It was 3 hours well spent.
Left Panari Hotel at 6:00 a.m. in an Eastern and Southern Safaris pop-top minibus with a box breakfast on a private departure. We arrived at the park gate at 6:15 a.m. A sign stated "Warthogs and Children have Right of Way.” For the record, I saw 4 warthogs and no children in the park.
Tickets took 5 minutes and then we waited while other vehicles were waived through ahead of us. I didn't understand that business, but didn't ask. It was still dark anyway. We drove through the iron gates decorated with giant lion silhouettes at 6:30 am.
One lone buffalo. The first animal I ever saw on safari was a giraffe in Nairobi National Park in 1994. Not long into our drive there was another lone buffalo on a side road with giraffe behind it. Two first sightings pairing up.
~Many Coke’s hartebeest (kongoni), some exhibited their tremendous speed as they chased each other for morning exercise.
~Lots of zebra
~One sizeable herd of wildebeest and a few stragglers here and there. The guide remarked, "There used to be so many wildebeest." Not as many now because of encroaching buildings that blocked migration routes the animals used to follow. Also cattle grazing within park boundaries reduced the wilde numbers.
~a couple dozen scattered giraffe
~eland in herds and small groups, but they were quite shy, despite being the largest antelope.
~ostrich, up to 8 at a time
~2 pairs of warthogs
~big herd of buffalo, probably 150+, some were posed so that the city skyline was visible behind them, a unique backdrop for Nairobi National Park. Lone males were scattered throughout the park.
~1 rock hyrax
~2 Grant's gazelles
~2 separate lion sightings, described below.
~5 black rhino, consisting of 2 pairs of mother and calf plus a solo, all described below. All of the rhino were seen in the last 45 minutes of the 3-hour safari, not at the crack of dawn. The guide estimated there were 25 in the park. The most recent game count found 12, with estimates there could be double that, again pointing to about 25. So I saw around 20% of the black rhino population. Not bad!
~birds, nothing significant aside from the many ostrich, a jacana, a lilac breasted roller, a secretary bird, and a relaxed white browed coucal that posed for a photo. We were not really bird watching, though.
All of these animals, even the most of birds mentioned, could be photographed. The photo link at the bottom does not include pictures of all of these, but it would have been entirely possible to snap some shots of all the animals listed, though they might not be great photos.
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It was 3 hours well spent.