When you think of Kenyan travel, Nairobi is not highly featured on your list of places to visit for a weekend escape. However, there is so much to see and explore in Nairobi, sometimes it does not hurt to be a tourist in your city. From historic places, to adventure activities and sight viewing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!
Safari Experience at Nairobi National Park
Trail rides and walks at Karura Forest
There is so much to do at Karura Forest as it is one of the largest urban gazetted forests in the world. Being approximately ten kilometres from the city of Nairobi, the forest is a very convenient recreational facility for individuals and families to take up trail biking, running, and dog walks within the marked nature trails. There are also scenic waterfalls, caves, open fields to enjoy ball games, tennis courts, and picnic sites. Visitors can also spot a few animals within the forest such as monkeys, bush bucks, bush pigs, various bird species, and some reptiles among others. Opening hours are between 6:00am to 5:45pm daily.
Feeding the Giraffes at the Giraffe Centre
Feeding and tours at the Giraffe centre take place between 9 AM to 5 PM, seven days a week. The facility, located only 40 minutes from the city centre, is home to the Rothschild Giraffe. The centre is also world-famous as a Nature Education Centre, educating thousands of Kenyan school children every year. Enjoy an educational short lecture, feed the giraffes, and take up a serene nature trail within the centre. After feeding the giraffes pop into the Daisy “Zoovenir” Shop for some keepsakes on your way out. Entrance fee for Residents is 400 KSH for adults and 200 KSH for children.
Spend time with Baby Elephants at the David Sheldrick Orphanage
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) operates the most successful orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. The Orphanage/Nursery embraces all measures that complement the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife and habitats. SWT is located in Nairobi National Park, and is open to the public for one hour every day, excluding 25th December, from 11am to Noon. Visitors get to witness the elephants enjoying a milk feed and mud bath. The visit is also educational and informative as one of the keepers gives a talk while the elephants feed. SWT also offers visitors a chance to adopt an elephant. Entrance to the Orphanage for the visiting hour requires a minimum contribution of US$7 dollars / 755 KSH per person. (only cash- no credit/debit cards or M-Pesa). Access to the Orphanage/Nursery is via the KWS Central Workshop Gate Entrance to Nairobi National Park, off Magadi Road in Langata.
Go hiking at the Ngong Hills
Located 25km South west of the City, Ngong Hills are the ultimate retreat from the city’s heat. The area is also a wind farm with huge windmills rising high above at the northern end of the hills. Perfect for hikes, walks, picnics and camping, you can get views of Nairobi city on one side and the Great Rift Valley on the other. The forested slopes are still inhabited by buffalos, and as such, they are accompanied by a KWS official while traversing the hills. Visiting hours are between 8:00am to 5:00pm. It can get cold due to the strong winds, so it’s important to carry something warm. The best time to get there is morning hours because of traffic and weather conditions. Entrance fee is 264 KSH for adults.
Boat riding and Picnicking at Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost Resort and park, located in Kiambu, is 14 km from Nairobi and is an oasis in the middle of a coffee farm. There are Stone age caves to see as well as Waterfalls that cascade at the caves’ entrance. Enjoy boat riding and fishing at the nearby man-made lake, in addition to other activities such as camel riding, bicycle riding, picnicking, nature trails and camping. Entrance fee is 400 KSH for adults and 300 KSH for children.
Relax and Unwind at the Nairobi Arboretum
Nairobi Arboretum is one of the city’s most diverse green spaces in the heart of city. The area is well known for its exotic tree species and plants, and is home to a high number of resident birds, monkeys, and butterflies that live on the property. The Arboretum provides local Kenyans with an abundance of green space for a variety of activities, including yoga, football, running, or having a relaxing day with the family. It is located along the state house road in Kilimani, with an entrance fee of 50 KSH per adult and 20 KSH per child. Don’t forget your running shoes! There is a lot of green space to explore.