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30 May, 2024
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at the water

It’s All About Waiting At The Water – Article by Gareth Jones


Over many years I have noted that most of us are still in “City mode” when we enter a national park, and would like to see as much of the created wonders as possible. Our challenge is to quickly snap out of “City mode” into “Bush mode”.

This week I thought it would be helpful to note some points that work for me. There is always something attractive about water, perhaps because it brings life. People also seem to be fascinated by the power of water, like waves, waterfalls and flooding. The Nairobi National Park has a number of wonderful water points spread across a wide area and includes many dams like the Nagolomon dam, Athi dam, Hyena dam, Embakasi dam and a number of seasonal dams and streams that flow into the Mbagathi River.

It can be very rewarding to plan your visit to the park by maximizing your time at various water points. For example if you decide to spend time at the Athi dam, find a parking position that will ensure good clear vision, so that waiting will have wonderful rewards, as nature happens around you. Very often large herds come and drink, like zebra, Eastern white bridled wildebeest, Coke’s Hartebeest (Kongoni) buffalo and eland. Occasionally both the white and black rhino can been seen drinking, for those people who wait quietly. At times giraffes also drink at the dams. Very often hippos and number of crocodiles can be seen. Sightings of predators like lions are also seen and are often unpredictable as to exactly when and where they will appear. However a basic simple rule I have is the if there are large herds of herbivores in a particular area, then predators must be more likely to be present.

It is also interesting to watch the many bird species. The birds are also very different ranging from tiny malachite kingfishers, ducks, waders, pelicans, storks, to majestic fish eagles. When waiting and watching, it is good to have some refreshments with you. It is nice to pack a flask of coffee or tea or your favorite brew with some delicious prepacked home-made or take-away food. Note that people are not allowed to get out and picnic at the dams or water points, so the refreshments should be practical for eating and drinking inside a vehicle, messy, sticky refreshments are not a good idea.

The following items are also useful, the Nairobi National Park – Guide book (Kifaru shop & FONNAP office – main gate), a good East African bird book, mammals book, binoculars & a decent camera.

I hope that your time waiting at the water will be restful and be like a “soul tonic”. I believe that God has also created nature for mankind to observe and relax in when we escape for a short while from the craziness of the city ways of this world we live in. So why not plan your next visit to the Nairobi National Park to include some “waiting at the water” moments.

The park is open daily from 06h00 to 19h00.



servalsGareth Jones – Nairobi Park Dairy – A passionate writer & photographer