Kenya’s Wild Beauty At The Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park was Kenya’s first game park, and was proclaimed as early as 1946. The park is primarily acacia-dominated savannah with some wooded thickets, and is a lovely spot, even discounting the wildlife.
One of its advantages is that the topography is not flat, and there are a couple of vantage points from which you can get excellent views out over the park to the city skyline beyond. The mammal life is dominated by herbivores – zebra, giraffe and a whole range of antelope – and you’d have to be very unfortunate indeed not to see a good number of species.
There is really good birdlife, much of which is large and will appeal even to the ‘non twitched': it’s not often that you’re lucky enough to get a good view of a secretary bird snootily stalking through the long grass in search of a tasty snake, and the vultures are just great!
Other common (but nonetheless endearing) animals that you’re almost guaranteed to spot are warthogs and ostrich. Compared to other East African game parks, I wouldn’t claim that Nairobi National Park offers as many close encounters with big cats (although they do have lion, leopard and cheetah), but even if you don’t see them, I would venture that you’ll be so excited by what you do see that you won’t mind.
The park offers guided tours which are advisable for two reasons, the first of which is that it negates the need for you to have your own vehicle. In order to improve your game spotting, it’s best to have an elevated viewpoint which allows you to look out over the landscape, which the purpose-built safari vehicles offer, and also having a guide who knows what he’s looking for is invaluable (since beginners take some time to ‘get their eye in’).
There are dedicated picnic areas, but there is no accommodation in the park. For up-to-date details on admission fees and other details, please see the website below.
So, if you’re planning to visit Africa on business or pleasure, and won’t necessarily have the chance to do any game viewing elsewhere, why not consider flying Kenya Airways, stopping off for a day in transit, and then catching your connecting flight?
For the price of a night’s accommodation and a visa (depending on which passport you hold, and generally available on arrival), you’ll have the opportunity to recuperate from your long haul flight and enjoy a taste of that iconic African wildlife experience that you might not otherwise get around to: the only warning is that once you’re hooked, you’ll want to return time and time again!