Photos: Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park is one of the few places in the world that you can see wild giraffes and office blocks in the same frame.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya

Nairobi National park is a unique safari experience just across the road from Nairobi’s Central Business District, and 40 minutes drive from our house. We stayed at Ololo Lodge, a beautiful farmhouse and safari lodge on the opposite side of the park. It was also directly under the flight path for JKIA international airport, so jumbo jets would frequently thunder past overhead. At 120 square kilometres, the park is not very big compared to others in Kenya, and even at Ololo, you can see the tops of the tallest office buildings in Nairobi. There is also a raised railway line that bisects the park, although animals move freely beneath it.

But while Nairobi National Park lacks the wildness and space of the Maasai Mara, it does have its charms. It has all the same animals, except elephants, and the smaller area means they are easier to find. It is also one of Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries. The animals are a bit more accustomed to humans and less likely to run away from safari cars. And the tower blocks, train line and airport all make for unusual juxtapositions with the wildlife and some interesting photo opportunities.

Two zebras stand on piles of earth at the edge of a gravel quarry. It was rainy season and I went out in a brief intermission between downpours, with rain clouds lurking on the horizon.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya
A vervet monkey with wet fur after a recent rainstorm. These monkeys are famous for their bright blue testicles (not shown here, this is a female).
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya
Two ostriches eating grass. These are the largest birds in the world. They are flightless and rely on strong legs for running and kicking. These two are males, identified by their black and white feathers. Females are brownish-gray.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya
A male impala stands on an earth mound with the raised train line behind it.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya
A crocodile crawling through bushes at the edge of a lake. It is unusual to see a croc awake and active, as they usually spend most of the day sleeping.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya
Three small birds at the edge of a green lake near the park entrance.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya
Four of the several dozen endangered black rhinos that are flourishing in the park. Two white rhinos have also recently been introduced.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya
Two cheetahs from a family of four that hunt together. They are well camouflaged amongst the tall yellow grass. I saw them split up and try to ambush a group of antelopes.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya
A zebra overlooks the gravel quarry, with the towers of Nairobi behind.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya
A tortoise that was startled by our safari car driving past peeps its head out of its shell.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya
A rock hyrax, one of several that were living under the patio of our safari lodge, eating leaves in a nearby bush.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya
A giraffe munching leaves on the top of small trees, while another passes by in the distance behind it.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya
Late afternoon in Nairobi, with cars and lorries driving down the road that separates the city from the national park.
© Andrew Brown/2021/Kenya

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