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17 May, 2022
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A Fabulous Family Outing!- Article by Gareth Jones

A Fabulous Family Outing!- Article by Gareth Jones

A Fabulous Family Outing In The Nairobi National Park!

With the upcoming holidays approaching, many families are looking for activities that will result in great memories and a wonderful family time together. Planning your family outing is a key part of having the best possible experience. However, as the dynamics of every family is different due to various reasons, it is important to include such reasons in the plan. For example, families with small children including babies, cannot expect to spend many hours in their vehicle driving around, I suggest maximum 2-3 hours of driving for such situations.

However, for those who prefer to rise early, to experience the freshness of a new day, with the possibility of seeing a special elusive predator or nocturnal species, it is in my opinion, definitely worth the effort. For example, on a previous outing we had this experience…… “The alarm clock buzzed at 05h00 as we awoke to a new day and arrived at the gate just after 06h00. The master plan was to spend the entire day in the Nairobi National Park, and just enjoy all the creation, from the smallest to the largest creatures. Well, I have to say it was an amazing day, as our plan manifested into a wonderful reality, as we slowed down to the pace of nature. Even though it was early in the morning, we were pleasantly surprised to notice a number of families who had also made the effort to get up early, and some families with small children. This scene brought back childhood memories of outings in national parks as a family many years ago. My parents used to do make considerable effort to turn wildlife eduction into fun family moments. There were always various nature books in the car, including wildlife colouring-in books and crayons. We would have a family quiz from the mammal book, with my younger brother often being the “quizmaster”, and asking some very challenging questions that even my parents had to guess. Points would be given for various sightings, usually rewarded with a small sweet. We would make up songs about the various animals, for example a silly song like “jerry giraffe he makes us all laugh”, or when watching hippos or rhino in mud my dad would sing “mud, mud glorious mud, nothing quite like it for cooling the blood”. We would play “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…” and then ask up to “twenty questions” with the theme being in the particular national park, in this game a person sees something and keeps quiet while the others then try to guess what it is by asking a maximum of 20 questions. As we have grown older, we still treasure those wonderful memories of fun family moments in nature”.

If you are planning a family day in the park, it is a wonderfully fun way to get away from the “city buzz” and experience the therapeutic “bush buzz”. I believe the following basic tips could make your day really fantastic. 1) Try to preplan your food and drinks in advance 2) Use a cooler box with ice packs to keep food and drinks fresh and cold 3) It’s worth waking up very early for a game drive 4) Stop at a picnic site for a meal together 5) Pack a good set of binoculars 6) A map and some basic ID books are useful when seeing various species 7) Having a decent camera helps to enhance the experience as you are able to capture some of your sightings in the form of photos 8) Don’t travel too much, take time to sit and relax at various dams and treed areas 9) Don’t worry about finding lions first, rather focus on enjoying every species and then if a lion sighting happens it will be a special bonus 10) If you have young children, take nature theme children’s books, colouring books and games, don’t take long drives 11) Slow down to the pace of nature, and relax!! 12) Make sure you bring your original ID to the main gate to avoid complications with fee rates 13) KWS does not accept any cash, most people pay using MPESA or credit cards 14) Before going into the park we ask God for peace as we experience the wonders of creation. Being in a natural environment, even just for a few hours, is definitely like a “soul tonic” or a medicine “dawa” for our innermost being. A wonderful moment to escape from the crazy, fast-paced world around us.

The tranquil peace in the park is tangible and very real. A fun-filled family moment awaits those families and individuals who venture into the Nairobi National Park.

This park is a wonderful venue to consider during these holidays, there is much wildlife and scenery to enjoy.

So if you are looking for a place to escape from the pressures of city life, why not visit the Nairobi National Park. Relax, take a breath of fresh air and let go of the “city mode” and move into “bush mode” I believe that God has created the natural wonders of nature to also give us pleasure and stress relief. The tranquil peace in the park is tangible and very real. Our repeated experience is that, a day in the park is like a real “soul tonic” medicine for the inner being, an escape from the fast-paced world around us. I hope that those who venture out into the wild places will have a wonderful, fun-filled family experience that will be etched into their minds as a memory moment of a lifetime.


A Fabulous Family Outing
Gareth Jones – Nairobi Park Diary – A passionate writer & photographer
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