NNP in the Wet Season….

By Will Knocker:


Early morning impala…


White (or Grass) rhinos are doing well in the Park: they were introduced from Nakuru NP


Native Black (or Browse) rhinos in their element…


There are 40+ lions in NNP, amongst which are at least 6 adult males, all of them brothers…


Could this be a Green-winged Pytilia?


Four Black-backed jackals on the remains of a lion-kill in the Athi Basin…


Spot the difference between a Tommy & Grantis…..


There have never been so many bufffaloes in the ParK; helping to naturally manage the grasslands….


The Park is a veritable ocean of long grass interspersed with wild flowers: absolutely beautiful…..


















Good News for Rhinos!

Pictures of a newborn Grass (White) rhino from last week….


This brings the NNP total to 13 individuals. 10 were translocated from Nakuru NP a few years. A cow gave birth (see archive) & then the last surviving Grass rhino (a bull) was brought in from the Mara after his companion was poached. = 12


Here is the new little creature :  I bet it is a female!!


Looks like we have a BREEDING population of Ceratotherium simum simum, a species from the Southern savannahs of Africa.


From 10-20 animals in the early years of the 20th century, there may be 5000 or so of  this sp. which is  Critically Endangered.

Could you please tell the ignorant people  that RHINO  HORN IS NOT MEDICINE….

Black rhinos breeding well in NNP

Photographs courtesy of Patrick Bourgeix:


Despite the bad news coming out of South Africa in particular & stories of an upsurge in rhino & elephant poaching in Kenya, here in the Nairobi Park, a long-time sanctuary for the East African sub-species of Black (Browse) rhino –micheallii– things are going well & here are photographs to prove it!

Above a cow & calf in the lower Kisembe valley….

There are at least 60 Black rhinos in NNP  & 11 Northern White (Grass) rhinos translocated in from Lake Nakuru Park.

Below cow & calf on plain below Impala Observation Point….

Just 2 of the many calves in the park, spelling out a bright future for this wondrous species.

If you live in Nairobi, come out to visit NNP: USE IT OR LOSE IT!!


Ma’s Luck

Your writer was taught ‘safari’ by his mother, now 85, who stopped by for a run in the Nairobi National Park last saturday on her way to Tanzania……


First we came across Ujonjo at the top of the Mokoyeti valley


He proceeded to bellow -the first time that Ma had seen a lion roaring


Down the road we met a second male, whom I believe to be Ujonjo’s son…here he is listening to Ujonjo roaring whereupon he responded with his own  full-bodied bellow, which echoed up & down the valley. Truly awesome, to use an over-used word…..


‘Son of Ujonjo’ -any names out there? -in the Mokoyeti valley


We then moved to the Athi Basin & the Athi Dam, magical in the early morning light.


Herds of zebra & gnu were coming to drink along with noisy Yellow throated sandgrouse making their distinctive ‘tirikoko’ calls: which is why the Maasai call them……..tirikoko…….


Black backed jackals are uncommon in the park (one of the few females was recently killed by a speeding vehicle) so it was more Ma’s Luck to find this pair: these animals pairs for life……


Next up was the splendid sight of thousands of zebra in the valley between Eland Hollow & the East Gate junction, along with masses of other plains sp. -see in the background below


And these 5 White rhinos…..


Last of all, we found yet another maned lion, this one consorting with a lioness close to the milling herds near Eland Hollow.

What a day! What a park!

Grass Rhino Update


The Grass (White) rhinoes translocated into NNP about a year ago have settled in very well.

They are 11 in total including the calf (a male) born in the Park.


Portrait of a White Rhino: grass eaters, with wide mouths & rubbery lips……



Much easier to photograph than the Black rhinoes that are much more numerous in Nairobi Park, Grass rhinoes are very docile owing to a limited genetic pool from which they all descend.


Peculiar that these enormous pachyderms have found somewhere to live: cheek-by-jowl with a city of 5 million!!!!

White Rhino Calf Update


Mother & calf doing well, although Paula watched lions stalking them a day or two ago……


These grazing megaherbivores are so very different in looks & temperament to the resident black rhinos, which remain shy & elusive….


Forgive this rather blurry image of our young star….


Is it a he or a she :could some expert enlighten us – or a cold Tusker for the first correct answer……

Birding with Brian Finch -September


After not visiting Nairobi National Park since 28th August, when for
the only time this year, I described the visit as the doldrums period,
today 13th September I spent the day in the Park and found that the
doldrums were very much over.

I was through the Main Gate just after 6-30am, the initial cloud cover
soon burnt off and the day was bright, sunny and warm more like the
weather that we would expect in September. Although there was a
negligible evening shower two days before, there was absolutely no
sign that this had happened and the roads were very dusty.

Less than a few hundred metres from the entrance gate, a stocky
antelope walked out of the forest and walked slowly across the road
seemingly oblivious of me. I immediately recognised the animal as a
Red Duiker, all reddish, unmarked, a huge rounded backside and small
neckless head. The rump was a richer reddish-chestnut than the body. I
have certainly never encountered the species in the Park, and I have
never heard of a sighting in the Park. At home I checked up in
Williams, National Parks book, and there was no record listed in there
for Nairobi National Park. Has anyone even seen or heard of a record
from here? It would seem unlikely that KWS would have included this
species in their introductions scheme.

I stayed at the Ivory Burning Site for a while, there were quite a few
mammals including a Black Rhino. There was a single female
Violet-backed Starling, and speeding over the top of the short grass
was an African Hobby which disappeared gaining height towards Nairobi.
An African Hoopoe was the first in the Park for some time. There were
a pair of Giant Kingfishers displaying over Nagalomon Dam, and a noisy
Zanzibar Sombre Greenbul singing from the other side of the lake.
Along the road towards Splash there were a pair of Scaly Francolins
feeding on the road, and African Firefinch was singing from the scrub.
Along the creek feeding Hyena Dam were an African Water Rail, a couple
each of Green and Wood Sandpipers, and an extremely early flava-type
adult female Yellow Wagtail, certainly the earliest I have ever seen
the species in Kenya. There were about three more African Water Rails
calling on Hyena Dam, but apart from that only the small Great Egret
was of any interest, apart from a White Rhino.
The run-off was much quieter than recently, a black Gabar Goshawk
agitated the, over two-hundred Wattled Starlings that were in a dense
flock crowning the canopies of acacias, a single Namaqua Dove, a
couple of White-tailed Larks and the only Barn Swallow of the day.
Taking the inside road to Karen Primary School Dam, the juvenileTawny
Eagle was trying out its wings by flapping on the nest, there were
twenty of so Athi Short-toed Larks, and at the dam small numbers of
White-winged Widowbirds and Red-billed Queleas, but no sign of
Yellow-crowned Bishop all day, they all seem to have left.
Just past the Beacon there were more Athi Short-toed Larks and five
African Silverbills. There was a Steinbok above the Athi basin. Athi
Dam was most disappointing, there was an impressive thousand or so
Marabou Storks, but not much else. A single Yellow-throated
Sandgrouse, three Black-crowned Night-Herons, eight Black-winged
Stilts, two Spur-winged and four Kittlitz’s Plovers, palearctic waders
just three Little Stints and four Common Sandpipers. On the exit road
south of the dam there were some seventy Athi Short-toed Larks is full
song, and another Black Rhino. On the Mbagathi bridge below Baboon
Cliffs there were a pair of Pygmy Kingfishers, a pair of Violet
Woodhopoes were the first time I have seen them west of Hippo Pools,
and a Side-striped Ground-Squirrel. Near the turn-off to Maasai Gate I
stopped for three Golden-breasted Buntings in an isolated acacia in a
dry area, and on doing so heard the full song of Blue-capped
Cordon-bleu. I waited to see if the bird would show itself, but it
stayed in cover. I “spished” and the bird came straight out and posed
on a branch getting itself digitised in the process. This was the
first ever record of Blue-capped Cordon-bleu for Nairobi Park, and a
stunning adult male. Nearby was a single Black-headed Oriole, a
species that is inexplicably scarce in the Park even though a common
enough resident in local gardens. Towards Kingfisher Picnic Site at
(29), there were five more African Silverbills with ten Zebra
Waxbills. Olmanyi Dam had a single Greenshank but nothing much else
apart from a couple of passing Mottled Swifts. Retracing the Hyena Dam
run-off there was a male Saddle-billed Stork, but the Whinchat seems
to have left its small territory. Nagalomon Dam had a smart trio of
Darters on the roosting tree, and both Kisembe Forest Edge Dam and
Langata Dams had Green Sandpipers. The last named had a young juvenile
Bateleur hopefully the progeny of the only pair in the Park.
Vultures were still in good numbers, still unable to keep up with the
dead cattle in the area. There were seven widely distributed
Lilac-breasted Rollers seen today, Quailfinch have plummeted from
being the commonest bird in the Park to a mere handful, in fact today
there were more Zebra Waxbill seen.

Wild animals were plentiful, apart from the highlight species, good
numbers of Zebra and especially Wildebeest, Bohor Reedbuck in three
locations and several Bushbuck. Many new mammal excavations in
roadside banks today. Cattle still in numbers in the south of the
Park, but far more calves than cows and over fifty dead seen.

The Park is now entering an interesting time of year with the imminent
arrival of northern migrants, the mammals are so spectacular and the
place in spite of being so dry, gives a very good day out.