The Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment, Ms. Carrie Thompson and USAID Forestry and Biodiversity Office, Ms. Cynthia Gill made a three-day official business visit to Kenya between May 22-25, 2017.
The itinerary included a visit to the Nairobi National Park, which has become a “must visit” destination to many dignitaries visiting the country.
On the morning of Monday May 22, 2017, the USAID delegation both from the US and Kenya offices arrived at the Nairobi National Park main gate to experience the thrill of an early game drive in Park. The team was received by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu and the Director General KWS, Mr. Kitili Mbathi who accompanied them for the game drive.
The tour was guided by the Senior Warden, Nairobi National Park, Ms. Nelly Palmeris who took the entourage through the expansive park. Nairobi National Park is unique in that no other national park with a natural concentration of wild animals is found at the doorstep of a Capital City.
Apart from the spectacular sites found in Nairobi National Park, one is able to site the Black and White rhinos, Lions, Giraffes, Buffaloes, Antelopes, Impala, Eland, Wildebeest, Thompson Gazelles, Kongoni, Zebras and on a lucky day Leopards and Cheetahs. Before the Southern Corridor was bought off and occupied, Nairobi National Park used to boost the second largest migration of wildebeest in Kenya.
There are also many dams and pools which are inhabited by hippos and crocodiles.
The park’s exceptional birdlife records a remarkable 400 species (both migratory and resident species) which include: the Marabou Storks, vultures and Hawk Eagles perched high in the acacia trees and on the grasslands the Secretary birds, Bustard, Ostrich and the gorgeous Jackson’s Widowbird.
After a two and a half hour game drive, the delegation was hosted for a breakfast meeting at the Impala Observation Point inside the park to discuss USAID’s Kenya Wildlife Protection and Conservation program with the Cabinet Secretary, KWS Director General, Ag. Deputy Director Strategy and Change, Edwin Wanyonyi, USAID Environment Office Chief, Juniper Neill, USAID Deputy Office Chief Environment, Beatrice Wamalwa and USAID CWC/Conservation Advisor, Mikala Lauridsen.
The KWS visit ended with a tour of the KWS Forensic Lab which was partly funded by USAID.
The Kenyan visit involved tours and meetings with other conservation bodies which included - Laikipia Wildlife Foundation, Ol Pajeta Conservancy Borana Conservancy, Ol Jogi, Northern Rangeland Trust Lands, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Kenya Wildlife Conservancy Association.