Nairobi

The only capital city in the world to have its own national park and game reserve, Nairobi has established itself as one of the continent’s main economic hubs. It is also home to one of Africa’s largest slums. Explore the city for a few days and then head off to explore Kenya’s great wilderness.

If only entering Kenya once, apply for a visa on arrival via the Kenya eVisa site. Evidence of a yellow fever inoculation may be required at the border.

Traffic in Nairobi is notorious and it can take two hours to drive a few miles. Uber is an easy and cheap way to get around town.

If you are traveling from the US, Kenya Airways recently started a 14 hour direct service from JFK Airport to JKIA Airport in Nairobi.

Kenya is gorgeous and its true beauty lies beyond the capital city. Short, domestic flights leave daily from Wilson Airport in Nairobi for the Masaai Mara, Mombasa, the coast and beyond.

If it is your first time to Kenya or East Africa, we recommend adding the following books to your reading list to better understand the local history and context: Jacqueline Novogratz’s memoir The Blue Sweater, Isak Dinesen’s (Karen Blixen) Out of Africa and Beryl Markham’s West with the Night. For other great books by African authors, check out Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun, both about Nigeria. We also love Alexandra Fuller’s memoir, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight.

EAT 

Artcaffe Tasty European bistro food in Yaya Centre. There are a few other locations around the city.

Habesha Restaurant on Argwings Kodhek Road The best Ethiopian in a cozy outdoor setting. Good for groups.

Hemingways Posh and relaxing restaurant in Karen. Stay for lunch or drinks by the pool.

Sierra Brasserie Chic spot for roof-top dining in Kilimani.

DRINK

Level 8 Lounge + Bar at the Fourpoints Sheraton in Hurlingham Rooftop bar with views of the city.

Java House A homegrown Kenyan cafe chain that can be found all over the city. Amazing coffee and ginger/lemon infusions.

PLAY

Giraffe Centre Learn about, hand feed and spent time with gentle, long-necked friends.

Nairobi National Park Nairobi is the only capital city in the world with its own national park. Take an early morning or late afternoon safari to see lions, rhinos, zebras, giraffes and more!

Maasai Market at Yaya Centre On Sundays this treasure trove features East African prints, jewelry, art work and wood carvings by local artisans and Maasai. Come prepared to haggle.

Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage Stop by this elephant rescue and rehabilitation center every day between 11am to 12pm to see the babies have their midday mud bath and feeding.

STAY

Fourpoints Sheraton in Hurlingham Central location within walking distance of Yaya Centre in Kilimani.

Ololo Safari Lodge Comfortable and quaint lodge on the outskirts of the Nairobi National Park with sweeping views.

Panari Hotel Budget option near the airport. Stay here if you have an early flight.

Villa Rosa Kempinski 5-star hotel in the Westlands with impeccable security.

Zehneria Portico Hotel Budget option for the business traveler in Westlands near the Westgate Mall.

LOCATIONS NEARBY