My second stop on my Africa adventure was Nairobi Kenya. While this was my third visit to Nairobi, it was my first where I wasn’t working and all my time was mine. I decided to get to know the city by doing some of my favorite things: shopping, sightseeing and relaxing.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the things to do, eat, and see in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as discuss safety and security which can be an issue in this bustling city of 5.3 million people.
Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is a bustling metropolis that offers visitors a diverse range of experiences. From exploring the rich cultural history of the city to getting up close and personal with African wildlife, there’s something for everyone in Nairobi. Here are some of the top things to do, eat and see in Nairobi.
Things to do in Nairobi, Kenya
- Nairobi National Park. Nairobi National Park is a must-visit for anyone travelling to the city. It’s located just a few kilometres from the city centre, making it one of the only national parks in the world that’s easily accessible from a major city. The park is home to a diverse range of African wildlife, including lions, leopards, rhinos, and giraffes. To book a day safari to Nairobi National Park visit Viator.com.
- The Giraffe Center. The Giraffe Center is a popular tourist attraction in Nairobi, Kenya, and a must-visit for animal lovers. Established in 1979, the center was initially created to protect the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe species, but has since become a conservation education center for visitors of all ages. Located in the suburb of Lang’ata, just 20 minutes from the city center, the Giraffe Center sits on a 140-acre plot of land within the Giraffe Manor estate. The center is home to a small herd of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes, which are found only in Kenya and Uganda. Visitors to the center can enjoy a close-up encounter with these gentle giants and even feed them. The Giraffe Center offers visitors the unique opportunity to stand eye-to-eye with the giraffes on a raised platform, and to feed them pellets. Visitors are advised to be careful, however, as the giraffes can be quite enthusiastic when it comes to eating. In addition to interacting with the giraffes, the Giraffe Center offers visitors the chance to learn about conservation efforts in Kenya. The center’s staff conducts educational talks on the importance of preserving endangered species and the role of the Giraffe Center in these efforts. The Giraffe Center also has a nature trail that leads visitors through a lush forest, where they can spot a variety of birds and small animals. The trail also provides excellent views of the Ngong Hills, which are located just outside of Nairobi. Overall, the Giraffe Center is a unique and exciting way to experience the beauty of nature and learn about conservation efforts in Kenya. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a family with young children, or a group of friends, a visit to the Giraffe Center is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Nairobi.
- The Sheldrick Elephant Sanctuary. The Sheldrick Elephant Sanctuary is a non-profit organization located in Nairobi, Kenya that is dedicated to the conservation and protection of elephants. Founded in 1977, the sanctuary was established to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned elephants and release them back into the wild. Visitors to the sanctuary can witness firsthand the amazing work being done by the dedicated staff and volunteers who care for the elephants on a daily basis. The sanctuary is open to the public from 11 am to 12 pm every day, during which time visitors can see the baby elephants being fed and interact with them. The sanctuary provides a safe and nurturing environment for the elephants, who are often traumatized after losing their mothers to poaching or other natural causes. The elephants are hand-raised by human caretakers who provide them with the love, attention, and care they need to thrive. The sanctuary has successfully rehabilitated and released over 250 elephants back into the wild, making it one of the most successful elephant rescue and rehabilitation programs in the world. Aside from the daily feeding and interaction with the baby elephants, visitors can also learn about the various conservation efforts being undertaken by the sanctuary to protect elephants and other wildlife in Kenya. The sanctuary also offers the opportunity to “adopt” an elephant, which provides ongoing support for the care and protection of the orphaned elephants. The Sheldrick Elephant Sanctuary is an amazing organization that is doing critical work to protect and conserve elephants in Kenya. Visitors to the sanctuary can witness the incredible care being provided to these magnificent animals and learn about the important conservation efforts being undertaken to protect them. The sanctuary provides a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with these gentle giants, while also supporting an important cause. It is a must-visit for anyone interested in wildlife conservation or who simply loves elephants.
- Massai Market. Nairobi has a vibrant shopping scene, and one of the best places to shop is the Massai Market. The Maasai Market is a popular open-air market located in Nairobi, Kenya, which is renowned for its wide selection of traditional African handicrafts, clothing, jewelry, and other cultural artifacts. The market is named after the Maasai people, who are an indigenous ethnic group in Kenya that are known for their distinctive customs and attire. The Maasai Market is a vibrant hub of activity and a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. It is typically held at various locations around Nairobi on different days of the week, with some of the most well-known locations including the Village Market, the High Court parking lot, and the Galleria Mall. Visitors to the market can expect to find a wide range of unique and colorful items, including hand-carved wooden sculptures, woven baskets, beaded jewelry, traditional clothing such as kikois and khangas, and intricate masks and figurines. Many of the items sold at the market are handmade by local artisans, which adds to their authenticity and cultural significance. One of the most appealing aspects of the Maasai Market is the opportunity for visitors to haggle and negotiate with the vendors for a fair price. This can be a fun and exciting experience, and it is recommended that visitors come prepared with some basic bargaining skills. Overall, the Maasai Market is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the rich cultural heritage of Kenya and the wider African continent. The vibrant atmosphere, unique selection of goods, and friendly vendors all combine to create an unforgettable shopping experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
- Visit the Nairobi National Museum. The Nairobi National Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kenya. Located in the heart of Nairobi, this museum offers visitors the chance to learn about Kenya’s rich cultural heritage, natural history, and contemporary art scene. The museum was established in 1929, and over the years, it has grown to become one of the most extensive and well-curated museums in East Africa. The museum is home to a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits, ranging from traditional African tribal artifacts to contemporary Kenyan art. One of the most popular exhibits in the Nairobi National Museum is the Hall of Mammals, which showcases Kenya’s rich and diverse wildlife. The exhibit features life-sized models of animals such as elephants, lions, and giraffes, as well as preserved specimens of smaller animals like birds and rodents. Visitors can also learn about Kenya’s marine life through the museum’s marine exhibit, which features a range of fish and marine creatures found in Kenya’s coastal waters. The museum also offers visitors the opportunity to learn about Kenya’s cultural heritage through its various exhibits. The Kenyan Cultural Center features exhibits on traditional Kenyan artifacts, including masks, musical instruments, and clothing. Visitors can also explore exhibits on the country’s prehistoric past, including a replica of the famous Turkana Boy, one of the most complete early human skeletons ever discovered. In addition to its extensive collection of exhibits, the Nairobi National Museum also hosts a range of events and activities throughout the year. These include temporary art exhibitions, cultural festivals, and workshops on traditional crafts and music. For those looking to take a break from exploring the museum, the museum has a restaurant and gift shop on-site. The restaurant offers a variety of local and international dishes, while the gift shop features a range of locally made crafts, books, and souvenirs. The Nairobi National Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning about Kenya’s rich cultural heritage, natural history, and contemporary art scene. With its extensive collection of exhibits, interactive displays, and a range of events and activities, the museum offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a family with young children, or a group of friends, a visit to the Nairobi National Museum is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip to Nairobi.
- Buy Beads and Leather at Kobe Tough. Kobe Tough Beads & Leather is a unique shopping destination for tourists visiting Nairobi, Kenya. Located in the heart of the city, this store offers a wide range of handmade leather products, such as bags, belts, wallets, and shoes, as well as traditional African beadwork. The store’s name, “Kobe,” means “turtle” in Swahili, which is fitting since the store specializes in creating durable and long-lasting products. The leather used to create these products is sourced locally and is of the highest quality, ensuring that each item is both beautiful and functional. One of the highlights of Kobe Tough Beads & Leather is the opportunity for visitors to watch the artisans at work. The store has an open workshop where skilled craftsmen and women can be seen creating their unique pieces using traditional techniques. Visitors can witness the intricate process of making leather products from start to finish, which provides a rare insight into the local culture. In addition to leather products, Kobe Tough Beads & Leather also offers an impressive collection of African beads. These beads are intricately designed and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They can be used to create stunning jewelry, clothing accessories, or even to decorate the home. Tourists can purchase these unique items at affordable prices, making it an excellent place to pick up a souvenir or gift for loved ones back home. The store also ships internationally, so visitors can easily have their purchases delivered to their doorstep. In conclusion, Kobe Tough Beads & Leather is a must-visit for tourists looking to experience the rich culture of Nairobi, Kenya. With its high-quality leather products, traditional African beadwork, and open workshop, visitors can gain a unique insight into the local community and purchase a one-of-a-kind souvenir to remember their trip by. Gracepatt Ecotours Kenya offers a range of sustainable tours that allow visitors to experience the local culture and wildlife. From visiting local communities to exploring national parks, there’s something for everyone. I booked my tour of Giraffe Center, Sheldrick Elephant Sanctuary and Kobe Tough Beads & Leatherusing Gracepatt Ecotours through Viator.com. and I had a great time.
Places to eat
Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is known for its vibrant food scene that offers a variety of international and local cuisines. From street food to fine dining, there’s something for everyone in Nairobi. Here are some of the best places to eat in the city.
- Beit e’ selam is a popular restaurant that serves traditional Ethiopian cuisine. The restaurant is located in the Westlands area of Nairobi and has a warm and inviting atmosphere. The menu features a range of Ethiopian dishes, including injera, doro wat, and kitfo. The food is always fresh and delicious, and the service is top-notch.
- Me So Modern Asian Izakaya is a chic and stylish restaurant located in the bustling Westlands area of Nairobi, Kenya. As the name suggests, this eatery serves up a modern twist on classic Asian cuisine, creating a menu that is both unique and delicious. One of the standout features of Me So is its Izakaya-style dining experience. In Japan, an Izakaya is a casual bar that serves small plates of food to accompany drinks. Me So has taken this concept and elevated it, offering a range of small plates that are perfect for sharing with friends. From the sushi platters to the Korean Fried Chicken, the dishes are all expertly prepared and packed with flavor. The atmosphere of Me So is also noteworthy. The restaurant is popular with both locals and tourists alike, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a night out with friends or a romantic date. In addition to the food, Me So also has an impressive drinks menu. From creative cocktails to local and international beers, there’s something for everyone. The staff is also knowledgeable about the menu and happy to make recommendations based on your preferences. Overall, Me So Modern Asian Izakaya is a must-visit for anyone in Nairobi who loves great food, drinks, and a fun atmosphere.
- Seven Seafood and Grill is a popular restaurant located in the Karen area of Nairobi. The restaurant serves a range of seafood dishes, including lobster, prawns, and fish. The food is always fresh and cooked to perfection, and the restaurant has a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere. The restaurant also has a great selection of wine to complement the seafood dishes.
Nairobi has a vibrant food scene with a range of international and local cuisines on offer. Beit e’ selam, MeSo, Modern Asian Izakaya, and Seven Seafood and Grill are just some of the best places to eat in the city. Whether you’re looking for traditional Ethiopian cuisine or contemporary Japanese-inspired dishes, Nairobi has something to offer for every taste and budget.
Places to Stay
I booked my stay using points from my Chase Sapphire Preferred at the Sarova Stanley Hotel. I was not disappointed!
If you’re looking for a luxurious and historical stay in Nairobi, then Sarova Stanley Hotel should be on your list. This iconic hotel has been a landmark in the city since 1902 and has played host to many famous guests over the years, including Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway. The hotel is located in the heart of the city, making it the perfect base from which to explore Nairobi. You can also book a stay at the Sarova Stanley via Booking.com.
Climate in Nairobi
Nairobi is located close to the equator, which means it has a relatively stable tropical climate throughout the year. However, the city’s high altitude of around 1,795 meters (5,889 feet) above sea level means that temperatures are generally cooler than in other parts of Kenya.
Nairobi has two distinct rainy seasons, from March to May and from October to December, and two dry seasons from January to February and from June to September. The rainy seasons are characterized by heavy rain showers that can last for several hours, while the dry seasons are usually sunny and dry.
The average temperature in Nairobi is around 21°C (70°F) throughout the year, with daytime temperatures ranging from 24°C (75°F) to 26°C (79°F) during the warmest months of January and February. At night, temperatures can drop to as low as 10°C (50°F) during the cool months of July and August.
When visiting Nairob, should pack appropriate clothing for the climate, including light and comfortable clothes for the warm months and warmer clothes for the cooler months. It’s also advisable to bring a rain jacket or umbrella during the rainy seasons.
Overall, Nairobi’s climate is generally pleasant and comfortable, making it a great destination for tourists looking for a year-round destination with stable temperatures. However, it’s always a good idea to check the latest weather forecasts and pack accordingly to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
Here are my top favorite repellent and sunscreen that keep me covered:
- Face: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Non-Greasy Sunscreen Stick for Face & Body, Broad Spectrum SPF 70
- For my arms, back, and legs: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion, Broad Spectrum SPF 55
- Insect repellent. I recommend a combination of wipes and a spray. My favorites are:
- OFF! FamilyCare Insect & Mosquito Repellent Spritz, Unscented Bug spray with Aloe-Vera, 7% Deet, 9 oz and Cutter All Family Mosquito Repellent Wipes, 15 Wipes.
If you are visiting the coast of Kenya do NOT forget to bring water shoes! There are often sea urchins on the beaches and you do NOT want to step on one of them. I wore water shoes every time I stepped out on the beach. I really like these Unisex VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Yoga Socks Slip-ons. They were my go-to shoes on all my beach days!
Safety and Security
As a popular tourist destination, Nairobi has made significant strides in improving safety and security in recent years. However, like any other big city, there are still risks and potential dangers that tourists should be aware of to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.
Crime is one of the main safety concerns in Nairobi, and tourists should take precautions to avoid becoming a victim. Some of the common crimes in the city include pickpocketing, theft, and robbery. To minimize the risk of theft or robbery, tourists should avoid carrying valuable items, such as expensive jewelry or large amounts of cash. It’s also advisable to avoid walking alone at night or in unfamiliar areas.
Another potential safety concern in Nairobi is terrorism. The city has experienced several high-profile terrorist attacks in recent years, including the Westgate Mall attack in 2013 and the Dusit D2 attack in 2019. To minimize the risk of being caught up in a terrorist attack, tourists should be aware of their surroundings, avoid crowded areas, and follow any security advice given by local authorities.
In addition to crime and terrorism, road safety is also a concern in Nairobi. The city’s roads can be congested and chaotic, with many drivers ignoring traffic rules and regulations. Tourists should exercise caution when crossing the road and avoid walking on the roads where possible.
Despite the potential risks, many tourists visit Nairobi every year without incident. By taking precautions and being aware of the potential dangers, tourists can have a safe and enjoyable visit to this vibrant and diverse city. It’s also advisable to check the latest travel advice from your embassy or consulate before travelling to Nairobi.
As with anywhere you solo travel, it is important to exercise situational awareness and common sense as a female solo traveler. Grab the BaldGirlWillTravel: A Guide to Travel Safety and Security for Solo Female Travelers and ensure you follow the safety tips to ensure a safe solo travel experience.
Nairobi is a vibrant city with a diverse range of experiences on offer. From exploring the rich cultural history of the city to getting up close and personal with African wildlife it’s a “must visit’ on the African continent.
Thank You For Reading!
Check out these solo travel blog posts:
This post may contain affiliate links to things like tours, hotels, Amazon associates, and products. These help me earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.