Nairobi has it all and you can spend many happy days exploring this bustling city.
If you are extremely short on time, but still would like to see some of Africa’s wildlife, there is no better option than the Nairobi National Park, the only place in the world where you can see wildlife inside a city. Its variety of animals means you can almost spot the Big 5 within city limits, as apart from the usual plains animals like zebra, wildebeest, impala, gazelles and giraffe the park is also home to rhino, lion, leopard, buffalo, cheetah, serval, mongoose, hippo and many other mammals as well as many birds.
The elephant is the only one of the Big 5 that is missing from the Nairobi National Park, although technically they can be found there too. You just have to head over to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, located in the national park but accessed from outside, to see the baby elephants. They walk into the national park daily with their keepers and can be adopted.
Days spent in Nairobi should also include visits to the Giraffe Centre where they are breeding the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, and trips to the National and Karen Blixen museum, the author of the famous book ‘Out of Africa’.
Culture & Crafts
A visit to Kazuri is always a highlight on many people’s itinerary. Women from the Kibera slums create jewellery from the clay beads that they make and paint by hand. Ask for a free tour of the ‘factory’ and meet these artists before buying some of the incredible pieces, sold all over the world including in London in Harrod’s. Other artists can be found at Marula where they turn beach rubbish (flipflops) into animal statues, and at Matbronze. Expensive, but incredibly beautiful bronze pieces can be bought here.
If you still have some energy left after spending your days visiting these places (many have restaurants where you can have lunch too), you need to head out to the many restaurants in town, followed by a drink or two on Electric Avenue, so called because of the night scene. The bar scene changes, but locals will be able to tell you where the popular spots are. Be sensible with your valuables but make sure to enjoy the friendliness and the brilliant dance moves of the party crowd.
Your souvenirs can be bought on the Maasai market or the Triangle market, make sure to negotiate here. If you don’t like to haggle over a price, you can also go to Spinners Web, Utamaduni or Shuka Duka. All three shops offer souvenirs at fixed prices. For a truly authentic shopping experience you can also head into the CBD and head to Biashara St for some excellent local fabric shopping where you will find a huge range of kangas, kitenges, kikoy and shukas (Maasai blankets).
Karura Forest is another location that should not be missed. It is the perfect place to walk, run or ride a bike in a perfectly safe and forest environment with the additional bonus of being able to spot animals like the Sykes and Colobus monkeys.