Top 9 Things to do in Nairobi Airport Layover Safari to Nairobi National Park from NBO-JKIA Airport – Sojourn Safaris Ltd

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Nairobi, Kenya Kenya Tour Guide: Top 9 Things to do in Nairobi Airport Layover Safari to Nairobi National Park from NBO-JKIA Airport – Sojourn Safaris Ltd

Top 9 Things to do in Nairobi Airport Layover Safari to Nairobi National Park from NBO-JKIA Airport – Sojourn Safaris Ltd

Nairobi airport layover safari to Nairobi national park is a half day or 4hr game drive in your stop.

This Nairobi lay-over tour includes airport pick up and drop off, 4hr game drive, bottled drinking water, English speaking driver guide, view of animals, sites and attractions in Nairobi Park against the backdrop of Nairobi skyscrapers. The Nairobi national park layover safari is one of the most exciting tours while on a short airport stopover at NBO-JKIA airport.

To do a Nairobi national park airport layover safari, things to see in the park in a 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 hr stop include:

  • Wildlife viewing in Nairobi National Park Layover
  • Visit to ivory burning monument on Layover in Nairobi National Park
  • Step out at the Mokoiyet view point and picnic site in Nairobi National park
  • See Hippos in the hyena dam on a 4hr Nairobi airport layover to Nairobi park
  • See Crocodiles at the Mbagathi River Nairobi safari Walk
  • View Lots of bird life in Nairobi national park airport layover bird trip
  • Take unique shots of wildlife against Nairobi skyscrapers
  • Breathe the fresh air of wilderness away from Nairobi national park airport layover
  • Take Dinner or a lunch at Carnivore restaurant on a Nairobi airport layover


1.     Wildlife Viewing in Nairobi National Park Layover


Nairobi national park is popular for its wide range of wildlife that you can view in a short 4 hours of game drive. This park is home to the best views of white and black rhinos just afew feet away from the roads. There is also a very healthy population of lions that can be seen lazing on the grass or as they crawl towards prey.

Nairobi National Park Safari Tour (Open Roof Van) - Activity in Nairobi

Best time to visit Nairobi national park is at 6.00am to get the best wildlife views at dawn. The gate staff will quickly process your payments and let you on your way for the game drive. The driver opens up your game drive vehicle latch roof and you can stand and watch game from here on.

As you drive down from the westerly dry land forest into the savannah, your luck might bring you face to face with a lion or a herd of buffalos. Giraffes are trickier to find and tend to occupy the southernmost fringes of the park which has high acacia trees. By this time the hippos have sauntered back into the man-made dams of Athi dam and hyena dam as well as into river Mbagathi. You will nonetheless see the hippo heads bopping in and out of the still waters.

On the plains of Nairobi national park, your layover game drive tour will present you with many types of plains game including zebras, Topis, hartebeests, wildebeests, elands, Thompson gazelles, Grants gazelles, impalas, buffalos, Dik Diks among others. Most of these antelopes stick together for herd security and increase the number of eyes looking out for predators. You can take amazing pictures of the antelopes against the city backdrop on your short Nairobi airport layover tour. Of course you can include a Nairobi city layover walking tour if you love being in the hustle and bustle.

If you are lucky enough, you might get a glimpse of the leopards on the leopard gorge. At times you will see one lying on top of an acacia tree or just walking besides your car along the game drive tracks. It is however very difficult to see a leopard in this park as they are nocturnal animals and tend to sleep off the day’s heat hidden in caves or high up acacia trees amidst thick brush. There is a family of cheetahs around Athi dam plains to the south which are easier to see during the day. If your charms work for you on your Nairobi national park airport layover tour, you might even see a cheetah on a hunt dash.


2.     Visit to Ivory Burning Monument on Layover in Nairobi National Park


Once you drive through the gates of Nairobi national park, you are on a short downhill tarmac road. At its end, and on the left, is a monument built in commemoration of the 3 elephant tusks burning events. On 3 occasions, the Kenya wildlife service has burnt stock piles of ivory at this site with a lot of fun fare to reiterate Kenya’s commitment to total ban on ivory trade globally.

Ivory burning site monument nairobi - Award Tours & Safaris

It’s an option to start your game drive here or finish the tour at this point. At the site, you will see a lot of ivory ash from the burnt tusks and information boards telling you about the challenges posed by poaching to Kenyan elephants. There is a small statue of elephants on a solid marble block as the Centre piece of this monument.

Visitors are allowed to step out of their game drive vehicles to see and read about Kenya’s fight with poaching. It makes a sad read when you consider the number of elephants decimated over 8 decades but the recovery in numbers of elephants in Kenya is also remarkable. The elephant ivory burning monument is one of the many highlights and attractions in your Nairobi national park layover excursion.


3.     Step Out At the Mokoiyet View Point and Picnic Site in Nairobi National Park


From a dirt park road into a paved concrete slab road, you will drive up and down some beautiful valleys. The roadside is lined with beautiful acacia trees and some deep brush. This concrete road was constructed due to the previously steep and rocky hillsides that one had to drive through to get to Mokoyiet view point. It’s a nice drive up and down and through winding corners and at its end reveals a very beautiful and scenic picnic site perched on top of a hill overlooking a ravine below.

The Mokoyiet picnic site and view point is located above the Mokoyiet River and includes a huge car park and flowered grounds with benches to sit on. The river facing frontage is barricaded with iron monger and wire mesh to avoid falling into the precipice below. The overlook into the Mokoyiet valley below is outstanding in beauty and serene silence. The river below meanders the valley in a sluggish flow around rocks and thick acacia riverine forest.

The picnic site itself includes some resident baboons that are very naughty. You are advised to make sure all your windows are closed as they are known to steal snacks, sodas as well as wallets. Quite a sneaky, pesky and picky gang of thieves, these baboons of Mokoyiet make.

With a guard on site, you will be able to eat some snacks here but beware that baboons are extremely cunny and will at the blink of an eye hop on your table and make away with your lunch and the soft drink to boot.

The Mokoyiet picnic site is one of the best places to alight from your vehicle while on your Nairobi layover game drive from the NBO airport.


4.     See Hippos in the Hyena Dam on a 4hr Nairobi Airport Layover to Nairobi Park


The sea horses abound in Nairobi national park and are some of the easiest animals to see on your Nairobi airport layover safari. Nairobi national park has several huge man-made dams that are homes to hundreds of hippo families. Drive to the hyena dam which is closest to the main park gate and you will see their heads popping in and out of the water. The characteristic bubbles and ripples on the water indicate where these giant creatures are underwater.

The hippos in Nairobi national park will at times move from one dam to the next or from river Mbagathi to the interior dams. In the evenings or early morning, you may encounter them on the savannah grass as they come out to feed. Being largely nocturnal animals, the hippos usually venture out of the water at 6.00pm to start their overnight foray. They are known to cover vast distances out of the water only to return again at dawn into the dams to protect themselves from the day’s heat. Watching these giant sea horses in the water is a big attraction to a Nairobi national park airport layover safari.

It’s a great site when you drive by these big dams and can see the mothers with their babies and the bulls in the water. If you stay here long enough, you will see them yawn countless times and hear them making their bleating noises as they pop their heads in and out of the water. I always consider their emerging and submerging actions in the water as a game of “now you see me, now you don’t”. Never try to get inside the water where hippos are suspected to reside as you never see these behemoths coming at you. Hippos gallop at the bottom of the dams and can abruptly emerge 1 foot away from you even at the shoreline.

As a fact, most fatalities from wildlife in Africa are caused by the hippos due to their uncanny nature of underwater ambushes. Keep off the water.


5.     See Crocodiles at the Mbagathi River Nairobi Safari Walk


Afew hills beyond the Mokoyiet view point gets you to the river Mbagathi. This river is the southernmost boundary of Nairobi national park. Driving here is full of scenery and the river itself is ensconced by a thick forest of riverine vegetation of huge acacia trees and shrubs. Be careful as this is ripe buffalo territory.

Crocodiles abound in the river and are easy to see especially in warm days when they come out to busk on the rocks and river banks. The crocodiles in Nairobi national park are also known to migrate from the river to the dams inside the park when the river dries up. They however like the river due to the adequate supply of fish. On your river walk, you may see 2 or more crocodiles here. If not, try your luck on some of the other dams in the park where they are known to be permanent residents. You can’t miss to see a crocodile in Nairobi national park airport layover drive.

The dark green vegetation near the river makes for a welcome relief of the dry and chaffed grasslands especially during the dry season. There is a small walking trail along the river which brings you up close to hippos and crocodiles basking on the river bank. A little closer investigation will reveal tens of terrapins hanging on branches across the river or on the sandy banks.

For the bird lovers, the river Mbagathi forest is a magnet for birds including the African fish eagle, plovers, cormorants, herons and ibises which can be seen on a safari walk here. You can spend hours identifying birds on a walk at the riverine forest with an expert guide. The air is cool and at times windy and fresh around the river and makes for an ideal Nairobi airport layover walking tour. There is always an armed guide to accompany you for the Nairobi Park walking tour along the river.

An occasional giraffe can be seen head and neck above all the vegetation at the river. You need an armed guide to make this short safari walk on the river. The Mbagathi River is one of the best short Nairobi layover walking safari from the airport.


6.     View Lots of Bird Life in Nairobi National Park Layover Bird Trip


Bird watching layover safari in Nairobi national park is also a treat for bird lovers. Driving from the east gate, the closest Nairobi park gate to the airport, you will start watching the savannah grassland birds including the big kori bustard, secretary bird and the ostriches. The acacia dotted plains are undulating for miles and it’s easy for a birder to view birds on trees, roadside and in the tall grass. It’s a magnet for short birding safaris. The ant eater and seed eater birds are the most frequent sightings on the savannah grasslands.

As you come to the mid-section of the park, there are dams and swampy areas with small streams which are ideal bird watching places in Nairobi Park. Here birds like the African fish eagle, herons, ibises, Egyptian geese, African jacana and cormorants abound. A layover Nairobi Bird watch safari in the park offers you more than 400 species of birds to view. As you approach the water dams and rivers, you will hear the high pitched cry of the African fish eagle as it juts its head back and forth. This bird always sits close to the rivers and dams so that it can easily spot the fish in the water for a speedy dive and catch.

The male ostriches are easier to spot on the plains due to their black coat while the females are harder with their grey feathers. The male is black and adapted to sitting on the eggs at night when it’s harder to spot him. The female sits on the eggs by day which makes it harder for predators to spot her due to the camouflage. You will see lots of the male and female ostriches and in some cases a family with a large clutch of chicks.

The martial eagle is simply the largest bird of prey in the park and can be seen perched on a tree branch or on a rock. They often prey on small rodents and antelope fawns for their meals. The secretary bird on the other hand with its feathered crown is adept at killing and feeding on snakes. It’s got some crazy Kung Fu kicks that renders snakes unconscious in seconds. Next they wake up is in ‘’digestive juice land’’ where the sun never shines.

The African crested crane pair of male and female captivates you for hours. Watch as the male is made to dance its heart out to win a female. A dance more vigorous than the Brazilian capoeira, the male executes the moves with mastery gained from years of courting experiences in the African savannah. However, the female standards are way high and she flies off in jest to a dejected, exhausted and angry male bird. You can’t help but feel for the male crane bird after such a standing ovation-worth performance. But it’s hard to please a crested crane female as it were, and he lives to dance another day. And probably do a more romantic waltz or a foxtrot even. It’s hard being a male crested crane in the African savannah.


7.  Take Unique Shots of Wildlife against Nairobi Skyscrapers


One of the biggest highlight of a Nairobi national park half day tour is its proximity to the city Centre and the Nairobi airport. Driving into the park, you will start getting exciting views of the city buildings at the edge of the grass plains. Nairobi Park is so close to the Nairobi CBD that the skyscrapers seem like they are just at the park boundary. This makes for a perfect setting for unique wildlife photos with the city as your background.

A giraffe saunters past your car and you take both a video and a still picture with the city’s skyline as your backdrop. The giraffe seems to be striding between modernity and the stillness of the wilderness and you being at the right time to take the evidence.

Make sure to take great pictures of the bigger game like the rhinos, hippos, buffalos and zebras against the Nairobi city skyline. If you could make it past the morning haze, make sure to capture a sunrise picture with the city’s skyline forming a silhouette to the left of your frame. It’s just a magical moment.


8.     Breathe the Fresh Air of Wilderness Away from Nairobi National Park Airport Layover


One of the biggest benefits of visiting the Nairobi national park is the breath of fresh air you enjoy just a few minutes from the CBD. This park is so close to the city it only takes under 15 minutes to get there. Infact, Nairobi national park is only 7km from the city center to the main park gate at Langata headquarters. This means you can be in your office in the morning and get out for an afternoon of fresh air and game drive for the afternoon. Probably even go for a dinner at the carnivore restaurant before heading out home or catching your next flight from NBO-JKIA airport.

If you are on a layover at the Nairobi airport for longer than 4 hours, you may consider getting away from the drab walls of the terminals for a relaxing game drive and freshness. You will be amazed at how reinvigorating it can be from jet lag fatigue.

You game drive driver is always on hand to tell you about the nature including the grass, the wildlife and the people that border the park. These charming fellows will make any dull day brighter with their enthusiasm and endless knowledge. There is a park gate only 3km from your airport arrival terminal and you will be with the wildlife in a record 30 minutes upon exit. Nairobi national park layover game drive is your best option to kill time while on transit via Nairobi international airport.

9.     Take Dinner or a Lunch at Carnivore Restaurant on a Nairobi Airport Layover


If you have an evening to spare, you can sample the carnivore restaurant which is a popular barbeque place. The restaurant borders the park on the east border and has a rich heritage of game meat roasts until recently when it was banned. The carnivore as it is adoringly called is an outdoor dining experience which welcomes you with an open barbeque fireplace at the entrance.

The place offers crocodile meat, ostrich meat, pork, lamb, chicken and beef roasts. It’s an eat all you can place where the servers only stop serving you when you surrender and drop the small flag on top of your table.

Good music and safari ambience compliments this place for its great barbeque dinners. It is however not a place for the vegetarian. There are many Indian and vegetarian restaurants between the park and the airport including at the galleria mall and the capital city mall. These vegetarian restaurants also offer a rich and fresh selection of foods to wet your palate as you explore Asian, African, and Arabian cuisines.

Your amazing Nairobi airport layover safari tour ends with a drop off at the NBO airport for a timely flight out. All served with lots of smiles and love.

You can book a last minute Nairobi airport layover safari to the Nairobi national park from Robert via whatsapp +254 722 661827 or email him on

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