At times, you may find yourself in the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi. It could be for a few days or maybe passing by to connect a flight from another African country. Kenya is known as a good safari destination and most people assume that to go for a safari you ought to have saved up a lot of money and prepared yourself well in advance.
If you happen to find yourself in Nairobi may be for business or you are connecting flight especially now that there will be direct flights from New York City to Nairobi. It is possible to have a little safari experience while still in the city, there are various wildlife sanctuaries you can visit in Nairobi for the few hours you are here.
I will share some of the best places to visit and have a mini safari experience because I know it can’t be a full conversation to say that you have been to Kenya yet you didn’t see any of the wild animals that cover the Savannah grasslands.
Most of these places do not require a big budget or much planning you just show up at the scheduled time, pay the entrance fee and enjoy the experience. If short hikes or jogging is your thing, there are various forest designated areas around Nairobi where you can accomplish this at a minimal amount.
Nairobi National Park
The park is located not far from Nairobi Central Business District and a few minutes drive from the airport. It is covered with open grass plains and scattered acacia bush with a backdrop of the city skyscrapers. There are a variety of wild animals found here including; the black rhino, lions, leopard, cheetahs, buffaloes, hyena, giraffes and a vast species of birdlife.
It also has picnic sites, camping sites and a walking trail for hikers. The picnic sites play host to activities like corporate events, weddings, bush dinners, team building, video and film production.
The park is ideal for day game viewing, you don’t have to go through a travel agent to access the park as there is always a six-sitter van available for hire which comes with a driver and guide. The best time to view wildlife is always early in the morning or late in the evening.
Check out the park fees.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
The trust was founded by Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick in memory of her husband David Sheldrick who was the founding warden of Tsavo East National Park in 1977. This is a haven for orphaned baby elephants and rhinos in the heart of Nairobi National Park.
This nursery is the first stage of orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program, where baby elephants are hand-reared with milk formula and intense care from their caregivers. Once they are 2-3 years old, they are then transferred to the second phase of rehabilitation at the Tsavo East National Park and later released back to the wild.
The trust is open to the public every day for one hour between 1100hrs to 1200hrs with an entry fee of Kshs 500 per person. There is also the option of adopting a baby elephant to $50 per year. As a foster parent, you can arrange for private evening visits between 1700hrs and 1800hrs and get close with the babies.
Check more information from the DSWT site.
Nairobi safari walk & the animal orphanage
Nairobi safari walk is found at the Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarters, which is located at the far end of the Nairobi National Park. The safari walk is a long stretch of raised wooden boardwalk and gives a great view of wild animals. The place shows visitors what to expect when visiting various game parks in Kenya. Animals found here include; rare bongo, white rhino, albino zebra as well as the big cats.
The animal orphanage is about 10 meters from the safari walk, This is a rehabilitation and treatment centre for wild animals who are rescued from the wild either injured or young ones separated from their mothers. The animals found here include; lions, cheetahs, hyena, jackal, serval cat, warthogs, leopard, various monkeys, baboons and buffalo.
Giraffe centre is found 40 minutes from the city centre on the southern end of Nairobi. This is home to the endangered Rothschild giraffe. The establishment aim is to teach environmental conservation to the young ones and host a high number of students every week.
You get to have a close view of the tall animals with some feeding session along the edge. There are also quite a number of warthogs that roam freely with the giraffes. Due to the natural environment, the area also hosts quite a number of bird species.
If you would like more time with the giraffe, we have the luxurious Giraffe Manor which offers special moments with the giraffe poking into the restaurant windows and joining the diners in their feeding time.
Nairobi National Museum
The museum interprets Kenya’s rich heritage and offers its visitors a sample of the people’s heritage both for leisure and education. It is located approximately 10 minutes from the city centre as you head to the western side of Nairobi.
The attractions include; art gallery, temporary exhibitions, botanical garden and nature trails, shopping and dining facilities.
The Nairobi Arboretum can be termed as a small forest in the heart of the city found 10 minutes from the city centre bordering the State House. It is home to exotic and indigenous tree species trails, a great place for that early morning jog along the marked walking trail before you go to your daily business in the city.
The area also provides a great place for picnics, photography, events and bird watching. You also get to learn a lot about the various indigenous trees that cover the skies as monkeys jump from one tree to the next.
Karura forest is located on the northern side of Nairobi, it is one of the largest urban gazetted forests in the world. This is an ideal place for jogging, running or bike riding. There are many attractions in this forest including; caves, scenic water falls and rivers, picnic sites, marked walking trails. Some activities you can engage in include; forest walks and drives, bird watching, butterfly watching, picnic e.t.c.
Other than this daytime activities, Nairobi is known to have an active nightlife that can keep one busy. There are also very good hotels where one can stay while in Nairobi, you can check out some offers below.