Nairobi Overview

Nairobi National Park, a unique conservation area located just a stone’s throw away from Nairobi, Kenya’s bustling capital city, stands as a testament to the country’s commitment to wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism. Established in 1946, it was Kenya’s first national park and is one of the most iconic wildlife parks in Africa. Covering an area of approximately 117 square kilometers (45 square miles), the park is relatively small compared to Kenya’s more expansive wildlife reserves, yet it boasts a remarkable diversity of animals and habitats.

Situated about 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) from Nairobi’s city center, Nairobi National Park offers a surreal juxtaposition of urban and natural landscapes. It is the only wildlife park in the world that borders a capital city, presenting a backdrop where visitors can observe free-roaming wildlife with the city skyline in the distance. The park’s landscape is predominantly open grass plains with scattered acacia bushes, creating an ideal habitat for a variety of wildlife.

Nairobi National Park is home to a wide array of animals, including four of the “Big Five” — lions, leopards, buffaloes, and rhinos. The park is particularly known for its successful rhinoceros sanctuary, which protects one of Kenya’s most successful populations of black rhinoceros, a species critically endangered due to poaching and habitat loss. In addition to these, visitors can expect to see giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, hyenas, and a multitude of bird species, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Despite its proximity to urban development, Nairobi National Park offers an authentic safari experience, with activities including game drives, guided walks, picnics, and bird watching. The park also features the Ivory Burning Site Monument, a symbol of Kenya’s dedication to combating poaching and the illegal ivory trade.

Nairobi National Park is not just a wildlife sanctuary; it’s a vital green space that provides educational and recreational opportunities for locals and tourists alike, highlighting the balance between conservation and urban living. Its existence demonstrates the possibility of coexistence between humans and wildlife, serving as a model for conservation efforts worldwide.

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Park Map
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Nairobi National Park Highlights


Nairobi National Park, nestled on the outskirts of Kenya’s capital, harbors a diverse array of predators crucial for ecosystem balance.

Lion: Majestic and revered, lions roam the savannah, their commanding presence and powerful roars echoing across the plains as they hunt cooperatively in prides.

Leopard: Stealthy and elusive, leopards prowl the park’s woodlands, their spotted coats providing perfect camouflage as they stalk prey with unparalleled precision and agility.

Cheetah: Graceful and swift, cheetahs sprint across the grasslands, their slender bodies and distinctive tear-streak markings making them iconic symbols of speed and grace in Nairobi National Park.


Nairobi National Park, renowned for its proximity to the bustling city, hosts an abundance of iconic wildlife species, each contributing to the park’s rich biodiversity and allure.

African Elephant: Towering and majestic, elephants roam the park’s grasslands, their impressive tusks and gentle demeanor captivating visitors and researchers alike.

Black Rhinoceros: Solitary and elusive, black rhinos traverse Nairobi’s savannah, their thick skin and formidable horns a testament to their resilience in the face of adversity.

Giraffe: Graceful and towering, giraffes graze peacefully on acacia trees, their long necks and distinct patterns adding to the park’s picturesque scenery.

Cape Buffalo: Formidable and gregarious, buffalo herds traverse the plains, their massive horns and collective strength symbolizing the resilience of African wildlife.

Hippo: Semi-aquatic and territorial, hippos bask in the park’s waterways, their formidable jaws and grunting calls adding to the park’s unique ambiance.

Zebra: Striking and sociable, zebra herds traverse Nairobi’s grasslands, their black-and-white stripes creating a mesmerizing sight against the backdrop of the city skyline.

Wildebeest: Migratory and resilient, wildebeest traverse the park in large herds, their annual migrations a testament to the park’s role in East Africa’s ecosystem.

Grant’s Gazelle: Graceful and nimble, Grant’s gazelles dart across the savannah, their elegant leaps and keen eyesight essential for evading predators in the park.

Impala: Agile and alert, impalas graze in open clearings, their speed and agility crucial for escaping the grasp of Nairobi’s resident predators.

Warthog: Quirky and resilient, warthogs roam the park’s grasslands, their distinctive appearance and burrowing behavior adding to the park’s charm.


Nairobi National Park boasts a diverse avian population with over 400 bird species, making it a haven for birdwatchers and ornithologists alike.

African Fish Eagle: Majestic and iconic, African fish eagles soar over the park’s waterways, their distinctive call echoing across the savannah as they hunt for fish.

Secretary Bird: Striking and unique, secretary birds stalk the grasslands, their long legs and powerful kicks making them formidable hunters of snakes and small mammals.

Superb Starling: Vibrant and gregarious, superb starlings flit through the acacia trees, their iridescent plumage adding a splash of color to Nairobi’s landscape.

Lilac-breasted Roller: Stunning and agile, lilac-breasted rollers perch on branches, their aerial acrobatics and vibrant plumage making them a delight to observe for visitors.

Yellow-billed Oxpecker: Symbiotic and vigilant, yellow-billed oxpeckers ride atop large mammals, picking off ticks and insects while providing an additional set of eyes for potential threats.

African Hoopoe: Elegant and distinctive, African hoopoes probe the ground for insects, their unique crown of feathers and distinctive calls making them easy to spot in the park.

Marabou Stork: Towering and scavenging, marabou storks patrol the park’s grasslands, their massive size and bald heads earning them a reputation as efficient scavengers.

Hadada Ibis: Noisy and adaptable, hadada ibises forage in the park’s wetlands, their loud calls and distinctive silhouette adding to the park’s vibrant birdlife.

Pied Kingfisher: Agile and precise, pied kingfishers hover over water bodies, diving with lightning speed to catch fish, their distinctive black-and-white plumage making them easy to identify.

Red-billed Hornbill: Charismatic and resourceful, red-billed hornbills search for insects and fruits, their striking bills and distinctive calls adding to the park’s avian diversity.

Engaging Nairobi National Park

Embark on exhilarating safari drives through Nairobi National Park, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of the African wilderness just a stone’s throw away from Kenya’s bustling capital.

Led by knowledgeable guides, these drives offer the chance to spot iconic African wildlife, including lions, giraffes, zebras, and rhinos, against the backdrop of Nairobi’s skyline.

As you traverse the park’s diverse ecosystems, from savannah grasslands to riverine forests, be prepared for thrilling encounters and unforgettable moments in the heart of nature.

Lace up your boots and set out on guided walking safaris to explore Nairobi National Park from a different perspective. Accompanied by experienced guides, these immersive journeys take you off the beaten path, allowing you to get up close to the park’s flora and fauna.

Delve into the intricate details of the ecosystem as your guide shares fascinating insights into the park’s biodiversity and conservation efforts. With every step, discover hidden gems and marvel at the beauty of the natural world unfolding before your eyes.

Nairobi National Park Trails

Ivory Burning Site Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2 miles (3.2 km) with minimal elevation gain

Description: The Ivory Burning Site Trail offers an easy stroll through Nairobi National Park, leading hikers to the historic site where Kenya famously burned tons of ivory to combat illegal poaching.

Trek along well-marked paths, passing by grassy plains and acacia woodlands.

Enjoy sightings of diverse wildlife such as giraffes, zebras, and antelopes while reflecting on the park’s conservation efforts and the importance of protecting endangered species.

Hippo Pool Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2.5 miles (4 km) with minimal elevation gain

Description: The Hippo Pool Trail provides a leisurely walk to a scenic spot within Nairobi National Park where hippos can often be observed lounging in the water.

Hikers will traverse gentle paths through savannah grasslands, encountering various bird species and small mammals along the way.

Enjoy the tranquil ambiance of the park while admiring views of the skyline dominated by Nairobi’s skyscrapers in the distance.

Observation Hill Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3 miles (4.8 km) with an elevation gain of 328 feet (100 meters)

Description: The Observation Hill Trail leads hikers to the summit of Observation Hill, offering panoramic views of Nairobi National Park and the surrounding landscapes.

Trek through open grasslands and scattered bushes, encountering wildlife such as buffalo and ostriches.

Enjoy the cool breeze and stunning vistas from the hilltop while learning about the park’s ecosystems and conservation efforts through informative signage along the trail.

Nairobi Safari Walk Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 1.5 miles (2.4 km) with minimal elevation gain

Description: The Nairobi Safari Walk Trail provides a guided tour through various habitats within Nairobi National Park, including wetlands, forests, and savannahs.

Hikers will stroll along well-maintained pathways, encountering a variety of wildlife species such as lions, cheetahs, and rhinos in simulated natural environments.

Learn about Kenya’s rich biodiversity and conservation initiatives while enjoying close-up views of animals in their habitats.

Kingfisher Picnic Site Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 1 mile (1.6 km) with minimal elevation gain

Description: The Kingfisher Picnic Site Trail offers a short and easy walk to a scenic picnic spot overlooking a tranquil waterhole within Nairobi National Park.

Hikers will follow shaded pathways lined with acacia trees, enjoying sightings of birds and small mammals along the way.

Relax at the picnic site while observing wildlife and listening to the sounds of nature, making it an ideal outing for families and casual hikers.

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  • Gamewatchers Safaris, Nairobi National Park,, retrieved March 2023.
  • Kenya Wildlife Service, Nairobi National Park,, retrieved March 2023.
  • Lonely Planet, Nairobi National Park,, retrieved March 2023.
  • Magical Kenya, Nairobi National Park,, retrieved March 2023.
  • William, J.G., National Parks of East Africa, HarperCollins Publisher, 1995.