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Your Guide to the 7 Best Wildlife Centers in Nairobi

If you just traveled or moved to Nairobi, there is no better way to kick off your adventure but wildlife. In this post, we’ll introduce you to seven must-visit places that offer incredible wildlife experiences. From iconic national parks to heartwarming animal sanctuaries, Nairobi has it all. Let’s get into your wildlife adventure!

1. Nairobi National Park

Nairobi national park is a wildlife facility just 7km from the city center and spans 117 km². It is basically a crossover episode between a jungle and a city, as you will be seeing wildlife in the foreground and architectural masterpieces in the background! This is just surreal.

Giraffe at Nairobi National Park
A giraffe at Nairobi National Park

It was the first national park to be gazetted in Kenya in 1946. The vegetation is Savannah for the most part and the landscape is entirely flat. It is ideal for day trips and also has accommodation facilities for tourists.

The Nairobi national park is home to the four of the big five; Lion, Leopards, Black Rhino, & African Buffalo. Only elephants aren’t present here. It just doesn’t end there with wildlife, other species include; Hyenas, Giraffes, Zebras, Cheetahs, Wildebeests, Common Elands, Antelopes, Crocodiles and over 100 other mammal and reptile species.

The park also houses over 400 species of birds with 20 seasonal migrants from Europe. The main big birds include Ostriches, and Cranes(Which is the national bird of Uganda)

You can navigate the park by a self drive or an organized tour and do a safari drive. Please note that getting outside the vehicle is prohibited while in the park, and only allowed at designated points where it is safe. The other option is a safari walk, a trail where you navigate the park on foot on a raised track while viewing animals below.

Nairobi National Park Safari Walk Trail
Nairobi National Park Safari Walk Trail

The park has several things you could do apart from the safari drives, there is a picnic area, camping base and even an events garden for functions like weddings and parties.

This is my first recommendation to visiting Nairobi, so grab your trusty water bottle for hydration, binoculars for bird-watching, and a camera.Don’t forget a field hat, sunglasses and sunscreen as Nairobi is relatively sunny and a little toasty in the dry seasons.

2. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

David Sheldrick is located inside the expansive Nairobi National Park as a separate entity. So It would be wise to tour both as they are in the same locale

Elephant Feeding at David Sheldrick  Nairobi
Elephant Feeding at David Sheldrick

David Sheldrick is an independent non-government foundation that specializes in rescue and nurturing of abandoned baby elephants and baby rhinos. The foundation later releases them back to the wild when the animals are mature and able to fend on their own.

They just don’t stop at orphaned animals, they also take care of mature and injured animals who are for the most part victims of attempted poaching.

This place is open everyday from 11am to 12pm for just an hour, which is the feeding time for the animals. Make sure you get here in time not to miss the event, entry fee are $ 20 for adults and $ 5 for under 12 year olds.

3. Giraffe Centre

Just 9 km( 18 minutes) away from David Sheldrick is Giraffe Centre. It is dedicated to the protection and conservation of an endangered subspecies of the Rothschild Giraffe. This species is native to East Africa, Kenya and Uganda.

Feeding Giraffes at Giraffe Centre

Giraffe Centre is special unlike to seeing giraffes in the wild, here you get to interact with them; feed, pet and even pose photos with them! If you want a one to one experience with these marvelous beasts, there is no where you’d rather be than Giraffe Centre.

4. Nairobi Animal Orphanage

Nairobi Animal Orphanage unlike David Sheldrick, it caters to all abandoned species and not just rhinos and elephants. It is managed by Kenya Wildlife Service(KWS), a governmental entity.

Expect to find even baby leopards being fed from a bottle here! Animals catered for are not limited to; leopards, lions, hyenas, cheetahs, monkeys, buffaloes, tortoises, giraffes and even birds like ostriches and Guinea fowls. These animals are then released to the wild when they are mature enough to fend for themselves.

It is a separate entity within the Nairobi National Park, so you can make one visit for both or more activities.

5. Mamba Village

Mamba village is simply a crocodile farm. Not only has crocodiles but other reptiles including tortoises and snakes. There are also a few ostriches here.

Crocodiles Wildlife in Mamba village

Mamba village is located in North Langata Rd, just 5.4 km from Giraffe Centre. To be honest, this is not an outstanding place to currently visit, as the animals are cramped, pond water is filthy and the overall experience is a little underwhelming. It is still a good place to visit for the reptile experience. Back in the days it was booming but now everything is run down and animals are in a rough shape.

The species found here is the largest in Africa, the Nile crocodile. The entrance fee is $ 10 for non resident adults and $ 5 for children

6. Snake Park

Snake park is in a section of Nairobi National Museum that also houses other reptiles like; tortoises, lizards, chameleons, turtles and crocodiles. The park provides educational and visual aspects of the reptiles enclosed in glass shelter or open spaces.

You can also get to interact with non-venomous and de-fanged species of snakes if you would love that too.

A Snake at Snake Park Nairobi

Snake Park was started in 1961 as a center of breeding and researching reptiles, alongside offering a home to the endangered species. The park also has an aquarium for some marine and fresh water species.

You can visit the Snake Park while also touring the Museum to see different artifacts and learn some History. The park is open all days of the year from 8:30 am to 5: 30 pm. Non Residents entry fee is $ 10 for adults and $ 5 for under 16 year olds.

7. Maasai Ostrich Farm

This is not a zoo nor a park but literally a commercial farm for Ostrich rearing. It is located in the neighborhood of Kitengela in Athi River just 48 km form the CBD. Expect a commute time of around 50 minutes in moderate traffic.

The farm rears over 1,000 birds which are two species of ostriches; Maasai Ostriches and Somali Ostriches. The difference in the species is the neck colors; pink for Maasai species, and blue for Somali species.

The most iconic activity here is getting to ride on the back of an ostrich, year like you would on a camel or a horse! Yes that is right, a mature ostrich weighs averagely 160Kg and can support more than half of it’s weight on it’s back.

A Tourist Riding on an Ostrich at Maasai Ostrich Farm

Other activities include;feeding the ostriches alongside getting educational guides eating ostrich meat barbecued, buying ostrich meat and eggs from the butchery. Fun Fact: A single ostrich egg can make a scramble meal for 18 people.

The farm houses a swimming pool also to cool you down after a long hot day with a picnic site to pack more into your day trip. They also offer camping grounds if you are into that.

The farm caters for both individual and group tours, however group bookings are encouraged so that you get the tour guide assigned to get the best experience.

Access to the place is not the easiest, there is distance to overcome and the roads leading to the place are a bit dusty and no signage, so you may get lost; but the experience with the birds is definitely worth the hassle!

Maasai Ostrich Farm Website

The next article is on the green spaces and nature in Nairobi: The 5 Remarkable Nature & Green Spaces in Nairobi

Previous post: 5 Must Visit Travel Destinations in Kenya


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