After visiting three absolutely awesome Kenyan national parks, I had two days to kill at Sankara Nairobi Hotel before starting the journey home. In for a penny, in for a pound: with time on my hands I couldn’t resist booking another safari in Nairobi National Park (NNP) on the day before departure. The park entrance is only 7 km (4.3 mi) from the center of Nairobi, a city with a population of nearly five million people.

Home to more than 100 mammal species including lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino, and hundreds of bird species, NNP is the only wildlife park in the world located so close to a major metropolis. This park is small compared to other Kenyan national parks. It covers an area of 117 sq km (45 sq miles) of the Athi-Kapiti plain at about 5000-6000 feet (1500-1800 meters) above sea level. 

The park is bounded on three sides by electrified fences. The southern boundary is open to the Kitengela Conservation Area (located immediately south of the park) and the southern Athi-Kapiti plains allowing migratory species to roam.

My guide for the half-day tour was secured on short notice with the help of the hotel concierge. I met him at the hotel at 07:00 and we were at the park entrance about 25 minutes later.

Here are photos form the safari.

Grazers galore.

NNP is one of the most successful rhino sanctuaries in Kenya and one of only a few places left in the world where visitors are virtually guaranteed a sighting of the critically endangered eastern black rhino. 

The main difference between white and black rhinos is the upper lip. White rhinos have square upper lips while black rhinos have hooked upper lips. The rhino adult and calf photographed in the distance are black rhinos I believe.

A small river was dammed to create a larger habitat for hippos and waterfowl.

Baboons liked to hang out by tracks in areas with trees and bushes.

Ostriches were numerous in all of the parks I visited. Surprisingly, these plump, tasty looking flightless birds thrive in environments filled with large, voracious predators. Adult ostriches can reach speeds up to 43.5 mph (70km/h) and pack a kick powerful enough to kill a lion.

Wildlife, except for curious baboons, pay little attention to safari vehicles and the humans inside. We came upon a lioness as she began to stalk prey. She didn’t get close enough to attack before we drove off.

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A pair of black-backed jackals were trotting along a road.

We came across giraffe, buffalo, gazelle, impala, warthogs, hartebeests and various other species from time to time.

NNP has no free-roaming elephants. The David Sheldrick Trust runs a sanctuary in the park that rears orphaned elephant and rhinoceros calves and later releases them into secure sanctuaries. Orphaned and sick animals are brought to the sanctuary from all over Kenya. The sanctuary is located close to the park’s main entrance. To visit, book a reservation in advance.

Getting to Nairobi National Park

Getting to the park from Nairobi is easy even if you aren’t on a tour. Public transportation is available, but just call for an Uber or Bolt on their apps and you don’t have to worry about minibus schedules and pick-up points.

You can hire a guide at the park or online. Guides are reasonably priced. The ones without websites cost less.

Admission

Non residents of Kenya and other East African countries who visit during the low season (March to June) pay $40 per adult per day and $20 per child 3 – 11 years of age. Children under three are free. If visiting during the high season (July to February) the entry fee is $60 per adult per day. The fee, if any, for children is the same all year.

Camping

There are three public campsites within the park, all of which offer electricity, hot water showers, and communal kitchens. If you don’t have a tent, you can rent one from the main gate. Nairobi Tented Camp is more of a “glamorous camping” experience. It includes nine luxurious permanent tents with en-suite bathrooms.

Overall Impression

While large parks with open savannahs like Maasai Mara, Amboseli and Tsavo are more authentic safari experiences, Nairobi National Park is perfect for visitors to Kenya’s capital to get a taste of an African safari experience. This park is no zoo. Animals come and go as they please and survive in accordance with the law of the jungle. It was pretty cool to see them going about their business so close to a big city.

I invite you to view other posts from the Kenya trip in May 2022.

Flights

Delta A220-100 Economy Comfort+ Dallas, TX to Detroit, MI

Delta One Suite Review – A350-900 Atlanta, Ga to Amsterdam

KLM 787-10 World Business Class – Amsterdam, Netherlands to Nairobi, Kenya

748 Air Services Dash-8 Q-400 Economy Class Mombasa to Nairobi, Kenya

Kenya Airways 787-8 Business Class Nairobi, Kenya to Johannesburg, South Africa

Air France 777-300 Business Class Johannesburg, South Africa to Paris, France

Air France 787-9 Business Class Paris, France to Dallas, TX

Sights

Maasai Mara National Reserve Safari

Dawn Balloon Safari – Maasai Mara

A Peek At Village Life On The Maasai Mara – Photo Review

Maasai Mara To Amboseli National Park – Road Trip Photo Report

Amboseli National Park – Mount Kilimanjaro’s Gift

Kisite-Mpunguti National Marine Park & Reserve

Nairobi National Park Safari

Nights

AA Mara Safari Lodge – Masaai Mara National Reserve

AA Lodge Amboseli – Hotel Review

Prideinn Paradise Beach Resort Mombasa – Hotel Review

Sankara Nairobi, Marriott Autograph Collection – Hotel Review

Lounges

A Decent U.S. Airline Domestic Lounge – Atlanta (ATL) Concourse E Delta Sky Club Review

Amsterdam Lounge Review – KLM Crown Lounge 52

Kenya Airways Pride and Simba Lounges Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Nairobi

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse – Johannesburg, South Africa

Air France Lounge Terminal 2E Hall K, Charles de Gaulle International Airport Paris