I had some friends over a couple of weeks back from Germany and I was their host plus tour guide for their 2-day stay in Nairobi. Despite growing up in Nairobi, deciding where to take them was the hardest part and considering they were only around for less than 48 hours, I needed to ensure they enjoyed their visit. I consulted my friends and checked out TripAdvisor and other blogs about things to do in Nairobi but there was little info. Honestly, it wasn’t easy and I promised myself to write this post to help others and just give them an idea of what to do in Nairobi especially if one has a tight schedule.
Introduction…Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya and it’s also known as the city under the sun. Just like New York, it is a city that does not sleep. It is such a vibrant and beautiful city to live or visit…and I am not talking highly about it because it is my home but because it’s truly has an energy level and personality that few other cities can rival. It straddles old and new, east and west, with so many layers of traditional culture and history behind it. While Nairobi may not represent everything that Kenya has to offer, it makes for a great start.
1000 hours: I picked my friends at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
1100 – 1530 hours: Toured the Nairobi National Park
It is perhaps the only wildlife park in the world that you can visit by taxi or bus. Set on the city’s southern outskirts, Nairobi National Park has abundant wildlife, that is, lions, cheetahs, leopards, buffaloes, hippos, zebras, giraffes, gazelles and more which can, in places, be viewed against a backdrop of city skyscrapers and airliners coming in to land… it’s the only national park on earth that borders a capital city…I will write a detailed post about our experience at the Nairobi National Park; it totally deserves a post on its own ! However, here are some of the photos:
1630-1700 hours: Lip-smacked with giraffes at Giraffe Centre
After being at the Nairobi National Park and looking at animals that we couldn’t touch, getting to pet, feed and “lip-smack” with the giraffes at Giraffe Centre was heaven for us. The Giraffe Centre is located on the western side of the town and it is all about conservation, taking in injured giraffes who can no longer survive in the wild and educating the public about the beautiful creatures.
1800 – 2000 hours: Dinner at Artcaffé Junction
Located on Ngong Road, The Artcaffé was the perfect place to have dinner. It was close by to where we were spending the night plus I am a big fan of their food. At Artcaffe, we were spoiled for choice, one of my friends had the Texas burger that is a beef burger with crispy bacon, cheese, fried egg, rocket leaves, BBQ sauce, side fries and had it together with a cold White cap (local beer) whereas the other had creamed mushroom penne that is pasta with mushroom sauce, onions, garlic, peas, cream and parmesan; and along with a mojito. I opted for the beef medallion with beetroot potato mash and mushroom sauce; and had it with an apple margarita– sinful but delicious!
Beef medallion with beetroot potato mash and mushroom sauce
My friends and me 🙂
2200 – 0200 hours: Enjoyed Nairobi nightlife and watched Bayern Munich win
Whether you’re looking for something a little niche or a mainstream night out of the town, Nairobi has it all. We settled for Mercury Junction…It was a perfect spot. At Mercury, they had St.Patrick’s Day special hence we were offered a special menu with discounted cocktails; there were so many amazing cocktails. Apart from that, Bayern Munich was playing against Juventas that night. My friends were really thrilled because they could watch one of their fav German team play while sipping their drinks…the night couldn’t get even more interesting! It was absolutely amazing!
1400 – 1600 hours: Had Nyama choma and a cold Tusker
We slept in and woke up around 10 am….since my friends were to check in at the airport from 4.30pm, I decided to take them somewhere away from the crazy Nairobi traffic and closer to the airport – I picked Chomazone Total, Mombasa Rd. At chomazone, we got to sample the local food Nyama choma (roasted meat) served with ugali (made of maize flour), kienjeji (mashed potatoes with greens) and big roasted potatoes and enjoyed the meal with a cold Tusker (local beer).
Final thoughts: Nairobi is a lovely city and a must place to visit. It is better to visit for like 1 – 2 weeks to enjoy it fully plus you get to tour other places in Kenya like the Coast and the Rift Valley. However, if you are going to be around for just 2-3 days, find a trusted local to show you around at least to the main attraction sites.
Happy travels and Karibu Kenya!
As always I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below. xx