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Introduction - Road - Park & Map - Places/Things to see - Pictures - Park fact - Wildlife - Fees - Climate - Camping - Lodges

The Nairobi National Park is an unique preserved area of savannah stretching along the urban capital Nairobi. Famous for being the only reserve in the world bordering a capital city, the park is one of Kenya's main attractions for tourists and locals.

Nairobi National Park is Kenya's first National park (
Read also the history of the park.) and at its main entrance sits the Kenya Wildlife Service HeadquarterN and its training institute, OrphanageN, Safari WalkN, Ranger's restaurant and Ivory Burning Memorial SiteN.

To find out what to do around the park, see our "Nairobi Safari Tour" describing most popular sites (Karen Blixen Museum, Ngong Hills, Giraffe and Sheldrick Center, Utamaduni Craft Centre, etc…)

kenya road map
How to get there :
The usual access of the park is through the K.W.S. Headquarters situated on Langata Road at 7 km from the City center.
The park has also two secondary gates along Mombasa Road and three on Magadi Road.
Distance Nairobi City Center-K.W.S. Center : 7 km

The park features a large range of natural and artificial environments. It consists mainly of savannah and grass plains (Athi/Kapiti plains) soaked by permanent rivers. Dams have been set up on secondary rivers to disperse over the plains permanent water plans and wetlands. The western side is highlands covered by dry forests and dense riverine vegetation.

The park is a seasonal park and is dependent to the annual migrations. Although the western and northern sides of the park are fenced, the southern part is completely open allowing animals to migrate. They usually leave the park through the Kitengela corridor/Athi plains late March, come back late July, then they leave the park in November to finally come back in January. Lastly, the number of wildlife has declined due to the urbanisation of Kitengela.

The southern track running along the Mbagathi/Athi river is the most interesting as it has picnic sites, view points over escarpmentsN and cliffsN, artificial dams and a walking trail at the Hippo poolN.

The park is well managed by the K.W.S. and the 150 km of tracks and signposts are good. The two main attractions in the K.W.S. HeadquarterN are the Animal orphanageN and the Nairobi Safari WalkN and they are both worth a visit.
 NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK      Flash (full size) --- GIF (full Size)
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wildife safari nairobi
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 WILDLIFE IN THE PARK :   Animals easily seen in the park are Maasai giraffe, eland, Thomson's and Grant's gazelles, impala, African buffalo, waterbuck, baboon, warthog and rock hyrax. Zebra and gnu can be seen during the migration period (August-September). The park, known for its rhino sanctuary, is also the natural habitat of the black rhinoceros and it is almost sure that you'll spot a black rhinoceros in his own habitat. Leopard, lion and cheetah are hard to spot. Among the birds, we quote mainly the ostrich, eagles, vultures, secretary bird and plenty of water birds - See full list of wildlife seen in the park - Print a checklist for your next safari !!

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 HIPPO POOL :   The hippo pool offers a pleasant walk in a riverine woodland near the Athi river. Hippopotamus are rarely seen but crocodiles are sometimes there, so if you don't feel doing the walk, you can still ask to the Ranger which surveys the area or to Maasai who is there for photo-business. The parking area is large but the picnic site is not attractive at all. Nevertheless, doing the walk is a good experience with a typical "African" smell, fauna and flora : calabash trees populated by family of Vervet monkeys, huge bee's nests and safari ants crossing the path - See small map

nairobi safari
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 BABOON ESCARPMENT :   Situated at the south border of the park, this impressive viewpoint looks out onto the dense vegetation and cliffs down the escarpment where runs the Mbagathi river. There is space for parking and small huts with table for picnic but the baboon can be very disturbing when it is about food. At least, the small rock hyrax which are always sitting on the rock of the viewpoint awaiting for biscuit are funny to watch and are not as disturbing as the monkeys. Note that the two slopes between the Baboon escarpment and the Leopard cliff are very very steep and that the road,still accessible with a saloon car, has big potholes.

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 LEOPARD CLIFF :   Further North to the Baboon escarpment is the Leopard cliff. Quite similar to the Baboon escarpment, the place has a denser vegetation and small forest. The parking area is very small (space for 3 to 4 cars max.) and there is no picnic site so no baboons.

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 IMPALA OBSERVATION POINT :   Also located in the highlands, the Impala Observation point is the best place of the park to picnic or to have a break. Fresh grassy-area surrounding by acacia trees, the picnic site is well maintained and there is a large hut where you can rest while admiring the view over the plains. Binoculars are welcome. Note also that toilet are available on the site.

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 IVORY MEMORIAL BURNING SITE :   Nothing much to see except a memorial plate refering to the burning of an ivory stock worth Kshs. 60 million by the former President Daniel Arap Moi to reinforce Kenyan commitment to fight elephant and rhino poaching and implement the ivory ban in all Africa. Nowadays, the large growing population of elephants and rhinoceros in all national parks has proof that the K.W.S. has managed to reduce poaching in Kenya. But, they are no elephants in Nairobi National Park.

nairobi safari
 HYRAX VALLEY/HIGHLANDS :   The Hyrax valley and the north-western part of the park are the places to go to spot animals. Girafe, gazelle, impala, buffalo and eland are commonly seens. Lions like also to stay in the highlands which look out onto the plains where mammals wander and graze and leopards like also to stay in the dense covered forest of the highlands but it is very hard to see them as there are very few lions and leopards remaining in the park. Note that there is also a good picnic site in the Hyrax valley near an artificial dam.

nairobi safari
 NAROGOMAN DAM :   This artificial dam, the highest and biggest dam of the park, is located near the main entrance and is the first thing that you will see when entering the park (just after the Ivory Memorial Burning site). Habitat for birds, the dam overlooks the Athi/Kapiti plains with the Mua and Kugumbi hills (eastern view) and the Ngong Hills (western view).

Rhino safari
 BLACK RHINO POINT :   The Nairobi National Park is the most important black rhinoceros conservation centre of Kenya and big black Rhinoceros are easily seen in the Athi plains as there are currently more than fifty black rhinoceros wandering in the plains. But you must take care not to be to close to them as black rhinoceros is much more dangerous and violent than the white rhinoceros and a rhino charge can terribly damaged your car.

KWS safari
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 K.W.S. HEADQUARTERS :   This big complex located on Langata Road is the National headquarter of the Kenyan Wildlife Service and is the place to go to obtain or refill your smartcard which is a very important step to get access to the National park (as most national parks can not load your card with money, so must be sure to have enough money on your card before going) or get an update of the different loading point in Kenya, to get information about National Parks in Kenya (fees, state of road, escort time table, brochures, etc…). The office to reload your smartcard is open daily from 6 am to 6 pm.
Feel free to contact them or visit their website to get the last tariffs, to know more about the Smarcard scheme or to book K.W.S. bandas.
Kenya Wildlife Service Tourism Department - Tel: +254 (0)20 501081/2, 602345. Email:kws@kws.org - Website: http://www.kws.org.

safari walk
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 NAIROBI SAFARI WALK :   The Nairobi Safari Walk is a K.W.S. Conservation project seeking to aware visitors to Kenyan's wildlife and their habitats. It has been created to provide a higher standard of conservation project. The safari walk on the wooden-deck is a recreative experience. Still in progress (but almost finish), the number of animals is less than in the K.W.S. Orphanage - See list of animals seen in the Safari Walk.
Open daily from 8 am to 6 pm.
Fees resident : Adult - 200 Kshs and Child - 100 Kshs
Fees non-resident : Adult - 8 USD and Child - 5 USD

orphanage nairobi
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  K.W.S. ORPHANAGE :   One of the most visited place of the K.W.S., the orphanage was established in 1964 to protect abandoned, orphaned or injured animals found in Kenyan national parks and to release them free into the wilderness whenever it is possible. Nevertheless, unique species have found their place into the orphanage, becoming a mix between a zoo and an orphanage. Since the creation of the safari walk, it seems that the problem has been resolved and the place will become an orphanage for the rehabilitation of wounded animals. Orphans are lions, leopard, cheetahs, hyenas, ostriches, zebras, chimpanzee, baboons, buffalo and the internationally known baby oryx, Valentine who has been adopted by a lioness in the Samburu park in 2002 and has made the headlines all over the world - See list of animals seen in the Orphanage.
Open daily from 8 am to 6 pm and feeding time is from 1pm to 2pm.
Fees resident : Adult - 200 Kshs and Child - 100 Kshs
Fees non-resident : Adult - 8 USD and Child - 5 USD

nairobi safari
 UTAMADUNI, GIRAFFE AND SHELDRICK'S CENTERS, MAMBA VILLAGE, KAREN BLIXEN MUSEUM AND NGONG HILLS :   There are also a lot of places to see around the National Park in the Karen, Langata and Hardy estates. The "Utamaduni" is a craft center and the "Girafe center" is the place to go to feed giraffes. The "Sheldrick center" is an elephant and rhinoceros orphanage, the ""Mamba village" is a crocodile farm and the "Karen Blixen" house is a museum. See our one-day safari tour webpage - called "Nairobi Safari Tour" - to know more about the other sites located near by the park.

.  PICTURES GALLERY - DIAPORAMA.        See the picture's list for Nairobi N.P.       SEARCH: in
Places to see (26 pic.)
Safari walk (1) - K.W.S. Orphanage (1) - H.Q. (5)
Narogoman Dam (0) - Ivory site (2) - Hippo Pool (12)
Baboon escarpment (8) - Leopard cliff (3)
Impala observation point (1)
Landscape (6 pic.)
Nairobi park (5) - Nairobi plains (1)
Ngong hills (0) - others (0)
Animals pictures (21 pic.)
Hyrax (6) - Impala (1)
Giraffe (1) - Birds (3)
Eland (1) - Vervet monkey (6)
nairobi park KWS nairobi park pic nairobi park impala

 Altitude : 1'470 - 1'525 m (4'825 - 5'000 ft)
 Area : 117 km2 (24 km at it's longest dimension).
 Localisation : Near the City center of Nairobi (District of Nairobi)
 Distance : 7 km from Nairobi
 Entrances : the park has six entrances (K.W.S., Cheetah, East, Langata, Banda and Maasai gates).
 Historic : Opened in December 1946. Ivory burn in 1989.
Read also the history of the park
 Attractions :
   o Annual wildebeest and zebra migration in July and August.
   o Black Rhinoceros Sanctuary in its natural habitat.
   o 400 bird species.
   o Walking trail at Hippo pool.
   o Main picnic sites - Baboon escarpment/Leopard cliff.
   o View points in the highlands over the plains.
   o Ivory burning site monument.
   o Visit of the K.W.S. headquarter and its orphanage and safari-walk.
   o Large predators - cheetah, lion and leopard - in K.W.S. orphanage
   o Road good for saloon car all year round.

 WILDLIFE/VEGETATION  --> Just click on the name to see snapshots and a fact sheet of the animal...
!! Print a checklist for your next safari !!
Antelopes and gazelles (per alphabetic order) :
Bushbuck - Dik-dik (Kirk's) - Duiker (Common) - Eland - Gazelle (Grant’s) - Gazelle (Thomson's) - Gnu (White-bearded) - Hartebeest (Coke's) - Impala - Klipspringer - Reedbuck (Chanler’s mountain) - Steinbok - Suni - Waterbuck (Common) - Waterbuck (Defassa) -
Other ungulates and mammals :
Buffalo (Cape) - Giraffe (Maasai) - Hippopotamus - Hyrax (Bruce’s) - Hyrax (Rock) - Hyrax (Southern Tree) - Rhinoceros (Black) - Warthog (Common) - Zebra (Common) -
Carnivores :
Aardwolf - Caracal - Cat (African Wild) - Cheetah - Hyena (Spotted) - Hyena (Striped) - Jackal (Black-backed) - Jackal (Common) - Jackal (Side-striped) - Leopard - Lion - Mongoose (Banded) - Mongoose (Dwarf) - Mongoose (Marsh) - Mongoose (Slender) - Mongoose (White-tailed) - Otter (Clawless) - Ratel - Serval - Zorilla -
Primates :
Baboon (Savannah) -
Others (rabbits, hares, insectivores) :
Aardvak -
Vegetation :
The main vegetation is dry savanna and grass plains with some acacia bushes (Athi and Embakasi plains). But the park has also permanent rivers (Mbagathi, Mokoyeti and Kisembe rivers) and therefore riverine forests mainly composed of yellow-acacia trees (called also "fever tree"). The upper-part of the park on the western side is mainly composed of dry forest (Kenya olive muhungu, ekebergia, makhamia and Cape chestnut) and the gorges and deep rocky valleys of scrub, long grass, broken bush and other plants unique to he Nairobi area.
Is wildlife at Nairobi National Park in danger ? :
Lastly many issues regarding the depredation of livestock have been raised as the number of wildlife in the park has drastically declined since 1997. The park was in the past the favourite destination for migrating herbivores in search of fresh grasses as it was opened and animals were freely passing through the Athi-Kapiti plains and the Kitengela corridor. During the El-Nino rains in 1997, most of the park were flooded and wildlife had to leave the park southwards to the Maasai open plains. Since the heavy rains, wildife and mirating herbivores do not stay in the park (or can't even enter the park). In 2003, the last censuses have not recorded more than 20 gnus and 9 lions in the park (while there were about 35 lions between 1992 and 1998).

The increase of population living in Kitengela, the enlargment of the industrial area and housing estates bordering the park and, recently, the killing of predators (27 of the 40 lions which had to leave the park due to lack of food) by Maasai Moran to protect their cattle, have obliged the KWS to review their management plan for the park : the full fencing of the park to concentrate wildlife in the park and control the livestock by opening the Kitengela corridor gate only when needed.
   ->Read more "Future of lions in the Nairobi National Park" by Steve Njumbi for East African Standard.
   ->Get the latest news about Nairobi National Park with Google News
Antelopes and gazelles (per alphabetic order) :
Bongo - Gazelle (Thomson's) - Gnu (White-bearded) - Impala -
Other ungulates and mammals :
Buffalo (Cape) - Warthog (Common) -
Carnivores :
Cheetah - Hyena (Spotted) - Leopard - Lion -
Primates :
Others (rabbits, hares, insectivores) :
Antelopes and gazelles (per alphabetic order) :
Oryx (Beisa) -
Other ungulates and mammals :
Zebra (Common) -
Carnivores :
Cheetah - Hyena (Spotted) - Leopard - Lion -
Primates :
Baboon (Savannah) - Colobus (Eastern Black-White) -
Others (rabbits, hares, insectivores) :

Smartcard is needed to enter.

Source : K.W.S. park tariffs
Adult resident - 500 Kshs
Children resident - 200 Kshs
Adult non resident - 30 US
Children non resident - 10 US

Less than 6 seat - 200 Kshs
6 to 12 seats - 500 Kshs

  There are no public campsite in the park; neither around the park.

 LODGES, TENTED CAMPS & HOTELS (in/around the park) Report broken link - Keep me up-to-date
There is no accommodation within the park but the park being very close to Nairobi and it's suburbs, a large choice of excellent accommodation, from international branch hotels to local hotels, is available for any budget.

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