Visit Nairobi, Kenya: Travel Tips to Enjoying a Tour of the City

As Kenya’s largest city, Nairobi has become a gathering place for people from all over Africa and the world. Many travellers have sought to visit other cities to evade the busy and fast-paced capital.  A visit to Nairobi is highly memorable and just as rewarding. This blog will give you many travel tips to enjoy a tour of the city. The city is accessible through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and domestically via Wilson Airport.

Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya, a country located in East Africa. Nairobi today is not quite the quiet retreat it once was. It has become vibrant and a hub for many businesses, local and international. As a result, this has enabled it to have much to offer in terms of travel and tourism. You can apply for a 90-day tourist Visa from here.

With the outbreak of the Coronavirus, most countries have had to restrict international travel to curb the spread of the virus. The pandemic minimized global travel earnings. Personally, I believe that travel is a means of wealth distribution across the world. Covid-19 had a significant impact on the travel and tourism industry. Coronavirus travel restrictions have now been lifted for all travellers to and from Kenya. Safe travel will encompass observing the World Health Organization guidelines like; observing social distancing, washing hands, wearing face masks, and avoiding crowding.

The Nairobi National Park has all the big five except the elephants. However, one can visit the Sheldrick elephant orphanage situated close to the park to see and adopt baby elephants. About a kilometre from the park is the Giraffe Centre, a safe haven for the giraffe species. Here, one can get to spend time with the giraffes and even feed them. However, to visit, you have to make prior bookings online. The entry fees to these attractions are quite affordable with convenient modes of payment.

Woman feeding giraffe at the Nairobi Giraffe Centre

Woman feeding a giraffe at the Nairobi Giraffe Centre

 

Most people relate tourism and travel with wildlife, which is not the case. There are other various forms of tourism and activities for tourists to enjoy their visit. Not to forget the gastro-tourists; Nairobi has popular restaurants that prepare native cuisines. You haven’t explored the city if you have not sampled the famous Kenyan delicacy, ‘nyama choma’ (roasted meat).

The Carnivore restaurant is renowned for its meat dishes, where the aroma and the mouth-watering sight of meat on a giant charcoal pit cut with Maasai swords at the entrance welcome the visitors. Nairobians love their meat as it rules the menus; thus, you might want to inform your host before your visit of your dietary requirements if you are vegetarian.

Some famous hotels and restaurants include Weston Hotel, Villa Rosa Kempinski, Ole Sereni, Hilton Hotel, Sarova Stanley, and Serena Hotel. Notably, other restaurants specialize in native dishes like Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Arabian, and Italian cuisines.

Souvenirs act as a reminder and memory of an adventure. One can acquire souvenirs in Nairobi, such as crafts, beaded jewellery, handbags, and traditional attires like the famous Maasai Shuka. These can be found at the Maasai market, an open-air market specializing in selling traditional crafts and carvings.

The Maasai are a well-known tribe globally, and they form a massive inspiration for the items sold in this market, which has since become a staple culture for the city. The market shifts its location depending on the day of the week. The pricing of the goods is just right if you learn the art of bargaining.

One can also enjoy shopping at malls like The Mall, Two Rivers Mall, The Junction Mall, Sarit Center, and the Capital Centre. Similarly, in these malls, one can also enjoy an experience at 4D AND 7D theatre. It is a great way to pass the time at the mall or to have an experience for a date.

For nature lovers, there are various locations and activities to engage in the city. The Nairobi Arboretum is a green paradise with over 350 indigenous and exotic species and home to several bird species. Another location is the Karura forest, where one can go biking in the woods. These locations have clear and clean paths for walking and jogging. One can engage in activities like tree planting and bird watching.

When taking a stroll around the city’s central business district, various monuments are erected in honour of prominent leaders and members of the country. The city centre also offers spectacular views of beautiful architectural designs of buildings. The Kenyatta International Conference Centre, a familiar landmark of Nairobi, offers panoramic views of the city to its horizon while on its rooftop. You may also notice the transport system where various public service vehicles ‘matatu’ are driven aggressively in the streets. These provide affordable transportation for the residents to different locations in Nairobi. In general, Kenyans are happy and welcoming souls, so don’t worry; you would fit right in and have a taste of the Kenyan culture.

The city has the Nairobi National Museum, the Snake Park, and the Botanical Gardens as the major museums. The museum has an art gallery that showcases the works of various contemporary artists. Equally important are the Nairobi Gallery and the national archives located in the city centre that exhibit and preserve public records and art collections. The National Archives is a familiar landmark and meeting place at the city centre along Moi Avenue. Access is Ksh 100 ($1) per person when acquiring a timed entry reservation online to learn about Kenya’s history.

One can enjoy Go Karting on an indoor racing track at Gp Karting along Lang’ata Road near the Carnivore Restaurant. Open every day, 9:00 am until 6:00 pm except Mondays, it costs Kshs 1,300 ($13) for adults and between Kshs 900 and Kasha 1,100 ($9 and $11) for children depending on their age for a 10-minute drive. The charges include the kart, driving gear, fuel, and other equipment. They have weekend racing events held on Saturdays where people enjoy racing tournaments in three different categories; under 13, under 17, and over 18.

The weekdays can be ideal for practising and having fun with friends. However, the best days to visit depend on what they want.

Another activity to enjoy is indoor rock climbing at Diamond Plaza at a charge of Kshs 1,300 ($ 13). It is an ideal activity for couples and even groups of friends as it is an excellent way of getting fit and testing your mental ability to cope with difficulties. You can bring your climbing shoes or hire some on-site at an extra charge.

There is also indoor shooting at the Kenya Regiment Rifle Club in Lang’ata. To visit this place, one must possess an identification card, and charges are kshs 1,000 ($10) for adults. However, there is an extra charge of ksh 100 ($ 1) to hire the earmuffs and other protective gear.

Finally, when visiting Nairobi, one might feel uneasy regarding the accessibility of critical services. It would help if you were not alarmed as the city is pretty advanced and has significant financial institutions like what you can access back home. There is also no need to overpack because you can access almost everything in Nairobi. Similarly, one might wonder about the budget. There are various ways to travel on a budget and save on extra expenses. I would recommend one acquire the services of a local guide to plan and guide their visit.

Travelling around Nairobi is super cheap if you make use of the Matatu’s. One must be cautious about using the local unlicensed taxis. There are various local licenced taxis; Uber and Bolt, which are widely available. However, if you prefer to have your own wheels, you can hire a motorbike or car at a very competitive price.

The city can cease to be merely a transit point and instead become a destination of its own. This is because a visit to Nairobi is just quite a taste of the magic that exists in other destinations in Kenya. There are diverse cultures and attractions that offer varied experiences. Include Kenya in your travel bucket list for 2023/ 2024. A memorable experience of the beautiful #magicalKenya that will have you coming back, is guaranteed. Do not hesitate to book your flight and hotel accommodation now!

While travel is for adventure and relaxation, there is a need for responsible travel that ensures the sustainability of resources. I would advocate for responsible travel behaviour and urge all travellers to ensure they leave a destination the way they found it. It would also be nice to reduce plastic waste by travelling with a reusable water bottle because most attraction sites have reduced plastic use.

Reduce plastic waste one bottle at a time!
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Top Cultural Festivals in Kenya
Kenya Attractions: A Guide to Experiencing Kenya

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