Nairobi Kenya is an exceptional metropolitan city that has scores of historical attractions that are not found in any other cities. It is therefore important to know what to expect where to go and things to do before leaving your destination.
This guide is going to help you see the best of Nairobi, the hidden gems and give you a full Nairobi Itinerary that you should have before travelling to Nairobi. And you are welcome to use it. The itinerary also focuses on towns outside Nairobi such as Sagana, Ngong and Olorgesailie.
To see the best of Nairobi, you need a plan and a car. There are so many spots to visit and you will want to stop and view, take photos. There is public transportation, however, this will take longer and will not get to the exact points you want to go sight-seeing.
This itinerary will make sense to you if you have a car. Renting a car in Nairobi is ranges from about $20 a day. I suggest checking rates with local car hire companies like to compare rates.
Driving within the Nairobi’s main highways is a challenge as there is so much traffic especially within the central business district. I recommend hiring a local driver who is familiar with the town and the bypass routes to avoid traffic jams.
The cost of hiring a driver for your Nairobi travel ranges between $20 and $50 per day. Check with local car hire companies and compare their rates. Parking is also a challenge in the central business district however you will find parking spots at the edge of the central business district.
How much time to spend in Nairobi
You can easily stay in Nairobi, Kenya for many months or for a couple of days depending on what you have come to do here. I suggest a 7-day itinerary to see it all. This blog post is going to focus on things to do within and the outskirts of Nairobi.
How to get to Nairobi
If you are spending time in Nairobi, you can fly directly to Nairobi and land at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. It is a central airport with flights coming in from all over the world and I am sure you will either be coming directly to Nairobi or getting a connecting flight from another city from your destination to Nairobi.
If you are coming from other African countries like Rwanda, Congo, Uganda or Tanzania, you can come via road. There are several bus companies such as Modern Coast, Kampala Coach and Easy Coach that have buses coming from these cities to Nairobi. Check their websites and call their offices to find out travel times to weigh your options.
Where to stay in Nairobi
There are so many accommodation options in Nairobi Kenya. From Airbnb, luxury hotels to backpack budget hotels to choose from. Here are three top hotels in each category:
3 Best Luxury Hotels in Nairobi
Preferred by most travellers as it’s very close to the airport and makes transfers easy as you connect flights. It is also at a good location and best for anyone who is not very familiar with the airport and how the roads in Nairobi operate.
Tamarind is close to Wilson Airport and is great hotel to go to if you have chartered flights for your upcoming Safari. The hotel has great ambience and set in a good location
Fair View is very close to the city center and if you are planning to use the itinerary below, it would be the ideal hotel if you want to get around to at least three places and not sit in traffic for too long.
3 Best Budget Hotels in Nairobi
This property is located close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). You also have spectacular views of the Nairobi National Park.
This is at the heart of the Nairobi City Center. If you want to explore Nairobi on foot on one of the days then this would be an ideal hotel to stay at. You can easily go site seeing to the National Archives, Nairobi Arboretum and the National Museums on foot.
This is a property that is close to the National Park. It is ideal if you want to just visit the National Park and then connect to other destinations within the city or go for a Safari.
3 Best Hostels in Nairobi
The hostel is situated in a great location and nice neighbourhood if you want to be a way from the noisy city centre and it is close to the main attractions in Nairobi and it is also close to the shopping centre where you can shop for few supplies. It has dormitory-style rooms, double rooms and quadruple rooms to choose from.
Located in a convenient location. Note that the single rooms are just outside the building. Manyatta has single, twin rooms and a 6 and 8 person dormitory. It also has a common living room and a restaurant.
Mdawida allows you to rent a room from the owners. It is perfect if you are having an extended stay in Nairobi as here you will learn a bit of the Nairobian lifestyle and language. It is situated in a location where you can access most of the attractions in Nairobi
Places To Visit In Kenya Nairobi
DAY 1 -3: Discover Hidden Treasures
Drive down to Karen and treat yourself to a range of museum sites at affordable prices. In Nairobi you there are exclusive getaway locations that you can spend at least 3 days to discover the beauty of Nairobi away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Some campsites have both indoor and outdoor accommodation facilities. Try out the Oloolua Nature and Olorgesailie prehistoric site for a 3-day camping adventure.
Located in Karen, just next to Karen Blixen Museum, this hidden gem is just minutes away from the city centre (with no traffic!) tucked away within one of the few remaining tropical rain forests in Kenya with indigenous trees.
Amongst its attractions includes a nature trail, Mau Mau cave, a viewpoint, waterfall and a picnic site. The facility includes a two bedroomed self-catering cabin (indoor) and a campsite.
You can choose either depending on your taste. The only noise you will get to hear is the occasional birds singing, monkeys jumping from tree to tree and sometimes squirrels scattering on the rooftop.
This pre-historic site and museum are located 70km away from Nairobi in a semi-desert climate. It is famously known as the factory of stone tools. Olorgesailie has the highest number of axes in the world. If you are into bird watching and love the nature sceneries then this place is for you.
While here you can visit the museum and discover life once lived hundreds of years ago. It is amazing how evidence shows that this dry and harsh climate was once underwater and a forest many moons ago. You can see the effects of climate change through the years.
The site also has a picnic site, a mountain if you love trekking, carry a pair of hiking shoes for this activity. There is a baboon camp, baboons can be seen in the evenings. You will also have a chance to see the magnificent sunset in this naturally landscaped terrain. Accommodation is available there are indoor bandas and campsites if you like the outdoors.
DAY 4 – Visit Nairobi Museum, Bomas of Kenya and Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Museum is located at Museum Hill approximately 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre. The Museum boasts of collections of Kenya’s history, nature and it is a unique events venue.
You can get to experience Kenya’s culture and heritage amid workshops, events and cocktails happening around you. Major attractions here include an art gallery, temporary exhibitions, botanical garden, nature trail, shopping and dining facilities within the location.
Bomas of Kenya
Bomas of Kenya is a cultural centre located in Langata. Bomas is a local Swahili term which means homesteads. It displays cultural villages belonging to several Kenyan tribes. The talented resident artists perform traditional dances and songs taken from some of the country’s 16 tribal groups.
Nairobi National Park
Finish your tour with a drive through the only national park in Africa set within a major city. Here you will find Black Rhinos, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Giraffes, Zebras, Elands and the Wildebeest. The park is located 7km from Nairobi city centre. To the south are Kapiti Plains and Kitengela migration corridor. Man-made dams within the park have added more habitat, favourable to other bird species and aquatic animals.
Day 5 – David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Giraffe Center, Nairobi Safari Walk and Nairobi Animal Orphanage
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is located in Nairobi Game Park and serves as an orphanage for baby elephants as well as some Rhinos. The trust was established in 1977 and has been the number one world pioneer in successfully hand-rearing baby elephants and rhinos.
Orphaned elephants are cared for by surrogate human mothers who nurse, play and live with them. The orphanage is opened from 11 am to 12 pm every day. While here you can watch elephants being fed by their caretakers. Here is an ultimate guide to the Nairobi’s elephant orphanage.
The Giraffe Centre was established to protect the endangered Rothschild giraffe found only in the grasslands of East Africa. The purpose of the centre is to create awareness and provide free environmental education that is aimed at sensitizing Kenyans on the need to preserve the country’s biodiversity.
Nairobi Safari Walk
The Nairobi Safari Walk is located 7 km south of the city centre. It is a conservation-based recreation facility. It features a combination of skilled and creative landscape design, unique wildlife species and detailed interpretation makes this facility a leader in tourism and conservation. While here you can enjoy guided walks, talks and lectures which include tree identification and nursery techniques.
Nairobi Animal Orphanage
The Nairobi Animal Orphanage is located along Langata Road at the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) grounds. This is where the Nairobi National Park is located too. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the Nairobi city centre. The KWS has shuttle buses that you can board if you are coming from the city centre and are not driving.
The Nairobi National Park Orphanage was established in 1964 and hosts orphaned and abandoned animals. This is a great place to come and learn more about the animals hosted here. You will find animals of Kenya such as cheetahs, buffalos, crocodiles, a range of monkey species and lions. You can also find out the Nairobi animal orphanage feeding time so that you can see and learn what kind of food the animals are fed.
The Nairobi Orphanage & Nairobi Safari Walk are opposite each other and you can go across to do another tour at the Nairobi Safari Walk. These tours are popular among education centres and schools around the country. Children from various schools come to the orphanage to experience the wildlife here.
Visiting the animal orphanage is one of the things you can do on your day tours of Nairobi. You will experience amazing views of animals currently undergoing rehabilitation and hosting and typically stay here between 25 minutes to an hour.
The Nairobi Orphanage entry fees are as follows:
Citizen adults pay Ksh. 400 | Citizen children pay Ksh. 200
Foreign resident adults pay Ksh. 1,000 ($10) | Foreign resident children pay Ksh. 500 ($5) (These are foreigners working in the country)
Non-resident adults pay Ksh. 4,300 ($43) | Non-resident children pay Ksh. 2,200
Day 6 – Nairobi Arboretum, National Archives, Mamba Village
Nairobi Arboretum has situated about 3 km from the city centre and adjacent to the State House. Take a walk through one of Nairobi’s remaining green spaces with shaded walkways, picnic lawns and jogging trails. It contains a large collection of trees and shrubs from the tropics both native and from throughout the world.
It is situated within the central business district in Nairobi’s Moi Avenue. It is a reservoir and a living example of historic and ethnographic knowledge. There is history in its very space and structure in the aims and ideas of its users and the various forms of popular and professional practice within its walls.
Nairobi Mamba Village is located in Nairobi leafy Karen suburbs about 13km from the city. It is a well-known crocodile farm. It hosts about 70 Nile Crocodiles
Day 7- Sagana Water Slides and Carnivore
At Sagana you can slide, spin, soar and plunge into the River Sagana while you enjoy the scenic lawns and views as you have a picnic. You can experience water gliding at rapids camp. It begins into a whirlpool that spins you around several times before you are spilt into the mighty Sagana river. This is a safe activity with a life jacket.
Dinner at The Carnivore
Complete your tour of Nairobi with dinner at the Carnivore restaurant. You can have dinner and dance the evening away at Nairobi’s most popular nightclub. The venue has an informal indoor and outdoor atmosphere.
Here you will experience exceptional meals and listening to pulsating African rhythms. It is located near the Wilson Airport along Langata road. The Carnivore is a meat speciality restaurant.
Other places to visit in Nairobi include the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) is a 30 storey building located in Nairobi. It is a venue for conferences, meetings and exhibitions. It has hosted many international conferences and seminars.
Ngong Race Course located along Ngong Road Nairobi and 25 minutes from the city centre. A special racecourse for horses and operated by The Jockey Club. Splash is located next to Carnivore restaurant and has one of the largest pools in Kenya. Also has one of the largest pools in Kenya. A good place for an outdoor outing for children.
Paintballing is a warlike game where guns are substituted with air pressure has driven paintballs which burst on impact. Kitengela paintball polo is located 20 minutes from Bomas of Kenya and offers activities such as bike riding, archery, football and volleyball
Nairobi is a culinary melting pot with a good variety of cuisine types available. Restaurants in Nairobi cater for all budgets and tastes with dishes from virtually all corners of the globe.
All continents well represented and authentic foods to sample. There is a wide array of choices from fined dining to casual eats from five-star hotels to restaurants offering to take away services.
Is Nairobi Safe?
The city of Nairobi, Kenya just like any other city in the world has instances of muggings and robberies. You should take precaution to ensure you are safe throughout your tour. I have shared detailed information about security in Kenya here
You can’t go wrong with Nairobi as a travel destination. All the places to visit are so lovely and each offers a different experience. The uniqueness of Nairobi will call you over again and again. Whether it’s the delicious food, amazing places, great experience, you will find a reason to come back.
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