Category Archives: black rhino

Incomparable NNP

By Will Knocker:

Apologies for paucity of updates recently, but am now back in the saddle…

The Park is looking amazing this year after record rains in April May & June.

Yesterday I took a turn around the Park & this is what I found:


Dawn in the Park is always the best time for me…


I found 3 lions: 2 lionesses & a male asleep after the night’s activity asleep at the bottom of the Sosian valley


A Browse rhino in it’s natural habitat..


And a separate bull at closer quarters…


A cow hippo at Athi dam (notice her calf in the water.)

Sadly she is grazing on the dreaded Parthenium weed which is taking over the area…& Nairobi.


Athi Dam: my favourite place….


A ‘tirikoko’ (Maa): a Yellow-bellied sandgrouse


There are hundreds, if not thousands of impala in the Park.

Gazelles, without any space to wander outside the Park, are also increasing in number..



Kongoni (a species in steep decline elsewhere owing to competition with cattle: this is a species evolved to living in long-grass environments) are increasing in numbers in NNP.


Amazingly well-adapted & intelligent Plains zebras are now in the Park in their thousands.

They DO go out of the Park, but it is increasingly dangerous owing to the Bushmeat trade.

Better to stay in the Park in spite of the danger from lions…


It is mating season for Masai ostriches, of which there are masses in the Park: we hope for plenty of chicks in September/October…


The Ngong Hills from the Park: this is Big Sky country..


Plenty of grazers in the ocean of grass this year: outside in the pockets of ‘dispersal area’,  once super-productiver rangelands like these have been converted into a Man-made desert….


At Eland Hollow, I came across 3 lionesses & 5 large cubs watching the lines of zebra filing into drink…


Learning to watch………and wait…..


Nairobi Before & After….


At lease there is some competition for the skyscrapers!


NNP remains an amazing & precious & incomparable wildlife area,

full of Nature’s marvellous evolved bounty.





Diceros bicornis michaeli

By Will Knocker:






Clash of the Titans

By Will Knocker:


Two bull Black (Browse) rhinos go nose to massive nose on who’s territory this is…


Massive pachydems face off to determine who is the Boss…in the middle of the road…


We kept our distance….(have you ever been charged by a rhino?)


And watched in fascination  as the two protagonists got on with their confrontation…



Good old KWS had to spoil the show..



Visitors who had obviously NOT been charged by a rhino hoved in for a closer view & the rhinos, honour satisfied, trotted off back from the disputed border, back deeper into their territories….


Happy World Wildlife Day 3rd of March……..

Short Rains Indeed….

By Will Knocker:


The Short Rains have proved to be very short indeed in NNP, although in the last few days the Langata Forest will have greened up with some decent rain to begin December…


Gazelles are plentiful in the park now, as it is so dry & overgazed in the Sheep & Goat land, on the short grass plains where they like to be…. what happened to these cheetahs , KWS, could you not bring them here now gazelles are so plentiful?


 Owing to the incipient drought, hundreds of cattle are in the park day & night, displacing precious Browse rhinos from their habitat…


The City on the Plain….


Many sp. of mammal have given birth, expecting plenty of food from the rainy season… will these new youngsters fare in the challenging conditions of drought which will carry on until our next rains in April??



Browse Rhinos

By Will Knocker:







NNP in the Wet Season….

By Will Knocker:


Early morning impala…


White (or Grass) rhinos are doing well in the Park: they were introduced from Nakuru NP


Native Black (or Browse) rhinos in their element…


There are 40+ lions in NNP, amongst which are at least 6 adult males, all of them brothers…


Could this be a Green-winged Pytilia?


Four Black-backed jackals on the remains of a lion-kill in the Athi Basin…


Spot the difference between a Tommy & Grantis…..


There have never been so many bufffaloes in the ParK; helping to naturally manage the grasslands….


The Park is a veritable ocean of long grass interspersed with wild flowers: absolutely beautiful…..


















Awesome Day in the Park!

Story & pics by WILL KNOCKER:

On wednesday this week, Ed & Jeremy Hildebrand & I spent all day in the Park in superb weather & saw the best that the constantly surprising NNP has to offer….. first, these rhinos, note the bull on the right marking his territory with a horizontal blast of pee…

Early morning along the Empakasi was like a Vision of Eden…..

Then we came across this nursey herd of eland (calves suckle from any lactating female they find, an adaption to the nomadic way of life of these antelopes, who are constantly on the move.) NNP contains one of the most significant herds of eland in Kenya & the population is rising…

We definitely had a rhino day: we saw several unusual herds of Black (Browse) rhinos at close quarters….

We stopped for coffee at the Athi Dam, where zebra were watering & this kongoni posed for us. The kongoni population in NNP is exploding, bucking the trend in the rest of Kenya, where this sp. is in steep decline..

A spiral of large raptors brought us to this dramatic site: a kill…..

Ant the perpetrator, a stuffed lioness….

A pair of jackals tried to drive off the estimated 80 vultures gathered for the feast: an eland….but were ignored…..

But all soon moved off at the ‘owner’ returned to protect her kill….

There was masses of ‘plains game’ in the Athi Basin & on the top plains, where we found these zebra twins….

The Rains have not been good so far & so most biomass is in the park owing to overgrazing in the rangelands where they usually go at this time of year. The return of both Gran’ts & Thomson’s gazelles to the Park after many years of a ‘long grass’ regime is heartening. But where are the cheetah?

Ostriches under a big blue sky….

Proved to be a group with an adolescent chick: the last survivor (there is very heavy mortality amongst young ostriches…)

Then clever Ed spotted no less than six Black backed jackals: a pair of adults & four grown up cubs: great news for these little canids, which are not common in NNP…..

A bull Grass (White) rhino…..was this the individual translocated from the Mara after all his companions were killed?

As usual the Park was A1 for birds……this is a Superb starling, though we also saw the aptly named Hildebrandt’s……

And yet another bull rhino……

This was all BEFORE lunch, when we returned to Silole Cottage, where these piggies were enjoying a cooling wallow.

In the afternoon, yet more (Browse) rhinos…..

And in the Langata forest, Jeremy spotted this pair of magnificent Bateleurs, the only pair in the Park!!

And on our way home, in the distance, a new baby rhino…we couldn’t make out which type….

What a day! What a Park!









Weekend Rhinos

By Will Knocker:

Nairobi Park is undoubtedly one of the best places to see the Eastern Black rhinoceros & last weekend was no exception….

There are nearly six hundred of these super large megaherbivores, most of them in specially protected sanctuaries such as NNP

KWS have made increased efforts to keep up surveillance & patrols in the Park to safeguard these iconic animals, priceless to the Tourism Industry. Keep up the great work you do on behalf of our rhinos!

Mostly noctournal & difficult to find, Browse rhinos live in well-defined territories defined by the bulls, seen here pissing horizontally to mark his territory….

On the alert: these animals have to be, unable to live in areas where there are people. This is what makes Kenya’s Protected Areas so vitally important for these animals & many other species & especially large mammals….

For rhino afficianados in Nairobi, you can come out looking for these magnificent animals with me, see  for details

The sadness is that these incredible forms of Life have few areas where they can ‘BE’ rhinos & get on with life undisturbed by people, many of whom want to kill them……


By Will Knocker:

A Black rhino bull browses in Nairobi National Park yesterday at dusk. Blacks, or more accurately Browse rhinos are often most active at night…..

These are our indigenous East African Blacks (Diceros bicornis michealii) of which about 700 remain on the planet, mostly here in Kenya…..

And one of the ‘best’ & safest Sanctuaries has been Nairobi National Park, where the scattered remnants of the rhino population, decimated to less than five hundred in the Seventies, were able to find peace & security…

Since then the population increase enabled many rhinos to be translocated elsewhere, to newer sanctuaries, with varying success….

With the current poaching onslaught (horn is now one of the most valuable commodities on earth thanks to human greed & ignorance) NNP remains the vital core of Kenya’s efforts to conserve these magnificent pachyderms….

In the nineteenth century, there were hundreds of thousands of rhinos in Kenya. Let us ensure that rhinos have the space to be themselves: huge, powerful mega-herbivores, wonderful, inspriring life-forms……

Rhino cow & calf from my sitting room window at where you might see them on foot if you are unlucky……

Yet another reason to celebrate our magnificent Nairobi National Park!

Springtime in Nbi Nat Park

“Buzz Off Junior!”


Thank Goodness That’s Over!

‘I’m Off!”