Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nairobi park is world’s only sanctuary in a capital city

By FRED MUKINDA

Nairobi National park is the oldest in Kenya, having been gazetted on December 16, 1946 by the colonial government. It is the world’s only wildlife sanctuary in a capital city, located only seven kilometres from the city centre.

The park land is home to major wildlife attractions including the black rhino, an endangered species. A rhino sanctuary is situated there and is used for breeding and restocking other parks across Kenya.

Lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffe, zebras, wildebeests, elands and over 400 bird species, are also found at the park. MOST RECENTLY, RED duiker, an antelope species, was sighted at the park. The ivory burning site monument, where tusks worth millions of shillings were publicly burnt in the 1980s by former President Moi to stem rampant poaching, stands at the park.

Other attractions include the Nairobi Safari Walk, the animal orphanage and the hippo trails. The park covers an area of 117 square kilometres (28,963 acres), which is small compared to most of Africa’s national parks.

Wildebeests and zebra migrations are a rare spectacle in July and August, and only second to the one at the Maasai Mara. Besides the fauna, the vast land is amass with flora.

Open grass plains with speckled acacia bush take over the rich green widespread land, which has an upland jungle dry forest on the western side. Man-made dams have also been constructed there, attracting animals during the dry season.

A BIG PART OF THE PARK is fenced leaving some sections open for the purpose of wildlife migration. Kenya Wildlife Headquarters, the legal trustees for national parks and game reserves in Kenya, is located at the Nairobi park, off Lang’ata Road.

Facilities for corporate events, bush dinners, weddings, picnics, team building sessions are also offered by KWS at the park. The national park also boasts of a three-star restaurant where patrons can have meals while viewing game in their habitat.

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