Fears are rife that Nairobi’s animals sanctuary will be reduced a zoo because of land pressure. Established by colonialists more than 60 years ago, the park was the first Kenya and in East Africa. However fears are growing that pressure on land, with the park now sandwiched between high end estates, might mean it’s a matter of time before it’s reduced to a zoo.
Sebastian the chimpanzee left fond memories among the many tourists who visited the park. Until he died 1999, aged nearly 50, the ape who had been shipped as a youngster from the Congo forest defined tourism in Nairobi and for many years became synonymous with the park. The park contributed to Nairobi s nickname of the green city in the sun and it’s seen as another tourist destination, in the same way Nakuru National Park has boosted Nakuru Town.
The park offers all the animals to be seen in most parks – including lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino – expect elephants which were judged to be too destructive for a comparatively small area.
Nairobi has unique status as the only capital in the world with a national park in its midst and it remains to be seen the new county government will do to enhance its vast potential. Lack of a land policy to zone places, including land use in Nairobi is a big mistake but initiatives taken by KWS together with Friends of the Park are giving as hopes as they try to ensure the park survival. The Nairobi County leaders must work hand in hand with those in Kajiado on a formula to ensure the park’s survival.
Apart from the park, there are many other tourist attractions around the city. They include the national museum and Snake Park, plus arboretum nature trails next to the University of Nairobi, the Karen Bixen museum, the Giraffe Centre where visitors can hand feed rare Rothschild giraffes.