Africa Guide
Guide to Africa

Places to visit and things to do in Nairobi in a day


Written by: Vera Cheal - 2013

I recently visited Nairobi but only had a couple of free days, which is not enough time to visit one of Kenya's famous National Parks.

I realised that the cosmopolitan city of Nairobi has plenty to offer visitors who have limited time and want to get a taste of the wildlife and culture that Kenya has to offer.

The main tip I would give is not to plan to visit too many different places in one day and try to keep your daily activities near to one another. Like most cities round the world, traffic in Nairobi can be very heavy, especially during rush hour times and you want to allow enough time to enjoy what you are visiting and time to relax for lunch and short breaks.

Top 5 to do in one day:

David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

The Elephant Orphanage is located about 10 kms from Nairobi city center close to Nairobi National Park. It is only open to the general public for one hour a day between 11:00-12:00..

The David Sheldrick Conservation Foundation rehabilitates baby elephants and other wildlife, these babies have lost their mothers to poaching, death, injuries, on getting lost in the wild or other tragedies. Daphne and her dedicated staff raise them to be released back into the wild when they are ready.

It is well worth a visit and you have the chance to get close elephant calves! The carers bring the elephants out, feed them and provide you information about the different elephants and their history plus how they care for them. A small entrance fee is charged and there is a shop where you can buy a souvenir or donate to the conservation of future elephants.

Giraffe Centre
Nairobi Giraffe Centre

Managed by African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya limited (AFEW (K) LTD) the Giraffe Centre is located approximately 5 kms from the city centre in the area of Langata. It is open daily including weekends and public holidays between: 9.00am to 5.00pm.

The centre had a raised round feeding platform which enables visitors to get close to and feed the giraffes at ease. To the inner section of the platform there is auditorium where visitors are given comprehensive talks about the centre's activities, conservation and giraffes.

Opposite the centre is a Nature Sanctuary where you can hike the trail that stretches about 1.5 kilometers meandering through thick bushes and forests.

The Giraffe Sanctuary has a café where you can have refreshments whilst watching the giraffes as well as a gift shop which sells African Artcrafts from local communities.

Open daily from 0600 - 1800 hours, the Nairobi National Park is located only 8 km from Nairobi city centre so definitely a must if you do not have enough time to travel further and want to experience a wildlife safari.

Wildlife that can be seen in the national park include Black rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, buffaloes, Giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, elands and diverse birdlife with over 400 species recorded.

Located approximately 10km from Nairobi city center, and about 1 km past main entrance Nairobi National Park main gate, the Bomas of Kenya gives you the opportunity to learn about the rich and diverse cultures that make up this fascinating country.

You can experience traditional dances and acrobatic show which are daily starting at 2.30pm to 4.30pm during weekdays and 3.30pm to 5.15pm on weekends and public holidays.

Nairobi Carnivore Restaurant
Nairobi Carnivore Restaurant

End your day off by with dinner in Nairobi's famous Carnivore Restaurant, a meat eaters paradise, often referred to as 'the ultimate 'Beast of a Feast'. This is a Barbeque with a difference in that not only do they serve your normal beef, pork and chicken but game meat as well. Giraffe, Gnu, Zebra, Crocodile, Hartebeest and Ostrich are some of the specials that you will find on the menu.

The Simba Saloon provides an alternative to those who do not want to indulge in a large meal, serving pizzas (from a traditional, domed, brick oven), an extremely popular salad bar at lunchtime, steaks, hamburgers, scampi, trout, chicken, and other light snacks. The nightclub is open from Wednesday to Sunday and has themed nights to cater for fans of contemporary African music, rock, soul, jazz and the latest hits.

Lunch is also served at Carnivore Restaurant.

2nd tallest building in Nairobi Tourists visiting Kenya can take the elevator to the top of the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) to get a panoramic bird's eye view of Nairobi. This is the tallest building in Nairobi (as of 2013)

The museum is open throughout the year from 0830hrs -17300hrs daily and is located at the Museum Hill, approximately 10 minutes drive from the Nairobi city centre. It showcases Kenya's Culture, Nature, History and Contemporary Art. Other attractions within the area include the Snake Park and Botanical Gardens as well as a State of the Art Auditorium that occasionally hosts concerts, film shows and other events.

Located in Koinange Street, City Centre, open daily, the market has dozens of stalls selling woodcarvings, drums, spears, shields, soapstone, Maasai jewellery and clothing and well and meat and vegetables.

Located 10kms outside the city, and open daily from 9.30 am to 6pm including weekends and public holidays. The museum is the former home of the pioneer coffee farmer, Karen Blixen - of "Out of Africa" fame, is now preserved as a museum. A visit to this museum provides an opportunity to step back in time and gain an insight into this remarkable woman's life. Offering a perfect view of the Ngong Hills from the beautifully landscaped gardens of the museum. Karen Blixen museum is one of a number of very interesting regional museums and archeological and prehistoric sites of the National museums of Kenya, and it continues to be an immensely popular tourist attraction.

Located on the Limuru Road on the outskirts of Nairobi and open daily from 0600 to 1800. The forest offers eco-friendly opportunities for Kenyans and visitors to enjoy a leafy green respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, to walk, to jog, or simply to sit quietly and experience the serenity of nature in all its diversity. It's a great place to picnic and do a 2-4 hour hike depending on which trail you choose.

Situated just down the road from Karen Blixen Museum, it's a great place to get close to nature and go for a hike and get away for the hustle and bustle of the city. The highlight of the trail is the waterfall and it's a great spot for birdwatching.

The factory is located in what used to be part of the Karen Blixen Estate in Mbagathi Ridge, Karen Road, Karen. Kazuri, which means "small and beautiful" in Swahili, began in 1975 as a tiny workshop experimenting on making handmade beads and has over the years grown immensely, now having a large work force skilled in the making of handmade jewellery and a unique range of pottery-ware, which reflects the culture and wildlife of Kenya The mission of Kazuri is to provide and sustain employment opportunities for disadvantaged members of Kenyan society.

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