On a Saturday afternoon during the December holidays, I managed to convince my mom to take my nephew for a visit to the animal orphanage. Needless to say, I was also eager to go because I had been there when I was very young and wanted to relive the experience once again.
Nairobi Animal Orphanage, located approximately 7kms from the city center, is an educational part of the Nairobi National Park Trip. It is the oldest orphanage in Kenya and serves as a training, educational and volunteering facility. It houses over 20 different bird and animal species that were harmed or endangered and nurtures them back to good health. The Kenya Wildlife Service is responsible for caring for all the animals in the park.
What to expect at the Orphanage
The first caged animal we saw was Jan the warthog. He was declared orphaned on 8th October, 2014 and was looked after by Patrick and Lawrence in a nursery before he was brought into the orphanage which become her new and current home.
Jan was the only warthog we saw at the orphanage. Probably why she seemed a bit sad and lonely.
Meet Derrick the cheetah, who is very calm and composed. He hovered around the fence as he waited for his food to be brought. Well, I came to know of this later. I kept wondering what was wrong with him before I got wind of this information.
Cheetahs are considered solitary animals, just like most cats. Cheetahs run at a top speed of 115kph.
Apart from Derrick, there were other cheetahs at the orphanage.
Fact: Cheetahs are actually not a threat to man!
This was my first time seeing a serval cat. Peace was the serval cat we met. Actually you could barely catch a glimpse of him once he lay flat in his hammock. He came from Salama near Machakos on 25th June 2010 when he was barely 2 months old. He was an easy to raise serval cat but once he grew older he became rather independent and protested being held. He is properly described as ‘ready to pounce.’
Apart from Peace, there was also other young serval cats in the orphanage.
I think lions were the most in the orphanage. We saw a bunch of cubs, lionesses and the African roaring lions in a number of cages.
Every lion has its own personality and roar. Not only other lions but people can learn to identify individual lion roars. Roaring begins with moans that become louder leading to thunderous roars. Lions roar as a form of show off.
The leopard is a supreme camouflage light and shade in their immediate settings making them the most camouflaged yet super elusive predators of them all. The leopards cage was built high and covered at the top. It also had an electric fence, a clear demonstration of just how dangerous they may be. Leopards like trees, so her home had been designed up high, and she was asleep during the time we went to visit. After all, cats are actually meant to sleep during the day.
Monkeys & Baboons
It’s always interesting to watch the monkeys and baboons. They were so playful, seated around people, jumping from place to place. It’s amazing how they can coexist with most of the other animals. There was one eating from the buffalos crate.
Okay, I was a bit shocked to learn that the sokoke cat is a wild cat, probably because we have one just like that at home and she is so cute.
The sokoke cats are believed to be free roaming cats of the Kenyan coastal areas.
The sokoke cat we saw was called Mr. Arabuko. He was given to the animal orphanage from Mt. Kenya Safari Ranch in March 2003. He is a breed found in the Arabuko Sokoke forest and is apparently not usually domesticated. The cat is friendly and definitely loves attention. He couldn’t stop meowing while we were there, but probably because he was also hungry.
Other animals we saw while at the orphanage were: Crocodile (it was pretty hidden), Hyena, Jackal, Mangoose, Guinea fowls (we also have this at home), Crowned cranes and buffalo.
I guess the orphanage is really limited on the bird species as compared to the animals.
My Orphanage Gallery
I must mention the park is very well maintained, and no trash is seen lying around and that is very commendable. I was also amused by the fact that it was pretty cheap to get in to see the animals, so it gives everyone an opportunity to go and explore!
Adult – Ksh. 215
Child – Ksh. 125
Adult – Ksh. 300
Child – Ksh. 170
Adult – USD 22
Child – USD 13
- Children rates apply to anyone from 3-17 years of age
- Students trips have to be pre booked or give at least two weeks notice for group charges
- Wildlife Club of Kenya Members are entitled to their own fees
- East African citizens fees are same as the Kenyan citizen fees