Planning a wildlife safari in Kenya with my son, I thought our first night in Africa would be a do nothing, catch up to the time zone difference in preparation for our adventures on the following days. However, Giada of go2africa (more on her and Anne and the excellent service we received at a different time) recommended staying at the boutique Ololo Safari Lodge & Farm for our first night. A short 45 minute drive from downtown Nairobi delivered us to the property. We barely noticed time go by as we caught our first glimpses of animals in the wild, especially herds of zebras.
Upon arrival, we walked over the Mbagathi River on a swinging bridge, and were transported into an idyllic setting; fortunately luggage was transported for us. Delicious meals were prepared from their own organic farm, which is on the premises, and the staff were most helpful and friendly. Ololo is situated on the edge of Nairobi National Park which became the venue for our first game drive on the evening of our arrival in Kenya.
Established in 1946, Nairobi National Park is 45 square miles and it offers the surreal view of wildlife with Nairobi's buildings as a back drop. Being less than 4 miles from the capital city, it is fenced on three sides but has an open southern boundary to the bordering Kitengela plains, allowing migration of the wildlife.
I had heard the phrase "the world's wildlife capital" in reference to Nairobi, but I was beginning to appreciate what that actually meant.
This southern white rhinoceros came across the field, directly in front of us, and to the other side of our vehicle, and had a very long drink of water. Because they have been endangered, each rhino has a permanent and individual ear notching. This allows rapid identification by conservancy owners and caretakers. After more than a century of management and protection in Kenya, the southern white rhino is now listed as near threatened; Nairobi National Park is one of Kenya's most successful rhino sanctuaries.
Watching the sunset and a lion pride was so much better than staying at the airport for our first night.
If only visiting Nairobi and thinking you don't have time to venture deeper to see wildlife, think again.