NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK
Best for: A quick wildlife-watching stopover
DURATION: 1–3 days ROUTE: Nairobi • Nairobi NP WHEN TO GO? June–october and December–february are the driest months
Let’s start by debunking the idea that a safari has to be a journey. That notion dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries, when East African traders, hunters and explorers used the Swahili word safari (meaning voyage or journey) for an arduous trip between trading posts, or an animal-collecting expedition. Ripe with romantic, adventurous associations, the term is here to stay. But if you don’t have the time or inclination for a multi-stop marathon, you needn’t miss out entirely – it’s perfectly possible to plan a quick single-stop safari instead.
Kenya is blessed with one of Africa’s most accessible wildlife-watching areas: a national park more than ten times larger than London’s Richmond Park, right on Nairobi’s doorstep. Considering its size and location, its population of black rhinos, lions, zebras and giraffes is remarkably healthy. Kenya Airways now includes a free flying visit to the national park if you’re in transit between London and one of seven African cities. Their safari guides will drive you around the park, provide breakfast and even cover the cost of your transit visa.
For those who decide to stay overnight, the park has a couple of gorgeous little lodges (Ololo and The Emakoko) to knock spots off any airport hotel.
Safari stars & stripes Spot giraffe against a backdrop of skyscrapers;(far right) zebra form herds known as a zeal; (right) an ostrich forages in Nairobi National Park