Demystifying Kenya’s Capital: Top 3 Things to do in Nairobi
Once fondly referred to as the Green city in the sun, Nairobi is the cosmopolitan capital of Kenya-a key player in East Africa’s economy. The city borrows its exotic name from her neighbors, the Maasai community. This phrase referred to a place of cool waters, probably as it was during the colonial era and before the massive wave of industrialization that now characterizes the capital.
Nairobi hosts an estimated population of 3 million residents and houses the country’s main administrative offices and parliament. However, what really sets it apart is its proximity to a national park. The park which boasts of a bounteous wildlife and birdlife is also home to the endangered black rhino. Social life is entrancing; with certain areas coming alive only in the nights! There are a number of five star hotels and an abundant list of rated sleep outs. For the foodies, local restaurants offer a large variety of mouthwatering gourmets; from Indian themed curries, continental dishes and the African cuisine.
Jovago’s Top 3
With just about 7 kilometers between this protected ecosystem and the city skyscrapers, the Nairobi national park is the world’s closest protected habitat to a city. Apart from wildlife spotting of the legendary Big Five (minus the African Jumbo), there is an abundant life of migrating grazers and insects. If you fancy a party in the world, picnic or a wedding in the trees, consider hiring any of the four picnic sites and enjoy the unique experience.
Visitors can get to the park by hiring a taxi or book into the Nairobi National Park Shuttle service from the city center.
Karen Blixen Museaum
Karen Blixen museum is the ultimate archive for the romance and adventure made in Africa by Danish author Karen Blixen. Famed for the Oscar winning movie out of Africa’ shot on this location, the colonial house has since been turned into a museum that offers a great representation of the colonial era.
Intimate and elegant trinkets such as photographs, books and the lamp Karen would lit as a signal to her hunter lover Denys Finch Hatton still hangs on the veranda. In front of the house is an expansive garden facing the serene Ngong’ hills and an enchanting coffee house and spa. Karen’s furniture is part of the décor.
Feeding Elephants at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Kissing Giraffes at the AFEW
Nowhere in the world will you be able to come up close with elephants like at the Sheldrick Wildlife Center. The centeris entrusted with baby elephants (calves) orphaned mostly through the illegal and barbaric ivory trade.
Once at the center, watch the minders feed the little animals with milk from water bottles before taking a dip in the mud bath or playing football. Visitors can also ‘adopt’ or foster’ a baby elephant on an agreed fee. They will then be allowed to feed them and put them to bed under the guide’s watch.
Not too far away, grab an hour or too and catch lunch with the Rothschild giraffe. The main attraction for visitors is feeding giraffes on a raised platform and getting close up with warthogs present in the home. The center African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) also has an education center within its premises. The giraffes are friendly, quite enjoy a visitor’s attention.
It’s the only place you can get a photo of a giraffe stroking a visitor with its long tongue!
Restaurants: Nairobi has a blazing social life, evident by an abundant presence of coffee houses, eateries and themed restaurants. There is also an an emerging interest by global brands such as Subway, KFC, Domino Pizza.
Shopping: Shopping is an exciting experience in Nairobi. There are a number of malls located in the uptown shopping district as well as self-service supermarkets in all corners of the city. For the adventurous, Masai market offers handicrafts great for souvenirs. You can also take a shopping spree with local friends to one of the flea markets. An exciting escapade into the daily life of young Nairobians.
Hotels: This all depends on preferences and affordability; you can try a night out in the neighboring backtracker sites or try an air conditioned, room serviced hotel in the city. All these are available on Jovago.com. Book now and get the best prices
Fun Fact: Owing to the city’s closeness to the park, there have been rumors as well as credible news of the wild caught roaming the metropolis! Nairobi is also Africa’s 14th largest city by population and the eighth most visited city in Africa
Safety: Like in most cities, walk with your eyes open and ears on alert. This does not mean that you’ll be mugged around the corner-but we all prefer to be safe than sorry.
Money: Kenyan Shilling, All International Credit Cards (Visa, MasterCard) are accepted in the ATM.
Country Code: +254
Main Airport: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport – Nairobi, Moi International Airport-Mombasa
Visa Requirement details here.
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