Best Places To Go in Nairobi

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Nairobi, Kenya Travel Guide

Nairobi the capital of africa safaris is full of attractions .The Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) is the main and unique sight and a landmark building in Nairobi.

KICC tower symbolises the city and Kenya as whole.  It is surrounded by the Parliament building, the City Hall and the Kenya’s High Court. Right behind the high court there is an open market held on Saturdays, where you can get all sorts of souvenirs. This market rotates between various locations on week days.  The top of KICC is the best place to get the stunning view over the sprawling, congested Nairobi. Depending on smog and fog of the day, you might be able to see as far as the slums and the national park. You will be charged 400 ksh for access.

 

Karen District is about 30 min outside of Nairobi.  It is home of Africa’s most famous farms, at the foot of the Ngong Hills.  The district is named Karen, after Blixen Karen a Danish woman who brought Kenya into the world literature.  After the Karen farm, the next destination should be the top of the Ngong Hills for a truly spectacular view over the Rift Valley.

Incredible ! Is that all? And why is Nairobi called the world’s capital of safaris ?


A giraffe in National Park with Nairobi City's skyline in the background.

Nairobi city is unique in being the only city that has a game-reserve on its border. The National park is only 7 Km from Nairobi city and contains many animals including lions, giraffes, and black rhinos.

The park is home to over 400 species of birds. The Nairobi Safari Walk is a major attraction to the Nairobi National Park as it offers a rare on-foot experience of the animals. A unique feature of Nairobi is that it’s a city with its own national park.  Not as crowded with animals as the Maasai Mara but a drive in this park offers a nice diversion from the crowded city life of Nairobi.  Nairobi is really what it is: The green City in the sun.

Nairobi is also home to several museums, sites and monuments. The Nairobi  Museum is the country's National Museum and largest in the city. It houses a large collection of artefacts portraying Kenya's rich heritage through history, nature, culture and contemporary art. It also includes the full remains of a homo erectus  known as the Turkana boy. Other prominent museums include the Nairobi Gallery, Nairobi Railway Museum and the Karen Blixen Museum located in the affluent Karen suburb.  Uhuru Gardens, a national monument and the largest memorial park in Kenya  is also the place where the first Kenyan flag was raised at independence. It is located along Langata road near the Wilson Airport.

 

Walking Around Nairobi and Nairobi Attractions:


Walking around Nairobi is quite easy since the city is small and places are easy to get to. You can easily get around Nairobi city centre on foot from the CBD (Central Business District), a home to several   skyscrapers, large hotels and shopping centres. Going to the west you'll find Central Park and Uhuru Park, giving you a welcome oasis of green.

The view that never disappears while touring Nairobi is the landmark Kenyatta International Conference Centre, recognisable for its tall round tower.  Don’t miss to check the Railway Museum at Nairobi Railway Station. You can also see lions and giraffes at Nairobi National Park, just 20 minutes' drive away and within clear view of the city.

However, It is important to be aware of some areas within the city where tourists should not go, and walking around at night should be avoided because Nairobi is not referred to as Nairobbery for nothing.

If you are in a matatu and moving slowly through traffic, particularly after dark, you should keep your window closed to prevent snatching of valuables such as phones from the outside.

Mobile phones and wallets should be securely kept and not displayed prominently during calls or cash transactions in the River Road area. Do not walk alone after nightfall, always use taxi. Also the areas north and east of River Road should be avoided, especially if you're not a local!

The general advice for a tourist is to stay in city centre, know where you are at all times, and pretend you know where you're going even if you don't! Don't carry large quantities of money or your passports on the street, leave them locked at the hotel.  Another rule in Nairobi is that anyone trying to talk to you is up to no good.  In recent years though, crime has significantly reduced, but one should still be wary.


 

 

Banks and Forex Bureaux in Nairobi

Nairobi is a modern city.Virtually all banks in Kenya now have ATMs at most branches, but their usefulness to travellers varies widely. Barclays Bank has easily the most reliable machines for international withdrawals, with a large network of ATMs covering most major Kenyan towns. They support MasterCard, Visa, Plus and Cirrus international networks.

Standard Chartered and Kenya Commercial Banks are also major banks in Kenya and have ATMs that accept Visa withdrawals but are more likely to decline transactions from other debit/credits cards.

It is important to note that whichever bank you use, the international data link goes down occasionally and you should not expect to be able to withdraw money whenever you need it. You can use you international  debit/credit card for shopping  as well as withdrawing money in are quite a number of networked banking machines in major shopping centres of Nairobi  including the airports cash machines.  There is a reliable Barclays cash machine near Gate 9 within the security area and another one on the left side immediately after leaving the security area.

 

Forex Bureaus are located in many parts of the city where tourists are common. They will exchange cash of different currencies:  Dollars, Euros and British pounds being the main currencies. They may also accept a personal cheque for Kenyan cash. They will want a photocopy of your passport before they exchange money.

 

The rates are always better with the banks and major banks such as Barclays, Kenya Commercial Bank and Standard Bank give better exchange rates than any of the FOREX bureaux.  some Independent machines such as Pesa-point have lower cash limits and may have a higher fee.

 

It is important to be aware that many exchange bureaux and hotels will not accept or exchange dollar notes printed before 2000 and even if the ever do they typically offer substantially lower exchange rates than for the notes printed after 2000. Exchange rates are generally lower for small denominations and you would be better off with $100 and $50 bills.

For shopping using Credit Cards The Nakumat and Uchumi supermarket chains would accept credit cards without a surcharge but other stores will accept international credit cards but will charge you bank fees, typically 5% of the purchase.

 


 

 

 

 

Eating out in Nairobi - Best Restaurants and Coffee Shops in Nairobi:

There is good selection of restaurants and cafes in Nairobi city for a memorable dining experience during your Kenya safari. Check out who make the grades in below list.

 

Mid-range

Nairobi has a good selection  of mid-range cafes and restaurants ideal for budget travellers.

Mesob restaurant:

Mesob is an authentic Ethiopian restaurant located on Ngong Road near the Chinese embassy. Ethiopian cuisine has made its name beyond Ethiopia and Mesob is one of the well known restaurants in this area dubbed the Chinese centre.  Meals cost around Ksh 500 and the food is excellent.  An alternative Ethiopian restaurant in the area is called the motherland restaurant on cross Road.

Java House:

Java House is more of a coffee shop than a restaurant. It is located in a few locations, including The Junction, ABC Place, and close to the United Nations Offices and, features a western coffee menu with excellent coffees and milkshakes, and excellent breakfast menu.

A meal will cost 500KSh-750 including a drink.

Trattoria:

The trattoria restaurant is located at Wabera , Kaunda street in Nairobi town. It is open from 7.00am in the morning to 12.00am. Trattoria restaurant is a nice Italian restaurant  overlooking the city hall in the Nairobi Central Business District. It is surrounded by nice flowers and on most occasions one would see tourists and locals alike sitting enjoying their meals.  There is a fabulous and extensive dessert menu, including crepes, tiramisu, souffle, and a coffee granita with fresh cream

Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi is widely famous

Dessert meal @ 250KSh-500

Main meal @ 700ksh

 

Havana Restaurant & Bar:

Located on Woodvale Grove, Westlands.

Popular bar and restaurant with a laid-back Latin theme and it is reasonably priced.  Havana features a full-fledged restaurant menu with regularly changing specials as well as a casual Bar - Renowned for their sizzling Fajitas, steaks and seafood dishes. The Bar caters for any taste from crisp and fruity daiquiris to the classic mojito with fresh mint.   Kenyan beers and a wide range of quality spirits are available. At Havana the weekend starts on Thursdays with D.j Zelalem, followed by D.j Sumo on Friday and Live Music with 'smooth licks' on Saturday.

 

Village Market Food Court:

Several affordable restaurants are in the Village Market.  The Village Market is located in the Gigiri residential area which is about 6 miles (9.7 km) from Nairobi city center on Limuru Road. The complex is designed to resemble an open-air African market, including waterfalls, rivers, plants and gardens.

Apart from  several shops and fashion boutiques, it has an array of international cuisines and fine restaurants of all sorts including Thai, Italian, Chinese and German, as well as a Mongolian Barbeque. Venture further into Village Market to find a good Japanese restaurant as well, though with slightly steeper prices.  Due to the the significance of outh Asian community in Kenya, village Market and Nairobi city in general  offer several restaurants specializing in different European and Asian cuisine.

Common fast food restaurants include Steers, Debonairs, Wimpy, Galito's, local favourite, Kenchic  and many more.

 

Upscale:

Tamarind Restaurant:

Tamarind restaurant has a reputation of being the best international restaurant in Nairobi.

Tamarind is not cheap but  with so much to offer, excellent service by  are probably the most professional  waiters and you’re ever likely to meet in Kenya, the Tamarind restaurant is a must-visit when you go to Nairobi. Seafood is particularly recommended.

 

The Carnivore Restaurant:

This famous and luxury restaurant is located just outside the city, close to the Uhuru Gardens. Carnivore as the name suggests is mostly famous for its meats . Once seated  grilled meats will be carried around on sticks and carved to your plate at request  and the waiters will continue to supply fresh roasted game meat from ostrich, antelope, zebra, camel, crocodile and other specialties until you lower the flag on the table.  A juice called dawa (medicine in Swahili)– a mixture of Kenya Cane, honey and lemon juice is very delicious and is served to wash down the meat. The restaurant is so famous that it was listed as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world in 2006. At  KSh 1600 (€17/$20) per person it is also expensive by Kenyan standards.

 

Blancos Lounge Restaurant:

Blancos lounge offers both the traditional Swahili dishes and its own inventions based on old local staple food. This place is still firmly within the global fusion cuisine. The day the Michelin guide starts rating restaurants in Africa, this place will most likely be among the first! When trying out their version of mbuzi choma with irio, I couldn’t believe it when I got my irio as giant pommes noisettes on a bed of a sukuma wiki based salad (don’t even try to understand what I’m talking about if you’re not familiar with Kenyan food!). Needless to say, I recommend this place!

 

Chez l’Ami – Shinjuku;

This is a Japanese restaurant  located in Hurlingham.  Chez l’Ami is located in very nice garden. The service is quick and decent. For those whose sushi is their favourite dish, this is the place to go.  The menu is a combination of French and a Japanese and their sushi is fantastic.

 There is a list of best nightclubs in Nairobi Nightlife and more restaurants and coffee shops in the directory.

 


 

 

 

Shopping in Nairobi: Best Supermakets and Shops in Nairobi

The Village Market is, without a doubt the most fabulous place to go. Constructed like a giant village, it has an amazing architecture, with an artificial river running through the place. In addition to a bunch of clothes shops with all the major designer labels (at prices way below European level), a supermarket and a travel agency, it has a cinema, a night club, about 15 small food places with various international cuisines surrounding an open-air food court, some nice outdoor cafés and an Italian ice bar. There’s even a small amusement park, so it is basically a place where it’s easy to spend quite some time

The four other primary supermarkets in Nairobi are Tusky's, Uchumi, Naivas and Nakumatt.


For goods beyond supermarket fare go to Sarit Centre, YaYa centre or Nakumatt Westlands, which are all located in the Westlands suburb.

The Sarit Centre will be recognizable to any Western traveller as a shopping mall, with an Uchumi supermarket inside. Clothing, shipping and internet are all available inside.  There is also a movie theatre in Sarit Centre.

 

Nakumatt Westgate is a new shopping centre competitor to Sarit Centre. It is a large building with many other shopping stores .  Nakumatt  westgate has modelled itself to emulate a Super Wal-Mart type experience.  Another Nakumatt centre known as Nakumatt Junction, past Lavington towards the Ngong  race course . The Nakumatt Junction shopping complex features a few more boutiques - one of those being Zebu, a store highlighting local Designer Annabelle Thom's leather bags and more, Zebu is a place of  higher quality and higher prices for beautiful designs.

 

Additional smaller supermarkets but popular to expats,  are ABC Plaza on Waiyaki Way and Chandarana supermarket.  Chandarana  has  a wide range of imported goods. Zucchini greengrocer is recommended for fresh veggies while Gilani's is a well-stocked and modern butchery.

For  souvenirs, One should visit the most easily accessible and tourist-friendly  the Maasai Market. This market is held on Fridays at the Village Market, an upscale shopping complex mentioned above. It located no far from the United Nations and American Embassy complexes. Bargaining at the maasai market is a common rule.  Don’t shy away of bargaining aggressively here

There is an open market on Tuesdays in town as well; going down from the Norfolk hotel. This market is less secure, but is larger and offers more opportunity for bargaining and lower prices.

 


 

 

 

Guest Houses and Hostels in Nairobi.

Yes, accommodation is Nairobi can be quite expensive but there are a few places that are affordable for budget travelles.

 

Hostels

Hadassah Girl's Hostel is located in a serene environment a few kilometres from the city centre and is a female only hostel.  its  vision is to revive discipline and integrity through the hostel industry and a communal and hospitable environment for backpackers as well as moulding young girls into fearless influencers in society.

Hadassah Girls Hostel offers transport to various destinations, well cooked meals, and offers  laundry services.Breakfast is included in the on-line room rate

The hostel environment is with a professional management and skillful staff.

There is a 24-hour security; also fully equipped dining and kitchen, study spaces in the rooms, laundry area, and Tv room with DSTV and hot shower.

 

Bush House & Camp

Bush House & camp is located along Silanga road, Off Karen/ Langata Road. It is an ideal stopover for travellers to Arusha Tanzania. It is also on  the main route to both Jomo Kenyatta and Wilson airports as well as the road to Namanga border with Tanzania.

 

The rooms are singles, twins, triples, big bed double rooms and dorm beds. Rates include breakfast and taxes.

 

We have 24hours standby taxi services and public transport is a short distance at a cost of Kshs.50 to the city.

This place is very ideal to meet other travellers and let them update you on the easiest way to travel. At our travel desk, you help you to plan your time within your budget

We offer airport pick ups/drop offs at USD 30 for a small saloon car and USD 45 for a 9 seater safari van.

Very clean and quiet! ideal for people in transit to Tanzania and Uganda by air or by road.Big ground for trucks, school goups and people in love with adventure.Self catering options available whether camping or in house. Since its so close to the main hospitals, its also ideal for medical students and interns in the hospitals.n-Smoking Policy and we are a only female accommodation provide

Prices:

Deluxe Single bed.  € 27

Single bed.  € 23

Deluxe Double bed.  € 39

 

Bethsaida Budget Accommodation & Safaris

Karen/Langata Road, Kamuthi/Kamiti Road Kahawa Area

We are a well known hospitality company that offers great rates on accommodation and safaris all over East Africa.

We offer wide range of safaris ie Maasai Mara, Tsavo, Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and many more others depending on your holiday needs.

We have free internet, hot showers and cable tv in all rooms

Please Note:

Check in : 13:00

Check out: 11:00

Deluxe Single bed.  € 30

Standard Single...  € 26

Superior Double...  € 52

 

Guest houses and Budget hotels in Nairobi

 

Nairoibi Airport Stop Over House

This budget guest house is located on Oluvimu Rd, Off Mombasa Rd behind Total Petrol Station to Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta airport.

Clean, secure and affordable mid range accommodation near Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta and Wilson airports. It is also located near capital centre shopping mall housing a supermarket,  fashion shops, pharmacies, cash machines and maasai open air market held on wednesdays.

 

Nairobi Airport Stop Over House is 5 bedroomed  guesthouse house with a capacity of  25 guests.
Its proximity to both Kenyatta and Wison airports makes it ideal for a stopover when connecting flights or a day room and for those by shuttle bus to Arusha and Dar es salaam, Mombasa and malindi. The traffic to the city centre is too heavy and not worth the drive. It has private rooms and shared facility rooms: single, double, twin, triple, family room as well as dorm beds.They do special rates for groups and students travelling together.

 

The property has a lounge, restaurant, mini bar, smoking area,internet, tourist information centre and the reception is open 24 hours.

 

Prices: From  $12 (GB £8) - US $35 (GB £22) per accommodation per night 

 

 

 

Holiday at a Home

Holiday at a Home is a guest house located in a quiet and secure area of Garden Estate, close to Thika super highway making access to the city centre convenient.

Guests have the option of private or dorm style rooms in  separate guest houses.

Guests can also  use all of the amenities located in the main house: the kitchen, sitting and tv rooms, sun room, dining area, and internet access.The guesthouse has hot showers, western style toilets, wireless internet, and airport pick-ups can be arranged.

A continental breakfast is included in the room price while lunch and dinner can be provided on request.

Safaris and city tours can be arranged upon request to various National parks, including Masai Mara.

 

Prices:

 

 

Southern Volunter Adventure

Southern Volunteer Adventure is a guesthouse offering room to persons seeking adventure or volunteer work or both.We organize placement for volunteer work for a duration of between a few days to six months.We also assist those who may need temporary jobs to locate organizations that offer the same.

We are located three kilometers from city center and three minutes drive from Nairobi's greatest tourist destinations such as Nairobi National Park ,Giraffe center ,Bomas of Kenya for indigenous music and dance extravaganza and also very near two children homes,a school for orphans,a missionary hospital and counseling center.

Also, found next are fine restaurants, a shopping mall with a food court,banking services,ATM machines internet cafes,and cheap public transport.

The Wilson airport is located nearby and African Medical and Research Foudation(AMREF)headquaters and international training is 300 meters away.Tour /travel information on Kenya ,Tanzania and Uganda is available on request .

The location is safe, serene and appropriate for international travelers.

Please check our irresistible specials, they include free transport to Nairob's tourist attractions and free tickets to Arusha and Moshi in shuttle companies of your choice.

Superior Single...  € 19

Standard Single...  € 8

Deluxe Twin bed.  € 17

Deluxe Double bed.  € 26

 

Gona Suites

P. O. Box 51736, off Kitengela Road

Gona Suites is part of award-winning Sadili Oval Sports Academy, a not-for-profit social enterprise committed to developing the power of sport in Africa. By choosing to stay at Gona suites, you are supporting the education and talent development of deserving youth across Africa.

Gona Suites provides a variety of 39 comfortable, well-furnished rooms, in single or double format, each with a colour television, direct dial telephone, WIFI internet, solar heating, lighting and emergency power. The property has ample parking, 24 hour security, CCTV and is run by a professional management team.

Please Note:

Cancellation Policy: 3 days, late cancellations and no shows will be charged the amount of the first night

Single bed.  € 19                €

Standard Single...  € 27

Standard Twin bed.  € 45

Superior Double...  € 63                €

Standard.  € 55 €

 

Khweza Bed and Breakfast Nairobi

offers high quality affordable accommodation minutes away from the Nairobi city centre. (Approx 1 Km).

Our rooms are warm and welcoming, have distinctive African décor with the privacy of a hotel and the warmth of home. Khweza Bed and Breakfast is a rewarding lodging alternative, ideal for business travelers, families and leisure travellers.

Amenities include: hot instant showers, TV, wireless internet access and a rooftop restaurant offering a variety of African dishes with a magnificent panoramic view of the Nairobi city skyline.

Come visit Khweza and Experience the Difference!

 

We offer

Standard rooms

Deluxe rooms

Executive rooms

Meals

Breakfast is included with the room rate and is served from: 06:30am - 9:30am

Breakfast is served in the rooftop restaurant or in your rooms if requested.

 

From Airport to our hotel is a 30 minute ride by taxi or car.

We can arrange for a taxi to pick you up at the airports.

 

Terminal Hotel

Moktar Dadah Street opposite Nakumatt, [13]. Spacious rooms with faded simple, decor are on offer here. And at very reasonable prices. Like any place in the city centre it can get loud - but then you are in a prime location just opposite from the Nakumatt shopping centre. from 1800KSH (single).

Wildebeest Camp, Kibera Road, near intersection with Ngong Road, next to Chinese embassy. You can get a bed in a dorm here or camp (they provide the tent and bedding) for Ksh 1000 per night per person. They also have larger permanent tents and rooms available at a higher price. The place is clean, secure and popular with backpackers. from 1000 KSh per person for dorm and camping (tent provided).  Wildebeest Camp is an oasis in Nairobi – the perfect place to relax during your African migration!The beautifully-appointed rooms and deluxe safari tents will be a welcome place to stay before and after your safari. Only 2km from the city centre, this is Nairobi's first permanent tented camp, where you can enjoy peaceful tropical gardens, which are home to hundreds of varieties of plants and birds, while still being close to shops, markets, cinemas, banks and transport links. There is a range of accommodation to suite all budgets. You can camp in the garden for only $7 per night or stay in one of the luxury ensuited safari tents for $30 per person per night - including cooked breakfast.

 

 

Hotel Downtown

Moktar Dadah Street opposite Nakumatt. checkout: 10AM. In the same league as the Terminal hotel next door or the Parkside across the road, the Downtown hotel has clean rooms and is as the name says: downtown - with all its advantages (shopping centre nearby, etc.) and disadvantages: noise. Note that leaving valuables and especially credit cards in the safe at the front desk does not guarantee their safekeeping. from 1900KSh for singles.

International Guest House, UpperHill, Matumbato Road (Next to Don Bosco Church, 10 min walk from Kenyatta National Hospital)+254 020 2726966. With 30 years in the tourism business, owner Tom J. Kamau is happy to custom arrange any additional travel or safari needs. Located on a quite street in Upperhill, this family owned and operated guest house is conveniently located just a few minutes from downtown. Airport pickup and transportation is available for a small fee. Single rooms available from from 600KSh-2000.

 

Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre

 PO Box 21005 - 00500.

A little further out of the downtown core, about 15 minutes walk down a major, safe road, is Milimani Backpackers on Milimani Road. It has internet, cable TV, WI-FI, hot showers, 24hr self-service bar, popular restaurant, fireplace, and a parking area. They offer dorms, doubles, singles, twins, camping space, permanent tents, and cabins. Milimani also offers good-value safaris and other trips from 600KSh for dorms.

Mirema service Hotel

 

Mirema Service Apartments is a suburban hotel accommodation located in a leafy, serene and secure residential area, 20 minutes drive from the city centre and 35 minutes drive from the JKIA airport. The facility is tucked in a quiet residential suburb of Nairobi minutes off the newly constructed A202 Thika- Nairobi superhighway. It is nestled between in a safe residential area on a leafy hilltop.

The facility boasts of 33 spacious, light filled and elegantly furnished en suite rooms on three floors. It has a superb penthouse room that opens up to a large sunning terrace on the roof top with a spectacular view.

We offer affordable accommodation for groups, families; business or leisure travellers looking for a long or short term stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Prices:

Standard Single...  € 26

Standard Double...  € 35

Standard Twin bed.  € 39

 

 

 
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