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Top 10 must-do activities while in Nairobi

Updated: Mar 9


nairobi, city, national park, giraffe, safari
National Park and view of Nairobi


As we have recently laid over twice in Nairobi on our way to Tanzania, we thought we could share some cool activities to do if you have a long layover of a few days or are staying for a week or more…


Nairobi stands out as a vibrant and exceptional city, being the only urban centre in the world that boasts a game park - the renowned Nairobi National Park.


 An awe-inspiring experience awaits as you journey through Nairobi, where you can witness a rich array of wildlife in one part of the city, and then seamlessly transition to another area bustling with a modern cityscape of towering skyscrapers.

Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is a vibrant and diverse city with a wide range of activities to offer to visitors. From exciting safaris to bustling markets, Nairobi has something for everyone.

 


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1. Safari




 

Why Is it for you?


  + Witness majestic wildlife up close

  + Capture stunning photos of lions, giraffes, and rhinos

  + Experience the beauty of the African savanna.

 

Situated a mere stone's throw away from the bustling city centre, Nairobi National Park stands as an exceptional destination to marvel at wildlife in their pristine surroundings. Embark on a captivating game drive, witness a diverse array of animal species, and soak in the picturesque scenery of the park. With an accessible entry fee of 100$ per person since January 2024. You will get a chance to explore this natural gem is an affordable and unforgettable experience.

 



2. Visit a Market




eats africa, art market, painting black art, african art
East African Art Market

 

Why you should experience a market?


  + Shop for unique handmade crafts and souvenirs

  + Bargain with local vendors for the best prices

  + Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the market.


 

Explore the colourful stalls at Maasai Market

 

Nairobi boasts an array of shopping malls and markets, providing endless options for enthusiastic shoppers. Among my top picks are Westgate Shopping Mall and Two Rivers Mall, which happens to be the largest mall in Kenya.

 For a more authentic local experience, City Market and the Maasai market are ideal destinations. These markets feature local vendors selling handcrafted jewellery, bags, textiles, artwork, and various souvenirs. City Market offers a unique shopping experience that captures the essence of Nairobi's cultural heritage.




 

3. Feeding Giraffe & Meeting up with Baby Elephants



experience, giraffe center, Nairobi, feeding giraffe
Nairobi Griraffe Center Experience

 

a)        Feeding Giraffe

 

Established by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), The Giraffe Centre serves as a hub for conservation, education, and breeding of the endangered Rothschild's giraffe. Operating hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, including weekends and public holidays. In addition to the informative centre, visitors can enjoy the unique experience of hand-feeding the graceful giraffes from an elevated platform. This hands-on activity has quickly become a favourite among my friends whom I have brought to the centre.

 

The Giraffe Centre is a top choice for day trips in Nairobi, offering tourists a chance to immerse themselves in wildlife conservation efforts. It is also part of the Nairobi wildlife experience, which includes a thrilling game drive at Nairobi National Park, a visit to the Elephant Sanctuary, and exploring the Karen Blixen Museum. For those looking to extend their stay, there are charming cottages located just a short walk away from The Giraffe Centre and about 2 kilometres from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Centre. Spending a night at these picturesque accommodations allows visitors to further connect with nature and wildlife in a serene environment.

 






 

b)        Meeting up with Baby Elephants



Discover the beauty of Uhuru Park in Nairobi and enjoy a unique experience at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust where you can interact with baby elephants. Every day from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., visitors can get up close and personal with these adorable creatures while learning about the conservation efforts to rescue and rehabilitate orphan elephants. The knowledgeable keepers will also provide an educational presentation during your visit.


Immerse yourself in this unforgettable experience and consider adopting an elephant to support their conservation work. It is recommended to pre-book online as there is a limited daily capacity. Bookings can be made up to three months in advance, and day-of bookings are not available.


The entry fee is Kshs 1,500 (US$15 / £10) and can be paid in cash or via Mpesa on the day of your visit. Don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness these majestic animals in their natural habitat.




Baby elephant, Elephant herd, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust , Kenya, Nairobi
Baby elephant





 

4. Fashion



african print, fashion, nairobi, kenya, west africa, african textile
African print market stall


Why not take part in a styling session or a shopping spree?


- Discover the latest trends at Nairobi's fashion boutiques

  + Shop for stylish clothing and accessories

  + Support local designers and artisans

  + Update your wardrobe with unique pieces.

 

a)        Visit the Maasai Market


The Maasai Market is an open-air market in Nairobi that’s held in different locations throughout the week.

 


b)       Visit the Gikomba Market


Located on the periphery of the city, Gikomba stands out as one of Kenya's largest markets. The market is a bustling hub where vendors offer a wide array of merchandise, including clothing, accessories, and various other goods. With its vast expanse and numerous shops, navigating through Gikomba can be a daunting task, even for the locals. Every visit I've made to this market has led me to get lost at some point.

However, despite its maze-like layout, Gikomba presents an exhilarating experience for anyone looking to explore Nairobi's vibrant scene. I would suggest going with a local guide who is familiar with the market to help steer you through the maze of stalls and prevent you from straying off track. You can find Gikomba at Kamukunji Road, Nairobi, Kenya.

 



5. Cultural Exploration

 


kenya, maasai, masai, traditional outfit, culture, nairobi
Keyan Maasai Wariors in traditional dressing


- Immerse yourself in Nairobi's diverse culture

  + Visit museums and art galleries showcasing Kenyan heritage

  + Attend traditional performances and music concerts

  + Taste authentic Kenyan cuisine at local restaurants.

 

a)        Visit Nairobi National Museum

 


Nairobi National museum, history, culture, Kenya, museum
Group Photo in front of Nairobi National Museum, courtesy of Ashleigh Milani


Situated just a stone's throw away from downtown, the Nairobi National Museum stands as a premier destination in Nairobi. This iconic museum, owned by the National Museums of Kenya, boasts a diverse array of artefacts, artworks, and historical exhibits that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Kenya.





 

b) Visit The Bomas of Kenya

 

The Bomas of Kenya is a captivating tourist destination showcasing various facets of Kenyan culture and history. Located near Nairobi, it offers a fantastic day trip option for those interested in learning about the diverse communities and rich heritage of Kenya.


Whether you are a visitor or a resident, a visit to the Bomas of Kenya is highly recommended for an eye-opening experience of the unique way of life in Kenya. As a local myself, I am continually fascinated by the cultural insights gained from exploring this cultural gem.

 





6. Nightlife



Nightlife, clubs, Nairobi, Kenya, dancing, karaoke, clubbing
Nightlife in Nairobi, Kenya


If you're looking for a vibrant nightlife scene, I highly recommend visiting either B club in Milan or Alchemist. But if you're in the mood for a more low-key local day party, make sure to check out 1824 Whiskey Bar & Lounge on a Saturday.


Locals also enjoy the best dancing joints which are Club Gemini, Alchemist, Brew bristo, 40 Forty Lounge, Milan and many other gems!


You can indulge in nighttime activities like partying, board gaming, karaoke, dancing, watching plays, or listening to live bands

 





7.  Sporty Adventure Exploration

 


hiking, karura forest, trekking, group, nairobi, kenya
Hiking in group


Hiking in Karura Forest


Karura Forest is a stunning urban oasis nestled in Nairobi, Kenya. Spanning approximately 1,000 hectares, this verdant sanctuary provides a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Renowned for its rich foliage, picturesque walking paths, inviting picnic areas, and a wide array of wildlife, Karura Forest is the perfect escape for anyone seeking solace in nature. Enjoy your visit to Karura Forest!

 



 8.  Getting your hair braided for cheaper than in Western countries



nairobi, hairdressing, cornrow, hairbraiding, selfcare , braids, box braids
Getting our hair braided at Lilly's Hair & beauty salon in Nairobi


We were delighted to try getting our hair shampooed, conditioned and braided at Lilly’s hair & beauty salon in Nairobi in October 2023, during a long layover.

Service is top quality and includes hair extensions for the equivalent of  £25/ 30 USD only.

We stayed roughly 5 hours and asked for them to curl the end of our box braid style for a more glamorous look! The best value for a protective style!

 





 

9.  Enjoying sundowners on the most iconic Rooftops



Rooftop, restaurant, city view, nairobi, kenya
Rooftop Restaurant view


For a luxurious experience with breathtaking city and national park views, head to the Sky Lounge at Emara Hotel Ole Sereni in Nairobi.


Located at Emara Ole-Sereni-Nairobi Park View, this establishment boasts a restaurant and bar, just 3.8 miles from the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.


The Sky Lounge offers the ideal setting for enjoying sundowners or socializing with friends, thanks to its sophisticated ambience and relaxed vibe.

 





 

 10.  Take on a Kibera Empowerment walking tour



Kenya, nairobi, Masaia village , Slum
Masai Warriors Kenya



Embark on the transformative Kibera Empowerment walking tour, a must-do activity in Nairobi. Led by local guides, this immersive tour offers a fascinating glimpse into Africa's largest slum. Discover the vibrant crafts center, and listen to moving tales from the resilient residents who reside in this unique community. This experience is an exceptionally authentic way to explore Nairobi.






**BONUS**


a) Moving around in Nairobi


Nairobi has a variety of transportation options, ranging from taxis to matatus (minibuses), and ride-sharing services like Uber. Uber was reliable and affordable.

In all honesty, the most efficient method of transportation within the city is by utilizing Uber services.

 

b)       Is Nairobi Safe?

 

Ensuring safety while travelling, especially in a city like Nairobi, can be a concern for many. The level of safety largely depends on factors such as who you are travelling with and the activities you are engaging in. During all my visits to Nairobi, I was solo travelling and felt completely safe. However, we also opted to use a hotel near the airport and only go to the city centre using Uber for budget reasons and also flight connection during a long layover.

 

Traveling safely in Nairobi, or any other major city, requires a high level of vigilance and awareness.

You barely scratched the surface also visit Watamu, Kilifi, Malindi, Mombassa Diani, and Lamu, and enjoy the beautiful beaches!! You can also check out our blog post on Top 15 Things to Do While in Kenya's Swahili Coast

 

Nairobi is a city full of exciting adventures and cultural experiences waiting to be explored. Whether you're interested in wildlife, shopping, or cultural immersion, Nairobi has something for everyone. Plan your trip today and discover the beauty of this vibrant city.



We hope to have inspired you!



Fancy help with planning your next African cultural and leisure getaway?





 

We have also expanded massively and can now help you plan some unforgettable holiday activities, transport and accommodation in the following destinations: Tanzania, Egypt, Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, Namibia, Madagascar, Kenya, South Africa, Sao Tome, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Turkey, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Congo, Nigeria, Benin. If you need help planning your next holidays whether you are a solo traveler, a duo, a group of friends or a corporate retreat. If you fancy a mixture of black heritage and leisure experiences, we got you!


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Client testimonials We have helped explore & plan their stay in Kenya



Zebra, eating grass, grazing, masai mara, National park , Kenya
Zebra at Masai Mara National Park , Kenya , Courtesy of Nadine from Black Women Travelling podcast


Juliette and Antoinette, French Guinee Bissau twin sisters, living in Marseilles France, planning service for their birthday trip to Diani Beach and Nairobi, Kenya in September  & October 2023



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Juliette and a Masai Warior at aColombus Conservation center, Diani Beach, Kenya

"It was our first time in Kenya we would like to thank Melanin Travel Magic for the tips and guidance with her local partners.

We have reallenjoyed every trip with her partner. It was a great experience.

Thanks again, Christina"





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