Nairobi, the largest city in East Africa with over 3.5 million people, started life as a railways depot in 1899. Today the city skyline is dominated by modern high rise buildings and is a tourism and trade hub. Nairobi is a vibrant city with a mix of races and cultures, providing the visitor with several sightseeing options such as museums, a National Park, Golf courses, resorts and posh night clubs.
So if travelers have a day or even just over 4 hours layover before their flight, which are the best places in Nairobi you should visit ? Well the list below includes the best sightseeing and tourist spots in Nairobi and these can be combined or visited separately in case you do not have enough time to include all these places in your day trip or itinerary.
An amazing and fun place to visit in Nairobi that also gives one truly touching memories and supports a good cause. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Nursery bordering Nairobi National Park offers safe haven to orphaned baby elephants rescued from parks and reserves in Kenya. The nursery cares for the young elephants, including hand rearing them until they are old enough to be gradually introduced back to the wild in Tsavo East National Park among other places.
The Entry Fee is USD 5 per person [ adult or child] or approximately Ksh 500 per person in Kenya shillings. Visiting timings are 11 am to 12pm daily ( 1 hour). As the orphanage lies on the outskirts of Nairobi city, off Langata road, it is advisable to allow for enough time to get here.
Giraffe Center is located in Lang'ata, approximately 20 kilometres from the centre of Nairobi. The center was first opened to protect the highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, the population of which has declined, reaching a low of 1600 animals in the wild as a result of agricultural practices in their native habitat. The center is also home to several warthogs which freely roam the area along with the giraffes. The main attraction for visitors is the chance of seeing these animals up close and even feeding them ! You can observe, hand-feed or even kiss one of the giraffes from a raised wooden structure, which is quite a memorable experience. The center is open daily from 9am to 5pm and the entry fee is USD 15 per person.
Karen Blixen Museum is a colonial-era house, where Baroness Karen Blixen lived with her husband. The Oscar winning movie “Out of Africa” was based on Karen Blixen's life in Kenya, based on her autobiographical book. The house was built in 1912 and bought by the couple in 1917, and it became the farm house for their 4500 acre farm, of which 600 acres was used for coffee farming. A visit to this museum provides an opportunity to step back in time and gain an insight into this remarkable woman's life. Views of the Ngong Hills can be admired from the beautifully landscaped gardens of the museum.
The open air Maasai shopping market is arguably the best place to shop if you are a first time traveller looking for affordable, beautiful and colourful Kenyan souvenirs to take back home with you.
This market is rotational in that it moves to different locations within Nairobi different days of the week, offering a wide variety of items including arts and crafts, wooden carvings, african paintings, local jewellery, clothes, shoes and bags among many other items.