Kenya’s capital is a destination that may feel overwhelming at first, but let the rhythm of the city get under your skin and you’ll soon appreciate the many wonders Nairobi offers. From market-hopping and wildlife viewing, to hiking and biking, there’s plenty to keep you busy. If you’re on the lookout for some of the best things to see and do, our local Nairobi guides have offered their best picks for what not to miss. And for a great overview of the city, our Nairobi Experience Tour is an awesome option.
Where else in the world can you not only see, stroke and take the perfect selfie up close and personal with a giraffe, but also kiss them? The Giraffe Centre in Karen is a haven for protected, nurtured and happy giraffes, providing tourists with an opportunity to learn about these fascinating creatures and be face-to-face with them. Learn more about giraffes, feed them and then take some time to walk the 1.5-kilometre nature trail. Keep your eyes peeled for smaller animals such as dik-dik and squirrel, and see how many species of birds you can spot, of which there will likely be many. If you need a break, stop by the on-site tea house.
Shoppers and bargain-hunters take note: there’s never a dull moment at this street market selling everything from clothes to housewares. Don’t be fooled; it’s not a “toy” market! This is one of the best places to go to find a wide array of secondhand clothes being sold across every inch of a busy Nairobi street, and tourists, locals, boutique owners and savvy shoppers alike flock there every day of the week in search of a bargain.
A short bus ride from Nairobi you’ll find ‘God’s Fist,’ a series of five rolling hills said to be the result of an angry God punching the earth and leaving imprints in the Kenyan landscape. Today, it’s a popular walking route, suitable for even the most timid of hikers. You can walk the entire five hills in under five hours, and feast on nyama choma (traditional grilled meat) on the other side. The forest is known a s home to variety of animals, including buffalo, wild pigs, porcupine and dik-diks.
The only public transport of its kind in the word, this local mode of transportation comes in the form of vibrant, brightly painted minibuses which are often referred to as moving discos due to the loud music that is played in them. Some even offer free wifi and a water dispenser. Just be prepared for some rough rides along the way. Taking a matatu ride is also a great way to meet locals.
Karura Forest is an urban forest in Nairobi. The forest was gazetted in 1932 and is managed by the Kenya Forest Service in conjunction with the Friends of Karura Forest Community Forest Association. One of the best nature trails in the country is conveniently located within city limits. Here you’ll find walking and jogging trails of varying lengths and a 12-kilometre bike trail through vibrant forest. There’s also outdoor workout space here, an obstacle course and scenic picnic sites for when you need a break.
Nairobi is a sprawling, busy city that’s hard to crack on your own. Join a local guide who’ll show you around, then lead you to the perfect lunch spot.