Nairobi is the starting point for many East African safaris, though many travelers spend a very fleeting amount of time in Kenya’s capital. The city and its suburbs have a tremendous amount to offer visitors and is worthy of more than a mere stopover.
There are some exceptional experiences on offer in Nairobi for wildlife lovers – they will really whet your appetite for safari! We recommend a stop at the Giraffe Centre to visit endangered Rothschild giraffes. Visitors to the sanctuary can learn of its history in working to save the subspecies as well as interact with the animals.
Another visit that travelers should make time for is to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Orphanage. The facility provides care and rehabilitation for orphaned baby elephants and guests have the chance to learn about the Trust’s work, as well as to see the elephants feed and frolic.
Finally, Nairobi has its very own national park on the outskirts of the city where guests can see myriad species including lion, black rhino, leopard, cheetah, hippo and many more. The juxtaposition between city and this wild spot is fascinating. It is also an encouraging example of a successful human wildlife boundary.
Nairobi has much to delight foodies – restaurants run the gamut from delicious local fare to international cuisine. We love the tranquil gardens and delicious food at Talisman, while Carnivore has a range of offerings befitting its name (ostrich or crocodile, anyone?). Vegans and vegetarians will find excellent dining choices as well. High tea at one of the grand hotels is a fun and elegant experience, and those seeking something a bit more off the beaten path can find fantastic globally-inspired dining experiences including exceptional Ethiopian and Indian restaurants.
Be sure to try some nyama choma if you have the chance. This very popular dish of barbequed goat meat is delicious and shouldn’t be missed by omnivores! We also love the tour and tasting at Brown’s Cheese Factory & Farm (it’s great for families, too!). Let your Journey Specialist know what kinds of food you’d like to try and we will arrange everything for you!
Kenya has a fascinating and complex history. Interested visitors can learn more at the Nairobi National Museum while also taking advantage of its excellent art displays and nature exhibits. The museum complex also houses a snake park and botanic gardens. Fans of the book and film ‘Out of Africa’ should not miss the Karen Blixen Museum, set inside the farmhouse that Blixen lived in early last century.
Shoppers will delight in Nairobi’s varied offerings. From the beautiful beadwork and ceramics from the Kazuri Bead Factory (which employs disadvantaged women) and colorful handcrafted items at local markets to the stunning leather goods at Rift Valley Leather, you’ll find no shortage of things you’ll want to save space in your luggage for. Talk with your Journey Specialist if you have any special interests – we will happily recommend spots you should check out!
Nairobi is home to many wonderful boutique hotels including the ever-popular Giraffe Manor where you can enjoy breakfast or high tea with endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. In the nicer suburbs, boutique hotels abound including Eden, Hemingways, Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages, and House of Waine. As a large city, it also offers reputable brands including outposts of Hilton, Kempinski and Fairmont. Talk with your Journey Specialist about your interests and we will find the best fit for you.
Nairobi has a wide variety of activities and sights to interest travelers. Your Journey Specialist will work with you to create the perfect Nairobi stopover as part of your safari.
Photos courtesy Grace Nandy, AAC Livingstone Club member Luke G., AAC President Kent Redding, AAC Journey Specialist Sara Stark, Talisman, Brown’s Cheese Factory & Farm, Nairobi National Museum, Kazuri Bead Factory and Giraffe Manor.