Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park despite its relatively modest size is one of East Africa’s, Africa’s and the world’s most diverse and interesting protected park. The Park has so many different habitats, represented, ranging from savannah grasslands, open woodland, scrub, bushed thickets and dry wetland forest, others includes rocky gorges, wetlands, rivers and streams.
Nairobi National Park
exceptionally varied native flora comprising plants of more than 100 species, This iconic national park has more than 500 Bird species recorded and plausibly the longest bird list in all cities of the world, largely contributed by the park having many different habitats, each containing different species of birds.
Nairobi National Park was on news recently a bird (Violet - tipped Courser or Brown winged Courser) seen 30 years ago was spotted by group of renowned ornithologists among them, Dale Zimmerman (the man behind Kenya’s and Tanzania’s first definitive field guide to birds — "Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania" — which for the first time, described and illustrated each of the 1,100 bird species of East Africa) on a birding tour in the year 2016.
This extraordinary concentration of biodiversity is more remarkable for the fact that the park uniquely is located within the precincts of a major capital city.
With a size of 117km2 and established in 1946 Nairobi National Park is Kenya’s oldest designated conservation area.It has also gained prominence as a secure refuge and breeding ground of global significance for endangered black and white rhinoceros.
The ivory burning site is close to the main gate,here more than 150 tonnes of ivory from both elephants and rhinos have been burnt, the first 12 tonnes were burned in 1989 by the then president Daniel arap Moi, “there was a desperate measure meant to send a message to the world about poaching of Kenya’s Elephant”
The second burning happened in 2016, 105 tons of elephant tusks and 1.35 tons of rhino horns were reduced to smoldering ash, here visitor are allowed to alight from their cars and take photos of ash pile
Nairobi National Park lies in a transition zone between two of Africa’s great ecosystems- the savannahs stretching from northern Tanzania to Laikipia, near Mount Kenya and the forest Kenya highlands.
The combination of available water and a moderate climate (neither too hot and dry nor too cold and wet) has made this transition zone an important area for wildlife. The park acts as a dry- season refuge.
In wet season animals move out of the park to take advantage of seasonally lush pastures on the plains to the south and east of the park.
The park straddles two distinct zones, the smaller to the west and north west, here the terrain is more elevated, and ranging in altitude from 1700 -1780 m (5600-5847ft) the zone receives significantly higher rainfall.
Second zone which is much larger is characterized by short grass plains with scattered trees and shrubs extends east and south via rocky gullies and scraps in central areas of the park down into the Athi Basin .
The altitude drops below 1700-1540 m (5060ft) and temperatures are quite higher. Tall trees only found on river banks and valleys.
The park gives the Kenyan capital a tourist attraction like no other, it is an important money spinner for the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), while providing city dwellers with tranquil, scenic retreat from the stresses of daily urban life.
It functions as the “lungs” of today’s choked overcrowded city, replenishing oxygen and soaking up pollutants
Nairobi National Park open daily from 6:30 am to 6:00pm in the evening viewing is generally most rewarding early morning (between 6:30 am to 11:00am) and in the afternoon starting from 3:30pm
Road conditions: being gravel or murram surfaced, all major circuits in the park are passable year round except in some small tracks with black cotton soil which become waterlogged after the rains.
There are several designated picnic sites within the park, where you are entitled to get out of your car, examples; Kingfisher picnic site, Mokoyeti, Impala observation point and Hippo pools,for birding they tend to be productive because here you have a chance of walking and interact closer with nature
Other attractions within the Nairobi National Park includes:
Nairobi Animal Orphanage- established in Nov 1963 as a refuge for wild animals found abandoned orphaned or injured in the wild
Nairobi Safari Walk- opened in the year 2000; you view animals from vantage points on a circuit of raised wooden boardwalks and gravel pathways
Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage- founded in 1987 for abandoned, injured baby elephants/rhinos
Open to public for one hour starting from 11:00- 12:00 hrs
On a normal day more than 100 bird species may be seen/recorded in a day's tour.With over 500 birds species.
Nairobi National Park has gained prominence as a locale that offers astounding birding, despite its close proximity to the city and relative small size. Its the most visited park in Kenya by birders.
Four of the big five mammals ( Lion, Buffalo, Rhino, Leopard) are normally encountered in the park,