Kenya is a stunning country. The statistics of tourists who fly in on a daily basis is a true testament to this fact. While most tourists flock the coastal region for Sandy beaches and go further into Maasai Mara for wildlife, Nairobi city is also a sight to behold on its own.
Popularly known as the ‘Green city in the sun’s, Nairobi is a vibrant metropolis and capital city of Kenya. Its name is derived from a Maasai phrase ‘Enkare’ which means ‘a place of cool waters’, a reference to the Nairobi River which flows through the city.
Nairobi city has a sheer beauty that is simply breathtaking, full of culture, historically rich and also boasts of a few wildlife parks and sanctuaries. From wild animals roaming so close to the CBD, thrilling entertainment joints, beautiful skyline, rich history collection in museums and art centres, wildlife conservation centres to world-class hotels, Nairobi is truly a gem to explore.
Here are a few things to do while visiting Nairobi, or you live here and would like to get out and have some fun:
1. Visit Nairobi national park
The park is located approximately 7 kilometres (4 mi) south of the centre of Nairobi, with an electric fence separating the park’s wildlife from the metropolis. Nairobi’s skyscrapers can be seen from the park. Wide-open grass plains and backdrop of the city scrapers scattered acacia bush play host to a wide variety of wildlife including the endangered black rhino, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes and a diverse birdlife with over 400 species recorded. Visitors can enjoy the park’s picnic sites, three campsites and the walking trails for hikers.
Where else are you going to find wild animals so close to the city centre? This is what makes Nairobi so unique.
2. Marvel at rare species at Nairobi Safari Walk
The Nairobi Safari Walk is closest to the wild as you can get. It has a raised wooden boardwalk that allows for uninterrupted views of the animals. It is a breathtaking showcase for Kenya’s Parks and Reserves, allowing visitors to discover what they can expect to see across the country.
Visitors can see a sample of the country’s rich animal life including the rare bongo, white rhino and albino zebra as well as big cats, antelopes and primates. It is also home to some 150 species of local trees.
3. Kiss and feed a giraffe at the Giraffe Centre
The Giraffe Center is located in Lang’ata, approximately 20 kilometres from the centre of Nairobi, Kenya. It was established in order to protect the endangered giraffe, which is found only in the grasslands of East Africa.
The centre runs a breeding program for Rothschild giraffes (one of the rarest species of giraffe) and releases them into the wild.
It’s a good place to make unique memories. From feeding giraffes, taking selfies with them up-close (they are very photogenic!), getting your hand licked and getting a sloppy kiss. What else could you ask for from Mother Nature?
4. Feeding baby elephants at the Elephant Orphanage
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) operates the most successful orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. They rescue orphaned elephants, raise and protect them. The most common reasons for getting orphaned being: Mothers poached, falling into wells, and human/wildlife conflict.
The animals are fed in turns, which is the most amazing thing to witness. You can watch each little one slurp and gargle their milk. Then, you’ll have time to watch the elephants play. You find out how old they were when they arrived at the orphanage, where they were rescued from, and what got them into trouble.
5. Away from wildlife, visit the Ngong Racecourse
The Ngong Race Course and Golf Park is the only horse racing course in East Africa. It is situated on Ngong Road towards Karen and has the most beautiful grounds, offering a tranquil setting away from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi.
The Racecourse is a very popular wedding destination and annually hosts many other functions such as the Christmas Craft Fair, Concours d’Elégance, Beerfest, Shaggy Dog Show, Heart to Heart Fun Day, including visiting South African Johnny Clegg and his band. There are restaurants to cater for everyone, with adequate & secure parking, as well as washrooms.
These events usually are full house and provide the perfect day out in an environment of leisure and networking opportunities.
6. See the infamous Nairobi skyline at the KICC helipad
The Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) is a state corporation KICC and the largest Convention centre in Eastern Africa with the capacity to hold a large number of delegates. Apart from business, it has a rooftop that offers one a unique chance to view all of Nairobi and its environs.
The view is magnificent, for those who are not afraid of heights and the sunsets there are the most beautiful sightings you will ever see. Gives real meaning to the phrase ‘city in the sun’.
7. Skate away at the Panari Sky Centre
The Panari Sky Center is a sleek modern shopping centre and hotel in Nairobi, located along Mombasa Road, a few minutes from the airport. It houses a number of boutiques, banks, and an entertainment centre that includes East Africa’s first ice skating rink!
The Solar Ice Rink at Panari is the only one of its kind in East and Central Africa. It measures 32 × 12 meters with an ice skating surface area of 15,000 square feet. It is totally enclosed with ice temperature at -25oC and the air temperature inside the hall is 12oC. The rink can accommodate 200 skaters at any time.
8. Watch local plays
For the love of Arts and Culture, enjoy local plays at some of the most popular theatrical powerhouses in Nairobi; Alliance Francois, Kenya National Theatre and Phoenix Players. There are frequent plays, almost every evening. The plays are very entertaining with political and marital satire being the main theme.
9. Have a taste of Kenya’s heritage at the Nairobi Museum and Kenya National Archives
The Nairobi National Museum is the flagship brand for the National Museums of Kenya. Located on Museum Hill, the museum showcases Kenya’s rich Heritage with four distinct themes representing Kenya’s Culture, Nature, History and Contemporary Art.
Other attractions within the compound include the Snake Park and Botanical Gardens as well as a State of the Art Auditorium that occasionally hosts concerts, film shows and other events. Dining and shopping facilities await you after your tour with us in our commercial wing.
The Kenya National Archives is a national treasure located right in the heart of the city along Moi Avenue. This centrally located collection contains historic photographs, Kenyan crafts and paintings. It is one of the most popular buildings in the city which most people argue that if it was ever repainted or moved, a lot of people would get lost.
10. Experience Nairobi’s vibrant nightlife
The nightlife in Nairobi is one for the books. There is no party like a Nairobi party. Most popular joints in the city are ever full every other day of the week. Starting from the city centre to the outskirts in Westlands, Nairobi West and Lang’ata, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to exceptional bars, restaurants and clubs.
And you cannot fail to dine at one of Nairobi’s most revered open-air restaurant, the Carnivore. Enjoy world-class ambience and finger-licking game meat of your choice.
Nairobi is simply outstanding. So many places to see, each unique in its own way. The list is endless.
Are you new in Nairobi or just passing by? Well, Nairobi is where it all happens. Filled with fun places and activities, here are some of the things you can do while in Nairobi as first captured by Benjamin Muindi of Tuko News
10. PaintBall Fury
If you are looking for a great time with a group of friends this weekend, then paintball could just be the plan. At paintball fury, it will set you back KSh 800 for one-and-half-hours of play time. This price will come with safety goggles, paintball markers, and protectors.
9. Animal Orphanage
If you love animals and would perhaps like to take a picture so close to a lion, then visit the Nairobi Animal Orphanage operated by the Kenya Wildlife Service. It will cost you only KSh 250 to walk around the orphanage located in Lang’ata – some 10 kms from the city centre. The orphanage is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm and could be an ideal place to walk around while having a conversation. This is also a great place to take children.
8. The National Museum
The museum is an ideal place to visit this weekend if you’re looking for more educational yet fun stuff to do. It will give you a more reflective time to examine the country’s history and the present. The museum offers discounted joint tickets that include admission to the Snake Park going at KSh 300 for adults and KSh 150 for children. The museum also has a night tour package.
7. GP Karting
If you are a parent, aunt/uncle, guardian, GP Karting is the place to go and bond. The climax is the adrenaline that comes when the family is racing against each other on the track. Imagine 10-year-old Henry beating dad to the finish line. How cool is that? Or 8-year-old Nancy winning her 15-year-old brother with best racing time. Awesome uh? GP Karting is great for mummies and daddies to hang out with the kids. GP Karting is located off Lang’ata Road, next to Splash. They will provide you with a helmet, a racing suit and a full driver’s briefing to get you going this weekend.
6. Cycling At Karura Forest
If you’d like to escape the madness of the city or your residential area and get into the thick of a forest on a track stretching 12 kms, this is the plan. It will also get you back to fitness after a week of sitting down for too long at the office. You can hire bikes in the forest or still bring your own. Karura forest located off Kiambu Road is also ideal for running.
5. Nairobi Arboretum
The arboretum is located along State House Road and is ideal for that conversation you’ve been meaning to catch on with a friend or a group. You do not need to pay to walk into the arboretum.
4. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
For animal lovers again, this trust is an orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation programme located along Magadi Road. It will only set you back KSh 500 to gain admission and children do not pay. This was the first spot John Kerry, US secretary of state, actually visited when he recently came to Nairobi.
3. The Lang’ata Botanical Gardens
The recreational gardens are located about 20 kilometers from the city centre along Langata South Road near the new Kenya School of Law. The gardens can be accessed by public transport and private parking is available. While on the gardens, you can sample a variety of foods, or have a drink at the bar. You may prefer to have a walk or a picnic here. They also allow fishing.
2. Mamba Village
Mamba village is best known for its crocodile farm – it is estimated that there are 70 Nile crocodiles at the village and Maasai ostriches. There are several restaurants in the expansive area in Karen, about 13 kilometers from the city centre.
1. Rolfs Place
Rolf Place is only 25 minutes from the city centre on the eastern side of the Nairobi National Park. The place gives you a panoramic view of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya and the Ngong Hills all from one point. There is an opportunity to view wild animals across the gorge. If you happen to spend the night there, the roaring of lions and leopards often pierce stillness of the night. The place is located on Masai Lodge Road off Magadi Road.