Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is by far a magically protected area in East Africa. It is rated as the only park on planet earth with enormous wildlife yet also very close to Nairobi capital city making it the most accessible park to explore on Kenya safari regardless of your tight schedule. It is best described as the capital of wildlife in the world given its huge concentration of wildlife and birdlife. Nairobi National Park is 7-10kms from Nairobi and it straddles in River Embakasi. It covers an area of 117sq.kms. It became a national park in 1946 which makes it the oldest park in magical Kenya.
History of Nairobi National Park
The park’s history can be traced back to the 19th century when the colonists came to settle in the present park area. The Athi Plains East and South of the current Nairobi National Park were credited for their diversity in wildlife. It was inhabited by the Nomadic Maasai who kept livestock whereas the Kikuyu carried out farming in the forested areas above Nairobi.
Nairobi being a capital city kept on expanding and in 1910, there was an increase in human-wildlife conflict. However, a section of city dwellers at the time took responsibility into their hands to safeguard lions. But some people never liked giraffes and zebras walking on and damaging their flower beds. And as a result, some wildlife species were pushed to extensive plains in the west and south of Nairobi. The area was set as a game reserve and later, turned into a national park in 1946. Currently, Nairobi National Park sits in an area of 117sq.km, between altitude 1533 and 1760m.
Wildlife in Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is blessed with a variety of wildlife species including elands, zebras, lions, leopards, and buffaloes plus Maasai giraffes, hyenas, coke’s hartebeest, klipspringer, grant’s and Thompson’s gazelles, warthogs, genet, cheetah, jackal civet, impalas, hippos and crocodiles in Embakasi River.
- Birdlife in Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is a birder haven in Kenya with an estimated 450 bird species. The northern migrants also confine into the park in late March, April. The other birds to identify include Fischer’s lovebird, red collared widowbird, helmeted guinea, lesser kestrel, pallid harrier, white-headed vultures, Sharpe’s longclaw, crowned eagle, Kori buzzard, Walberg’s honey birds, Jackson’s widowbird, flightless ostrich, martial eagle, white-bellied bustard, secretary bird, Hartlaub’s bustards, lapped faced vultures, corncrake.
The park’s unique flora can be defined by its rare vegetation which includes an open grass plain with doted acacia bushes. Western uplands which are made of highland dry forest plus Olea Africana, brachylaena hutchinsii, calodendrum. The lower slopes are grassland and you can also find dotted yellow barked acacia xanthophloea. You can find the riverine forest on its permanent river in the Southern side.
Safari activities to do in Nairobi National Park
- Wildlife viewing
On wildlife viewing safari in Nairobi National Park expect to see black rhinos, elands, zebras, lions, leopards, and buffaloes plus Maasai giraffes, hyenas, coke’s hartebeest, klipspringer, grant’s and Thompson’s gazelles, warthogs, genet, cheetah, jackal civet, impalas, hippos and crocodiles in Embakasi River.
With your camera and pair of binoculars, keep an eye on bird species such as the northern migrants which confine into the park in the late March, April; Fischer’s lovebird, red collared widowbird, helmeted guinea, lesser kestrel, pallid harrier, white-headed vultures, Sharpe’s longclaw, Walberg’s honey birds, Jackson’s widowbird, flightless ostrich, martial eagle, white-bellied bustard, secretary bird, Hartlaub’s bustards, lapped faced vultures, crowned eagle, Kori buzzard, corncrake.
- Walking tours
On the walking tour in Nairobi National Park, there are different trails to explore including those that lead to hippo pools and offer you an opportunity to also visit the ivory burning site monument as well as an orphanage. Other safari activities include scenic viewing, turtle and tortoise viewing, film production.
When to visit Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is an all-year-round destination. However, wildlife viewing tours are best done from July to March. And birding is ideal in the March, April, May, June and the short-wet season starting in October, November, and December.
Where to stay in Nairobi National Park
There are many accommodation options around Nairobi National Park to choose for your night stay on Kenya safari. They include African Heritage House, Eka Hotel Nairobi, Panari Hotel, Hotel Troy at Langata, Nairobi Tented Camp, Kileleoni Mara Camp, Ole Sereni Hotel, Nyati Hill Cottages at Kingfisher picnic site, Karen Country Lodge and Conference Center, Osoita Lodge, Ololo safari lodge.
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