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Nairobi National Park Kenya Safari Experience

Nairobi National Park Kenya Safari Experience

Nairobi National Park is one of the national parks in Kenya, south of Nairobi’s capital, and usually referred to as the world’s wildlife capital. The park is situated just a short drive out of Nairobi’s Central Business District. Just outside the capital, the beautiful park with wide-open grass plains offers a unique backdrop of the city’s skyscrapers. Imagine having a wildlife experience just close to a busy capital.

Nairobi National Park

The scattered acacia bush of Nairobi National Park plays host to a wide variety of wildlife including the endangered black rhino, leopards, lions, cheetahs, buffaloes, hyenas, and giraffes. Over 400 bird species are also recorded within the park borders. Nairobi National Park is sometimes referred to as Kifaru Ark which means “Rhinoceros Sanctuary” and it is one of Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries where visitors can be certain of seeing a black rhinoceros in its natural habitat.

Nairobi National Park was established in 1946, about 7km (4.3 mi) south of Nairobi. Situated close to the capital, the park is fenced on three sides, however, the southern boundary is open allowing migratory wildlife to move between the park and the adjacent Kitengela plains. Increasing human and livestock populations, changing land use, and poaching of wildlife are negatively affecting the park.

Despite its relatively small size, the park boasts a large and varied wildlife population and is one of Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries. Officially opened in 1946, Nairobi National Park was the first national park established in Kenya. The park covers an area of 117.21 square kilometers (45.26 sq. mi), an area smaller compared to most of the national parks in Kenya or Africa generally. In altitude, the park ranges between 1,533 and 1,760 m (5,030 and 5,774 ft.).

The David Sheldrick Trust runs a sanctuary in the park that hand-rears orphaned elephant and rhinoceros calves. These are later released back into secure sanctuaries. Orphaned and sick animals are brought to the sanctuary from all over Kenya. The sanctuary is situated just close to the park’s main entrance and can be visited by tourists on short Kenya safaris to Nairobi National Park.  The sanctuary was set up by Daphine Sheldrick after the death of her husband David Sheldrick, the anti-poaching warden of Tsavo National Park.

Attractions in Nairobi National park

Situated just a few kilometers from Nairobi capital, Nairobi National Park safaris offer great safari memories with attractions to be seen. Here are some of the wildlife species that are hosted in the park and can be seen by tourists.


The park has a large and diverse wildlife population with species found in the park including the African buffalo, Eastern black rhinoceros, baboons, gazelle, Grant’s Zebra, cheetah, Coke’s hartebeest, hippopotamus, lions, African leopard, common eland, impala, Maasai giraffe, and waterbuck.

Masai giraffe
Masai giraffe in Nairobi National Park

The park is home to over 100 mammal species including four of the Big Five (Lion, Buffalo, Leopard, and Rhino). There is a spectacular wildebeest and zebra migration that use the Kitengela Conservation Area and migratory corridor to the south of the park to reach the Athi-Kapiti plains. The wildebeests and zebras migrate during July and August. They disperse over the plains in the wet season and return to the park in the dry season. Large predators like lions, leopards, hyenas, and cheetah are available in the park as well as aggregations of large herbivores like elands, buffalo, zebra, and wildlife.

The best time to see wildlife in the park is during the dry season when the concentration of wildlife in the park is greatest. Small dams built along the Mbagathi River give the park more water resources than outside areas which attract water-dependent herbivores during the dry season.


The park has a high diversity of bird species with up to 500 permanent and migratory species. The dams have created a man-made habitat for birds and aquatic species. With over 500 bird species recorded in the park, Nairobi National Park probably gives Kenya’s capital the longest bird list all in world cities. Some of the bird species that live in the area include the restricted-range Jackson’s widowbird which breeds in the park regularly after good rains. Other grassland birds include ostriches, secretary birds, and bustards. Other bird species include the Black-headed heron, Blacksmith Lapwing, Common moorhen, and Long-tailed fiscal.

Nairobi National Park is unique in the fact that it is the only protected area in the world with a variety of animals and birds close to a capital city. Being the principal attraction for visitors on wildlife safaris in Kenya, do not miss out on visiting the park during a visit to Kenya’s capital.  With such unique experiences, Kenya is indeed worth visiting with Maasai Mara Game Reserve being one of the popular Kenya tourism destinations worth visiting.

Kenya is bordered by several East African countries that offer great wildlife and primate tracking experiences. Tanzania safaris are one of the most appreciated wildlife tours, Uganda gorilla safaris, or Rwanda gorilla tours for both mountain gorillas and chimpanzee trekking trips.

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