Nairobi

Shopping

Maasai Markets –

There are several open-air markets around the city that have handicrafts, jewellery, and souvenirs like batiks, baskets, sculptures, and paintings. Most of these places do not have much variety so once you go to one market, you may not find very different/unique things at another.

Schedule (Please confirm before going as it may change):

Tuesdays – Globe Roundabout, City Centre

Wednesdays – Capital Centre on Mombasa Road

Fridays – Village Market in Gigiri

Saturdays – Nairobi Law Court Grounds in the City Centre

Sundays – Safari Park Hotel on Thika Road and Yaya Centre, Hurlingham[1]

Daily – Westlands Market and City Market

For more information:

http://www.experiencekenya.co.ke/ has general information

http://www.digitalmatatus.com/ has maps of the public transport routes

http://www.ma3route.com/ has directions and traffic information

http://eatout.co.ke/ has booking for restaurants in Nairobi

Activities and Sights in/around Nairobi

There’s so much to do in Nairobi – to find out what’s going on around town, you can subscribe to the following e-newsletters:

If you’re looking to explore on your own, here are some recommended activities in/around Nairobi, listed roughly by proximity to downtown Nairobi.

Things To Do Outside Nairobi

Safaris

  • Masai Mara – The most famous national park. A bit of a drive (about 5 hrs from Nairobi), but tons of wildlife – lots of lions. Downside is that it’s also the most crowded with tourists.
  • Sweetwaters – A private game reserve about 3 hrs north of Nairobi, supposedly the closest park to Nairobi where you can see “the big five”. Unique highlights include: a fenced-off watering hole in front of your tent where you can see lots of different animals gather, night game drives, a chimpanzee sanctuary, and a blind rhino named Baraka!
  • Nakuru – About 2.5 hrs from Nairobi. In addition to the usual animals, you’ll get to see flamingos and rhinos!
  • Amboseli – Famous for a great view of Mt. Kilimanjaro
  • Tsavo – A long drive from Nairobi, but this is a convenient stop if you’re road-tripping from Nairobi to Mombasa. Voi is where they release all the elephant orphans from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust back into the wild. Also check out Lake Jipe – you can stay in bandas right on the lake, just watch out for the hippos!
  • Aberdares – A bit further than Naivasha/Hell’s Gate. More forested. Good for relaxing but not for seeing animals.
  • Samburu – Really nice (more rare animals like Grevy’s zebras, reticulated giraffes, and leopards), but far north of Nairobi (about 5-6 hr drive each way). You can fly, but it’s expensive.

These are the big ones, but if you want a more intimate experience, there are a bunch of smaller parks like Hell’s Gate, Crescent Island (in the middle of Lake Naivasha, where they filmed the famous movie “Out of Africa”), Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria, Meru, and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton!).

Hiking

  • Ngong Hills – Just outside of Nairobi, you can get great views of Nairobi on one side, the Rift Valley on the other by climbing these 7 hills. As a warning, there is a risk of bandits past the 3rd hill, so nowadays it is mandatory that you hire an askari (security guard).
  • Naivasha
    • Hell’s Gate – You can either drive or bike through the national park to the entrance to the Gorge where they filmed Tomb Raider.
    • Crater Lake – If you follow the road away from Naivasha past Hell’s Gate, you can do a nice hike up the Green Crater.
  • Mt. Longonot – About 1.5 hrs hike up to the rim of the crater, then about a 4 hour hike along the entire crater. The counter-clockwise route is less strenuous than the clockwise route.
  • Mt. Kenya – You can hike to the hiking summit (Pt. Lenana) and back in 4 days. Costs about $400+ depending on the route.

You can do indoor rock climbing at Climb Blue Sky on the 6th floor of Diamond Plaza in Parklands, or outdoor rock climbing in Lukenya.

The Beach

  • Mombasa – This is the cheapest place to fly into. You can also take the SGR train.
  • Watamu – Great scuba diving and gelato joints
  • Kilifi – Halfway between Mombasa and Watamu – the creek is gorgeous.
  • Mtwapa Creek – About 45 minutes north of Mombasa
  • Diani Beach – About an hour south of Mombasa, you have to take a ferry to get there. The part of the coast with the most nightlife, so tends to attract a lot of young backpackers. About 45 minutes south of Diani, there’s great scuba diving in Kisite Marine Park.
  • Tiwi Beach – A bit closer to Mombasa than Diani – the beaches are more pristine, but much less to do.
  • Funzi Keys – Even further south than Diani Beach. You can camp on Avicennia Island and spend your days fishing, kite-surfing, and kayaking through mangroves.
  • Lamu – The Zanzibar of Kenya. Pristine white beaches. Rent a house in Shela, which is quieter and nicer than staying near Lamu town. No cars, just donkeys.