Ostrich at Tarangire Park
image descriprion

Top Best things to do in Nairobi Kenya

Nairobi is my favorite African city. Unfortunately, it has a bit of a bad reputation. For whatever reason, most travelers seem to pass through the city without even giving it a chance. They fly in and head directly to the coast or toward the Maasai Mara for a safari without ever experiencing this exciting African capital city. I think that’s a real shame. Here are the 13 best things to do in Nairobi.

  • Reviews 9 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Adult Group
    luxury lodges/Budget camping/Trekking/Safari
  • Activity Level lifetime experience
    1-5
  • Group Size from 2 to 20 tourists
    6/10

Visit Karura Forest

Nairobi is an intense city. Between the pollution, traffic, and dense population, sometimes you just need to get out for a while to clear your mind. Karura Forest is the perfect place to go to catch a breath of fresh air. Best of all, it’s located conveniently within Nairobi city limits.
This 2500 acre forest contains over 50 km of trails to explore. Popular activities Karura Forest include:

Walking- Take a stroll and enjoy the trails and scenery.


Cycling- Bicycles are allowed on the trails. Rentals are available near the entrance. This is a great way to view the forest. Picnicking- Bring a basket of your favorite foods and enjoy them in one of the designated picnic areas. There is a 150 shilling fee to utilize the facilities.

Birdwatching- Over 200 species of birds call Karura Forrest home.

Running- Get some exercise while you’re there.


Waterfall- One of the most beautiful features of the park is the Karura Forest waterfall.
Wildlife Viewing- Several species of monkey can be spotted in the forest including Colobus Monkeys.
You may also be able to spot bush pigs, dik diks, porcupines, dukier, and more if you keep your eyes peeled.
Hiking- Most trails are pretty easy. A few more technical trails can be found throughout the park.
Unfortunately, in recent years, real estate developers have been trying to get permission from the government to use outer chunks of the park to build housing and shops. Nairobi is a rapidly growing city which could use the space, after all. So far, conservationists have been able to hold them off. Who knows what the future will hold for Karura Forest.

How to Visit Karura Forrest

Karura Forest can easily be reached by taxi, Uber, or Matatu (shared minibus.) Unfortunately, there is an entry fee to visit the forest. Non-Kenyan resident tickets cost 600 shillings. Children’s tickets cost 300 shillings. Karura Forest is open from 6 am to 6 pm every day.

Take a Stroll Around in Downtown Nairobi

Most African capitals are very spread out have pretty much zero urban planning. Streets run in all directions and buildings are scattered randomly throughout. Nairobi is different. It is a surprisingly well-designed city. The CBD is compact and easy to get around. There is a grid pattern, more or less, which makes finding your way around the area pretty easy.

Taking a walk around downtown Nairobi is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The streets are crowded and active. Vendors sell everything from fruits to electronics on the sidewalks. People are everywhere. The city is also surprisingly cosmopolitan. People from all over Africa call Nairobi home.

If you get thirsty or hungry during your walk, there are plenty of nice bars and restaurants to pop into for a drink or a bite to eat. The best places are located to the north of downtown in a part of town called Westlands. The CBD also has some good options.

I recommend Sky Lounge Bar and Bites. I stumbled upon this place one day when I was walking around. It’s just a comfortable place for a couple of drinks in the afternoon. It is located pretty much dead center in the CBD.

Visit Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park is the biggest tourist attraction in the city. It is also the oldest national park in Kenya. Nairobi is the only city with a full-on safari park located within city limits.

Located just 4 miles (7 km) south of the CBD, the Nairobi skyline can actually be seen from the park. In fact, it’s so close to the city that an electric fence is used to keep the animals from wandering into the CBD. Because it’s so close, you can drive there, go on a safari, and be back in Nairobi in time for dinner. This makes for a really convenient and unique safari experience.

All of the animals that you think about when picturing a safari can be viewed in the park including giraffe, hippos, buffalo, black rhino, gazelle, zebra, cheetah, leopard, lion, wildebeest and more. An elephant conservatory is located within the park. See the next section for more info on that.

Safari Options

Park entry for non-residents is 4300 shillings (about $43). You have several options for visiting the park including:

Self-drive safari- this is the cheapest option. If you have a car, you can simply pay for an entry ticket and drive yourself through the park to view the animals.

Book a Tour- for about $40-$45 you can book a spot in a group tour to Nairobi National Park. The price includes pick up and drop off at your hotel or the airport. This is a half day tour. Expect to spend about three hours in the park. Morning and afternoon tours are available.

Hire a Taxi- Another option is to hire a cab driver to drive you to and around the park. Prices will vary. Some drivers know the park better than others. This option allows for a bit more freedom than a group tour but will cost slightly more depending on how good you are at negotiating. Be careful which driver you pick as some will be happy to act as a tour guide and some will just go through the motions for the fare.

If you are looking for a more traditional safari experience, consider making a trip to the Maasai Mara. For a step-by-step guide on how to visit, check out my guide How to Safari in Kenya for less than $200: Maasai Mara on a Budget

If you are continuing on to Tanzania after you visit Kenya, you can check out my article: Maasai Mara vs Serengeti: Where is the Better Safari?

Visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT)

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is an elephant sanctuary located inside of Nairobi National Park. At the DSWT they work to provide care for baby elephants that were orphaned due to poaching. After caring for the baby elephants for the first 2-3 years of their lives, they move them to a reintegration facility, also run by the DSWT, in Tsavo East National Park. Eventually, when the elephants are ready, they are returned to the wild. Many consider the DSWT to be the most successful elephant reintegration program anywhere in the world. The same people also run a similar program for rhinos. .

How to Visit the DSWT

Because the DSWT is located inside of Nairobi National Park, this is a great activity to pair with a visit to the park. The DSWT is only open to the public for one hour per day between 11:00 am to 12 noon. This is the feeding and bathing time for the baby elephants.

Cost to Visit

The minimum donation is 7 USD or 500 shillings. You do not have to pay the $43 or 4300 shilling Nairobi National Park entrance fee when visiting the DSWT. There is a separate entrance to the DSWT so you can bypass the park if you wish.

Donating to the DSWT

If you become an elephant foster by making a minimum donation of $50, you can schedule an evening visit to see the elephants at bedtime. This viewing is less busy than the morning viewing which is open to the general public.

Visit Kibera Slum

Kibera is a fascinating part of Nairobi to visit. It is said to be the largest slum in all of Africa. Population estimates range from 170,000 to over a million people. Most living on less than a dollar per day. Kibera is also home to a large number of people living with HIV and AIDS. It is located about 4 miles from Nairobi city center.

How to Visit Kibera

I visited Kibera independently with a couple of friends. We just ordered an Uber and had the guy drop us off in the center of the neighborhood. He didn’t seem too happy about driving there, but he did it anyway. Once we were there, we just walked around and explored the area. You can get a good feel for Kibera in just a couple of hours. It’s big but not that big. We walked through the slum and around the train tracks that go through the area. I recommend you walk up the hill to the highest part of the area first so you can get the lay of the land. The view from the top overlooking the slum is incredible.

Organized tours are available for around $30. To me, that is far too expensive for just a walk. It’s a waste of money. You can walk around the area for free. I learned everything I needed to know just talking to people living in the area. The only reason to maybe consider going on a tour rather than independently is for safety. I’m sure the guide knows the area well. There may be parts of the area that aren’t safe to visit.

Crime in Kibera

Crime is incredibly high in Kibera so be cautious when visiting. Just days after I visited, one of my friends found a newspaper article about a recent crime that was being investigated. Five mutilated bodies were found in Kibera with various organs removed. It was speculated that these people were victims of organ harvesting.

Rates of rapes and assaults are also high in Kibera. If you are visiting on your own, I would recommend that you stick to the main roads and not wander too deep into the slum. Also, be sure to leave before it gets dark.

With all of that being said, I never felt in any danger while walking around Kibera. Everyone I met in was incredibly friendly and welcoming. People are just living their lives and trying to get ahead just like everyone else.

Go Clubbing in Westlands

Because Nairobi is a main business hub in Africa, there is a lot of money in the city. With that comes higher end bars and restaurants than you might find in other African capitals. Nairobi has some wild nightlife. For the best bars, head to Westlands. This is an affluent neighborhood with a large expat population. I had a great time going out in Nairobi. Kenyans really know how to party

How to Get to Westlands

To get to Westlands, I recommend you take a cab or an Uber. Westlands lies about two miles from downtown Nairobi. You can also walk during the day. Once it gets dark, I would not recommend walking between the CBD and Westlands. However, walking around within Westlands relatively safe at all hours of the day and night. The Best Bars in Westlands

Some of the most popular bars are:

New Club Hypnotica Nairobi

Havana Restaurant
Privee Westlands

Gipsy Bar

These are all in the same general area within a block or two of each other. Westlands is an excellent place to bar hop. The whole area is worth exploring, really. There are dozens of bars and restaurants to try out.

Some Things to Know About Going Out in Nairobi:

Many clubs have absurdly high age requirements to get in- It is common to see 25 and older signs posted outside of clubs. Surprisingly, these age requirements are enforced. One of my friends was ID’d and the bouncers wouldn’t let him in no matter what he said. He even offered them a bribe and they wouldn’t accept. I guess he didn’t offer them enough. I was 24 while I was traveling in Nairobi and was never ID’d. On one occasion I was asked for ID but was able to talk my way in without.
Drinks are more expensive than many other places in Africa- When I arrived in Nairobi, I was used to paying 50 cents for a beer in Ethiopia. Expect to pay around 250-400 shillings for a beer in a club. One club I visited only sold beers two at a time and charged 700 shillings for two Tuskers. This may sound cheap if you are coming from the west, but after traveling around Africa for a while, it feels quite expensive.

Generally, the clubs have no cover charge- Some bars have a two drink minimum.

It’s pretty safe- The bouncers do a good job of keeping out anyone who is up to no good. I didn’t even see any fights. With that being said, you should be cautious while walking around outside of the bars. Even though Westlands is well policed and pretty safe, you should watch out for pickpockets and beggars. You are also more of an easy target while you are inebriated

Tip: To save some money on drinks, you can buy shots on the street

There are people with small tables set up with dozens of bottles selling shots. They have pretty much a full bar’s worth of bottles just sitting on their little stand. I can’t remember exactly how much they charged, but it’s significantly cheaper than the club.

Visit The Nairobi National Museum

The Nairobi National Museum is a nice place to spend the afternoon learning about the region. The museum focuses on four main categories:
History- Includes information on the origin of man and history of Kenya.
Culture- Learn about Kenyan and East African culture. Includes information on current and past culture.
Nature- Learn about the local animals and plants native to Kenya.
Contemporary Art- View some Kenyan artwork. The museum also has an auditorium they occasionally show films and musical performances.
Within the museum compound, you can also visit the snake park, botanical gardens, and the auditorium. You could easily spend a day exploring this beautiful part of the city. You might learn something too.

How to Get to Nairobi National Museum

The museum is located about 10 minutes north of downtown in a part of the city called Museum Hill. From downtown, you can easily reach the museum by taxi, uber, matatu (shared minibus), or even on foot. They are open 365 days per year form 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Entry Cost

Entry to the museum Non-Kenyan resident adults cost 1200 shillings. Children’s tickets cost 600 shillings. The price is the same for the snake park. If you buy combination tickets to the museum and snake park, the charge is 1500 shillings for adults and 1000 for children.

Go Watch a Soccer Game

Watching a sporting event in a foreign country is always an interesting experience. It is a good way to spend an afternoon, drink some beers, and meet some locals. I’m not really into sports but I enjoy watching a game once in a while.
When I was in Nairobi, I decided one afternoon that I wanted to go see a soccer match. After doing some research online, I found that the Kariobangi Sharks were playing the very next day. The Sharks play in the top level of the Football Kenya Federation system. I thought that sounded like a pretty big deal so I decided to go check it out. The game was being played at Nairobi City Stadium.
The next day I took a taxi to the stadium with a couple of people from the hostel. When we arrived, to my surprise, there were only about 10 other people there. No one was selling tickets. We just walked right into the stadium. I wondered if somehow I had misread the schedule, or maybe I was in the wrong place entirely. We sat down and watched the guys warming up on the field. About a half an hour later the game began. I’m still not exactly sure who was playing, but it was good fun to watch.

Visit the Karen Blixen Museum

This popular Nairobi museum is the farmhouse where Danish author Karen Blixen lived from 1914-1931. She wrote the book ‘Out of Africa’ about her experience living in Kenya. The book was made into a movie staring Merl Streep in 1985. The movie won the Academy Award for best picture that year.
The farmhouse has been turned into a museum to show how the author lived and what life was like in Kenya in that time period. During colonial times, the house was built on a farm well outside of the city. Now, because Nairobi has grown so much, the city spreads all the way to the house.

How to Visit the Karen Blixen Museum

The museum lies about 10 km outside of the Nairobi CBD. It can be accessed by taxi, Uber, or matatu (shared minibus). The museum is open 365 days per year from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm. Entry cost for non-Kenyan resident adults is 1200 shillings. Children’s tickets cost 600 shillings.

Eat Some Kenyan Food

Generally, I didn’t find the food in Kenya to be too exciting. There are a few interesting dishes but nothing to write home about. I’ll admit that I don’t have the most refined palate though. There is one restaurant that I really enjoyed that I recommend you try while visiting Nairobi.

Carnivore

I usually try to stay away from touristy restaurants. They are overpriced and the food is generally of low quality. Carnivore is an exception. You go here for the experience.
Carnivore is a safari themed restaurant that focuses on meat. They serve all types of exotic meats including crocodile, ostrich, and rabbit as well as the more common types such as lamb, chicken, and beef. The place is a bit kitschy and very touristy but it is also a lot of fun. Don’t bother going here if you are a vegetarian.
The whole restaurant is built around a giant barbecue centerpiece where all of the meat is cooked over open flame. Service is excellent and the quality of the food is pretty high. The only drawback is that this place is expensive. I paid about $30 for my meal which is something that, ordinarily, I would never do. I went here for the experience and would say that it was worth it. Carnivore is a pretty famous restaurant in Nairobi.

What to Order at Carnivore

You can order a meal off of the menu or go for the all you can eat option. I recommend the latter for the full experience. The place works just like a Brazilian churrascaria. Skewers of freshly barbecued meat are brought right to your table and carved on to your plate. You can try everything they have on offer for the night. Usually around 10-12 different cuts of meat. They will keep bringing you meat as fast as you can eat it. The all you can eat option includes soup, bread, and dessert as well. Drinks aren’t included. I just ordered a water. They have a full bar if you want a drink with your meal.

Strategy

To get the most bang for your buck, you should avoid eating the bread and soup that they bring you before the main course. Although it’s good, this is just a cheap way to fill you up. Be sure to try the lamb. That was my favorite.

Take a Stroll in Uhuru Park

Uhuru is a big, city park located adjacent to Nairobi CBD. Admittedly, Uhuru is not the most beautiful park in the world. There are no botanical gardens or well manicured paths. In fact, Uhuru is not very well maintained. The grass is overgrown and infrastructure is in disrepair.
With that being said, Uhuru is a nice place to go to get away from the pollution of the city and take a breath of fresh air. You can stroll along the paths, buy ice cream from one of the vendors, and relax on a bench overlooking the lake. It is a popular place for locals to hang out, particularly on the weekends. The park contains a man made lake and skateboard park.

Safety in Uhuru Park

I walked through the park multiple times while I was in Nairobi and it seemed safe enough. You will want to keep an eye out for pickpockets. Street kids can also be a problem. While you are minding your own business, they may approach begging for money or presents. I just try to ignore them. Walking in the park after dark is not recommended.

Visit the Giraffe Center

For the first time, giraffes recently reached ‘critically endangered’ status. This means that the world’s tallest species is at risk of going extinct. To read more about what this means, check out this interesting article from Smithsonian.com.
The Giraffe Center is designed to educate the public and help with conservation efforts. They care for some of the most endangered species of giraffes in Kenya. Admittedly, this place is very touristy. Kind of like a petting zoo. Because of this, it would be a great place to visit with children. I didn’t go here when I was in Nairobi but I have heard good reviews from friends who went.
At the center, they allow you to feed and pet the giraffes. You can also handle some bones to learn more about the species.

How to Get to the Giraffe Center

The Giraffe Center is located about 15 kilometers from the Nairobi CBD. The cheapest way to get there is by matatu (shared minibus.) This will cost about 50-100 shillings (50 cents to $1) depending on where you are staying in the city.
The easiest way to get to the center is by taxi or Uber. The fare should be around 400-500 shillings. I always recommend you use Uber to get around Nairobi. It is cheaper than a taxi and you don’t have to negotiate the fare. There is less of a chance of being scammed.

Cost to Visit the Giraffe Center

For non-Kenyan resident adults, the entry fee is 1000 shillings or about $10. The entry fee for kids is 500 shillings or about $5.

Go Shopping

I don’t have much to say about this as I’m not a big shopper. I don’t even buy souvenirs.

The Hub Karen

If shopping is your thing, check out The Hub Karen. It is the biggest shopping mall in Nairobi. There, you will find dining, entertainment, and all the shopping you could wish for. They have many of the most popular international chains as well as local shops and small businesses.
The mall is located in in the Karen neighborhood of Nairobi. You can easily access the mall by taxi, Uber, or matatu shared minibus. They are open from 9 am to 9 pm.

Maasai Market

You may also be interested to check out a Maasai market where you can buy handcrafted artwork and jewelry made by the Maasai people. This is the kind of thing that would make for an excellent souvenir. Do be cautious when walking around the market as it is an excellent place to get pickpocketed or scammed.
The market is held in a different place every day of the week except Monday. For a list of market locations, check out the Maasai Market Facebook page.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Nairobi

Even though the Nairobi doesn’t have a beach, beautiful mountains, or any truly major tourist attractions, it’s still well worth your time to visit. You can get a good feel for the city in just a few days. I was planning to just pass through the city on my way to the Maasai Mara but ended up spending 2 weeks there. Nairobi turned out to be my favorite city in Africa. I think you’ll like it too.
Have you visited Nairobi recently? Share your experience in the comments!

    6 Days safari of Smiles in North Tanzania

  1. Day1: Arusha – Tarangire National Park Depart from Arusha with picnic lunch for Tarangire and game drive full day.the park located in northern Tanzania is most famous for it's elephants migration,birding & quiet authentic safari atmosphere dinner & overnight = Bougainvillea lodge
  2. Day2: Lake.Manyara National park. Backtrack on the same road across the top of the Ngorongoro crater & spend a day in L.manyara.lying at the foot of the scenic manyara escarpments & surrounding the lake of the same name,this park features acacia woodland,some number of large animals & although rarely seen is famous for it's tree climbing lions. Easily seen around the lake and on the cliffs is rich diversity of bird life,
    Dinner & overnight=Manyara view lodge or Luxury Tented Lodge
  3. Day 3: Serengeti National park game drive (1) A full day at Serengeti park for a game drive ,the center piece of a visit Tanzania safaris experiences regarded as nature at her most extra vagrant,it involves hundreds of thousands of wildebeest,zebras,&antelopes running the gauntlet of predators as they migrate around the Serengeti & through the African ecosystem.
    All meals & overnight =Sametu luxury tented lodge
  4. Day 4: Serengeti National park game drive (d2) A second full day at Serengeti park for game drive,The Serengeti is one of those rare places that receives so many accolades yet manage to live up to all the hype.
    Our tours reveal this larger than life wildlife migration of huge predators concentrations & river crossings,where lion prides & even cheetahs,leopards can be sighted.
    All meals & overnight =Serengeti Heltage tented lodge or Sametu lodge

  5. Day5: Ngorongoro crater game drive. Today the tours continues east where the road goes up the scenic escarpment overlooking lake manyara.there are viewings/Skopje spots to pull over and admire the lake tinged with pink thanks to the thousands of flamingos.from here the road steadily climbs the foothills of the Ngorongoro conservation area & the vegetation becomes increasingly green & lush until you are in the dense forest on the Ngorongoro crater's rim. All meals & overnight at Ngorongoro Lions paw lodge

  6. Day 6: Game drive inside Ngorongoro crater After spending the night at the top of the crater,sink into the crater today for a full day's game drive .Ngorongoro crater is the unbroken caldera which erupted 15millions years ago .Its a home of many wild animals including the white Rhino and other big five animals ,its also a home of more than 326 bird spices.
    Your game drive here will end from 4pm evening hours then drive back Arusha or drop off to the airport depending your flight schedule to fly back home.

  7. End of 6 days Tanzania trip.

Hotels, Tea Houses and Lodges

6 Days safari of Smiles in North Tanzania

Day1: Arusha – Tarangire National Park

Dinner and overnight: At Bougainvillea lodge

Day 2: Lake Manyara National park.

Dinner and Overnight:At Manyara view lodge or Luxury Tented Lodge

Day 3: Serengeti National park game drive (1)

Dinner and Overnight: All meals & overnight at Sametu luxury tented lodge

Day4: Day 4: Serengeti National park game drive (d2)

Serengeti Heltage tented lodge or Sametu lodge

Day5: Ngorongoro Crater game drive

Dinner and Overnight:At Ngorongoro Lions paw lodge

Day6: Ngorongoro Crater – Back Arusha
The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
Shared Rooms included in teh Price Items that are covered in the cost of tour price.
image description
Individual Rooms not included in the Price Items that are covered in the cost of tour price.
image description
Writing A Review Overall Rating 4.7/5
image description
JUDITH S
Reviewed on 8/10/2020
4.7/5

Perfect trip ever with a lifetime experience, will honestly recommend them to any friends willing to travel to Tanzania.

image description
Sababaad
Reviewed on 14/11/2019
4.7/5

Your superb in service,service was very nice especially when we were in Serengeti National parks for 7 days.

image description
Irfan shaikh
Reviewed on 25/6/2021
4.7/5

My first experience in Africa (Kenya) and Calvin and team did so well to made my experience and memories so special. Really enjoyed weather, nature and wildlife with great service provided by each and every team member of World Safari Land during my 5 days stay in Kenya.

Departure Dates Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Including Flights Price (PP) Excluding Flights  
Fri 15 Oct '21 - Sun 07 Nov'21
Available & Guaranteed
$2,779
$3,170
Fri 15 Oct '21 - Sun 07 Nov'21
Booked & Guaranteed
$2,679
$3,970
Fri 15 Oct '21 - Sun 05 Nov'21
Available & Guaranteed
$1,779
$3,470
Fri 15 Oct '21 - Sun 07 Nov'21
Available
$2,779
$3,970
Fri 15 Oct '21 - Sun 07 Nov'21
Booked & Guaranteed
$3,779
$4,970
Fri 15 Oct '21 - Sun 07 Nov'21
Available & Guaranteed
$2,879
$3,970
Fri 15 Oct '21 - Sun 07 Nov'21
Available & Guaranteed
$2,679
$1,970
Fri 15 Oct '21 - Sun 07 Nov'21
Booked & Guaranteed
$4,779
$3,970
Fri 15 Oct '21 - Sun 07 Nov'21
Available & Guaranteed
$5,779
$3,270
Fri 15 Oct '21 - Sun 07 Nov'21
Available & Guaranteed
$2,779
$3,970