Nairobi is the Capital City of Kenya. It is a beautiful city that I am proud to have been born, brought up in and currently also residing in. Unlike what one may envision of a Capital City, Nairobi is not all but a Concrete Jungle. It provides various offerings both for the locals and visitors to enjoy, when you explore. The things to do in Nairobi are unlimited, but the below are my top 11 places to experience while in Nairobi.
1) The Nairobi National Museum
I love visiting Museums as they are a bottomless well of knowledge, that you/I can take a drink from. Kenya is home to several Museums and I will be sharing my experience in all the ones I have explored. The Nairobi National Museum is located along Kipande road, but most people refer to the road as Museum Hill.
It is home to lots of artefacts that showcase the history and cultures of Kenya and her people, Art, Fauna and Flora and so much more. I highly encourage you to visit when you are not in a hurry as there is so much to see, learn and experience.
b) Snake Park
Within the Nairobi National Museum is the snake park. Kindly, if you have phobia for snakes, keep away. The poisonous snakes are kept in glass enclosures and if you are lucky, you may get to see them flicking their forked tongue out or better yet, one attempting to spit venom at you. If you are bold and daring, they offer opportunities to touch and even carry the non-poisonous snakes. It also has a nature trail and a botanical garden in the environs that you can relax and enjoy.
2) Kenya National Archives
This is located smack in the middle of the Central Business District and the name should be an outright indicator of what the building is for-Archiving. Unfortunately, there is a very high chance that you have stood outside “Archives” as it’s popularly known, and never even known that it is home to a vast collection of artefacts. It is open to the public for a small fee yet one leaves with a wealth of knowledge. You can opt to walk around solo, reading the short notes attached to the artefacts or, engage one of the curators to give you a tour as they educate you-which I highly recommend.
3) Maasai Market
Do not let the name Maasai Market”” misguide you that the market only offers products reflective of the famous Maasai culture. Maasai Markets are open markets that sell mainly finished products that are reflective of the diversity of cultures in Kenya and the African continent. The products range from clothes, jewellery, art pieces, carvings, sandals, and so much more. I enjoy it mainly because one can easily learn and experience the various cultures from across the country without having to actually travel around the country. These markets rotate from place to place according to a schedule ,thus providing one the opportunity to opt on the day they wish to shop as well as at a location nearest to them. Kindly ensure to shop and promote the creative works on display.
4) Giraffe Centre
As it’s name denotes, this is a centre dedicated to the care and protection of Giraffes. It is located on Duma road, about 40 minutes from the Central Business District and you can visit at a small fee. Once you get in, they have an information centre where you can learn about Giraffes like- Did you know every giraffe has a unique, customised pattern? There after, proceed to the main attraction which is watching and engaging with the giraffes. Here, you are given pellets to feed the giraffes and you can take as many pictures as you like.
5) United Nations Office at Nairobi
Kenya is privileged to host the United Nations Office at Nairobi, which is the United Nations headquarters in Africa. It also hosts the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as well as the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) main offices. If you have ever wanted to learn about the United Nations as a whole, to have it demystified, as well as walk through its corridors without having to first become an employee, this is your best shot. For a small fee and prior booking with the visitors office, you will be given a tour of the property, get an in depth look, feel and information about the United Nations, as well as take pictures. For more, check out our United Nations Tour
6) Nairobi National Park
Kenya is the only Capital City in the World, that is home to a National Park – Nairobi National Park. Imagine having the luxury of not having to leave the capital city, in order to have an experience with wildlife. The Nairobi National Park is located along Langata Road, less than 30minutes from the Central Business District and you can thus enjoy a “Safari and a game drive at that, without having to travel far. This park is home to a wide array of animals, including the cat family, rhino’s, many grazers with the exception of Elephants, which you can see at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a centre for orphaned Elephants not too far off. The animals here run free, they hunt freely, they live freely, yet bordered buy the concrete jungle that is Nairobi.
This forest is a natural forest, home to numerous indigenous trees, fauna and flora as well a historical relevance. This is one of the forests that Laureate Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Wangari Maathai fought for its conservation and won, albeit to the detriment of her and fellow conservationists well being. I am however very grateful for their fight because, this Forest is a haven for many, an escape from the concrete jungle, a home to fauna and flora ,waterfall and a therapeutic place to walk, jog, cycle, picnic, go on dates and so much more .
8) Kenyatta International Convention Center
It was completed in 1973 and was the tallest building in Nairobi for many years, having 28 floors. As such, it was used as a “compass”, the “magnetic North” by most, to meet or give directions for most visitors to the city, as well as other city dwellers. It is mainly used for MICE and most of it is open to the public, including the rooftop helipad, which grants one a beautiful aerial view of Nairobi for a small fee. You may also opt to take pictures with the Statue of the first President of Kenya Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, which has a beautiful water fountain as its background, to enjoying the art piece that is the KICC.
9)Kenya National Theatre
Kenya National Theatre is the home of creative arts and has horned the skills of many in the creative industry. It provides a platform for both established and upcoming artists to showcase their art through performances mainly in theatre, drama, concerts, music, plays and dance. It was recently refurbished and I like the new look. I got to watch a music and dance performance last year there and I loved it.
10) Kariokor Market
This is located on the outskirts of the Central Business District, taking about 20minutes and well worth it. This is the “kitchen” so to speak, where most of the African Wear most of you own or purchase as gifts are made. Here you will find different artisans striking the base of leather sandals, others gluing beaded thongs to the sandals, women stitching the beads onto the sandals, artisans converting sisal into beautiful bags called “vikapu” and so much more. Here, you can customise the products that you want from the design , shape, embellishments and so much more, and watch as they are created and finished as you wait. You also have the option to also purchase already finished products. Please visit ready to be awed by the creativity and skill on display, as well as shop till you drop.
11) Uhuru Park
This park brings back so many child hood memories. If like me, you grew up in Nairobi, high chances are your parents took you to this public park, that is free to enter. The park has lush green terraces that allow all and sundry to enjoy a picnic, buy food and drinks while also having the option of carrying your own and you can remove your shoes and just relax on the grass. It is also ideal for families as there are various games like rides that the children can engage in, while older folk can enjoy a date that could include a picnic and a boat ride on the lake. For many years, this was the main photo shoot location of many weddings and it is still a fabulous place to take pictures.
Nairobi has so many places to explore, but these are my top 11 places to explore in Nairobi and I highly recommend you try and explore all. In-depth intel about these places will be shared subsequently, but some of the experiences there have already been linked in the article above- enjoy the read. We also provide you the opportunity to experience the above and more with us via customised Nairobi City Tours so get in touch with us, and lets get you to experience Nairobi.