Nairobi, at a glance

Located in southern Kenya, Nairobi is one of Africa’s fastest growing cities. Kenya’s capital city derives its name from the Maasai phrase ‘Enkare Nairobi’, which refers to the ‘cool water’ of the Nairobi River.

Nairobi is known as the safari capital of Kenya, and it offers a unique fusion of modernity and tradition.

The city has great nightlife, outstanding restaurants, and a broad range of accommodation that caters for all budgets. Remarkably, this metropolis is just 7km north of Nairobi National Park.

The park is home to a plethora of wildlife, including the highest concentration of black rhinos in all of Africa.

Nairobi

Where Nairobi fits into your Kenyan adventure

Your Kenyan adventure will begin and end at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Nairobi is not the focal point of your Kenyan adventure as there is too much to do in the countryside beyond.

Most travellers spend a few days in Nairobi either side of their international flights. Nairobi is also a popular stopover destination for adventurers who are travelling between major attractions like the Maasai Mara and Meru National Park.

For travellers who do not have much time to spend in Kenya, but want a taste of the East African safari experience, head to Nairobi National Park on the outskirts of the city. 

Nairobi

Where will your Kenyan adventure take you next?

Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park

Backdropped by Nairobi's skyline, Nairobi National Park is the closest park to any major city in the world. With great wildlife populations, the park is perfect for those looking …

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Maasai Mara

Great Migration Maasai Mara National Park

The Maasai Mara is Africa's most famous safari destination. Vast savannahs dotted with rogue acacia trees and a huge diversity of wildlife, the Mara is the quintessential safari …

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Meru National Park

Meru National Park

Enveloped by rows of impenetrable woodlands, turbulent rivers and meandering streams, Meru National Park is one of Kenya's most beautiful wilderness areas, and a great safari …

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Things to do in Nairobi

Nairobi National Museum

The Nairobi National Museum is just 10 minutes from the city centre.

Built in 1929, the museum expanded in 2008, and it houses dozens of incredible exhibits, including archaeological discoveries, artefacts, and an expansive collection of native bird species in the ‘Birds of East Africa’ collection.

The museum showcases some of the incredible stories of East African and Kenyan history. There is also an art gallery and a botanical garden which has a nature trail.

Nairobi

Nairobi National Park

Situated on the southern outskirts of the city, Nairobi National Park is the only national park in the world that sits within a capital city. Despite being one of the country's smallest parks (117km²), it is home to an abundance of wildlife.

The park is often referred to as Kifaru Ark (Rhino Ark) for its successful role in rhino conservation. The park is home to around 50 rhinos, the densest concentration of black rhinos in Africa.

Alongside rhinos, four of the Big Five are present. Lions are frequently spotted, and you even have a chance of seeing leopards and cheetahs.

Nairobi

Karura Forest

The Karura Forest is an urban forest in the north of the city.

Home to spectacular waterfalls and a bamboo forest, Karura Forest is a wilderness retreat which juxtaposes the noise and chaos of the city centre. It is visited by 16,000 people per month.

The forest is a great spot for hiking and cycling, and it is home to several monkey species, dik diks, duikers, and bush babies.  

Nairobi

Bomas of Kenya

Since opening in 1971, the Bomas (villages) of Kenya has welcomed over 10 million guests. This attraction was created to protect traditional Kenyan culture and its replica villages showcase the architecture of several of Kenya’s tribes.

The Bomas have its own dance troupe, the Bomas Harambee Dancers, and they perform daily, showcasing a repertoire of over 50 dances from different ethnic communities.

These dances are accompanied by Embu drumming, Swahili taarab music, and more local sounds.

From Thursday to Sunday the Mambo Jambo Acrobats perform incredible feats of juggling, balancing, and fire displays.

Nairobi

Karen Blixen Museum

Located 10km from Nairobi, The Karen Blixen Museum is the former home of Danish author Karen Blixen, and it is one of Nairobi’s most popular museums.

Blixen’s memoir Out of Africa chronicles life at the estate, and the 1985 film Out of Africa was loosely based on Blixen’s life.

The museum has glorious gardens, and it is very close to the entrance of Nairobi National Park.


Nairobi

Oloolua Nature Trail

The Oloolua Nature Trail offers a tranquil escape from the busy city centre, and its serene atmosphere resembles that of the Karura Forest.

The trail is very close to the Karen Blixen Museum, Nairobi National Park, and the Bomas of Kenya. We recommend that you combine it with other attractions in the area.

The nature trail has waterfalls, caves, a bamboo forest, and an indigenous woodland.


Nairobi

The Maasai Market

The Maasai Market is a chaotic affair, with hundreds of market stalls which sell a vast range of locally made products.

The market can be very overwhelming for travellers due to the pressure that vendors will place on you, and their prices will be very high unless you barter.

Prepare to be approached regularly for your business!


Nairobi

When is the best time to visit Nairobi?

We recommend that you visit Nairobi during Kenya’s dry seasons. June to October is the long dry season, and this is a great time to view game at Nairobi National Park.

January to March is the short dry season, and this is also an excellent time to visit Nairobi.

Nairobi sits at an altitude of 5,889ft, so temperatures are generally quite mild throughout the year.

Getting to Nairobi

Most international flights will arrive at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Kenya’s largest airport.

There are direct flights from the UK to Nairobi, and they take just under 9 hours.

Wilson Airport receives domestic flights from regional airports, and it is often the entrance point to the capital city from smaller domestic airports and towns in Kenya, such as Malindi or Mombasa.

Nairobi

Accommodation in Nairobi

You can choose from a broad range of accommodation in Nairobi. For a central location with access to all the attractions, we recommend:

  • Hadassah Hotel: Just a 23-minute drive from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, this hotel has a great location in central Nairobi. The hotel has a great restaurant and a tranquil fountain area. You can choose between single, twin, and deluxe rooms.
  • Ibis Styles Nairobi Westlands: Just 5km from Nairobi’s central business district, this stylish hotel offers 277 rooms. With a large meeting room, newly opened fitness centre, and a rooftop sports bar and BBQ restaurant, this hotel boasts a range of excellent amenities.

We recommend that you avoid certain areas of the city for safety reasons. For access to Nairobi National Park, the Karen Blixen Museum, and the Bomas of Kenya, the district of Kuwinda is the best option. Despite its prime location next to Nairobi National Park, the Karen Bomas Inn is reasonably priced.

Nairobi

Nairobi FAQs

  • Is Nairobi safe to visit?

    Yes, Nairobi is safe to visit, but we recommend that you follow your Government’s travel advice. You should take precautions, such as not wearing jewellery when walking through the city, and only travelling by taxi in the evening. Most hotels will have the details of reliable taxi drivers, and we recommend that you ask for these.

  • Why is Nairobi famous?

    Nairobi is famous for being the only capital city that contains a national park. The city’s proximity to Nairobi National Park has given it the name of ‘the safari capital of Kenya’.

  • Is Nairobi safe at night?

    The city centre is well-lit and policed at night, but we recommend that you take precautions. You should not travel alone, and you should travel by taxi. Your hotel will be able to provide the details of reliable taxi drivers.

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