Nairobi National Park | Background Info

Nairobi National Park is located a mere 10 minutes’ drive from the center of Nairobi, Nairobi National Park is undoubtedly one of Kenya’s most accessible and popular national parks to visit, with only a fence separating the park’s prolific wildlife from the metropolis. Despite being relatively smaller than some of Kenya’s other sought-after and sizeable national parks, Nairobi National Park boasts a vast and varied wildlife population, promising spectacular wildlife sightings and encounters.

Travelers landing at the Nairobi airport can literally see the park and potential wildlife as the flyover and land at the airport. There is nowhere else in the world where such a collection of wilderness and wildlife sits so adjacently to a major city. Only 4-miles (6.4 km) separate the center of the city from the wildlife in the reserve.

Experience Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park Ecosystem

Nairobi national park is a unique ecosystem. The savannah ecosystem comprises of different vegetation types. Open grass plains with scattered acacia bush are predominant. The western side has a highland dry forest and a permanent river with a riverine forest. To the south are the Athi-Kapiti Plains and Kitengela migration corridor which are important wildlife dispersal areas during the rainy season. Man-made dams within the park have added a further habitat, favourable to certain species of birds and other aquatic biome.

The vast grass plain park has a perfect view of the Nairobi’s skyline, has scattered acacia trees and is home to numerous animals including the endangered black rhinos, lions, giraffes, leopards, buffaloes and a large range of bird species. There are no elephants at the park but you can interact with the calves at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Picnic at the Nairobi National Park

The park has designated picnic sites namely; Kingfisher, Impala, and Mokoiyet, where you can enjoy a bite and sip your drink while taking in the sights and sounds of nature.

The picnic sites a favorite for sundowners while enjoying amazing views of the vast plains, with the city skyline in the background. It is ideal for a relaxed evening or a weekend. The picnic sites have shades and picnic tables.

For a panoramic view of the park. The Impala observation point is the best. It has a stone-built hut with a picnic area with toilets. You can also picnic at the famous ivory burning site, this is a historical site where 12 tons of ivory was burnt in 1989 to show commitment to elephant conservation and banning ivory trade.

The Mokoiyet picnic site has a leopard cliff observation point overlooking the mbagathi river.

Gazetted in 1946, the Nairobi National Park is Kenya's first established national park. Located approximately seven kilometres south Kenya's capital city, the park is home to over 400 species of birds, as well as wildlife such as zebra, leopard, lion, giraffes, cheetah and many more.

Wildlife Experience

Almost everyone traveling to Africa sits in hope of seeing the predator species. Nairobi National Park does not disappoint with predators including lion, leopard, cheetah, and hyena. Other large mammal species include buffalo, black rhino, baboon, eland, gazelle, hartebeest, hippopotamus, impala, giraffe, wildebeest, and waterbuck. One of the missing species that most people hope to see is elephant.

The most populous species are found among the ungulates. Impala, wildebeest, Hartebeest, Thomson's gazelle, Grant's Gazelle, and Eland. It is fair to expect to see each of these species during a visit. The abundance of ungulates also makes the predator species happy knowing that their hunt is very easy.

There is an abundance of bird species with the vulture and ostrich being two of the larger or more intriguing species. The ostrich is commonly seen along the plains. Other large species include Crowned Crane, Kori Bustard, Ground Hornbill, Egyptian Goose, and the Black-necked Heron. There are several songbirds which serve as a complementary experience for the birdwatchers.

nairobi national parkOstrich at the Nairobi National Park. Backdrop is the elevated Standard gauge railway that runs through the park from Nairobi to Naivasha