Nairobi Park Diary: The water watch

Thirsty zebra
Thirsty zebra

Over many years, I have noted that most of us are still in “city mode” when we enter a national park, and would like to see as much of the created wonders as possible. Our challenge is to quickly snap out of “city mode” into “bush mode”.

This week, I thought it would be helpful to note some points that work for me. There is always something attractive about water. Perhaps because it brings life, but we also seem to be fascinated by water wonders, like waves, waterfalls and flooding.

The park has a number of water points spread across a wide area, and includes many dams, like Athi dam, and a number of seasonal streams that flow into the Mbagathi River.

During drier times, when water levels are lower, it can be very rewarding to plan your visit to the park by maximising your time at various water points.

For example, if you decide to spend time at the Athi dam, find a parking position that will ensure good, clear vision, so that waiting will have wonderful rewards, as nature happens around you.

Often, large herds come and drink, like zebra, buffalo and eland and sometimes rhino. It is also interesting to watch the many bird species at the same time. Occasionally, hippos and crocodiles can be seen. Predators like lions are also mostly seen by those who wait patiently.

The following items are also useful: the Nairobi National Park guidebook, a map, a good East African bird book, binoculars, a decent camera and some refreshments.

I hope that your time waiting and watching at the water will be restful, and be like a “soul tonic”.