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Welcome to Kenya’s most accessible yet incongruous safari experience. Set on the city’s southern outskirts, Nairobi National Park (at 117 sq km, one of Africa’s smallest) has abundant wildlife that can, in places, be viewed against a backdrop of city skyscrapers and planes coming in to land – it’s one of the only national parks on earth bordering a capital city. Remarkably, the animals seem utterly unperturbed by it all.

The park has acquired the nickname ‘Kifaru Ark’, a testament to its success as a rhinoceros (kifaru in Kiswahili) sanctuary. The park is home to the world’s densest concentration of black rhinos (more than 50), though even the park’s strong antipoaching measures couldn’t prevent poachers from killing one of the rhinos in August 2013 and then again in January 2014. They were the first such attacks in six years, and reflect the current sky-high Asian black-market price for rhino horn.

Lions and hyenas are also commonly sighted within the park; rangers at the entrance usually have updates on lion movements. You’ll need a bit of patience and a lot of luck to spot the park’s resident cheetahs and leopards. Other regularly spotted species include gazelles, warthogs, zebras, giraffes, ostriches and buffaloes.

The park’s wetland areas sustain approximately 400 bird species, which is more than in the whole of the UK.

Matatus (minibuses) 125 and 126 (KSh50, 30 to 45 minutes) pass by the main park entrance from the train station. You can also go by private vehicle. Nairobi tour companies offer half-day safaris (from US$75 per person).

Apart from the main entrance, which lies 7km from the city centre, there are other gates on Magadi Rd and the Athi River gate; the latter is handy if you’re continuing on to Mombasa, Amboseli or the Tanzanian border. The roads in the park are passable with 2WDs, but travelling in a 4WD is never a bad idea, especially if the rains have been heavy.

Unless you already have your own vehicle, the cheapest way to see the park is on the shuttle, a big Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) bus that leaves the main gate at 2pm on Sunday for a 2½-hour tour. You need to book in person at the main gate by 1.30pm, but do call ahead if you want to do the tour, as times can change.

4 Reviews for Nairobi National Park

zamzam hussein

60 Reviews

A break from the city life

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3.5/ 5

Nairobi National Park, located in Karen 15 minutes from Nairobi CBD, is quite unique as it is the only park in a country’s capital city. A cab from the CBD costs 650/= There is also the option of using public transport which is way cheaper. To add to its wonder, there is also an animal orphanage right next to the park. I visited the park with my cousins during the holidays. It was on a Thursday afternoon. When we got there, there weren’t so many cars around. During the weekends you can find the place packed with families and friends. There is a huge parking lot outside the entrance where you can leave the car. There is also the option of entering the park with your car which they charge 1800/= per car. This is the option we choose. We decided not to have a tour guide since we’ve been there a couple of times. As soon a you enter the park, you feel the breath of fresh air from the hustles of the city. It is quiet and serene. And the park has the tall city buildings as its background. I never get used to seeing that. I remember seeing the giraffe first. I love giraffes. They are so graceful and majestic. While touring we also got to see buffaloes and hyenas and like 2 lions. This is a good place to break from the city life.

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hazel luvuno

90 Reviews

Exploring the wild.

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4/ 5

One of the things that make Nairobi a wonder is that it’s the only city with a national park in its backyard. The last time I was there, I was a toddler almost so I had to visit it again. It is located in Karen and a cab from town to the park will cost 690/= You can also use a matatu which is way cheaper. Last month, my friends and I decided to indulge in visiting the park. Through Intagram we got a tour company, Kilian tours and travel. After communication we settled on a half day tour with soft drinks provided by the company. We paid 2000/= per head. On the set day, we decided on a rendezvous point in town. At 8am we were all there and the tour land cruiser picked us up a few minutes past 8am. At the park entrance we paid 430/= which is not included in the 2000/= we had paid. As soon as we entered the park we were welcomed by wide open grass plains and backdrop of the city scrapers. It’s quite the scene. We were able to see lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes and a number of birds. This place can be enjoyed by even older people. The feeling of oneness with nature is still nostalgic. I loved the experience.

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Angel Ngugi

78 Reviews

Satisfying day at the game park

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4.83/ 5

Nairobi is the only city in the world to have a national park right within the city. It was quite baffling that it took be two years to visit while I lived there. I think my reservations about animals in cages and how lonely they must be away from other wildlife and the forest had hindered my plans to visit the place. The park is located right off the main highway in Langata, Nairobi. My two friends and I used the local transport to get there and told the conductor to have us alight at the park since we were new to the area. You can also take an Uber if you are new to the city. We alighted and walked in to the reception, which is a booth where they issue tickets after you make your payment. We did not have prior knowledge that they do not accept cash payments and only mobile money and visa payments are valid to buy tickets. The charges for East Africans are 2.5$ and 5$ for foreigners, which is so affordable. After making our payments they let us in. The park is set up such that you take a walk through it while taking in the wildlife. You do not have a guide however there are numerous signs leading one through the right path. The walk path is on high ground and is made of wood. The park is a nice place to take pictures and enjoy fresh air away from the busy city. We had the pleasure of seeing a lion, a rhino, numerous monkeys, zebras, a pair of ostriches, a warthog and other free wildlife such as hares and squirrels. The animals are in fact in restricted area and some in huge caged areas like the monkeys. The walk is quite long and I would recommend one to carry water and a snack. There are places designated to rest as you go through the park. If you stay till the evening, you might have the pleasure of witnessing the animals being fed by the park attendants. The park is a nice destination for tourists and locals to visit while in Nairobi.

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Lynne Olonje

79 Reviews

An experience of becoming one with Nature in Nairobi.

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4.17/ 5

If you’re in Nairobi and you’re into nature I think this place is a must visit. Nairobi national park is considered a wildlife capital and I agree:it definitely is.Its located in karen area.It is broadly comprised of an orphanage,safari walk and lastly the national park itself .I went here on a casual outing with a couple of friends in attempt to become one with nature.I can confidently say that we succeeded.Visiting this place is an activity that can literally be enjoyed by people of all ages.The old,the young and I bet even toddlers and infants who can barely talk would find this thrilling.If you’re planning on visiting here , I have several recommendations.First,go early in the morning hours.The earlier you go,the more animals you see.We saw zebras,lions, warthogs, giraffes,antelopes and so many birds.Second ,a land cruiser is the best choice of tour vehicle for convenience .We used Trippygo .This is a tour company and it was charging 2000/=per seat for a land cruiser tour.The package they offered involved picking us up directly from home and I found that very convenient. At the entrance,we were charged 500 shillings only .Lastly,get your hand on some binoculars. If you don’t have them make sure the tour company provides you with some.This gives a wider view of the many acres of land that make up this park. You also get to see more animals even the ones at a relatively far distance. When we were doing the game drive,we were only allowed to alight at certain specific locations.This is done for your safety because the animals are usually not restricted and humans make the perfect dinner for some of them.We actually arrived at the first safe spot after around 3 hours so that’s also a point to note.You can also do bird watching,picnics and even cook at other locations.Quite an experience and definitely recommend.

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