Nairobi Kenya Landmarks & Attractions – Top Landmarks Nairobi
Nairobi Southern Outskirts
The suburbs to the south of Nairobi, while still technically within the city limits, bear little resemblance to the urban sprawl of the capital. Inhabited mainly by white settlers and expats, these leafy environs conceal extensive ranks of houses and villas designed to recall provincial England, all discreetly set in their own colonial grounds. The genteel atmosphere and a relative wealth of attractions make Karen, Langata and Ngong appealing destinations for a quick and easy escape from city life.
Karen & Langata
Langata Link (Langata South Rd.) Aimed mainly at residents, the travel desk here has plenty of information about hotels and restaurants in Langata and Karen as well as further a field.
Bomas of Kenya
The Bomas of Kenya; (Langata Rd; non-resident adult/child Kshs 600/300, resident Kshs 100/25 performances 2.30pm, mon-fri, 3.30pm sat & Sun) is a cultural centre at Langata, near the main gate to Nairobi National Park. The talented resident artistes perform traditional dances and songs taken from the country’s 16 various tribal groups, including Arab-influenced taarab music, Kalenjin warrior dances, Embu drumming and Kikuyu circumcision ceremonies.
Its touristy, of course, but its still a spectacular afternoon out, and the centre itself has such high profile that the first meeting of the National Constitution Conference was held here in 2003, producing the so-called Bomas Draft of the new constitution.
Bus or matatu No 125 or 126 runs here from Nairobi train station (Kshs 30,30minutes).Get off at Magadi Rd, from where its about a 1km walk, clearly signposted on the right side of the road. Note that if you bring a video camera there’s an extra Kshs 500 charge.
Nairobi National Park
This somewhat underrated park adult US$ 40, smart card required) is the most accessible of all Kenya’s wildlife parks, being located only 7 km from the city centre. Its possible to visit the park as part of a tour or even by public transport, as the park runs its own wildlife bus (Sunday only)
Founded in 1946, the park’s incongruous suburban location makes it virtually unique in Africa and adds an intriguing twist to the usual safari experience, pitting the plentiful wildlife against a backdrop of looming sky scrapers, speeding matatu and jets coming into land at Jomo Kenyatta airport.
As the animals seem utterly unperturbed by all the activity around them, you stand a good chance of seeing the gazelles, warthogs, zebras, giraffes, ostriches, buffaloes, lions, cheetahs and leopards. The landscape is a mixture of savannah and swamp land and is home to the highest concentration of black rhinos in the world (over50). The wetland areas sustain over 550 recorded species of bird, more than in the whole UK!
Nairobi national Park is not fenced and wildlife is still able (for the time being) to migrate along a narrow wildlife corridor to the rift valley. The concentrations of wildlife are higher in the dry season as animals migrate into the park where water is almost always available. Keeping the migration pathway open is one of the principal aims of the Friends of Nairobi National Park (Fonnap 500622; Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarters, Langata Rd, P.O. Box 42076) campaign.
By the main gate you will find the site where the former president Moi famously burned 10 tons of Ivory in 1989 in protest at the international trade in ivory. Nearby is the Nairobi Safari Walk (non-resident adult/child US$8/5, resident Kshs 500/100 ;), a sort of a zoo-meets-nature board walk with lots of birds as well as other wildlife, including a pigmy hippo and a white rhino. The nearby Animal orphanage charges the same rates, but its basically a rather poor zoo and not a patch on the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
The headquarters of the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS 600800, http://www.kws.org ) are at the park entrance. There’s an office right by the gate that sells and recharges smartcards, plus a small education centre.
Nairobi Park services have a fine campsite on the edge of the park.
Getting there & away
The cheapest way to see the park is with the ‘parks shuttle’ a big KWS bus that leaves the main gate at 3 pm Sunday for a 2 ½ hr tour of the park. The cost is US$20/5 per adult/child and you’ll need to book in person at the main gate by 2.30pm. Matatu Nos 125 and 126 pass the parks entrance (Kshs 40, 45 minutes)
Alternatively, most Kenya safari companies offer various tours of the park. The half day packages usually depart twice a day at 9.30am and 2pm and cost US$60-85. Combined trips with the Bomas of Kenya and lunch at the carnivore restaurant are also popular, costing US$85-130
The roads in the park are OK for 2WDs, but traveling in a 4WD is never a bad idea. The main entrance to the park is on Langata Rd, but there are also public gates on Magadi Rd. The Athi River gate at the far end of the park is handy if you’re planning to continue on to Mombasa, Amboseli or Tanzanian border.
Robert is a travel expert in east Africa Kenya. Degreed in Tourism management, he has planned extensive tours in the region. For free information Nairobi Kenya Landmark tours, safaris and trips see here. http://www.landmarksafaris.com/tours/daytours.php/?refferer=ezinearticles
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