Fun with Nature
‘Am I done yet with Nairobi and its environs? The answer is a big NO! There are still many places to visit in Nairobi. I have been on a trip down memory lane and have embraced Nairobi as the city we take for granted.’ I quote the most enthusiastic traveler I know-Chinku Travels.
He once asked me a lot of questions in regards to Nairobi and its history, which I couldn’t answer a half of. I took it as a challenge to explore Nairobi and its environs in order to garner more information about it. I have information on a few places, with the latest one being The Giraffe Center, which you can check out on my last post, ‘A date with the giraffes’.
My intention is to discover places that offer a touristic experience and are worth visiting. I share my findings, including the costs so that you can be able to plan and visit these places at your convenient time. I am glad that quite a number of people visit the places I feature on this blog and tag me on social media. In some instances, I get credit and this keeps me motivated in what I do. Therefore, I am not done yet; I am just getting started!
If you’re stuck in the house because you lack a travel plan, or are frustrated because you can’t think of a place to visit with your family or friends or spouse, or you have visitors who are not from Nairobi and you can’t think of a plan, I have a cool plan just for you.
Many people use Magadi Road when going to Ongata Rongai (diaspora), Olepolos or to Lake Magadi, however, unbeknownst to them, there is a treasure along this road! A few kilometers from Galleria Mall; directly opposite Multi Media University is the entrance to David Shedrick Wildlife Trust.
It is only a 30min drive from the Nairobi City Centre, and is easily accessible through public means (a 125 nganya should get you there in no time). Here you get to witness a noble project aimed at protecting and paying homage to orphaned elephants.
By paying the entrance fee (Kshs. 500), you become a conservationist by default. Founded in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick D.B.E, in honour of the memory of her late husband, famous naturalist and founding Warden of Tsavo East National Park, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE, the David Shedrick Wildlife trust (DSWT) claims a rich and deeply rooted family history in wildlife and conservation.
You might be wondering where these orphaned elephants come from. Most of these baby-elephants are rescued from the parks after their parents have been killed by poachers. Others are rescued after being found stuck in mud. Others are found wandering all alone, probably after getting separated from the rest of the herd, while others are found stuck in wells.
In many of these cases, the baby elephants have not reached the age of grazing and can only survive by breastfeeding. The DSWT rescues the calves and take care of them.
After they reach the age of 3 years, they are taken back to the park and monitored until they have gotten used to being in the wild. Isn’t this a noble project? Isn’t it worth spending your 500 bob on?
As a visitor, you will enjoy a 1 hour show as you watch the babies being fed some milk and wallowing in mud. The sight is nothing short of interesting.
As the babies play, a representative of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust gives a presentation about the project’s history and achievements. You will be surprised that he knows all the baby elephants by name, where they were rescued from, and how long each of them has been at the orphanage.
This is despite them looking alike and covering themselves with mud beyond recognition.
Before the presentation ends, he requests those who are willing to foster a baby elephant to do so. The cost of fostering an orphan is US$50 per orphan, per year. Foster parents can come and visit them any day they want at 5.00pm before they rest for the day.
It is amazing how happy the elephants look while in the orphanage and I am curious of how they adapt to the wild once they are taken back. As I had mentioned, this show lasts for only 1 hour, that is between 11am and 12 noon. If you get late, please try and make it on time the following day.
By now it is only noon. What else can you do before going back home? You have the option of visiting The Giraffe Centre, which is only a 15 minutes’ drive from David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. If you are looking to indulge in nature, then I recommend you head to Oloolua Nature Trail. The latter is the best if you are planning to have a picnic with friends, family or your better half. It is only 9.7km from DSWT. You will use Bogani Road and go straight until the point it meets Karen road. The entrance is on the left. Entrance fee here is just Ksh. 200.
Oloolua Nature Trail is a natural forest with defined trails.
There is a map on the gate which helps you navigate through without a guide.
It presents a stunning waterfall, a bamboo forest which has been fitted with benches for picnicking and relaxation, a campsite and a cave.
Oloolua Nature Trail’s complete circuit is about 4 Km. However, you can cut this short to 2 Km. If you are looking to enjoy the moment with your people without much interference, you’ll do good to visit it on a weekday. This does not mean that you cannot enjoy your time on a weekend. 2 hours is enough to enjoy Oloolua Nature trail.
When you add the one hour at David Shedrick, it means that by 4.00pm you will be done with the day’s excursion. Is this something you’d like to try? Well, I hope you get to enjoy it!
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