Nairobi National Park to mark 75th anniversary next month

Counties Historic Photos Nairobi Tourism

The Nairobi National Park (NNP) plans to celebrate the milestones achieved in the last seven decades of its conservation journey ahead of its 75th anniversary next month.

The celebrations to mark NNP 75 years’ anniversary since inception in 1946 will be on 16th December 2021 at Kisembe Glade inside the park.

Speaking during a media briefing at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) headquarters in Nairobi, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary (CS) Najib Balala said the country is proud to have such an attractive wildlife habitat located a few kilometers from the Capital city’s Central Business District.

“Obviously, it is no mean achievement to maintain and sustain such a critical facility located in a vibrant capital city and regional hub with so many competing land uses and economic interests,” he said.

To mark the historic anniversary, the CS outlined a number of activities as a build up to the main event including the free entry for the next 30 days for senior citizens aged 75 years and above accompanied by a companion of their choice, a driver and their vehicles.

He also said there will be free entry for the first 75 visitors to the park on the anniversary day celebrations, free entry for the disabled in the Safari Walk and Animal Orphanage, and the planned campaign in the re-branding of parks which will see NNP receiving a new brand logo commissioned on the day of the celebrations.

Balala also stated that there will be a lion tracking and a tree planting exercise in the park as he appreciated the support from the International Committee for the Red Cross, volunteers, and well-wishers for the 2,500 seedlings already planted.

“We will also set up a photo gallery of Nairobi National Park since its gazettement with archived and recent photos to take our guests down memory lane,” he disclosed, adding that a selfie zuru campaign, encouraging local and international tourists to take photos of their experiences in the park while tagging KWS social media pages, will be established.

The CS pointed out that NNP will be the pilot case to roll out a new digital revenue management system that will improve customer experience followed by Amboseli and Nakuru National Parks.

“NNP has over time withstood many socio-economic and ecological pressures to preserve its biodiversity integrity and therefore sets the pace for Kenya’s world renowned national park system,” he emphasized.

He further assured that from the 1st, July 2022, all the services in parks including payments and ticketing will be done online through the electronic digital payment method thereby eliminating the wastage of time queuing to physically access services.

The CS observed that NNP being a small park of about 29,000 acres next to a fast growing capital city has brought with it unique challenges that the government was aware of and committed to tackle quickest possible.

“Last year, NNP acquired more land after the National Government surrendered 2,000 acres of what used to be a Sheep and Goats Research Facility bringing the acreage to 31,000 under KWS protection,” he said, adding that the additional wildlife space is a major boost to the park that recently lost some land to transport infrastructure projects.

Further, Balala cited the research facility space located on the southern side of NNP as a clear milestone in the park’s history worth celebrating since it has provided a wildlife corridor to inter-connect NNP, Swara, and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) conservancies in Machakos County.

He appealed to all partners and well-wishers to join the 75th anniversary celebrations by extending donations or support of whichever kind to preserve Kenya’s heritage that belongs to the current and future generations.

At the same time, KWS Director General (DG) John Waweru said NNP’s unique location strikes a noteworthy balance between conservation and modernization, hosting more than 100 mammals and 400 bird species.

Mr Waweru acknowledged the many challenges and milestones the park has achieved including the Covid-19 pandemic for which the park overcame to witness a remarkable surge in local tourism even as other popular parks saw pandemic-related reduced revenue streams.

“In the wake of these celebrations, we are currently enhancing the ecological integrity and sustainable wildlife management of the park as a critical protected area, leveraging the successful rhino sanctuaries for both the endangered black and white rhino, and delivering exceptional visitor experiences, such as celebrating valued clients during annual Customer Service Week commemorations,” he said.

He revealed that KWS has developed the NNP Management Plan of 2020 that guides the park managers to eliminate emergency improvisations used in conservations adding that the launch of Dignity Housing Project in March this year is a major boost for the Rhino Monitoring and Protection Unit.

“KWS will continue to be a fierce guardian of Kenya’s rich wildlife biodiversity and its habitats for as long as we are mandated to do so,” he stressed.

The DG said KWS main objective is to ensure sustainability of the park over the next 75 years and beyond through its three strategic corporate pillars of Conservation, Collaboration, and Enterprise.

By Michael Omondi and Wilkister Akinyi

Leave a Reply