The largest city in Kenya, Nairobi is the cosmopolitan hub of East Africa. While often used as a transit point for safari or beach holidays, there’s plenty to do here with some great museums, restaurants, hotels and nightlife. Just 7 kilometres from the city, you’ll also find Nairobi National Park, where black rhino, lion, giraffe and zebra graze against the incongruous backdrop of the cityscape.
Standing at an altitude of 1,600 metres, Kenya’s capital city Nairobi is the most populous city in East Africa, with a wide range of cultural influences. It’s a great place to pick up local souvenirs at the colourful Maasai markets, sample the sweet-smelling street food, or visit the old colonial home of Karen Blixen, the Danish author, best known for writing ‘Out of Africa.’
Foodies will be spoilt for choice in this cultural melting pot of a city. We recommend heading to the upmarket suburb of Karen (named after Karen Blixen), where you’ll find restaurants offering cuisine from across the globe. Meat lovers will want to sample the barbecued meat (nyama choma), at the famous ‘Carnivore’, which has twice been voted among the top 50 restaurants in the world. Alongside more standard offerings, you can feast on camel, ostrich and crocodile, all carved at the table.
Nairobi National Park is also worth a visit. Unbelievably, the density of black rhino here is the highest in the world, owing to the conservation work of Daphne and David Sheldrick. You can spend the day at their Wildlife Trust with the baby orphaned elephant and rhino. Or if you love giraffes, why not try hand-feeding or kissing one at the Giraffe Centre dedicated to the protection of the endangered Rothchild’s giraffe. For a real treat, we’d also recommend staying at Giraffe Manor, where you can relax in old colonial grandeur, as the resident giraffes wander the grounds. They may even join you for breakfast on the terrace.
Although the traffic is appalling, the electricity blackouts frustrating and there’s a definite need to keep your wits about you, we think Nairobi offers a fascinating insight into modern Kenyan life, deepening your understanding of this captivating country.