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Wildlife near the capital

At only 7 kilometres from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi National Park has a savannah teeming with wildlife and a wonderful view of the Nairobi skyline. The collection of wildlife is really impressive. The park is home to the world's largest number of the almost extinct black rhinos, as well as buffalos, lions and zebras.

The park entrance is only a 15-minute drive from Nairobi. Although the park literally borders onto the backyards of some houses, you may still be able to spot 4 of the Big Five on a safari. The only animal of the Big Five you will certainly not encounter is the African elephant. Although Nairobi National Park is very compact and one of Africa’s smallest wildlife parks in terms of space, it is still home to at least 100 species of mammals and 400 species of birds: a wonderful spot to take some beautiful photos.

Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park

Nairobi

Temporary park residents

The national park is enclosed by gates on 3 of its 4 sides so the wildlife is free to leave the area. The zebras and wildebeests migrate every year around July and August – a truly spectacular sight. In addition to the enormous variety of mammals, the park is also home to approximately 400 species of birds. Around 20 of those migrate here every year from Europe.

Migrating wildebeests in Nairobi National Park
The Ivory Burning Site Monument: a fist against poaching

An end to the ivory trade

The actions of poachers have caused several animal species, such as the Western black rhino, to become extinct in recent decades. Together with other countries, Kenya has called for a halt to poaching: in 1989 the Kenyan president burned 12,000 pounds of confiscated tusks. The historic Ivory Burning Site Monument near the main entrance of the gate commemorates this event. Other burnings have occurred since then. Although poachers are still active, Kenya’s elephant population has been growing steadily in recent years.

Giraffes in the house

In 1979, the now-deceased Jock Leslie and his wife Betty opened their house to care for a young Rothschild’s giraffe. This giraffe subspecies, identifiable by a brown-yellow pattern up to its knee, had almost become extinct; the remaining population was estimated at just 120 animals. The couple’s calling grew into a giraffe conservation centre south of Nairobi, where, to this very day, newborn giraffes are cared for until they are able to live independently on the savannahs.

Photo credits

  • The Ivory Burning Site Monument: a fist against poaching: Cheryl Q, Flickr