Try to imagine the scene … a wild giraffe, a group of lions chasing their prey, the typical African safari view. But a long line of skyscrapers on the background! Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, on the background. This is the landscape of Nairobi National Park, maybe the only protected reserve in the world included within a big city’s urban area! The beauty of this park started in the 1930s, after a long battle led by the environmentalist Mervyn Cowie.
He succeeded in turning the hunting reserve of the British settlers – just outside Nairobi – into a protected area in order to save the wildlife from humans’ action. The park’s borders were established in 1938 but during World War 2 the same area was used as a military camp. Most part of the animals had to leave the territory. Only in 1946, then, Nairobi National Park started to really exist.
About Nairobi National Park
The park covers a total of 117 sq km, in the outskirts of the capital of Kenya. River Mbagathi is the southern board and the only way in and out for the animals. The northern, eastern and western borders consist of long lines of electrified fences so to stop animals from invading the city.
The electricity, anyway, does not hurt them; it only gives them a short physical vibration that mainly scares them. South of the park are the wild regions of Athi-Kapiti and Kitengela, home of great animal migrations. The territory next to the city is grassy and dry. As you get closer to Athi-Kapiti you will meet savannahs and rain forests.
What to see at the Park
If you explore Nairobi National Park you will enjoy the excitement of a real safari without going too far from your city hotel! The wild vegetation and the forests have Nairobi’s buildings as background. So you will admire incredible landscapes together with shining crystal skyscrapers, at sunset.
Animals come and go from the park’s area and they mostly are migrants: zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, elands, gazelles. You will also meet lions, leopards, buffalos and black rhinos. No elephants are allowed at Nairobi National Park, because they can be very dangerous for the nearby city. In certain points of the park – where also hotels, lodges and restaurants are – tourists are allowed to feed giraffes.
A special hospital
Inside the park there is the Nairobi Animal Orphange, which welcomes little ones who have lost their parents, or were abandoned during the migrations. Little animals are cured and fed until they are old enough to go back to wild life. But this Orphange also welcomes wounded animals so to let them recover in a protected place. Giraffes are the symbol of Nairobi National Park, they are cared for and helped a lot. The park provides a “hospital” to cure them, but also a special hotel where tourists can feed them.
How to get there
It is very easy to get to Nairobi National Park. The main entrance is 10 km away from the city centre, so you can get there by bus or book one of the many organized trips for tourists. Since you will certainly land at Keniatta International Airport, the park shall be close to your hotel or lodge.