Nairobi National Park There was a time not so long ago, when lions freely roamed the streets of Nairobi. Today they can be seen only 14 kilometres from the city center in the Nairobi National Park. The Nairobi National Park boast of being the only Park in the world with such close proximity to a major city.
For short term visitors, this park contains most of the animals to be seen on more extended safari such as the rhino, buffalo, cheetah, zebra, giraffe,plenty of antelopes and gazelles.
The park is best visited early in the morning and the game drive takes 3 to 4 hours. There after you can opt to enjoy breakfast at the famous Rangers restaurant which is been built overlooking a waterhole that periodically attracts game, treating you to an authentic bush experience.
The Nairobi National Park, is acclaimed for being the only Wildlife Park located within the precincts of a capital city in the World. The park is a principal attraction for visitors to Nairobi. Nairobi National Park offers a worthwhile introduction to the country’s animal and birdlife. For those on a business visit to the capital, the park offers the opportunity to get a taste of the wild without ever leaving the city limits.
Established in 1946, the national park was Kenya’s first. It is located approximately 7 kilometres south of the centre of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, with an electric fence separating the park’s wildlife from the metropolis. Before then, wild animals roamed the plains south of the city in relative harmony with the nomadic Maasai tribespeople who grazed their herds there.
However, as Nairobi grew, conflict began to arise between the game and the colonialists who sought to replace the wilderness with farms and urban gardens. In an effort to establish boundaries between the two, the government set up the Southern Game Reserve. Hunting was banned in the reserve but farming and grazing continued within its borders and wildlife began to decline as a result. In 1932, conservationist Mervyn Cowie sought to address the problem by campaigning for the creation of a national park system in Kenya.
He was successful, and the Southern Game Reserve became the flagship Nairobi National Park. Cowie was elected as the park’s director, a position that he held for over 30 years. All human activities (except safaris) were banned within the reserve, Maasai pastoralists were controversially removed, and its animal populations soon flourished again.
With a total area of just over 45 square miles, Nairobi National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Africa; and yet it supports an astonishing variety and abundance of game. It consists partly of thick woods near the city outskirts, partly of rolling plains and valleys, and partly of a wooded confluence of several rivers. Its vegetation is of the dry transitional savanna type.
Acacias and other thorny varieties, muhuhu, Cape chestnut, and Kenya olive are the most important trees. It is home to four of the Big Five (with elephant being the notable exception), including black and white rhino. Scores of mammals, such as lions, gazelles, black rhinoceroses, giraffes, various species of antelope, and zebras, as well as numerous reptiles and hundreds of species of birds, inhabit the park.
The Nairobi Animal Orphanage, founded in 1963, is located inside the park. The park’s headquarters are at Nairobi. It is one of the most successful of Kenya’s rhino sanctuaries that is already generating a stock for reintroduction in the species former range and other upcoming sanctuaries. Due to this success, it is one of the few parks where a visitor can be certain of seeing a black rhino in its natural habitat.
Other attractions include a network of safe walking trails, viewpoints, and picnic sites, where you can get out of your vehicle and soak up the sounds and smells of the bush while enjoying an al fresco lunch. One of the best walking trails takes you to the hippo pools, where the largest concentration of these aquatic herbivores can be found; while the most scenic picnic area is arguably Impala Observation Point with its panoramic hilltop views.
In 1989, former president Daniel Arap Moi ordered the burning of 12 tons of confiscated elephant ivory inside the park as a symbol of Kenya’s zero tolerance policy on ivory trafficking. This event is commemorated by the Ivory Burning Site Monument.
The only formal accommodation option inside the park is Nairobi Tented Camp. Located in the west 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.
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