|Nairobi National Park is totally unique. Where else in the world can you find Rhino and Giraffe, rivers full of hippo and crocodile and prides of lion, all living wild and free within a twenty minute drive of the city centre? |
This was Kenya’s first National Park and it remains a National treasure.
The park is 113 square kms of open plains spectacular cliffs, rivers, dams and acacia forest.
Birdlife is prolific with over 400 species recorded.
There is an abundance of plains game and predators alike. The sight of large herds of Buffalo, strolling Ostrich and stalking cheetah, all with a backdrop of thriving modern Nairobi, is an unforgettable one.
The rolling plains are home to large herds of zebra and gazelle. Lions thrive here, and cheetah and Rhino are often seen. The rivers have a sizeable population of hippos and crocodiles.
The Park is an ongoing demonstration of man’s ability to co-exist harmoniously with nature.
There is an excellent information centre at the Main Gate.
The Park can only be accessed by Private, hired or safari vehicles.
Trips to the Park are easily arranged in Nairobi.
The park headquarters are located by the main Langata gate. This complex is also the Headquarters of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)
Also established here is the Nairobi Safari Walk. This is an educational centre set up to further public awareness on Wildlife and Habitat Conservation. A series of wooden boardwalks lead through a range of habitats and vegetation zones. Enclosed areas contain Lions, Leopard, Buffalo, Gazelle, Wildebeest, Ostrich, Cheetah and Hyena. The walk has been designed to be a living demonstration of eco-systems at work. It has been created as both a centre for active Conservation education and also as a relaxing walk for visitors. The atmosphere is quiet and peaceful, and this is a popular weekend outing for Nairobi residents.
Just within the park gates is the Nairobi Animal Orphanage. This is a rescue and rehabilitation centre for orphaned and injured wildlife rescued from around Kenya. The orphanage is open to the public and can be visited in conjunction with Nairobi National park.
The Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is located near Nairobi National Park. This orphanage for Elephant Calves and Rhinos from all over Kenya was founded and still managed by Daphne Sheldrick, the widow of one of Kenya's best known Game Wardens David Sheldrick. He was at the centre of the 1970's Ivory poaching wars in Tsavo National Park.
Today, the Sheldrick orphanage is a focal point for Elephant Conservation. Elephant calves orphanned by poaching are brought here from all over the country. They receive extremely specialized treatment here, and literally receive personal care 24 hours a day from highly dedicated staff who become surrogate mothers to the calves. Eventually the calves are moved to Tsavo, where they are carefully reintroduced into wild herds.
The centre is open to the public each morning. At this time the calves are being exercised and bathed and visitors are free to watch. This is a good centre for general information on Elephants and their Conservation.
The AFEW (African Fund for Endangered Wildlife) Giraffe Centre is located in Langata, just outside Nairobi. The centre has been ostensibly set up as a breeding centre for the endangered Rothschild giraffe, but now operates conservation/education programs for Kenyan school children. There is good information on giraffes available here, and an elevated feeding platform where visitors meet the resident giraffes face to face.
Hand feeding giraffes is an education in itself. You will see, close at hand, they use their long, prehensile tongues to remove leaves from prickly acacia branches.
The AFEW centre is also home to Giraffe Manor, a beautifully maintained colonial home, now an exclusive guesthouse. The centre's giraffe population wander freely through the lush gardens, and pay an occasional visit to the house itself, often pushing their heads through the French Windows to inspect the breakfast table.
Around 60 kms out of Nairobi is Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park centred around an imposing 2,146 metre mountain. The local Mkamba name for this peak is Kilimambogo, or "Buffalo Mountain", an appropriate name given the large population of Mbogo (Buffalo) that live in the surrounding montane forest and plainland. The park is also a refuge for colobus monkeys, bushbuck, duiker, leopard and numerous bird species.
Just outside the park, the waters of the Tana river cascade 27 metres down through a series of spectacular cataracts, forming the "14 falls".