More often than not, when you think travel, Nairobi City doesn’t highly feature in your list of places to visit for a weekend escape. However, there is so much to see and explore in Nairobi and it doesn’t 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
Nairobi is considered the world’s only Wildlife capital courtesy of the Nairobi National Park which is only a short drive from the city’s Central Business District. The park is accessible all year round and is teeming with wildlife such as Lions, Giraffes, Antelopes, Black Rhinos, Leopards, Cheetahs, Hyenas, Buffaloes as well as numerous bird and reptile species. Close to 100 mammal species and 400 bird species can be spotted. The park has other facilities such as the Animal Orphanage, The Safari walk as well as picnic and camping sites. Boost your experience by enjoying a stay at the Nairobi Tented Camp, the only accommodation facility inside the Nairobi National Park.
Trail rides and walks at Karura Forest
There is so much to do at Karura Forest, which 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 , walking as well as dog-walking within the marked nature trails. There are also scenic waterfalls, caves, open fields to enjoy some ball games, a tennis court as well as picnic sites. Visitors can also spot a few animals within the forest such as monkeys, bush bucks, bush pigs, various bird species, some reptiles among others.
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 giraffes and take up a serene nature trail within the centre.
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, which is located in Nairobi National Park, 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. Entrance to the Orphanage for the visiting hour requires a minimum contribution of US$7 dollars / 500 Kenya Shillings 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 and picnics, one gets views of Nairobi city on one side and the great rift valley on the other. A visit to the Ngong Hills can be combined with Nyama Choma lunch at Olepolos after completing the15 KM 4-5 hr hike depending on one’s fitness. The forested slopes are still inhabited by buffalos and as such one is accompanied by a KWS official while traversing the hills.
Immerse yourself in history and culture at the Nairobi National Museum
The museum presents Kenya’s History, Nature, Culture and Contemporary Art in its entire splendor. Also within the grounds are the famous Snake Park, Botanical Gardens and Nature Trail. The museum is open on all 356 days throughout the year from 8:30 am-17:30 pm. It is located at the Museum Hill, approximately 10 minutes drive from Nairobi city centre. See rates here
Take up a UN Tour
The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about the United Nations (UN) is its spectacular opulence! After all, all key decisions in the world are made here and its work reaches all corners of the globe. But did you know that you can take a UN tour for a behind the scenes look at UN and learn more about its global impact? The United Nations Office Nairobi is located in Gigiri, which is about 10 KM North of Nairobi’s Central Business District. This walking tour is combined with a presentation which explains history, structure, and work of the UN in more detail. It is a special offer for groups and takes approximately two hours. The tours can be offered in English, French, Chinese, Kiswahili or German. Visit the UN Visitors Service and book your visit to the UN Headquarters in Africa. It’s your world!
Go karting and Paintball at the Carnivore
Motorsport enthusiasts get to enjoy a fun and thrill packed day at the GP Karting track along Carnivore road in Langata. Private racing as well as night racing available. Enjoy shooting paintballs at the same grounds too.
Enjoy Farm-to-Table Lunch at Brown’s Cheese Factory and Farm
Just half an hour’s drive out of Nairobi, this is a wonderful opportunity to sample excellently prepared cheese, fresh out of our factory. Brown’s Cheese Factory and Farm is open Thursday through Saturday from 12:00noon till 4:00pm by appointment. A 3 course lunch is also made with 100% homegrown ingredients, set in green and tranquil surroundings. Cows and chickens available for all to enjoy (Milking of cows possible for kids interested)
Watching Horses race at the Ngong Race courseOnce you arrive at the Ngong Racecourse, it is a good idea to buy a race card at the entrance. The race card is the day’s program and consists of information on the various races of the day. The racecourse has three well designed grandstands that you can enjoy watching the races from. You can also enjoy a meal or drink at the various restaurants located at the racecourse. The racecourse, owned by Jockey Club of Kenya, is located along Ngong Road. Entry Fee Charges for Adults is Kshs. 500/- while Children pay Kshs. 50/-
Boat riding and Picnicking at Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost Resort and park, located in Kiambu is 14 km from Nairobi 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 and picnicking.
Get 360 degree views of Nairobi from the KICC Rooftop
Probably one of the unmissable experiences to have while in Nairobi. The KICC helipad is open to the public and provides stunning 360 degree views of the City. KICC is a 105-metre high, 28-storey building in the central business district of Nairobi with a circular helipad. Access to the rooftop is allowed daily , including public holidays.
Discover Kenya’s railroad history at the Railway Museum
Nairobi Railway museum consists of the Main Gallery, the Resource Center, the auditorium and an outdoor collection of locomotives, wagons and coaches. The museum contains exhibits from the defunct East African Railways. The railway played an important role in establishing the city of Nairobi, and therefore gives insight into the historical and commercial significance of rail travel in Kenya. It is open daily between 8 am and 5pm.