A Nairobi National Park Safari isn’t complete without an amazing guide. That’s why when my friend Kate and I were making plans we decided to explore with The Emakoko. Bordering the National Park with frequent animal visitors it is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in nature.
This blog post includes all you need to know about a Nairobi National Park Safari including some history, when to visit, all about The Emakoko, and the animals you’ll see there.
Nairobi National Park Safari
Nairobi National Park History
The Nairobi National Park opened on December 16, 1946 and spans 117 square kilometers. What makes this national park so special is its proximity to Nairobi. It is the only national park in the world located next to a major city. From certain parts of the park, you can even see the city in the distance.
In Nairobi National Park visitors can enjoy Game Drives, picnicking, camping, and enjoying the short walking trails over by the Hippo Pools.
Additionally, the park and Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi made headlines in 1989 when 122 tons of ivory were burnt in the park. The ivory was seized from poachers and markets before burning to show Kenya’s dedication and a zero-tolerance policy for the ivory trade.
Over the years the site have been used several times and has had over 100 tons of ivory burned there.
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When to go to Nairobi National Park
While the park is open all year round the weather changes from season to season. Here is the weather based on the month:
- January-March is hot and dry
- April-June is hot and wet
- July-October is warm and wet
Kate and I were there in February. In my opinion February and March are the best months to go on safari in Kenya because all the babies are being born.
Stay at The Emakoko
Even though I combed over The Emakoko website before our arrival I was not ready for how amazing it was going to be!
Our amazing driver and guide Joe picked us up at our lodging in Nairobi and did a Game Drive with us on the way to the lodge. After driving down a steep and bumpy hill we arrived at the bridge in the photo below leading us over to The Emakoko.
We were greeted with the warmest of welcomes and a nice cool drink by Anthony, the owner of the lodge. He gave us the rundown of how the lodge works and a tour of the lounge and dining area. All the shared spaces are open-air and decorated in a way that made me instantly feel at home.
To get to our room (we stayed in room number 9) we had to take a funicular up the side of the hill! A funicular is a railroad system, mostly found on a hill or mountainside. It was a pleasant surprise and when we wanted to leave our room we had to use the walkie talkie to call a staff member to run the funicular.
As you can see our view was to die for! In the morning we had tea and hot chocolate delivered to the room before breakfast and got to sit out on our porch and enjoy the spectacular view. A word or warning to keep the doors to your room closed at all times, even when you’re there so the little grey and black monkeys can’t get inside.
The room was large a spacious with a sitting area, balcony, and a large bathroom. My favorite part of the room was the giant bathtub overlooking the river below. I definitely took a bath!
Dining at The Emakoko
When Kate and I were at The Emakoko the head Chef was an extremely talented self taught man named Steve. His recipes dazzled us at every meal.
Meal times were approximate and could be changed around a bit with advanced notice.
- Breakfast: 6:30am-9:30am
- Lunch: 1pm-2:30pm
- Tea: 3:30pm-4:30pm
- Dinner: 8pm-9:30pm
Everything we ate was extremely fresh and paired with delightful wines. The menu varies each day and there are several meal selections.
The staff we met at meals (and not at meals) were accommodating and kind. Before our first dinner at The Emakoko the bar tender, Patrick, and Anthony introduced us to a wild bush baby that Patrick tamed. I fed the bush baby a banana from my hand! It was the cutest thing ever.
Read More: Mistakes to Avoid on an African Safari
Animals you’ll see on a Nairobi National Park Safari
We had 2 days in Nairobi National Park before heading to Ol Pejeta Conservancy. During that time Kate and I went on 3 game drives, the perfect warm up to our adventure around Kenya with Yellow Zebra Safaris.
While you can’t see all of the Big 5 (There are no elephants) in at this park there are plenty of other animals to observe. With over 100 mammal species and 400 migratory and endemic bird species to spot there will plenty to see.
Some of my favorite animals that we saw in the park are buffalo, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest. Although we didn’t see them there are also lions, leopard and cheetah.
What to bring on Game Drives
The Emakoko took care of everything while at the lodge and on Game Drives. There are always snacks and drinks (water and alcoholic), so no need to bring your own food with you. Our driver, Joe, had binoculars he used, but when things where far away we used them too. Joe also had animal ID books to we could see the birds and animals in more detail if they were far away,
However, there are a few things you should bring with you in a small bag:
My Favorite Nairobi National Park Safari photos
While Kate and I took WAY too many photos, as you do on a safari. Here are some of our favorites.