24 Hours in Nairobi

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It’s been a while since I posted here and I wanted to get back to it. I miss Africa and I miss blogging about it. So here it goes – my brief guide to Kenya’s capital for those who are looking to spend a day in the city.

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust takes care of baby elephants and rhinos
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust takes care of baby elephants and rhinos

Thousands of tourists pass through Nairobi every year on their way to safaris in Kenya’s numerous national parks, eager to spot the “big five” game animals of the beautiful East African savannah. Not many realize, however, that the country’s capital has a lot of its own charm to offer to visitors who fit it into their busy itineraries.

Stopping by the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is a great way to start your day in Nairobi. The David Sheldrick Animal Trust takes care of baby rhinos, elephants and other animals are rescued from the wild when their parents die from the hands of poachers, or as a result of drought or disease. Check the trust’s website for information on fostering one of the recently saved orphans.

Make the Nairobi Giraffe Center, located nearby, your next stop on the tour around the city. You can feed the giraffes here and even get one to kiss you for the camera. Be careful not to approach the animals without any food in your hands, though. The giraffe can headbutt you if you come too close for no obvious reason.

Animal feeding is a popular activity at the Nairobi Giraffe Center

Try some amazing Ethiopian food for lunch at Habesha or Smart Village. Habesha’s outdoor seating provides a lot of privacy, making it a great place for a date or just a quiet conversation. At Smart Village, on the other hand, it’s better to sit inside to experience the beautiful traditional setting. Be sure to drink some Ethiopian coffee here; it’s absolutely delicious.

Carnivore is another popular restaurant, allowing you to taste some of the rare meats that the local cuisine has to offer, including ostrich, camel and crocodile. Nairobi’s Indian dining options, such as Open House and Chowpaty Pure, offer a good selection as well, the latter being purely vegetarian.

Smart Village 2
The shiro at Smart Village is to die for

Walking in the shade of Karen Blixen Museum gardens is a great way to spend a hot Nairobi afternoon. Take a tour around the house, which features furniture and other items used by the Danish author during her life in Kenya. These are the same rooms that hosted Meryl Streep during the production of the popular movie, Out of Africa. Wonder along the wooded path behind the estate to find the remains of the 1917 coffee roaster.

coffee mill
The old coffee roaster at the Karen Blixen Museum

Spend the night at the Tribe for the unforgettable cultural experience. This boutique hotel features artifacts from around the world, combining rich history with ultramodern design. Dine at the hotel’s Jiko restaurant or take a short walk to the Village Market, a sophisticated mall with an international food court.

aqua blu
Aqua Blue bar & lounge in Westlands

Check out the Tribe’s hookah bar or head to the Westlands neighborhood for a true taste of Nairobi nightlife. Places such as SkyLux, Black Diamond, and Aqua Blu will keep you dancing till the break of dawn.


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