Did you know that Nairobi is the only capital city in the world that is bordering a National Game Reserve? I had no idea, but last week, I got see it for myself. Though Nairobi National park is relatively small, it’s still big enough for 100 mammal species (including buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, baboon, zebra, wildebeest and cheetah) to call home. I encountered a few of these majestic animals during a very exciting safari / team building day last week, and it was breathtaking. Exhilarating. Exciting.
I didn’t really know what to expect from Nairobi; I had never been here before and as a destination I think it is still suffering from a few tragic events which took place there over the recent years. I was only there briefly and always in the safe environment of my group or hotel, but I was very impressed by the hospitality and friendliness of the Kenyan people, and by the stunning beauty of the park.
We went to the East entrance over a very bumpy, unpaved road that took serious driving skills. It would be like this throughout the park, but that didn’t stop us from having a great day.
Let’s suffice to say that the entrance procedure wasn’t the most efficient one, you really need patience in Kenya. But, as soon as we entered the park all was forgotten as the cutest impala family greeted us. Clearly used to the sound of cameras as they waited patiently until we passed.
Ok, apart from this impatient one who was done with posing. Can’t blame him.
The next exciting encounter was with two wildebeests, who weren’t exactly going wild when they saw us, but patiently focused on their lunch.
I was on the lookout for giraffes (because duh) but they weren’t ready to show up yet. Pumbaa and his mates said hi first. Timon was nowhere to be found though.
(Ok, I’ll admit it, I saw the Lion King a gazillion times and I still cry when I see it now)
The amount of ‘ooooohs’ and ‘aaaahs’ coming from our bus must have been ridic.
Then, finally… Another bucket list item could be ticked: two Majestic giraffes showed up close to our bus and this time the excitement was mine. Such beautiful creatures, so elegant and completely zen.
I think I took at least 50 pictures of them… Unfortunately, we had to move on as there was so much more to be seen. But lucky me, it wasn’t long until before we arrived at this spot where we saw rhinos (in the back), impalas and giraffes hanging out together.
This is what we look like in a crowd ladies. See those jealous looks from the impalas?
This one thinks he’s a tree.
Though not as majestic, I do have a soft spot for zebras too. Basically, anything with big brown eyes makes me melt. This includes hobbits. 😉
Almost at the end of our tour, we saw a zeal of Zebras having their dinner.
I personally did not know that a group of zebras is called a zeal, so if you didn’t know either, here’s something to impress your colleagues with over coffee tomorrow!
Unfortunately, we missed out on the lions, but I was already so happy with our ‘catch’. Joking aside, seeing these beautiful animals in their natural habitat impressed me. It moved me. Seeing the skyline of Nairobi in the background was a weird, surreal contrast and made me realise even more that we share this planet with so many extraordinary creatures who need our help to survive. Reserves like these help contribute to this by both educating their visitors and giving the animals an environment free from human threats like poaching, with only their natural enemies present. The way it should be.
I will tell you more about a lovely lodge I discovered in a next post. For now, I just want to leave you with this last picture of our spirit animal.