+254 735 204 519 info@conquestadventures.co.ke
+254 735 204 519 info@conquestadventures.co.ke

Nairobi National Park Birding



Nairobi National Park is a number-one birdwatching destination in Kenya due to its close proximity to a capital city and astonishing high number of bird species recorded plus its relatively small size.

Nairobi National Park is an amazing stop-off for birds migrating to (and within) Africa, so you’re bound to see a huge array of bird species which makes the park a top choice for a day birding tour in Kenya. The Park is well known as one of the top birding destinations in Africa as well as the whole world.

Ornithologists, birdwatchers, bird photographers or nature lovers with a few hours to spare, or someone with a connecting flight in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport can easily visit the park for a day birdwatching tour and tick new bird species in a rapid sequence

Nairobi National Park has more than 520 birds species recorded, making it an astounding destination for day birding tours in Kenya.

The park has the highest number of bird species recorded than any other park in Kenya

Nairobi National Park birdwatching tour is one of those trips that have something for everyone, it is certainly a birder’s paradise. Nairobi National Park Birding tour can get you close-up and personal with the breath-taking African Crowned Eagle and Kori Bustard, Secretary Bird, Martial Eagle, African Fish Eagle, Black Rhinos, Lions, Leopards, among many (many) others.

Nairobi National Park is a birdwatching jewel and one of the best and most visited national parks for day birdwatching tours in East Africa. This small gem in the capital city of Kenya is so rich in wildlife, with a mouth-watering range of birds

Most of our Kenya’s multi-day birding tours and wildlife safaris start or end in Nairobi National Park which makes your birding tour complete and unforgettable.  Every year Nairobi National Park plays host to an influx, and then an exodus, of more than one hundred bird species that flock here during the summer months to take advantage of the rich conditions in terms of weather and food availability

Nairobi National Park is one of the top birding destinations in Kenya. Nairobi National Park’s attraction as a birdwatching destination par excellence has to be one of the world`s best-kept secrets. Depending on your time we offer a half or whole-day birding tour in the Nairobi National Park. On a normal birding day in Nairobi National Park, more than 100 bird species may be seen/recorded in a day’s birdwatching tour

Nairobi National Park Tour

Nairobi National Park is located near the capital city Nairobi, only 10 minutes from the central business district. Nairobi National Park has an altitude of about 1500 – 1700 meters above sea level. The Park has a size of 117 kilometers square or 45.17 square miles, Nairobi National Park was established in 1946, making it Kenya’s oldest designated National Park

Nairobi National Park despite its relatively modest size is one of East Africa’s, Africa’s, and the world’s most diverse and interesting protected park. Nairobi National Park is a classic modern marvel. The only natural wildlife park/birdwatching destination within a capital city’s limits in the world. Nairobi National Park is an ingenious paradox, it provides an enormous option for clients on a short time and looking for exploits not far from the City of Nairobi

Nairobi National Park has so many different habitats, represented, ranging from savannah grasslands, open woodland, scrub, bushed thickets, and dry wetland forest, others include rocky gorges, wetlands, rivers, and streams. The Park has remarkably diverse indigenous flora comprising plants of more than 100 species.

Nairobi National Park Birdwatching

Nairobi National Park Birding

Nairobi National Park is an ornithologically rich destination in its own right. Nairobi National park’s most important environment is an open grass plain with scattered Acacia bushes.

Nowhere else do you get this abundance of birds, mammals, and other wonderful arrays of nature in such a small area adjacent to a  big city which is  growing exponentially

The iconic Nairobi National Park has more than 500 bird species recorded and perhaps the longest bird checklist in all cities of the world.

This is mostly attributed to the park having many different habitats, with each containing different species of birds, an ecosystem composed of grasslands, forests, and riverine habitats

Nairobi National Park was on news recently on a day birding tour (2016) a Violet – tipped Courser or Brown winged Courser, Afro-tropical migrant) seen 30 years ago was spotted by a group of renowned ornithologists, Dale Zimmerman. The eminent naturalist and lead author of Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania which for the first time, described and illustrated each of the 1,100 bird species of East Africa. Now in his 90s — has authored his latest book titled Turaco Country Reminiscences of East African Birding simply because his first posting as a young man to Africa was to Kakamega Rain forest in the 1960s. This extraordinary concentration of biodiversity is more remarkable for the fact that the park is simply located within the precincts of a major capital city

Nairobi National Park Mammals

Nairobi National  Park Mammals

Nairobi National park has a large and diverse wildlife population, four of the big five mammals ( Lion, Buffalo, Rhino, Leopard) may also be encountered in the park, Other animals to be encountered on a day birding tour includes:

  • Eland
  • Impala
  • Grant's and Thomsons Gazelles
  • Kongoni
  • Bohor's Reedbuck
  • Zebra
  • Wildebeest
  • Warthog
  • Maasai Giraffe
  • Olive Baboon
  • Syke's Monkey
  • Vervet Monkey
  • Cheetah- rare though
  • Mountain Reedbuck
  • Hippopotamus
  • Serval Cat
Rhino Sanctuary Nairobi National Park


Nairobi National Park has also gained prominence as a secure refuge and breeding ground of global significance for endangered black and white rhinoceros. The success in both protecting and breeding black rhinos has earned the Nairobi national park the epithet Kifaru (Rhino) Ark, and it remains home to more than 60 black rhinos living in densities not seen anywhere else in Africa.

Nairobi National Park is the place to visit for that bizarre image of a rhino snuffling across the savannah with Nairobi’s skyscrapers in the backdrop. The ivory burning site is close to the main gate, here more than 150 tonnes of ivory from both elephants and rhinos have been burnt, the first 12 tonnes were burned in 1989 by the then president Daniel Arap Moi,

“there was a desperate measure meant to send a message to the world about the poaching of Kenya’s Elephant”

The second burning happened in 2016,105 tons of elephant tusks and 1.35 tons of rhino horns were reduced to smoldering ash, here visitors are allowed to alight from their cars and take photos of the ash pile

Geography Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park lies in a transition zone between two of Africa’s great ecosystems- the savannahs stretching from northern Tanzania to Laikipia, near Mount Kenya, and the forest Kenya highlands. The combination of available water and a moderate climate (neither too hot and dry nor too cold and wet) has made this transition zone an important area for wildlife.

The park acts as a dry-season home, the concentration of wildlife in the park is greatest in the dry season when areas outside the park have dried up. Small dams built along the Mbagathi River give the park more water resources than these outside areas In wet season animals move out of Nairobi national park to take advantage of seasonally lush pastures on the plains to the south and east of the park.

They scatter over the Athi Kapiti plains in the wet season and return to the park in the dry season. Nairobi national park straddles two distinct zones, the smaller to the west and northwest, where the terrain is more elevated, and ranging in altitude from 1700-1780m (5600-5847ft) the zone receives significantly higher rainfall

The second zone which is much larger is characterized by short grass plains with scattered trees and shrubs that extend east and south via rocky gullies and scraps in central areas of the park down into the Athi Basin. Tall trees among them the Yellow-barked Acacias and the Fig Trees are only found on river banks and valleys.

Nairobi national park gives the Kenyan capital a tourist attraction like no other, it is an important money gyrator for the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), raking in more than Kenya shillings 400 million every year. Nairobi National Park also provides the city dwellers with a placid, scenic retreat from the stresses of daily urban life. Nairobi National Park receives close to 500,000 visitors in a year, the numbers comprising of foreign, resident, and domestic tourists

Nairobi National Park is fascinating and very popular for day tours and weekend getaways for both residents and domestic clients who want to see the big five game drive. It functions as the “lungs” of today’s choked overcrowded city, replenishing oxygen and soaking up pollutants

Road conditions Nairobi National Park

The roads in Nairobi National Park are excellently maintained, although 4 x 4 vehicles are recommended during the rainy season. Being gravel or murram surfaced, all major circuits in the park are passable year-round except in some small tracks with black cotton soil which become waterlogged after the rains. There are several designated picnic sites within the park; where you are entitled to get out of your vehicle, in the Nairobi National Park Birdwatching tour

  • Impala Observation Point: where you have a panoramic view of the park, a swamp below it has a lot of activity and with your binocular you can spot some interesting birds such as the Saddle-billed Stork and Secretary Bird
  • The Ivory Burning Site: wherein 1989 former President Moi set fire to 12 tons of Elephant Ivory in a bid to eradicate the mass massacre of Africa’s Elephants. The acacias trees in the morning tend to be active with many birds singing 
  • Kingfisher Picnic Site: A green shaded area with huge acacia trees that host an array of birds in feeding parties, ideal for early morning birdwatching, the picnic site is named after a resident Striped Kingfisher that has made the campsite its home. Lions are often encountered napping on the picnic chairs  or lazily lying on the  acacia branches during the day
  • Mokoyeti Picnic Site: An open clifftop site with shaded tables. This is where two rivers meet Kiserian and Mbagathi, the best place to see the shy and elusive African Finfoot
  • Hippo Pools and Nature Trail: A short self-guided nature trail (guided by Kenya Wildlife Service rangers) leads out of a shaded picnic area along the Athi River and offers the opportunity of viewing a variety of birds such as nesting Vultures, Kingfisher, Woodhoopes, Hornbills, Barbets, Lovebirds in tree holes

Birdwatching, bird photography  in these areas tend to be fruitful and gratifying because you alight from the vehicle and get a chance of walking and interacting closer with nature

Other attractions within the Nairobi National Park include:

  • Nairobi Animal Orphanage

Established in Nov 1963 as a refuge for wild animals found abandoned orphaned or injured in the wild

  • Nairobi Safari Walk

Opened in the year 2000; you view animals from vantage points on a circuit of raised wooden boardwalks and gravel pathways

Founded in 1987 for abandoned, injured baby elephants/rhinos

Open to public for one hour starting from 11:00- 12:00 hrs

  • Nairobi National Park Birding Itinerary

0600hrs: Pick up from Hotel

0630hrs: Check in the park and start day birding tour in Nairobi National park

0530hrs: Drop off to Hotel/Airport.

Cost Include
  • Transport
  • Park entrance fees
  • Water
  • Services of a Professional Bird guide
  • An updated checklist of bird of Kenya
Recommended things to carry for Nairobi National Park Day Birdwatching
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Cap/Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Snacks
  • Fun altitude
Nairobi National Park Day Birding Tour Concerns

Birdwatching, in Nairobi National Park, is done while in the car, But there are some designated places where clients are allowed to alight from the car. These places are usually very productive in bird species,

Nairobi National Park Day Birding tour is enjoyed throughout the year.

For better results, a full day of birding in Nairobi National Park is recommended, which requires a 4×4 vehicle to be able to cover all the terrains where special and interesting birds may be lurking.

An early start in the morning helps in scoring more species, so pick up from the hotel/lodge is  advisable to be early morning 0600hrs to be precise

Nairobi National Park opens at 0630hrs and closes at 0600hrs

Notable Birds in Nairobi National Park Day Birdwatching
  • Maasai Ostrich
  • African Darter
  • African Finfoot
  • Dwarf Bittern
  • Goliath Heron
  • Saddle-billed Stork
  • Spur-winged Goose
  • African Crowned Eagle
  • Secretarybird
  • African Fish Eagle
  • Ruppell's Griffon Vulture
  • Black -chested Snake-Eagle
  • Gabar Goshawk
  • Augur Buzzard
  • Tawny Eagle
  • Bateleur
  • Shelly's Francolin
  • Grey crowned Crane
  • Kori Bustard,
  • White-bellied Bustard
  • Hartlaub's Bustard
  • Bronze- winged Courser
  • African Skimmer

More recently (May 2019) in a day birding tour we spotted and photographed a Dickinson’s Kestrel which is out of range species for Nairobi National Park, and has few records sightings in Nairobi National Park