Nairobi Travel Guide
Introduction to Nairobi
Due to the preconceptions that many people have about Africa, many are surprised by the vibrancy that they find once they land in Nairobi. A thriving city in a developing middle-income country, Nairobi is the capital of Kenya.
As such, there are a number of cultural venues that you should not miss on a visit here, but there are also natural attractions on this city’s doorstep that you won’t want to miss either.
Cultural Attractions in Nairobi
Start your time in Nairobi by paying a visit to the Karen Blixen Museum. Preserving the former plantation house of Danish author Karen Blixen, it gives visitors a peek into the life of the privileged European classes that colonized this country in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
It was this setting that inspired the movie Out of Africa, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Situated on a coffee farm, it also has a cafe on site that serves incredibly brewed java grown right on the premises, so be sure to have a cup so you can enjoy the lush gardens around its outdoor terrace properly.
Before you head out into Kenya’s countryside, get a background on this nation’s natural and human history by spending time at the Nairobi National Museum. Being one of the places in Africa where humans evolved from our predecessors, there are detailed exhibits that trace our journey from our primitive beginnings to the homo sapiens we are today.
In addition to cataloging the history of Kenya, there is also a fascinating reptile exhibit that includes live snakes, lizards and crocodiles. All in all, this attraction will take up a few hours of your time, so plan appropriately.
Looking to take in some of the traditional dances that local tribes have practiced for eons? If so, be sure to check out the Bomas of Kenya. At this cultural centre near the gates of Nairobi National Park, performers demonstrate dances from 16 different cultural groups that have called Kenya home for countless generations.
From Arabic music to the warrior dances of the Kalenjin, there will be plenty to entertain fans of culture here. Those looking to record these dances should be aware that there is an extra charge for visitors bringing in cameras, so don’t be caught without the extra cash needed to capture this highlight of your trip to Nairobi.
Other Attractions in Nairobi
Didn’t get to see the animals you were hoping to spot on safari while in Kenya? You’ll get one last chance to do just that by visiting Nairobi National Park. Located only seven kilometres from the downtown core of Nairobi, it is possible to see the skyscrapers that make up its central business district while taking in this national park’s population of giraffes at the same time.
In addition to giraffes, one can spot rhinos, buffalo, baboons, and lions within its boundaries. In addition to the free-range reserve, there is also an excellent conservation facility where one can observe park staff nursing sick animals back to health, and encouraging the growth of endangered and threatened species.
Want to get up close and personal with the endangered Rothschild giraffe? Be sure to swing the Giraffe Centre, where you can see these beautiful animals up close and personal. In addition to learning about these animals from centre staff, you will also get the chance to feed and even be kissed by them, making this attraction perfect for traveling families.
Enthusiastic about hiking, or are simply looking for the perfect vantage point from which to take a picture of the Nairobi area? In either of these cases, you will want to hire a guide to take you out into the Ngong Hills.
Rising more than a thousand meters above the Great Rift Valley, these scenic and imposing mountains are a favorite among the locals, though it is recommended that you take armed guards along with you as a foreigner, as there have been muggings in recent years.