Walking with giraffes at Nguuni Nature Sanctuary

Hot sun, sandy beaches, turquoise ocean…. just a few reasons why Mombasa is a popular holiday destination. While spending all your time by the beach is a good idea, there’s so much more to the coastal city. Go on a food tour, no one does street food like coastarians, walk to the iconic Pembe za Mombasa, take a walk through the Portuguese built Fort Jesus in Old Town, visit Haller Park (formerly known as Bamburi Nature Trails) for a wildlife experience at the coast and have incredible water fun at the WildWaters.

One of the lesser known attractions in Mombasa is the Nguuni Nature Sanctuary. I got to know about Nguuni from social media and when I finally got a chance to go to Mombasa, I knew I would find my way to the Sanctuary. Nguuni is a small animal sanctuary, under the Baobab Trust which also manages the better known Haller Park, hosting a couple of oryx, elands, ostriches and giraffes.

Location: Nguuni Nature Sanctuary is located in Kiembeni in Bamburi.

Cost: The cost is Ksh 350 for adults and Ksh 100 for children.

Once you have paid, you have to drive about a kilometer to get to the animals.

A brief history

In the 1970s, Dr Rene Haller convinced the Bamburi Cement Limited where he worked to allow him to restore an abandoned limestone quarry. After a series of trial and error experiments of finding which plant life could thrive in the area, the environmentalist managed to transform the quarry into a tropical rainforest, what we know today as Haller Park. After this initial success, Dr Haller embarked on rehabilitating other quarries in the Bamburi area one of which is the Nguuni Nature Sanctuary.

It’s unfortunate that human settlements have started encroaching on the sanctuary and it will be great if the government could intervene and protect this treasure.

The Experience

We found the elands and oryx peacefully grazing outside the enclosure, obviously comfortable with humans presence. The star of the show are definitely the giraffes. They were milling around a water spot enjoying the bevy of school girls who were oooohh and aaahhhing at them. A guide is available to tell you about the sanctuary and to advise just how close you can get to the tall beauties; remember they are wild animals and unpredictable.


Close by were other giraffes milling round a tree. On inquiring, I was told there are salt pans on the trees that giraffes regularly licked for much needed nutrients. While I was ok getting close to the giraffes, I was scared of the ostriches! Those big birds are known to have a bit of a temper so I was careful when it came to the feathered beauties.

You can come with your food and enjoy a picnic as you watch the animals. The sundowners here are gorgeous and are definitely worth sticking around for!

Have you been to Nguuni Nature Sanctuary? Let me know!

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