Last month a group of friends invited me to accompany them on a trip to Nairobi National Park. Though I have been to the park before, I wouldn’t have passed the opportunity for the world. Every encounter with nature is different and I could not wait to see what this one offered.
There are several entrances to the park. We got in through the East gate, which is on Mombasa Road. Nairobi National Park is managed by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). At the entrance, you are required to pay park fees for yourself and your vehicle. There are different rates for citizens, residents and non-residents. The KWS warden will therefore request to see your ID. There are several payment mode options – we paid via Mpesa and thereafter went off to explore the park.
Right at the gate, we met this little guy taking a stroll. It is estimated that Nairobi National Park has over 400 bird species. And we got to see so many of them – starlings, egrets, Egyptian geese, black smith plover, black winged stilts, crested crane, glossy ibis, yellow necked spur fowl and not forgetting the ostrich. (Get a knowledgeable driver guide when you visit, and you will learn the name of each specie you came across just like I did!) If you are a birder, you will have a field day at NNP; there are just so many beautiful birds to see and take photos of.
National National Park is unique. It is the only park within a city anywhere in the world – what this means is that you can actually see wildlife through the fence as you drive past the park! Actually people who use the Southern by-pass get a free game drive each time they drive past the it!
The park is home to so much wildlife – lions, zebras, giraffes, antelopes, buffaloes, rhinos, monkeys, elands, hartebeest, grant’s and thomson’s gazelles, wildebeests, impalas, warthogs, baboons, and many more, which can all be viewed against the background of the city’s skyline and the planes flying past. I took so many photos of the skyline from the park – I couldn’t get over how awesome it looked.
Hartebeest (also known as Kongoni)
The park is vast however there is signage so you won’t get lost even if you are on self-drive.
There are several picnic sites where you can sit and have a bite. Be careful though! This Syke’s monkey gave a group of girls the scare of their lives when he grabbed their snacks at a picnic site! OMG!! The squeals!!
Two rivers transverse the park and dams have been built to nourish the wildlife during the dry season. One of the highlights of the trip was seeing these two crocodiles basking in the sun. Never seen a baby croc before!!
Crocodiles (and soon to be their snack – an unsuspecting egret!)
However the absolute highlight of my game drive was seeing these rhinos. With the constant poaching threat in the country, it was awesome to get so close to these two.
We spent four hours at the park yet there was much more that we did not get the chance to see. One thing I would recommend is take a guide with you. A guide knows where the wildlife are found in this vast park and they know the names of the different animals and bird life too. You also get to learn interesting animal facts you couldn’t learn anywhere else.
As we left, we came across four minibuses packed with children on their way for an afternoon of adventure. I thought to myself I wish I was with them just to see the wonder on their faces when they saw all the animals. Whether you are a resident or a tourist go on a game drive at NNP – you will have an awesome experience.