A Safari in Kenya

Monday, October 31, 2011  at 6:58 AM
When Chris and I were in Nairobi, Kenya, we wanted to check out the safaris at the National Park.  Nairobi is well-known for the Nairobi National Park, which is situated on the edge of the city—you can literally take a city bus to the start of your safari.  In my research beforehand, I only found that all safaris had to go through an outside company and that the park did not offer any safari options.  

zebra safari kenya africa nairobi
The zebras were definitely my favorite animal in the park

 However, when Chris and I accidentally got off our bus at the safari gate (due to a miscommunication with the bus driver we were dropped off at the animal orphanage at the park gate, instead of the elephant orphanage a few stops down where we wanted to go), we decided to check it out and see if we could be recommended to one safari company over the others.  

 giraffe safari kenya africa nairobi
Giraffes running along the side of the road inside the national park

After being rerouted through several different officials, we found ourselves in the presence of Madame Patricia, a stern older woman who was in charge of the safaris.  She was happy to inform us about the safari options given by the park itself.  Since the park was able to go around many of the fees charged to safari companies (taxes, vehicle entry fees, etc), the prices were considerably cheaper.   

 safari guide kenya africa
With Madame Patricia at the end of our safari

Chris and I decided to do a short half-day safari through the park—enough to get a good taste of a safari, but not a break-the-bank extravagance.  The price ended up being $50 USD per person, the lowest price we had been quoted in our search for a half-day safari (park entrance alone is $40 USD per person).

impala safari kenya africa 
nairobi
Within thirty seconds of starting our safari we saw a herd of impala
The safari itself was great—no pre-booking needed, just show up, pay your money, and wait for the safari vehicle to be loaded up with six to ten other people!  Our driver took us on a loop of the entire park and was more than willing to stop when we wanted to take photos, to drive down a different road so we could get close up photos of giraffes, and point out animals we may have missed.   

in car safari kenya africa nairobi
We were pretty excited in our safari vehicle

Madame Patricia came along as a tour guide, although her bawdy comments about the animals were more entertaining than instructive.  We were able to see many of the big animals (zebras were my favorite!) and even though I couldn’t quite shake the feeling of driving around within a zoo, it was definitely a memorable experience.

lion safari kenya africa nairobi
We saw lions! 

The most interesting part?  Even though we were in a huge national park, the edges of the park were so close to downtown Nairobi that the skyscrapers were clearly visible behind the herds of zebras and impalas.  Awesome!

zebra safari kenya africa nairobi
A herd of zebras grazing as the day drew to a close
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