Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is the oldest of all Kenya’s national parks. It is known for its Black Rhino Sanctuary and, despite bordering the city, it is home to lions, leopards and hyenas as well as many other Kenyan animals. Its closeness to Nairobialso means it is very accessible to Kenyans and tourists alike who want to experience a safari without having to travel and stay overnight elsewhere.Situated around the Embakasi River, Nairobi National Park has herds of buffalo and a concentrated population of ostriches. It is also a good place to experience the wildebeest migration in the summer months and to see four of the “Big Five” African animals.
Nairobi National Park was established in 1946. It is tiny in comparison to many of Kenya’s other national parks. It shows how Kenya was in its natural state, when the City of Nairobi was just becoming established over 100 years ago. Nairobi National Park covers just 117km² (44 square miles), and consists of typical, original Kenyan landscape such as plains, forests, steep gorges and lush vegetation along the banks of the Embakasi River. It has a high-altitude, savannah landscape with acacia trees dotting across the open plains. The park is located just outside of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, and its boundary adjoins the city’s industrial area. The protection of animals such as lions, leopards and rhinos, as well as the black rhino conservation program, so close to a major city sometimes results in conflicts between the local Maasai tribe and the city’s four million inhabitants. There are further problems as development continues and air pollution from the nearby industrial area increases. It is quite odd to see a giraffe grazing against the distant backdrop of high-rise buildings!Nairobi National Park is perhaps best known for its significant black rhino sanctuary. This is the best place to see these endangered animals in their native environment. There are no elephants in this national park, but four of the “Big Five” can be seen here (lions, leopards, buffalo and rhinos). Other wildlife commonly seen in the national park include giraffes, elands, zebras and wildebeest. As well, hippos and crocodiles can often be spotted along the Embakasi River. Nairobi National Park employs 120 staff and over 100,000 visitors come to the park every year to see the native African wildlife. Carry a notebook and a spotter’s guide, as well as plenty of water when you go on safari.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
The endangered black rhinoceros is protected here and the park supplies black rhinos to other national parks. Take a game drive to see four of the “Big Five”- lions, leopards, buffalo and rhinos, but no elephants. Walking trails can be enjoyed, along with five picnic sites. Bird watchingis popular here, with 400 species recorded.Turtle and tortoise watching can also be enjoyed.