Camping at Nairobi National Park

There are a number of campsites around Nairobi National Park but from my research, I found Nairobi Tented Camps to be the most popular. The reason for this popularity is that it offers one of the best camping experiences closest to Nairobi and within the National Park. In fact, it is the only camp licensed by Kenya Wildlife Services to operate a camp within the Park. Other campsites where you can pitch your tent are outside the Park.

You can also read our guide on camping at Kenya’s National parks such as;

  1. Lake Naivasha
  2. Amboseli
  3. Maasai Mara
  4. Mount Kenya
  5. Aberdares

Can you camp at Nairobi National Park?

Unfortunately, the only available camping option closest to tent camping is the glamping option at the Nairobi National Park and the Nairobi Tented Camps offer tented camp suites. Nairobi Tented Camp is about 6.7 km from the Gate of the Nairobi National Park. The camp offers stunning views of the wildlife from your tent.

Unlike traditional camping, the Tented Camps at the Park are relatively more expensive from cheaper options you can get if you were to pitch your own tent. Read more about glamping vs camping here.

Outside the National Camp, a few private operators have developed private campgrounds where you can pitch your own tent.

If you really want an immersive camping experience in Nairobi, check out camping activities to do in Nairobi here.

Tented camps vs camping in your own tent – Pros and Cons:

Tented Camps:

Pros:

  • Tented camps are a great choice for those who don’t have their own camping equipment. The tents are set up before you arrive and all the necessary amenities are provided such as beds, mattresses, and cooking utensils. This means you’ll have more time to take part in activities and explore the Park.

Cons:

  • Tented Camps can be more expensive than camping in your own tent, as you’ll have to pay for all the amenities provided by the camp. You’ll also have less control over the location of your tent, so it may not be in an ideal spot for wildlife viewing.

Camping in your own tent:

Pros:

  • One of the biggest benefits of camping with your own tent is that you have more control over where you will camp and you can choose a spot for optimal wildlife viewing. You’ll also be able to save money by bringing your own camping equipment, such as a tent and sleeping bag.

Cons:

  • The main disadvantage to camping in your own tent is that you need to bring all the necessary equipment, which can be difficult if you’re traveling from far away. Additionally, it will take time to pitch your tent when you arrive at the Park, so it could limit how much time you have to explore.
  • Another disadvantage of camping on your own at Nairobi National Park is that you’ll struggle to get info and rating of various campsites that you can use. Most search results online on ‘Nairobi National Park Campsites’ return only one result – the Nairobi Tented Camps. There is litte info on other campsites such as Lion Ridge Camp which is 19.3 km from the gate (about an hour’s drive).

Nairobi Tented Camps:

One of my first camping experiences in Kenya was at the Nairobi Tented camps which at that time had only 8 tents with en-suite bathrooms, gas and kerosene stoves, and sheepskin rugs.

The camp has since expanded doubling the number of tents to 16. If you’re looking for a unique campsite to stay in Nairobi, this 16-bed personal tented camp is perfect. Surrounded by wilderness and located only a few kilometers from the city center, the park contains a huge variety of wildlife, including lion, rhino, giraffe, etc.

You’ll be able to see an amazing view of the Kisembe Valley and other nearby forests. If you’re interested, you can join a guided walk down to the valley. Another benefit offered at this camp are daily/nightly safari excursions!

To access this camp, you’ll first need to pay Nairobi National Park Entrance fee ($43) & Overnight Camping Fee ($35) = US$ 78 per adult per day. The rate of kids is US$ 42 per child per day.

Once you pay to enter the Park, you’ll need to book a tent via email or by calling them. The rates vary with rates being the highest during Peak season from July to September and lower during the rest of the year.

During the peak season, it will cost you $140 per night if you’re sharing a double tent and $70 if you’re getting a single tent. Kids of age 3 to 12 pay $75 per night for sharing with 2 adults.

During low season, it will cost you $115 per night if you’re sharing a double tent and $55 if you’re getting a single tent. Kids of age 3 to 12 pay $65 per night for sharing with 2 adults. Their low-season months include Jan to the end of June and again from October to the end of December. See the screenshot with a table of the pricing to access the Tented Camps at Nairobi National Park.

What you get/what the fees cover:

  • Accommodation on a Bed & Breakfast basis
  • Soft drinks
  • All Kenya Government taxes, including 16% VAT
  • Rates Exclude:
  • Lunch / Dinner (optional)
  • Safari Package (optional)
  • Laundry services
  • Tips and gratuities

How to Book:

To book the Tented Camps at NNP, use the email;  reservations@nairobitentedcamp.com or call their reservation desk using the phone numbers below;

  • KENYA: Tel: +254 (0) 726 982 701
  • UK:  Tel: +44 (0)7986-978985
  • USA:  Tel: +1-877-710-3014
  • INDIA Tel: +91 819 723 4947

In your booking, make sure you indicate the number of guests and the type of tent you are interested in. All the tents are furnished with the following as per the info on its website;

  • Twin or double bed
  • Bedside tables
  • Wardrobe for hanging your clothes
  • En-suite toilet with bucket shower and basin
  • Writing desk with lamp
  • LED lighting
  • Chairs and table on veranda for relaxing
  • Luggage rack
  • View into the valley and forest

Check-in/check-out times:

Check-in is anytime from 2 pm to 8 pm and check-out is by 10 am the following day.

Lion Ridge Camp:

If you prefer Wilderness camping where you come with your own camping gear and just need a campsite to pitch your tent at Nairobi National Park, the Lion Ridge Camp is your best choice. While technically not located inside the Park, it is at the South Western edge of the Park, about 19.3 km from the Main Gate of Nairobi National Park.

Unlike Nairobi Tented Camps, the Lion Ridge Camp is just a campsite with limited amenities. The campsite doesn’t have basic facilities such as running water, toilets, hot showers and wifi. It only has an area where you can cook your own meals, a spot to pitch your tented and there is plenty of space to set up a fire.

Below are some images from its Instagram and Facebook page which doesn’t appear to be regularly updated. When I check in December 2022, I found that the last update on its social media pages was more than a year ago.

To book this campsite, contact them using this Kenyan phone number, 0721 523448 or email them using this email address; lionridgecamp@gmail.com

The charges for a tent Pitch at the Lions Ridge Camp are US$ 15 per night (adult) & US$ 8 per night (kids). The rates are the same throughout the year.

Why pick this site:

Lion Ridge camp is close to Leopard Cliff Observation Point which is a great place to view wildlife in the Park. Other than that, it’s a great spot for bird watching, stargazing and even night camping away from the noise of the city.

So if you’re looking for an opportunity to be close to nature or just need a break from urban life, this is definitely a great option.

What kind of activities can be done at Nairobi National Park?

Game drive:

Nairobi National Park is a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts, as the park is home to many species of wildlife including lions, leopards, cheetahs, buffaloes and giraffes. It also offers some of the best game drives in Africa that can be enjoyed from the comfort of open-roof safari vehicles. On your game drive, you can also spot wildebeest, zebra, antelope and many more.

Hiking:

Nairobi National Park offers a number of trails for those looking to explore the area on foot. Experienced guides are available to take hikers through various routes within the park, pointing out wildlife along the way. The trails are well-marked and easy to follow and range from short, leisurely strolls to strenuous hikes.

Bird watching:

Nairobi National Park is an ideal destination for bird lovers with over 400 species of birds including flamingos, bee-eaters, kingfishers, honeyguides and vultures. There are also many hides scattered around the park where visitors can take in the sights and sounds of the birds.

Visit the Ivory Burning Site:

The park is also home to the Ivory Burning Site and Picnic site, where thousands of confiscated ivory tusks were publicly burned in 1989. The site has been preserved as a reminder of Kenya’s commitment to preserving its wildlife and can be visited by visitors.

This spot is located about 10 km from the main gate to the Park and will take you about 22 mins to drive from the gate to this place. See Google Maps with directions from the Gate here.

This Picnic site is only 4.5 km from Nairobi Tented Camps.

Picnicking:

For those looking for a more leisurely activity, Nairobi National Park offers plenty of picnic spots. There are tables and benches provided at all of the sites which make it easy to relax and enjoy a meal in nature. Visitors can also purchase food from vendors selling snacks and drinks near the gates.

Other activities:

Nairobi National Park is also great for cycling, mountain biking, horse riding and even night cycling. Additionally, there are regular educational programs for visitors of all ages which provide an in-depth look at the Park’s flora, fauna and conservation efforts.

FAQs

What is it like camping at Nairobi National Park?

Camping at Nairobi National Park is a truly unique experience. The park offers great wildlife spotting opportunities and plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay. It’s also peaceful and beautiful, so it can be the perfect way to escape from everyday life and just have some time to relax in nature.

How close is Nairobi Tented Camps to the gate of the Park?

Nairobi Tented Camps is located about 10 km from the main gate of the park and will take you about 22 minutes to drive from the gate.

Are there any restrictions for camping in Nairobi National Park?

Yes, visitors must follow the rules set by the park including no open fires, no loud music and no littering. Additionally, there are restrictions on where you can camp – it is not allowed to camp in areas with wildlife or near animal trails. You will also need a valid camping permit available from the Park Management Office.