Nairobi National Park. As a serial safari goer it wasn’t high on my list of places to visit but I had some time to spare whilst waiting for my family to join me for a holiday in Kenya. Where better to stay than in the park? Nairobi Tented Camp it is then.
Within 5 minutes of leaving the park gates we were confronted with a large herd of buffalo, hippo in the pool to the left, eland shortly thereafter… I started to sit up, fish eagle calling…. So much wildlife, I had obviously underestimated what I would see. On we went to Camp to check in. A vision of comfort awaited us; towels with a hint of eucalyptus and a drink to wash away the dust… this was just like being in the bush. The camp nestles in a forest and is a haven of peace, with just 8 tents and no other park visitors to be seen. The tents are safari chic, warm beds, hot water bottles, safari bucket shower and a lovely deck on which to while away an hour or so with a book whilst listening to the birds and crackle of the bush.
After a lovely lunch including avocado soup, my new favourite, we had time to relax and then off on an afternoon game drive. What would it be like? Animals with Nairobi skyline as a backdrop, how would that be? And yes it is very odd, quite fun though and unique in the world, I believe.
Our guide was a Maasai. This is their land and he had eyes like a hawk and an intimate knowledge of the wildlife. He asked, “What would you like to see?” “Rhino, lion” I remarked. And he delivered. The only one of the Big 5 not present are elephant. The park is open to the south so animals do migrate and it is possible to completely miss the Nairobi skyline with escape deep into the Park. We ventured on, chatting along the way. A tower of giraffe, so what is the difference between a tower and a journey I asked? A tower is stationary like those and a journey is when they walk in line… but he was distracted…. What are they looking at, waiting for… there, yes 3 female lions just yawning and starting out to hunt. The art of a good guide (all Porini camps employ Silver Guides to show you the best of the bush), he knew those giraffe were on to something.
Back to camp for a sundowner around the fire, I swapped tales with three Nairobi couples who were just escaping the hustle of the city for a night. After dinner the stories became taller and the laughter louder, a hyena came to see what all the fuss was about…
As I was escorted back to my tent, the safari stopped, my heart stopped, but it was a beautiful chameleon on a tree. Next morning I went to meet my family arriving from cold grey London, I was so excited to share this with them. They had landed just a couple of hours earlier and within 20 minutes of leaving the airport were on safari, wow, was all they had to say… Our first sighting, 3 lions out hunting, how lucky are we?
We only had one short day in the Park; we had ticked off many of their favourite animals, including elephant by visiting the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant orphanage, just 20 minutes from the Camp. Why do we have to move on asks my smallest child? Indeed why, the Park has so much more to give, we only scratched the surface but boy was it a great way to start our holiday.