Overview – Nairobi NP

Anthony Ham
Expert
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Nairobi National Park lies within sight of Nairobi city, and animals can be seen against a backdrop of high-rise buildings. The park’s proximity to a large urban center is unique in Africa and wildlife viewing is surprisingly good. Most big safari animals are present (except elephants). There is a small walk at the entrance leading through indigenous forest, and several wildlife enclosures.

Best Time to Go June to September (Little to no rainfall)
High Season December to March and July to October (Busy)
Size 117km² / 45mi²
Altitude 1,511-1,754m / 1,040-2,589ft

Pros & Cons

  • Good wildlife viewing with most safari animals present
  • Easy day or half-day trip from Nairobi
  • Interesting photo possibilities with animals against city backdrop
  • Safari boardwalk with unusual animals, including bongo antelope
  • Animal orphanage
  • High density of black rhino
  • The proximity to the city lacks wilderness appeal
  • No elephants
  • Only one lodge inside the park

Nairobi NP Safari Reviews

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  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
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  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Nairobi NP has a decent variety of wildlife. Aside from elephants, all of the Big Five are present. There is a good population of both black and white rhino and the latter are often seen grazing on the open plains. Leopards are shy, but lion, cheetah and hyena are regularly spotted. In July and August, a mini migration of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle crosses into the park from the surrounding areas.

Scenery

Most of Nairobi National Park consists of open grassland. The city’s high-rise buildings are visible and, from a wilderness point of view, are quite disturbing – although it does create opportunities for unusual pictures. The Athi river track in the south of the park offers views over the scenic waterway, ridge and cliffs. The safari walk at the entrance of the park meanders through a beautiful patch of indigenous forest.

Weather & Climate

The weather is predictable at Nairobi National Park as it adheres to longstanding climatic patterns. The Dry season (June to October) is marked by an absence of rain and loads of sunshine. The Wet season (November to May) has two periods of rain (November to December, and March to May), with an intervening period of drier weather. The park’s high altitude means cool air is the norm at night.

Best Time to Visit

Visitors will be treated to dust-free skies and an abundance of baby animals and migratory birds during the wettest period of the year (March to May). However, the wildlife will be harder to track down and driving conditions will be testing, to say the least. Your best bets for animal spotting are the other months of the year, which are drier and sunnier.

Want to Visit Nairobi NP?

Nairobi NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Mark Eveleigh  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mark is a travel writer who grew up in Africa and has written over 700 titles for CNN Traveller, Travel Africa, BBC Wildlife and others.

Unspoiled savannah in the shadow of the concrete jungle
5/5

Within 20 minutes of collecting my bag at Nairobi international airport I’m already driving through seemingly endless savannah on the trail of hunting lions. Nairobi National Park is often overlooked – and occasionally actively scorned...

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Latest User Review
Doug Greenberg  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Oct 29, 2019
Amazing wildlife experience right on the edge of the big city
5/5

My wife and I went on a ten-day safari to Kenya and northern Tanzania in September 2019. We visited the Masai Mara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and Tanagire and Amboseli National Parks. The adventure involved a lot of...

Full Review