiful jewellery pieces to hand-painted pots and crafts, Masai will indeed astonish the shopaholic in you. Pick up your wallet and head out for utmost pleasure.
Nairobi has some of the best souvenir-buying opportunities in Africa, which is especially handy if you’re flying home from here. So, if you want to purchase textiles, wood-carvings or anything else, head out to one of the city’s markets.
Top spots include the City Market and the Westland Curio Market. They have a huge range of stalls to choose from. Otherwise, the great Masai Market is also a great spot to snap up a potential bargain.
Visit Karura Forest
Though Nairobi has sumptuous skyscrapers, peace can only be found amidst nature. Get up early and go for a walk to Karura forest for an escape from materialistic things. Built on an old volcano rock this forest is an answer to what to do in Nairobi. Soak in the amazing view of appealing waterfall, sacred caves, indigenous animals and lush green forests on your next trip.
Best time to visit Nairobi National Park
Nairobi has a temperate climate marked by two seasons; the wet (April to June and October to November ) and the dry (December to March and July to September). The roads can become quite difficult to navigate during the wet season. It is therefore preferable to ensure you have a 4×4. Also take note of the rangers number in case of an emergency. Nairobi National Park is open all year round. The best time to see animals is early morning and evening (dusk). The big cats hunt at night and during the heat of the day. You will therefore be lucky to spot them sleeping in the long grasses.
How to get there/ How to get to Nairobi National Park
Distance: 10 km South of Nairobi City Center
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Wilson Airports