Whenever I find myself complaining too much; whenever I start to grow grim around the mouth; whenever I have to restrain myself from breaking down in public transport (because they didn’t introduce adulting into any 8-4-4 school curriculum) or whenever I have to talk myself out of randomly assaulting people around the Tom Mboya statue, it is during such trying times that I realize I may have underestimated just how stressful life can get and how a getaway would be much obliged, if not necessary. Are you struggling with the same feelings?
Whenever I find myself struggling with the pressures of adulthood, I am inclined to seek the fastest and cheapest solution I can. So it was on one Sunday afternoon a few weeks back that I made my way to the Nairobi National Park- Nairobi Safari Walk.
If a Kenyan citizen should decide to willingly part with 250 bob, they will get a ticket to what promises to be a walk to remember. As soon as you walk beyond the gates, you feel it. You’re probably not in Nairobi anymore. You can feel the quiet occasionally interrupted by small and large families sometimes at once, but mostly different times. Others have also come to see what the fuss is all about, why Maina keeps pestering us to tour our country more often. The first creature I spotted was the Pigmy Hippo. The pigmy hippo is one of the two species of Hippopotamidae and is mostly native to West Africa.
Look a little to your left and you’ll see a zebra, the original big bird aka Ostrich, gazelles, hyenas and more animals slowly feeding on anything they can find on the ground and consider food worthy.
Thanks to the educational charts that the Nairobi Safari Walk has put up close to the animal enclosures, I learnt that an egg laid by a hen takes approximately 15 minutes to boil, while that of an ostrich takes 90 minutes.
The King of Safari Walk must be this male lion who I christened ‘Muruthi wa Nai’ (meaning the Lion of Nairobi or the King of Nairobi in some instances).
As you watch Muruthi lying lazily in his corner, he almost looks like an overgrown cat harmlessly dozing and waiting for mealtime. As he saunters over to the females, his thick mane remains still against the gentle breeze. He playfully lifts the lionesses’ heads as if asking them to pay him some attention. The females do anything but.
The lioness pictured here is distracted by the rare bongo who she watches keenly enjoying his afternoon meal- grass. This lioness was in a hunting stance; ready to pounce and devour the bongo. She looked as if she was just begging her deities to bring that fence down so she could taste the sweet flesh of her prey. Let’s talk about the bongo for a minute.
(image courtesy of blog.vetatlas.ru)
The bongo is among the largest African forest antelope species. There’s the western or lowland bongo and the eastern or mountain bongo. The latter is native to Kenya and a few other African countries. The species is currently under threat with reports of only 100 mountain bongos in the wild. The mountain bongo has been described as having a deep chestnut coat, white stripes running down its back up to its stomach, large slightly spiraled horns sloping over its back, but the most notable description would have to be the term ‘critically endangered’. This basically means that one day, a few years down the line, there will be no more bongos left due to poaching and logging of their habitat.
Another female is seen stretching lazily after her afternoon nap. She’s pleased, but not moved by the new human visitors. She simply stares at us as she yawns and goes about her business. The lions know that they’re no match for the glazed window and that’s why we can confidently cajole them making roar noises and faces. A lion’s roar can be heard 5kms away. This sound might just be one of the things in this world that can give you involuntary bowel movement. It’s a sound that automatically hits the Fear switch in your body. And yet the first thing you’re advised to do when you are face to face with a lion is stand your ground.
Aside from the Nairobi Safari Walk being a home to 4 of the Big 5 i.e. lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino, it is also a forest-y kingdom. Look right, look left and all you see is trees. Look beyond the horizon, as far as the eye can see and all you see is more trees. The view is so beautiful, the Queen of Pop aka Madonna had to come and see it for herself.
Did you know that Nairobi is the only city in the world with its own National Park? It’s also the most bird rich city in the world. This may be hard to believe, but the Nairobi National Park has close to 500 species of birds. A weekend at the Nairobi Safari Walk would make for a perfect getaway for any keen bird watcher.
Do you think you deserve a treat? Showing yourself some love doesn’t have to burn holes in your pocket. It can be as simple as treating yourself to the beautiful scenery that awaits you at the Nairobi Safari Walk. What’s more important to you, saving a few shillings or spending a fulfilling day walking through one of the world’s most coveted treasures within our own city?
If you can’t go today or tomorrow, treat yourself someday to the sights and sounds of this unforgettable walk and make sure you relish the moment you see a spider crawling down its web gently suspended in the air, the moment you lock a gaze with a lioness, the moment a monkey walks alongside you on the boardwalk, the moment you see a bird preparing itself for takeoff and the moment when everything else seems to disappear leaving only you, the trees in the distance and that wooden walkway.
(featured image courtesy of emaze.com)