I had a free day in Nairobi before the tour started, so immediately started researching how to spend the day. And I believe I genuinely came up with the best way to fill my time!
After some research I found Perfect Wilderness Tours who offer a range of tours, from 1 day ones to much longer trips.
There were three things I had decided I wanted to do with the day and the tour company offered a day trip that fitted. Perfect!
Our driver, Sami, picked us up from the hotel and we set off. We were ready early and when we discovered this, he even turned up early as he was worried about us waiting. I cannot recommend him enough, friendly, interesting and so so helpful!
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Nairobi
Our first stop of the day was to visit the elephant orphanage. You can visit the orphanage each day from 11am – 12pm, make sure you get there a little earlier to get to the front when they let you in. This means you get a good spot, again thank you Sami. If you stand near the muddier, bath area of the enclosure there is a high chance you will get covered in mud as the elephants spray! We stood at the far corner from where you come in and it was perfect.
The elephants gamble down towards the keepers who feed them with bottles. Such a heartwarming sight. There is also a talk about each calf and why they ended up in the orphanage. Most often is it because they lost their mothers to poaching. Baby elephants need their mothers milk until the age of 2, and so would not survive with out this beautiful place.
The work the orphanage does is amazing and when the elephants are around 3 years old, they are reintroduced back into the wild. The money from the visiting tourists contributes to their amazing work.
After they are fed they play around in the mud together and wander around, getting close enough to be touched. Seeing these beautiful animals up close was such an emotional experience for me.
Giraffe Centre, Nairobi
Most of the people who go to see the elephants head to the giraffe centre straight after. My tip would be to go and have some lunch first, so that you don’t end up there at the busiest time.
For those of you who have lusted over visiting Giraffe Manor, but can’t quite afford the price tag – this is the place for you. You can see the beautiful hotel in the distance and these are the very same giraffes.
You get given some pellets to feed the giraffes with, and you can even put it between your lips for a giraffe kiss. First time for everything!n It was a little slobbery, but I felt we had a real connection.
There are two levels which you can feed the giraffes from. The ground where they bend down to meet you, or the raised tree house level where you can look them right in the eye. It was such a fantastic time and I am even more in love with giraffes than I was before.
Nairobi National Park
The day ended in the most perfect way, with a game drive in Nairobi National Park. I have been on safari before, in Tanzania, and it was one of the most magical experiences of my life. However, I had never seen a rhino and this was high on the bucketlist!
Nairobi National Park is a mere 7km outside of the city centre. It is quite a special thing to be in the city one minute. Then in the middle of this beautiful game reserve the next. From a lot of locations you can see the skyscrapers of the city in the background.
We only had a couple of hours in the park, and actually a few more hours would have been perfect. First thing in the morning is the best time to go, as it is when the animals are most active. However, have said the above, I still had an amazing afternoon!
A day trip won’t be the same as a three day safari in the Serengeti or Masi Mara. But if time is an issue, or as an introduction, this is definitely a good alternative. It has certainly got me itching to go on another safari holiday.
Sami set us a challenge of who could be the first person to spot wildlife. My friend actually won, by spying a warthog in the distance. Then as we turned the corner, my dreams came true. A rhino. An actual real life rhino. In the wild. To say I was excited was an understatement.
Throughout the rest of the afternoon we spotted zebra, water buffalo, lots of impala, ostrich, a hippo and even a lion asleep under a tree.
As a final wonderful parting gift from Nairobi National Park, we saw more rhinos and even a little baby. I don’t think I have ever been so happy.
The park is also home to leopards, cheetahs and giraffes but sadly we didn’t get to see these. There are no elephants as the park just isn’t large enough, being just under 120 sq km.
Headed back after a perfect day, and not sure how the rest of the trip could compete.
Spolier – it did. Have a look here to find out about my hike to see the gorillas