Nairobi National Park
Today you go to Nairobi National Park. You have too many highlights to count.
First, the facts. Nairobi National Park is 117 square kilometers, and home to 100 animal species and 400 migratory and endemic bird species. It’s only 7 kilometers from the center of Nairobi, which is quite hard to believe considering how calm it is compared to the center of Nairobi. It is the only national safari park that has a cityscape background. Before going, you thought it would be strange (and maybe not genuine?) to see animals and skyscrapers in the same view. Once there, you realized that the animals have lots of space, and seeing Nairobi in the background adds to the scenery instead of takes away from it. You would absolutely recommend the park to visitors. In three hours, you saw lions, ostriches, buffalo, hartebeests, elands, impalas, giraffes, grey crowned cranes, ibises, a vulture, and rhinos. The entry fee for foreign nationals is $43 USD for adults and $22 USD for kids (but less than $5 and $3 for Kenyan citizens). Since there were 7 of you sharing a $100 vehicle and driver, the one-hour transportation to the park, three hours in the park, and transportation back from the park cost $14. Compared to expensive safaris that cost from $120-$200 per day, this game drive had a reasonable price at $57.
You see a lion and a lion cub in the distance. When they lie down, they’re completely invisible due to the grass cover. It’s wild. Although you’d love to be able to get out of the safari vehicle to walk closer, you know they could easily kill you, so you wait for their ears to pop up every now and then. The mom walks a few steps, and crouches back into the grass, and then the little cub walks a few steps, and crouches back into the grass. Awh.
You see a male and a female ostrich approach you from afar, and decide they’re the strangest animals you’ve ever seen. Basically, they’re oversized puff-balls who bob their heads erratically when they walk. When they sit down, you’re *shook* because they bend their knees the wrong way—backwards instead of forwards like how your knees bend. When the female runs, you can’t believe it can move so fast. You decide ostriches are admirably awkward creatures that can teach every self-conscious elementary school kid to fully embrace their uniqueness.
You see herds of buffalo. When you see buffalo, you can’t help but think that their horns are actually toupees. Although these buffalo are objectively stocky and arguably ugly, the babies are still cute because babies in any species are cute. You also see herds of hartebeests, which are in the same family as wildebeests, and actually part of the antelope family. Hartebeests have long faces and look so serious all the time. They’re the most serious animals you see at the park. Finally, you see the most muscular breed of antelopes, called elands, that look like they throw back steroids on the daily. They remind you of mythical creatures, like centaurs, but instead of a human-horse mix, these are cow-moose mixes with goat faces. You would put them front and center in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Although buffalo, hartebeests, and antelopes are cool, your favorite herds are the impalas. They are so graceful, and their patterns are painted onto their bodies. Their bodies are shiny and they move so easily. Their horns seem like they’ve been carved into place by the wind.
At one point, Tori recommends going to the King Fisher picnic stop to walk around. You’re more than glad she does. On the way, you see four rhinos in the distance! If that weren’t enough, you also see three giraffes—up close and personal—maybe three meters from your vehicle.
In your three hours in the park, you barely scratch the surface. There is so much area left to explore, and so many animals left to see. It’s neat that you could have seen elephants, cheetahs, and leopards, and zebras. On your way out, you pass by a little pond and somebody thinks they see a hippo, but it could have been an alligator.
The grey crowned cranes deserve their own paragraph because they are zany. You don’t even know how to use zany in a sentence, but these colorful birds with gold mohawks sure fit the description for what you’d consider zany.
You turn out of the park and see some baboons inflicting terror on a preschool group. Lol. Two of the little kids, who are wearing matching green track suits, start crying when the baboons get too close. You can understand, as they’re almost the same size! The kids seem to prefer giggling at the warthogs. The warthogs don’t get too close.
Realistically, you had nothing to do with the planning of this trip. Justin, who is a PhD student from McGill doing work in Tanzania, was at the conference in Nairobi and wanted to explore. You decided to join him while you were eating breakfast. As is often the case, hopping on the bandwagon for this impromptu plan led to a fun day. It also led to a new appreciation for ostriches.
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