The Nairobi National Park is probably one of the most special parks in the world. You can dash to the park after lunch, see countless of animals and within minutes you are back in the city for supper. The park together with Karura Forest form the two lungs of the city.
Nairobi National Park was gazetted in 1946 to protect wildlife and reduce the human-wildlife conflict that had been going on for years before that. Something to note – currently there are no elephants in the park as they have all been moved to various other parks to reduce the likelihood of a human-wildlife conflict. The park is fenced as well.
All images belong to Scribbled Safari with an exception of #WorthMoreAlive
Nairobi National Park is easily accessible via both public means and car. The park has multiple entrances, however the main entrance is along Langata Road. If you would prefer to use public means, you would take a matatu that is headed towards Langata Road from Kencom, CBD and ask to alight at Nairobi National Park. The bus fare is between KES 50 – KES 100.
The park is open everyday from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. Both the Orphanage and Safari Walk are open daily from 9:00 am – 5:00pm. .
Fees and more
All KWS parks are cashless. For residents the entrance fee for NNP is 400 KES while for non-residents the entrance fee is 35 USD. If you are looking to visit the Orphanage or the Safari Walk each costs 200 KES for residents and 20 USD for non-residents. Click here for the most up-to-date fees(2021). Car entrance fee for a 6 seater car is about KES 300.
PS: For residents do carry some form of identification.
How to Visit Nairobi National Park without a car?
Safari vehicles are located at the entrance that you may use to get inside, however the cost varies depending on the number of people and the duration of stay in the park. You can also get a guide here for a half-day game drive. If you could like to couple your safari with a visit to the elephant sanctuary and giraffe centre, you can get a guide here.
Where to Stay
You could camp inside the park or stay at hotels and airbnbs around Nairobi. Do you find the choices overwhelming, we have compiled a list of Unique Airbnbs in Nairobi for you. There are no hotels or lodges within the park.
- The best time to visit the park is early morning. The temperatures are cooler and you have a higher chance of spotting the big cats.
- The park is easier to navigate during the dry months (January-March). During the wetter months, we would recommend a AWD
- Carry picnic items and water (Kenya has a ban on single use plastics, keep this in mind) Our Nalgenes have served us well for years now!
- Have a binoculars handy and some sunscreen.
- Choosing the right car – We would recommend a high 4×4 vehicle – unless giraffes are all you really want to see.
- If you see a group of tour cars – definitely follow them – they might have spotted something cool.
- To maximise your chances of seeing all the fun stuff, use a tour guide.
- One rookie mistake that we have made in the past is chasing cats. We missed seeing a rhino that was right in front of our eyes whilst we were busy looking for lions and leopards.
- During your guided walk to the crocodiles and picnic areas, keep an eye out for buggy friends and ticks. Cover up as much as possible and use insect repellent.
Why Visit Nairobi National Park
NNP has so much to offer. From hundreds of mammals to 400 local and migratory birds as well as breathtaking hills and vegetation. Hey! You can even catch the occasional view of the city. We have visited this park countless of times and every time we discover something new. We are yet to spot snakes.
Immediately we entered the park, we were greeted with the smells of a safari and a few animals that I thought looked like props. It does take a minute for your brain to adjust to the fact that the giraffe ahead is an actual giraffe.
This park definitely strikes some nostalgia in me. All the sandwiches my mum made every time we ventured to the wild. The monkeys that stole my lunch when we visited the park during school trips and the times I forgot to pack some water. I remember that we had to write school articles about our trip. Oh! the good old days. Who would have thought that I would be writing an article years later. Only this time I am using a laptop and not a staedtler pencil, the orange and blue rubber and a Kasuku book.
Stop by the Ivory Burning Site. This is the site that stunned the world in 1989 as Kenya took a bold step towards stopping the poaching of elephants by burning 12 tonnes of ivory worth over 1 million USD then. The commemoration site serves as a reminder that ivory trade is a threat to wildlife and that Kenya remains heavily opposed to lifting the trade ban.
Dear reader, instead of narrating the tale, I will let you experience of the magic in photos but before you do – I would like to extend an invitation to join the Friends of Nairobi National Park (FoNNaP) Facebook group. We have got lots of activities such as cleaning up the park, counting of wildlife together with KWS as well as some pretty epic Merch. You will always be up to date on the latest regarding the park and all the events happening. Plus, you can always message the group with a request such as asking if anyone has seen a lion – there is almost always a friend in the park.
Did you know that ostriches change colour when they are ready to mate? The male’s beak and shin turn bright red and sometimes the neck too. The female’s feather turn silvery.
Restaurants in Nairobi National Park
We almost always carry our own snacks and sandwiches, there are two restaurants inside the park. The first one is located right next to the entrance of the Safari Walk whilst Wildly Coffee is located to the left of Langata Gate.
Is Nairobi National Park Worth it?
- You are pressed for time such as you have a short layover and want to experience a safari
- Game spotting and photographing animals is a skill you’d like to have before visiting other parks.
- leaving the city is not an option for you
- You are looking for things to do in Nairobi.
- You would like to experience a safari in the city.
- It is the end of your trip and would like to experience one last safari.
- You can only afford to visit one park/conservancy/reserve. Alternatives to NNP include – The Mara, Ol Pejeta, Ol Jogi, Amboseli and Tsavo East or West.
- You would like to see elephants – NNP does not have any elephant, instead check out David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
- You will be visiting other parks, conservancies and reserves – We spotted the big five in under 30 minutes of being in Ol Pejeta. If you are like us and have visited many reserves and conservancies – NNP will be a bit subpar.
Read Also: Peeking into Hell’s Gate
Nairobi Animal Orphange
This is one spot that almost everyone in Nairobi has found themselves in. Within Nairobi National Park is an orphanage. The Orphanage cares for sick, injured or orphaned wildlife throughout the country. When an animal ourgorws the need of a parent – the animal is slowly introduced back to the wild.
Sometimes an animal may be too injured or sick to ever return to the wild. What this means is that the chances of survival of the animal in the wild are really low. If this is the case, the Orphanage proceeds with fully adopting the animal. You can always visit the orphanage without having to visit the park itself. We recommend visiting the orphanage because you might see animals that are otherwise harder to spot in the wild such as Sokoke cats.
You can also adopt an animal at the orphanage through the animal adoption program. (no, you do not take the animal home with you)
A Walk in the Wild – Nairobi Safari Walk
Pro-tip – Plan your visit right before closing. Usually the animals are fed right after closing. This means that they get closer to the viewing areas at this time as they wait for their food. I mean really really close!
PS: no elephants here either. The Safari Walk has an interesting policy of ‘Please touch’. There are items such as animal footprints, animal skin and even skeletons. We found this to be a super cool way to get aquatinted with the animals.
Shall we take a walk together?
As you walk past the gate, you immediately get pulled in to nature. No warning whatsoever! Then right when you get settled in, you are reminded of who you are.
We love the Safari Walk because it feels like a blend of the game drive and orphanage. The walk is full of information next to trees and animal enclosures. There is also a museum for kids. LJ and I had the pleasure of having a giraffe as our tour guide. We fed her and she repaid in kind by directing us to the lions. We got to see them playing then headed over to the leopards. At this point we bid our tour lady goodbye.
Before we talk about the leopards, I will have you know that I got cornered by a male baboon and I had to yell at LJ to come rescue me. I did not make much of it as I was busy taking photos, until the baboon started getting way to close. Do keep an eye out as you walk, it is after all – a safari walk.
Ha! If I could pick one animal that would take me out in the wild, it would have to be the leopard. Everywhere I have been it has taken me minutes to spot the leopard while everyone else can spot it in seconds. LJ will tell me that the leopard is on a certain tree and branch and I still will not see it. To me spotting a leopard is like spotting a specific star.
After yet another failed attempt of spotting a leopard before the rest of the world, we proceeded to the woodland walk. The walk is nested inside undisturbed nature and occasionally you may even spot giraffes walking underneath.
Well, that about does it – as usual here is a tour in pictures.
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