Things to do in Nairobi

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Things to do in Nairobi

by Emmy van Kleef

The capital of Kenya is big and rapidly developing. It is a hub for business in East Africa, and the size of middle-class Kenyans and expatriates has quickly grown in recent years. This benefits the tourist in terms of available facilities. You will be able to buy everything you need for a trip upcountry.

There are, as in so many cities in Africa, only a few sights around, so don’t expect beautiful buildings, shopping streets etc, but downtown you can easily get around and there a few places to see, such as the National Museum and the viewpoint on top of the Kenyatta Conference Centre. Through the website I Like Local, you can also book a city tour that takes you around in the safe hands of a local guide.

Besides the few sights, Nairobi serves well as a warm-up for the countryside. With more wildlife than you would expect in a city with over 6 million inhabitants, Nairobi has a number of wildlife gems, that are well worth a visit:

The Giraffe Centre is an organization originally established to protect the Rothschild giraffes.

Nowadays it focuses on education for children regarding wildlife conservation. There is a feeding platform to get up & close with these beautiful long-necked friends. You can also walk a nature train with lots of bird species and warthogs to discover.

At the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust you can watch the feeding of cute baby elephants that are rescued as orphans from the wildlife parks in Kenya. The trust is renowed for its successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation programs. They are based within Nairobi National Park.

Nairobi National park is a true gem in the close vicinity of the city. Good chances to spot the 'Big 5', including a photogenic skyline in the background. It's easily accesible with a car. You can camp inside the park at the public campsite.

Traffic in Nairobi

  • Don’t blindly trust the GPS, some roads are closed at night, some roads have more jam than others. Ask the reception for directions.
  • Try to use the bypasses as much as you can.
  • Expect your journey to take twice as long.
  • Uber is a good alternative to expensive taxis.

Safety in Nairobi

  • Choose a taxi over the bus, especially from the airport.
  • Do not walk on the streets after dark. The taxis are used to dropping you inside compounds.
  • Beware of people hanging around when you are going to the bank or the ATM, and preferably use ATMs inside shopping malls.
  • If you are driving, lock your doors.
  • You can walk safely around the central Business District in Nairobi during the day, but be aware of the usual annoyances, such as beggars, pickpockets and conmen.
  • The information section of the Lonely Planet tells you exactly which places are OK and not OK.

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