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Inside Nairobi National Park • Your Ultimate Guide

Nairobi National Park will make you think you’re experiencing a classic African safari. You have the lions that are prowling the park Savannah. Rhinos packed into waterholes and monkeys swinging from tree to tree. 

However, you will notice something very different about the park. The urban feel that it has to it. Instead of a vast natural wonder being the backdrop to the wildlife, you have city skyscrapers and office buildings. There isn’t any other place on the planet where urban life is so closely connected to the wild. 

The park makes visiting the city an incredibly unique experience. One that you won’t get anywhere else.

 

 

WHY VISIT NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK

The Park is The world’s only Wildlife Park within a city. The vastness of this park is fantastic, with the topography of the park being expansive and varied. Nairobi National park is wildly popular because it’s affordable and very easily accessible. This is undoubtedly one of the best reasons to choose this safari destination, particularly if you’re travelling alone or as a family, because the excellent road connections, a variety of amenities and amazing organization make this one of Kenya’s easiest parks to visit.

CAN I SEE THE BIG 5 IN NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK?

You can get hair-raising close to 4 of the Big 5 in Nairobi National Park; lion, buffalo, rhino and leopard are all frequently sighted. Until a few years ago elephants were here too, but frequent human-wildlife conflict made it necessary for their safe and continued removal from the park. But Nairobi National Park is so much more than the Big 5. The park boasts at least 80 species of animal: cheetah, hyena, impala, crocodiles, zebra, giraffe, ostrich, hippo, hartebeest, vultures, and eagles and many call this park their home. And make no mistake, Nairobi National Park isn’t a zoo or western-style safari park, this is the real thing! The animals in Nairobi National Park are completely wild, living in their natural habitat.

 

BEST TIME TO VISIT NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK

 

From personal experience, the best time to visit the park is during the dry weather around January to March time. The dry season has been noted to have the best viewing hits of the season. As you are coming to the park, you want to give yourself the best chance of seeing the most impressive and rarest of animals!

CLIMATE

  • January to March: Hot & Dry
  • April to June: Hot & Wet
  • July to November: Warm & Wet

ACCESSIBILITY

Nairobi National Park is mostly explored from the inside of a vehicle, making it accessible for most guests with mobility challenges. However, between the bumpy roads and frequent stops, be aware that a safari is much more physically demanding than just sitting in a car. Thankfully, there are multiple tour operators in Kenya that are fully dedicated to assisting travellers with disabilities, such as Go Africa Safaris. You can use them to answer questions about your upcoming trip or even to book a multiday safari around the entire country.

 

SHOULD YOU GO ON A GUIDED TOUR OR SELF-DRIVE?

That’s the question many people end up asking themselves. Will you drive yourself or take a guided tour with a 4*4 car? My advice is, Do both. You are getting the best of both worlds.

My best friend and I did a guided tour. The guide was friendly and jovial. He made us feel immensely relaxed, comfortable and safe. You can’t ask for much more! He was professional and knowledgeable. He not only knew a lot about every species, but he also knew where the prime spots were.

With self-drive, you can be in your car, move at your own speed, and have a more relaxing experience. 

TIPS FOR A SELF-DRIVE SAFARI IN NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK

  • Arrive early. Since most animals roam around before the sun is out
  • Drive slowly, so you don’t miss anything.
  • Don’t be afraid to inquire about any sightings from passing vehicles.
  • Pack a coffee/tea thermos to keep you warm in the cold mornings
  • Pick up a map at the gate. (As of July 2020 the cost is Kshs 200)
  • Make sure to pack lunch. 
  • If you see several cars or vans have stopped, it’s almost always a sure sign that there is an animal sighting.
  • Bring binoculars 

 

TIPS FOR A GUIDED TOUR IN NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK

  • Dress Warm! This is a must. Mornings at the park are very cold. 
  • Tip your guide. 
  • Bring a pair of binoculars.
  • Ask questions.
  • Don’t go too photo-happy. Just enjoy the sights.
  • Grab a warm cup of coffee or tea for the morning.
  • Always verify what’s included in the booking. I always make sure to know what I get to avoid an unpleasant surprise. Is lunch or breakfast included? How about the park fees?

NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK PICNIC SITES  

Nairobi National Park has several picnic sites where you can stop and break your day up. Mokoiyet, Kingfisher and Impala are the most popular picnic sites, they have tables and thatched bomas for shade. The picnic sites are still open to the animals so make sure to check there isn’t an angry buffalo before you open your sandwiches. There is a KWS clubhouse where you can buy food and drink close to the entrance to the park.

WHERE TO CAMP

There are three public campsites within the park, all of which offer electricity, hot water showers, and communal kitchens. If you don’t have a tent, you can rent one from the main gate.

For a camping experience that’s a step up from just pitching a tent, the Nairobi Tented Camp is located within the park boundaries and is more of a “glamorous camping” experience. Located on the west side of the reserve, it includes nine luxurious permanent tents, all with en-suite bathrooms and solar lighting. Gourmet meals are served in the bush under the stars or in the dining tent, and water is heated over log fires.

THE RULES AT NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK

There are some rules that visitors need to adhere to. 

  • No getting out of your car or guided vehicle!
  • 50 km is the strict speed limit. You’re there to see wildlife, not kill an animal with your car.
  • Stay on the road.
  • Do not feed or disturb animals.
  • Stay on time. The gates and rest camps open and close at set times; make sure to adhere to them.
  • This should go without saying, but DO NOT LITTER. However, we see it time and time again all around the world.
  • Get more information at the Kenya Wildlife Service website.

NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK FEES

  • Kenyan Citizens: Kshs 430 per adult, per day – Kshs 215 per child, per day
  • Kenyan residents: Kshs 1030 per adult, per day – Kshs 515 per child, per day
  • Foreign Nationals: USD 43 per adult, per day – USD 22 per adult, per day

 

While in Nairobi, you can search below to find other activities to do

 

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