Nairobi National Park

Travel Guide Africa Kenya Nairobi National Park

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Introduction

Nairobi National Park is the closest National Park to Nairobi in Kenya. It is located a mere half hour drive from the city, making it a good destination for a day trip. Established in 1946, the national park was Kenya's first national park. Nairobi's skyscrapers can be seen from the park. The proximity of urban and natural environments has caused conflicts between the animals and local people and threatens animals' migration routes.

Still, despite its proximity to civilisation and relative small size for an African national park, Nairobi National Park boasts a large and varied wildlife population. Migrating herbivores gather in the park during the dry season, and it is one of Kenya's most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries.

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Geography

The park covers an area of 117.21 square kilometres and is small in comparison to most of Africa's national parks. The park's altitude ranges between 1,533 and 1,760 metres. It has a dry climate. The park is the only protected part of the Athi-Kapiti ecosystem, making up less than 10% of this ecosystem. The park has a diverse range of habitats and species.

The park is located about 7 kilometres from the Nairobi's centre. There is electric fencing around the park's northern, eastern, and western boundaries. Its southern boundary is formed by the Mbagathi River. This boundary is not fenced and is open to the Kitengela Conservation Area (located immediately south of the park) and the Athi-Kapiti plains. There is considerable movement of large ungulate species across this boundary.

The fence that separates the park from the city runs along a highway leaving the airport, this is one fact many Kenyans are proud of - this park is the only natural safari park that has a city scape background that can be seen from almost any part of the park, as seen in the picture below of the giraffe and the sky scrapers.

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Sights and Activities

The park has a large and diverse wildlife population.[6] Species found in the park include Cape buffaloes, baboons, eastern black rhinos, gazelles, zebras, Tanzanian cheetahs, Coke's hartebeest, hippopotami, leopards, Masai lions, elands, impala, Masai giraffes, ostriches, vultures and waterbucks.

Herbivores, including wildebeest and zebra, use the Kitengela conservation area and migration corridor to the south of the park to reach the Athi-Kapiti plains. They disperse over the plains in the wet season and return to the park in the dry season. The concentration of wildlife in the park is greatest in the dry season, when areas outside the park have dried up. Small dams built along the Mbagathi River give the park more water resources than these outside areas. They attract water dependent herbivores during the dry season. The park is the northern limit for wildlife migrations in the dry season. The park has a high diversity of bird species, with up to 500 permanent and migratory species in the park. Dams have created a man-made habitat for birds and aquatic species.

The David Sheldrick Trust runs a sanctuary in the park that hand-rears orphaned elephant and rhinoceros calves, and later releases them back 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. It was opened in 1963. It was set up by Daphne Sheldrick after the death of her husband David Sheldrick, the anti-poaching warden of Tsavo National Park. Nairobi National Park is sometimes called Kifaru Ark, which means "Rhinoceros Sanctuary". It is one of Kenya's most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries, and it is one of only a few parks where visitors can be certain of seeing a black rhinoceros in its natural habitat.

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Getting There and Around

Nairobi National Park is one of the only natural game reserves in the world that is inside a city. Located just 10 mins from the city centre off Langata Road,its ideal to get your first feel of what Kenya has to offer, or for those quick visits without the time to see the Mara, Serengeti, Amboseli, etc., it's the ideal park to visit. You will be most comfortable in a four wheel drive, van, jeep, or truck, as the terrain remains natural and rough. You can use a saloon,though it will most definitely be a rough drive.

There are many car hire firms that offer pick-ups and drops in vans, costing Ksh 6000-15,000 per day.

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Eat/Drink

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This is version 1. Last edited at 8:23 on Sep 4, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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