While we dream of visiting national parks far away from the city, like Amboseli and the Mara, there is one right under our nose; the Nairobi National Park. It is an excellent place for anyone looking for Nairobi city escapades. Apart from a drive at the Nairobi national park, you can also opt for a walk at the Nairobi Orphanage or the Nairobi Safari Walk.
The good news is that these places are still open and observes the ministry of Health guidelines regarding Covid-19. Once you enter the gate at Langata Road, there is a setout place where you wash your hands, and they take your temperatures. You can then proceed to any of these locations.
If you’re cooked at home or the office all week or wondering what activities suit the children, visiting these places could be an excellent idea. They are close to the city and also present a good learning environment.
The Nairobi National Park
The Nairobi National Park is your go-to location if you want to see a wide variety of wild animals close to the city. In fact, it is one of the few cities in the world with a national park. It is also a protected area, meaning it’s a defined and recognized geographical area geared towards the conservation of nature and biodiversity.
The park covers about 117 square kilometres on the southern side of the city. It features some of the big five animals, i.e. lions, rhinos, buffaloes, and the leopard. Unfortunately, there are no elephants here. Other animals in the park include giraffes, zebras, impalas, eland, ostriches, hyenas, and hundreds of bird species.
There are some picnic sites where you can rest and enjoy some bites before getting back on the road. Another site to visit is the ivory burning site monument, a sad reminder of the beautiful animals that we have lost through poaching. Also, the human-made dams with hippos and crocodiles are absolute scenery, especially if you’re lucky enough to catch the sunset or sunrise from there.
Although you can do a self-drive, I would recommend using a tour company. The drivers are well versed in the area and have ample knowledge about the wildlife in the area. And honestly, we enjoyed the banter between the drivers.
They were using walkie-talkies to keep each other updated. The radios have a wide range of coverage, considering we could follow conversations of drivers in the Mara area. The minute we spotted the first group of lions, our driver, Francis, updated the others and within 5 minutes, the place was flooding with tour guide vehicles. And so started our procession, led by the 2 lions. Here are few of the lines they use;
- Kichwa – lion (vichwa in plural)
- Pembe – rhino
- Pumbu / pumbavu – warthog
- Wamekula piriton – meaning the animals are sleeping
- Moi avenue – traffic in the park from the vehicles
Thank you Stejos Tours and Travel for the fantastic 6-hour ride, and our driver, Francis. If you are interested, you can book them. They have an amazing package, with home pickup and drop-off if you are all located in one area.
We paid Kes 400 ($4) per adult, and the kids charges are currently at Kes 200 ($2), citizens and residents. For non-residents, the charges are $35 for adults and $20 for children. If you do self-drive, you might have to pay entry fees for the vehicle.
The Nairobi Animal Orphanage
Nairobi Animal Orphanage
Nairobi Animal Orphanage Ticket
It is inside the Nairobi National Park. The Nairobi Animal Orphanage is a treatment and rehabilitation centre for wild animals that are either orphans or wounded. The animals are later released back to the wild after undergoing the necessary treatment and therapy.
It features animals like lions, hyenas, cheetah’s, monkey’s, and the wild dog. We also saw some exotic bird species. If you are interested in seeing wild animals up close, this is one of the places to go. I saw more lions than any other animal. You will also see some empty cages, and I hope the previous tenants are free in the park.
The entry fees are quite affordable. It’s currently Kes 200 ($2) for adults and Kes 100 ($1) for children.
While I understand the need to keep these animals safe, it was a bit depressing and sad to watch them in cages. Some, like the wild dog, were on their own and seemed lonely.
The Nairobi Safari Walk
Welcome to the Nairobi Safari Walk
Nairobi Safari Walk Entrance
The Nairobi Safari Walk shows a selection of what you would expect to find in Kenyan national parks and reserves. The place is on a raised wooden board.
Apart from the animals, the place also features a variety of ecosystems. All of these are popular in parks and reserves- from savannah to forests and wetlands.
Some of the animals to see here include lions, hyenas, rhinos, antelopes, monkeys, and giraffes. Some of the spaces were empty and others with fewer animals compared to when I was last there in 2017.
Posing with a Rhino at Nairobi Safari Walk
Colobus Monkey at Nairobi Safari Walk
Hippo at Nairobi Safari Walk
Hyena at Nairobi Safari Walk
The entry fees are currently Kes 200 ($2) for adults and Kes 100 ($1) for children, citizens and residents.