48 Hours in Nairobi..things to do
Nairobi is Indeed the Safari capital of the world — A world in tune with nature.
Nairobi is the only capital city in the world with a national park within its boundaries. This, along with its other tourist attractions makes it a prime tourist destination. Nairobi has a diverse and multicultural composition; there are a number of churches, mosques, temples, and gurudwaras within the city. Nairobi is home to several museums; heritage sites and monuments, plus spectacular five star hotels to cater for safari-bound tourists.
So whether visiting Nairobi for business or pleasure, there are many activities and experiences to suit any traveler – fun and interesting activities for anyone to enjoy, from the breathtaking scenery and beautiful abundance of natural attractions to the glamour and glitz of the modern city lifestyle.
A park within the city
Take a drive to the National park, which is located right within the city and is only 20 minutes away. The drive from the airport already promises some eye-catching views such as the vast savannah with Zebras prancing along or feeding. The park is open as early as 8am and mornings are probably the best times to go to maximize on the 100+ mammal species you can see. It also offers various activities, the most popular being the Safari walk and the Nature trail.
Meat lovers and foodies can indulge to their fill at the Carnivore restaurant that is only 10 minutes away from the National Park. The Carnivore is a world famous restaurant known for serving game meat and some of the most succulent beef, pork and lamb on the African continent. Experiment with Ostrich meatballs and some crocodile meat, all the while getting your sweet side satisfied with sticky sweet and spicy spare ribs. A plate of this all you-can-eat buffet style goodness is $25 per head. Don’t forget to try the local beer, Tusker and the restaurant’s popular ‘Dawa’ that goes for $3.50 and $5 respectively.
Nairobi painted at the ART GALLERY
Kuona Arts Centre is a newly refurbished outdoor and indoor gallery that showcases eclectic African pieces and usually holds performance art shows every other weekend. The gallery is home to various artists who, while working in their stalls also offer classes to you and your young ones, free of charge.
Maasai Market-Coloured sensations
This open-air market is a shopping experience you would not want to miss out on. Set behind the historic Supreme Court of Kenya, the Maasai market offers tourists the best of the best in African wear, accessories and home décor. Items are handmade and carefully laid out by the friendly market women you will meet there. $30 will get you a bag full of African goodness and a lot more of course. Refuel at the nearby Java Coffee house with mint lemonades at $1.60 and creamy frappuccinos from $3.50. Maasai Market has various locations throughout the city and this particular one found in the city centre is open on weekends from 9a.m to 5p.m.
Our little Mumbai
Diamond plaza also known as ‘Little Mumbai’ is one of Nairobi’s best-kept secrets. It is 15 minutes away from the city centre by public transport, which will cost you a mere 25 cents, (KSH20). A shopping plaza with a large open-air food-court that serves all the Indian food you could ever want. From freshly made butter naan to succulent chicken tikka breasts and enticing masala fries, the place never disappoints for both locals and foreigners. Maru’s Bhajias across the parking lot is the place to go for crispy, hot and fresh Bhajias (fried sliced spicy potatoes). And for the best tangerine juice your taste buds will forever crave, Al’s juice bar serves up freshly squeezed juices of all different flavors. The sugarcane one is worth a try too, $2.50. The food will only cost you a max of $10 or less, depending on the number of plates.
Boat Ride in the Park
The vast Uhuru Park is found right in the city centre and is reminiscent of New York’s central park with its serene, natural ambience surrounded by the busy and bustling streets of corporate Nairobi. Visit the park on a sunny afternoon and go on a boat ride across the artificial lake or take a leisurely stroll along the scenic footbridges. Uhuru park provides perfect picnic spots all over and the city not being far away; one can easily walk there to buy some food and head back for a relaxing afternoon laying on the freshly manicured grass.
Ever wanted to have breakfast with Giraffes? Well the Giraffe manor, promises just that. This boutique style hotel is tucked away in the suburbs of Nairobi, just 10 minutes away from the National Park. A giraffe orphanage turned into a hotel by a wildlife enthusiast, the manor is a perfect place to accommodate you for your short stay. Rooms are delightfully designed and are located in strategic locations to let you have a good view of these majestic creatures or perhaps they may have a good view of you when they pop their head through the windows from time to time during the day.
Karen Blixen Museum
Situated 10km from the city, This is the home of former Danish author Karen Blixen made famous by her book and the movie based on the book “Out of Africa” which chronicles her life at the estate.
The Museum is open to the Public every day (9.30 am to 6pm) including weekends and public holidays. Guided tours are offered continuously. A museum shop offers handicrafts, posters and postcards, the Movie ‘Out of Africa’, books and other Kenyan souvenirs.
It was established in 1964 as a refuge and rehabilitation centre for wild animals, found abandoned or injured in Kenya. In a setting for visitors to walk around and have close up views to a variety of animals such as, lions, crocodiles, cheetah, leopards, wild cats, and wild dogs. Watch out for the group of monkeys and baboons roaming freely around.
Nairobi Safari walk
This is conservation based recreation facility. The combination of skilled and creative landscape design, unique wildlife species and detailed interpretation, renders the facility supremacy in tourism and conservation education. It offers you an opportunity to learn what you expect to see across the country. Introductory talks on Kenya’s parks and reserves can be arranged for you by the naturalists. You will have a taste of Kenya’s rich animal collection including the rare bongo, white rhino, albino zebra, and African cats, antelopes and primates.
Nairobi National Museum
National Museum of Kenya is a multi-disciplinary institution whose role is to collect, preserve, study, document and present Kenya’s past and present cultural and natural heritage. This is for the purposes of enhancing knowledge, appreciation, respect and sustainable utilization of these resources for the benefit of Kenya and the world, for now and posterity. The Nairobi Museum has an exclusive exhibition for the Birds of East Africa. The main aim is to display to the public the common species encountered most regularly as well as some of the rare, endangered and migratory ones.
Mamba Village is famous for its crocodile farm. The pens are home to an estimated 70 Nile crocodiles. our Maasai Ostriches can also be found strutting around their pen with grace. Visitors often come into direct personal contact with them when given the opportunity to feed these gallant birds. The experience is always satisfying and exciting especially for children. Within the village there is also a tented camp available for accommodation to visitors.
The giraffe centre was ostensibly established as a breeding ground for the endangered Rothschild Giraffe. Information about the Giraffe is provided at the centre and an elevated feeding platform was installed to give visitors the opportunity to hand feed the giraffes.
Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
Elephant calves orphaned by poachers or natural occurrences are brought here from all over the country. They receive extremely specialized treatment and personalized care from highly dedicated staff. The orphanage is open to the public during the calves feeding times where they can interact with calves and watch them being fed while they are informed how each of the elephant calves came to be at the orphanage. There is also an option for visitors to choose to adopt an elephant where they will be in charge of the elephants care at the orphanage.
The Nairobi arboretum occupies 30 hectares and holds over 350 different species of trees. It is also home to over 100 migrant and resident birds. The arboretum is one of Nairobi’s few remaining green spaces, with jogging trails, walking paths and picnic lawns.
Bomas of Kenya
Bomas of Kenya was established by the government in 1971 as a subsidiary company of Kenya Tourist Development Corporation as a tourist attraction. It also mandated to preserve, maintain and promote rich and diverse cultural values of various tribal groups of Kenya. Displays of different aspects of Kenyan culture are on display such as living styles, arts and craft, music and dance.
These are some of the few many things you can do/visit on your short stay in this magical city-the only city that has a live park next to it. Nairobi will captivate you and give you the notion of out of this world experience.