Nairobi National Park – Open Air Safari

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Last week at a client conference on risk systems in Nairobi, the client recommended that I take half a day off in the morning and try out the open air safari. The safari guide would come pick me up from my hotel at 7 am, drive me down to the Nairobi National Park and drop me back to my hotel room four hours later.

Nairobi National Park is about twenty minutes away from the Central Business District (CBD). A large part of that twenty minutes is beating the morning rush hour in CBD but once you are clear of the inner congested lanes, its a smooth ride.

For your ride you get two options. A 4×4 enclosed jeep or a van with an adjustable view that comes with a complete 360 degree option. Given a choice opt for the van. While the 4×4 is certainly more comfortable, part of the fun is enjoying the early morning breeze blowing all around you once you get inside the savannah.

The trip will cost anywhere between 120 – 175 US dollars if you rent the van all by yourself. Significantly less if you travel as part of a group.

Take a fleece or a breaker with you just in case. Nairobi temperature ranges between 16 – 22 centigrade through out the year on account of its elevation (5,450 feet above sea level). While you may be very comfortable walking around in that range, with the open roof van it gets a little windy if you are just wearing a t-shirt.

Since the path through the park is unpaved the dust your van raises is an issue but you quickly get used to the rules around that. Sit down when you stop or cross a vehicle. Stand up when you are moving.

It doesn’t take long to get to a point where you can start shooting interesting Nairobi skyline backdrops against the wild life.

Or catch aircrafts lining up for their landing approach at the nearby Nairobi airport. Keep your camera handy and the battery fully charged because you will most likely be shooting for a large part of your 3 hour trip across the park.

And now without further ado, here is my set of snapshots from Nairobi national park with commentary where needed.

The pair of Crown Cranes after the impalas were the clear winners of the safari shoot. There is a better shot of the pair later on.

The savannah, the skyline and game at 8 am, Nairobi standard time.

You are not just shooting wild life, there is a fair bit of interesting flora also.

How do you tell the difference between male and female ostrich? The males are more colorful and attractive.

Count the zebras in the picture below. Lucky shot?

The Kenyan bustard.

The enormous cactus (with apologies to the enormous turnip).