Gateway to Kenya and frequently East Africa, Nairobi is a vibrant, cosmopolitan commercial centre and seat of government. With a population close to four million in the core, and rising past seven million in the greater conurbation, Nairobi was only founded around 1899 as a stop along the railway being built within the British Protectorate between Uganda and the port of Mombasa. It’s elevated altitude made it a good residential choice, and Nairobi is still known for its pleasant weather year-round.
The city centre has points of interest such as Parliament, the National Archives, Railways museum, Uhuru Park and some architectural testaments to the colonial past. To the east is the industrial zone and the airport, as well as the roads to the coast and south to Amboseli and the main Tanzanian border point at Namanga. South of the city is the famous Nairobi National Park, an amazing wildlife reserve within a city. South-west of the city is the suburb of Karen, named after Karen Blixen, and location of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Giraffe Centre, Karen Blixen Museum, Utamaduni Craft Centre, Bomas of Kenya, the Ngong Hills and the largest urban slum in Africa, Kibera. Roads east out of Nairobi head into the East African Rift, and the lakes within, as well as the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. And north of the city centre is the National Museum, the suburbs of Westlands and Gigiri (good for shopping), Karura Forest and the roads to Mount Kenya, the Aberdares and Samburu.
We are happy to arrange a day trip to one or more of the below excursions. Please contact us for prices and availability.
DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST (ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE)
Located on the edge of Nairobi National Park (south-west), this outstanding organization takes in mainly elephant orphans, but also rhinoceros and other animals, in order to give them a chance of survival after the loss of their parents/herd/community. Years of research, trial-and-error and perseverance led Dame Daphne Sheldrick to develop a substitute formula to elephant milk that works, and their success rate is tremendous. Open to the public (for a fee of KES 500 per person) between 11h00-12h00 for the morning feeding, and then private visits at bedtime (17h00) can be arranged by prior appointment for those who have fostered an orphan (USD 50 per person). Duration: 1 hour.
Located in Karen (south-west), this centre does wonderful work in educating school-children on the importance of conservation and harmony with wildlife, as well as pioneering work in protecting the most vulnerable of Kenya’s three giraffe sub-species, the Rothschild. It is very moving to hold out the brown food pellets from the elevated platform, and have these long-necked beauties come and feed from your hands. Entrance fee is KES 1000 per person. Duration: 1 hour.
NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK
Located south of the city centre, it features a tremendous population of animals, even though it is so close to an urban proliferation, and the threats to wildlife that inevitably brings. It is one of the most successful rhino sanctuaries, and contains lion, leopard and cheetah, as well as many antelopes and other plains game. Entrance is USD 50 per person, as well as the costs for vehicle and driver. Duration: 2-4 hours.
NAIROBI NATIONAL MUSEUM
Located between the city centre and Westlands (north), there are some excellent exhibits on mammals, cycles of life, pre-human hominids, tribes of Kenya and early pre-colonial and colonial practices. Entrance fee is KES 1200 per person. There is also a snake park adjacent, with exhibits and information on many regional reptiles. Duration: 1-3 hour.
KAREN BLIXEN MUSEUM
The house was built in 1912 by a Swedish engineer, and for about 14 years it was the home of Karen Blixen (author of the book “Out of Africa”) while she ran a coffee plantation in the estate around the house. The museum features some of the original furniture from her years, as well as props used in the Hollywood film based on her book. Entrance fee KES 1200 per person. Duration: 1 hour.
This is an informal gathering of vendors with crafts, fabrics and materials made with local artistry and wonderful designs, very good for shopping. They cycle the rotation through a weekly schedule: Tuesday (Kijabe Street Park, Globe Cinema), Wednesday (Capital Centre), Thursday (Junction), Friday (Village Market), Saturday (Law Courts) and Sunday (Yaya Centre). Duration: 1-2 hours.
KIAMBETHU TEA FARM
On the outskirts of Nairobi in Limuru, this lovely tea farm runs tours that informally run through the tea making process, as well as covering the flora and fauna of the indigenous forest around the estate, and culminating in a delicious three-course lunch. Duration: 4 hours.
Picturesque series of ridges along the East African Rift (Great Rift Valley), you can hike along these knuckled peaks and observe the most fantastic views of Nairobi city, Nairobi National Park, the Great Rift Vallet and Mount Longonot. Duration: 1-4 hours.
Adjacent to the Nairobi railway station, their collection includes steam locomotives, diesel locomotives and passenger coaches from Kenya-Uganda Railway, Tanganyika Railway, East African Railways and Magadi Soda Company. Duration: 1-2 hours.
Established by an Act of Parliament in 1965, it holds hundreds of thousands of volumes containing history and records. It also houses the Murumbi Gallery of African artifacts, models, fabrics, books, coins, beads and weapons. Duration: 1-3 hours.