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Plants: Gardens: Nairobi Village

Your first encounter with the Safari Park's botanical wonders is Nairobi Village, where you'll find a wide variety of extraordinary plants. From thorny acacias to brightly colored lantanas, from succulent euphorbias to showy flowering vines, you'll find representatives of many plant families.


You'll want to take a leisurely stroll through the Village and take time to smell the magnolias. Leading you to the Park's entrance and onward into Nairobi Village are stately date palms Phoenix dactylifera and Phoenix reclinata, Old World trees with exotic charm. Waving a cheerful red and yellow hello as you enter the Park is kangaroo paw Anigozanthos flavidus.


A group of thorn acacias is the namesake for the Safari Park's Thorntree Terrace dining facility, where they provide welcome, if a bit prickly, shade. Paperbark acacias Acacia seiberiana var. woodii are also found here and at Mombasa Lagoon, with thick bark that flakes off in papery sheets. A knobthorn acacia Acacia nigrescens graces the administration building, identified by the woody knobs on its trunk topped with curved thorns. Also look for the giraffe acacia Acacia giraffe in the dik-dik enclosure, a beautiful reddish-brown barked species that lives up to its name as giraffe food in Africa.


Spring and summer have some of the Park's delicate inhabitants climbing the walls--the climbing vine species, that is. As you walk up to the Park entrance, take note of the cascade of frilled yellow flowers spilling over the walls on the left: Burmese honeysuckle Lonicera hildebrandiana, which you'll see again in several spots around the Village. Also in the Village look for the fiery orange blossoms of the flame vine Pyrostegia venusta in the winter. In the early spring, a profusion of lacy lavender wisteria Wisteria floribunda graces the covered walkway near the Animal Care Center.


The large Moreton Bay fig Ficus macrophylla at the edge of Mombasa Lagoon is the perfect home for scampering ring-tailed lemurs. The agile primates make good use of its many trunks and branches, a typical feature of figs, and the shade from its thick, glossy leaves. The horsetail reed Equisetum hyemale, an ancient grass species, is perfect for adorning the edges of Mombasa Lagoon. And as you sit leisurely on the deck overlooking Mombasa Lagoon, you'll hear the African fern pines Podocarpus gracilior gather the breeze in their graceful, thin leaves.