5 wildlife-related activities you can do in Nairobi

Lone black rhino in the wild, with Nairobi skyline and Mombasa railroad bridge in the background

Kenya’s capital city is a unique place where the bustling cityscape converges with the untamed beauty of the African wilderness.

While Nairobi may be known for its vibrant urban culture, it’s also a gateway to some of the most awe-inspiring wildlife experiences on the continent.

In this blog post, we’ll have a look at some of the diverse and exhilarating wildlife-related activities that Nairobi has to offer.

1. Watch Baby Elephants Roam Around at the Famous David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Bottle-fed orphaned elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, sometimes known as the Sheldrick Trust or simply the DSWT, is a Kenyan organisation dedicated to protecting wildlife.

In honour of her late husband David Sheldrick, a prominent naturalist and the former warden of Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park, it was established in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick.

The conservation and protection of elephants and other animals in Kenya is the main goal of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

They are particularly well-known for their efforts to rescue and care for orphaned elephants, many of whom have become orphans due to poaching, conflicts between people and wildlife, or other dangers.

These baby elephants are cared for in the Nairobi Elephant Nursery, run by the organisation until they are mature enough to be released back into the wild.

When visiting the trust, you’ll be able to witness the daily feedings of these baby elephants and watch them play and interact with each other. The attraction is highly popular and booked out months in advance, so in case you’d like to book your spot, it’s important to plan early.

The DSWT continues to be a driving force in East African elephant conservation and wildlife protection thanks to the recognition and support it has received on a global scale.

2. Do a Morning Game Drive at the Nairobi National Park

Lioness in front of a minibus in Nairobi National Park

Nairobi is also home to the distinctive wildlife reserve known as Nairobi National Park. Its distinctiveness is further enhanced by the fact that it is the only national park in the world to be situated inside the city limits!

Despite being quite close to the bustling city, Nairobi National Park is home to a variety of animals, including many classic African species. Witness lions, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, rhinoceroses, wildebeests, hyenas, and several other mammals.

The Nairobi skyline frequently appears in the background, creating a striking contrast between the urban and natural worlds.

If you would like to still have an authentic safari experience without venturing out of the city, then Nairobi National Park is perfect for you. If you ever find yourself in the area, this should be number 1 on your bucket list!

To prevent lineups, it’s always a good idea to arrive very early. Additionally, the majority of the noteworthy species, including lions and cheetahs, are most active in the early morning, so it’s a good idea to be at the park’s gate between 6:00 and 6:30 am.

3. Visit the Nairobi Animal Orphanage After Your Game Drive

Entrance sign to the Nairobi Animal Orphanage

The Nairobi Animal Orphanage is a refuge dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and care of orphaned and injured wildlife. It is located adjacent to Nairobi National Park in Kenya.

This facility is essential for sustaining and safeguarding a variety of Kenyan native animal species. It offers a safe place for animals that have suffered from parental loss, injury, or confiscation as a result of issues including conflict between people and wildlife, habitat loss, or illegal trafficking.

The orphanage works as both a sanctuary and a learning facility, attempting to spread knowledge about wildlife conservation and the difficulties faced by Kenya’s unique animals.

Visitors to the facility can look around and learn about a variety of species, such as big cats, monkeys, birds, and reptiles, as well as the significance of keeping these animals in their natural habitats.

Additionally, the Nairobi Animal Orphanage actively interacts with nearby schools and communities to support outreach programmes and conservation education, cultivating a sense of responsibility for Kenya’s unique natural heritage.

Furthermore, treating animals and, when possible, releasing them back into their natural habitats, supports larger wildlife conservation initiatives.

The orphanage is accessible to the general public and offers a special chance for people to interact with, watch, and learn about wildlife in a safe environment.

4. Feed Giraffes at the Giraffe Centre

Giraffes interacting with tourists at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi

When talking about wildlife attractions in Nairobi, one cannot forget the famous Giraffe Centre. Its main goal is to protect the Rothschild’s giraffe, an endangered subspecies native to East Africa.

Visitors to the Giraffe Centre have the chance to get up close and personal with giraffes, which is a noteworthy feature.

From an elevated platform, sightseers can feed these magnificent creatures, offering a singular and informative experience that enables a close understanding of giraffe behaviour and conservation activities.

The Giraffe Centre offers educational programmes to spread knowledge of Rothschild’s giraffes, their habitats, and the value of conservation in addition to its interactive features.

Additionally, the centre has nature trails that meander through the nearby forested area, giving guests the chance to watch the local birdlife and become immersed in a natural setting.

The renowned Giraffe Manor, an upscale boutique hotel where giraffes frequently join guests for breakfast, is located right next to the Giraffe Centre.

This makes for a genuinely unique and unforgettable experience. The hotel is dedicated to giraffe conservation, which is consistent with the goal of the Giraffe Centre.

The Giraffe Centre actively participates in numerous conservation activities, including habitat preservation and community outreach programmes to promote cooperation between wildlife and local populations, in addition to its popularity as a tourist destination.

The centre is not only a unique destination but also a key force in the preservation of Rothschild’s giraffes and their natural habitats thanks to the entrance fees and donations it receives.

5. Explore Hell’s Gate National Park

One of the many gorges in Hell's Gate National Park, Kenya

Hell’s Gate National Park is a protected area renowned for its extraordinary geological characteristics and natural attractions.

The East African Rift System’s stunning landscapes are home to a park known for its geothermal activity. It is conveniently located close to Nairobi and Naivasha.

Towering cliffs, deep gorges, and harsh terrain are among these remarkable landscapes and the cliffs display unusual rock formations, some of which have been immortalised in movies such as The Lion King as well as various documentaries.

Hell’s Gate gives sightings of a variety of animals including buffalo, giraffes, zebras, baboons, and a wide diversity of birds, despite not being as well known for its wildlife as other Kenyan parks.

With chances for cycling, hiking, and rock climbing, the park is a sanctuary for outdoor enthusiasts. Beautiful views that offer breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding area are accessible via well-marked routes.

Rock climbers from all over the world are drawn to Fischer’s Tower as it offers routes suitable for climbers of all abilities. The preserve offers camping options for those looking for an immersive experience, allowing guests to spend the night amidst the rare species and natural setting.

Hell’s Gate National Park is a unique location for tourists looking for a mix of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and geothermal wonders—all easily reachable from significant urban centres like Nairobi—thanks to its small size and diverse attractions.

Explore Nairobi’s Wild Side

Nairobi, compared to many other capital cities in Africa, offers a wide variety of activities for nature and wildlife enthusiasts.

It’s the only city in the world with a national park located within its own boundaries, which makes wildlife viewing extremely accessible to everybody, without having to venture out to one of the bigger national parks.

Furthermore, a lot of wildlife conservation organisations have their Africa HQ in Nairobi, which automatically makes Nairobi a “wildlife hub”.

Therefore, when planning your next trip to Kenya, be sure to set aside a couple of days to explore all the wildlife-related activities Nairobi has to offer.

You could ultimately venture off into the Maasai Mara, Amboseli or one of the many other amazing national parks and conservancies you’ll find all over Kenya.

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