Nairobi is one of the few cities with a national park right next to it. The national park is actually right across the street from my office, and I often stare out at it whenever I go up our glass elevators. It’s quite big–you can’t even really see where it ends from my office. Some of my coworkers who live in Karen drive through the park every day to get to and from work, and they post photos of a group of lions by the side of the road on their way home. Crazy right? It’s typically hard to see wildlife from the road though, and to get a good luck, you usually have to get up by 6am when the animals are out.
You can drive around yourself in the park as long as you stick to the roads. Mike and I haven’t really been though since a) we don’t feel like waking up at 6am on the weekend, and b) it’s a bit far from where we live and we usually stick close to our neighborhood due to traffic. But one weekend my coworker invited us to his house for lunch and he lives even further from us than the national park, so we decide to visit the park before we go visit him. Since we don’t wake up super early, we decide just to check out the Safari Walk, which is a sectioned off area of the park. We have friends who bring their kids on the weekend. You go through the entrance of Nairobi National Park off of Langata Rd (just past Wilson Airport), and the Safari Walk is on the right hand side of the parking lot.
But we get to the ticket gate and it’s more like a zoo. Mike and I aren’t big fans of zoos at all since it’s so sad to see the animals locked up. But we were there already, so…I guess if you were going to have a zoo, the Safari Walk is a better model. The animals have a larger space to walk around and it’s their native environment, so there’s not a lot of fake habitat. But what ends up happening is that since it’s natural brush, you can get to an exhibit and not see the animals at all since they are hiding in the bush or trees. We were lucky to get a few peeks of some of the animals, so I’m sharing those photos here.
When we got to the lion exhibit, we couldn’t see any lions since they were hiding. But after we left and were walking away, we heard these crazy loud roars! We saw a groundskeeper and he told us it was the lions. So we ran back and there they were, coming out of the bush. The sound was like nothing I’d ever heard. Much louder than you think.
Next time we are going to wake up early to drive around the park – no more Safari Walk for us!