An animal park in the capital city of Kenya

Nairobi National Park is the oldest of all Kenya's national parks. It is known for its Black Rhino Sanctuary and, despite bordering the city, it is home to lions, leopards and hyenas as well as many other Kenyan animals.

Nairobi national park animals

Its closeness to Nairobi also means it is very accessible to Kenyans and tourists alike who want to experience a safari without having to travel and stay overnight elsewhere.

Situated around the Embakasi River, Nairobi National Park has herds of buffalo and a concentrated population of ostriches. It is also a good place to experience the wildebeest migration in the summer months and to see four of the "Big Five" African animals.

Nairobi National Park facts

Nairobi National park history and overview

Nairobi National Park was established in 1946. It gives visitors a chance to indulge in pure African safari at the footsteps of a major urban center. It is tiny in comparison to many of Kenya's other national parks, and shows how Kenya was in its natural state, when the City of Nairobi was just becoming established over 100 years ago.

Nairobi National Park covers just 117km² (44 square miles), and consists of typical, original Kenyan landscape such as plains, forests, steep gorges and lush vegetation along the banks of the Embakasi River. It has a high-altitude, savannah landscape with acacia trees dotting across the open plains. The park is located just outside of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, and its boundary adjoins the city's industrial area.

The protection of animals such as lions, leopards and rhinos, as well as the black rhino conservation program, so close to a major city sometimes results in conflicts between the local Maasai tribe and the city's four million inhabitants. There are further problems as development continues and air pollution from the nearby industrial area increases. It is quite odd to see a giraffe grazing against the distant backdrop of high-rise buildings!

Giraffes in Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park is perhaps best known for its significant black rhino sanctuary. This is the best place to see these endangered animals in their native environment. There are no elephants in this national park, but four of the "Big Five" can be seen here (lions, leopards, buffalo and rhinos). Other wildlife commonly seen in the national park include giraffes, elands, zebras and wildebeest. As well, hippos and crocodiles can often be spotted along the Embakasi River.

Nairobi National Park attracts over 150,000 visitors who come to the park every year to see the native African wildlife. Carry a notebook and a spotter's guide, as well as plenty of water when you go on safari.

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Nairobi National park - weather and climate

The best season for visitors to Nairobi park is from July through March when the climate is mainly dry and sunny. The rainy season is from April through June. During this time, transport is difficult and it is nearly impossible to view the animals on safari. There may also be some rain from October to December.

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How to get to Nairobi National Park

By road: Nairobi National Park is only 7km from Nairobi's city center via Langata Road and visitors can get there by private or public mass transport.

By Air: You arrive through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Wilson Airports.

What to see and what to do at Nairobi National Park

The annual wildebeest and zebra migration takes place from July to October when 1.5 million animals migrate in search of water and grazing. The best time to see this incredible movement is in July and August.

The endangered black rhinoceros is protected here and the park supplies black rhinos to other national parks. Other major wildlife attractions to the park include the lion, cheetah, leopards, buffaloes, giraffes, hyena and zebras. There are also sanctuaries for rhino breeding, nature trails, hippo pools and an animal orphanage.

Take a game drive to see four of the "Big Five" - lions, leopards, buffalo and rhinos, but no elephants.

Walking trails can be enjoyed, along with five picnic sites.

Bird watching is popular here, with 400 species recorded.

Turtle and tortoise watching can also be enjoyed.

The park is open for game viewing, bush dinners, film production and weddings.

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Nairobi National Park accomodation: hotels and lodges

There is no accommodation or lodges in the park, but lodging is plenty in Nairobi city which is less than 10 KM away from the park. Check out this list of great hotels where you can stay in Kenya including high end to budget hotels in Nairobi.

Best time to visit Nairobi National park, entrance rates and fees

High season is July through March when over 100,000 visitors enjoy seeing the Kenya wildlife in its natural habitat. Avoid the rainy months of March through May. The best times for viewing are early and late in the day, as animals tend to sleep in the hot midday sun.

Park tariffs and entrance fees

  E.A Citizens (KES) E.A Residents (KES) Non- Residents (US$)
Adults 150
300
20
Children/Students 50
150
10

You can also view the latest rates and fees charged to Kenya citizens and non-citizens, as well as the rates for vehicles entering the park.

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