The Nairobi National Park is about a 20 minute drive from Nairobi airport slightly to the South of the city. It’s an ideal way to experience a taste of life in the bush without having to buy expensive internal flights to the Masai Mara and pay quite steep lodge rates. Having said that you’ll save money entry fees to the park are not cheap. It costs US $ 40 (AED 150) per adult and US $ 20 (AED 75) for children aged between 3 and 18 if you’re a non resident. Children aged 2 and under are free. However this fee doesn’t give you access to the animal orphanage just inside the park, this costs a further US$ 15 ! Of course resident rates at KSh 300 (AED 12) per adult are significantly cheaper but smart cards are required. We also had to pay Ksh 1000 (AED 40) for our car, a four by four off roader, saloon cars are cheaper. If you aren’t with a guide (not necessary) it’s a good idea to buy a map of the park in the shop at the entrance area, priced Ksh 250 (AED 10)
Apparently the park has 43 lions in it’s 117 square km but they aren’t easy to spot, there are plenty of giraffes, gazelles, zebra and some buffalo. The park doesn’t have many vehicles in it so you can observe the wildlife fairly peacefully, that said there are some people who play loud music in their vehicles even while observing the animals, obviously this creates a disturbance, but the park doesn’t issue any guidelines on etiquette before you go in.
The landscape in the park is quite varied from flat, yellow and green arid savannah grass land to quite dark green, dense, lush foliage all within 20 minutes slow drive. There are even some drives called Forest Glade. Go slowly and keep your eyes peeled, you’ll be amazed at what you see.
There are no cafes in the park so you need to take your own packed lunch, there are however a couple of designated picnic sites, we opted for the Impala Point site which had basic toilet facilities, a few shaded picnic tables and benches and a fantastic view of the valley below with herds of buffalo. However the facilities are not well kept and despite there being areas for rubbish, empty bottles and cigarette ends were thrown on the floor near the picnic tables.
If you want to know what it really feels like to go on safari, you could opt to stay a night or two in the first tented camp set up in the park, the Nairobi Tented Camp.
This is the first of a few posts about Nairobi in Kenya, a great different destination to visit from Dubai, especially at this time of year, keep watching for the next posts or subscribe so you don’t miss out, and do tell me whether this post has whetted your appetite for a visit to Kenya, an ideal short break destination from Dubai.