During our first Kenya visit in 2021 we already stayed in Nairobi for a few nights and knew the city was a great way to kick off a Kenya roundtrip – be it a safari or a beach holiday.
So during our second Kenya visit in 2022 we decided to stay in Nairobi again, but this time we opted for the only camp inside of Nairobi National Park called “Nairobi Tented Camp“. This way we already went on our first game drive when we left the airport! It doesn’t get more exciting than this and sets the tone for the rest of the trip perfectly.
From lions to rhinos and one of the world’s heaviest flying birds called “Kori Bustard” – Nairobi National Park offers a lot for a city safari!
Straight into Nairobi National Park
Only a 30 minute ride from the airport you can enter the gates of Nairobi National Park. Some visitors opt to stay in one of the more standard city hotels in Nairobi, but we decided to do something special – we stayed INSIDE the National Park. We would highly recommend this, to get a feeling for how serious Kenya takes it’s wildlife conservation, even inside the city!
At the National Park gate is where you get off the airport taxi and change into a 4×4 open safari vehicle – and off you go on your first game drive of the Kenya holiday! Don’t be surprised if you see lions, giraffes and buffalos, hippos and crocodiles – right on your way to the camp from the airport…
Interestingly Nairobi National Park isn’t fenced on all sides – in fact the wildlife can roam freely outside the unfenced Southern boundary of the park. But on the Northern side it’s fenced – where you can see the skyline of Nairobi!
Where to stay: Nairobi Tented Camp by Porini
Nairobi Tented Camp is the only camp that is located directly inside of Nairobi National Park. There are a few options on the unfenced edge of the park (like The Emakoko, where we stayed last year), but Nairobi Tented Camp really is inside of the park. It’s located on the western side of Nairobi National Park, but given the size of the park you have access to all areas during the game drives.
The camp itself is rather rustic, but charming, with a total of around 8 tents, that are spread out around the woods. Like most safari camps it’s also unfenced, meaning you’ll be accompanied to your tent after sunset – just in case of any unwanted wildlife encounters. When we stayed here in 2022 we were the only guests, so we got the full attention of the lovely team at the camp. They made a campfire each evening for us and served Amarula on ice. We then got a full three-course vegetarian meal for dinner and they even set up breakfast and lunch in the bush for us on our last day. While we sat and had our meals they always cleaned our room immediately and refilled our water bottles!
We give full 10 out of 10 points for the service at Nairobi Tented Camp, the camp infrastructure only gets a 6/10 because it’s a bit dated and not in the best shape. But it’s clean and the friendliness of the team outweighs these issues.
The tented rooms at Nairobi Tented Camp
We stayed in tent #7 at the end of the camp with a large elevated wooden terrace and unobstructed bush views. We’d recommend getting this room as there are no neighbouring tents that are too close-by, so you’ll get some privacy! The tent consists of a large bedroom and a bathroom with a traditional bush bucket shower (meaning you’ll have to order hot water first), a flushing toilet and vanity. It’s comfortable and also very clean!
What to do: Visit Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage
When we visited Nairobi last time the elephant orphanage was closed due to COVID-19, so we didn’t have a chance to visit last year (instead we opted for the Giraffe center and the Karen Blixen house – read more about those here). But in 2022 the elephant orphanage has reopened and is a must do when in Nairobi!
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust does an incredible job when it comes to taking care of orphaned elephant babies from all over Kenya. They are being taken care of for up to four years before being released back into the wild. During a visit you can learn a lot about how they make sure the elephants are being socialised in a way they can still safely go back to the wild – and of course you get up close with the most adorable elephant babies!
There’s only one visitor slot per day at the elephant orphanage for the 11am feeding of the babies and there’s a huge hype around it. So, definitely make sure to reserve your spots well ahead of time, otherwise you won’t have a chance to enter!
If you’re interested in staying at Nairobi Tented Camp, learn more here!