A Travel Guide to Nairobi, Kenya: What to See, Do, Experience

Welcome to Nairobi, the dynamic and vibrant capital city of Kenya. Nairobi is a city that effortlessly blends its rich cultural heritage with modern urban life, creating a unique and exciting destination for travelers. In this comprehensive travel guide, we will delve deep into what Nairobi has to offer, from its remarkable attractions and activities to essential information to make your visit memorable.

Travel Guide to Nairobi

A Little About Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, often referred to as "The Green City in the Sun," is Kenya's largest city and serves as its economic, political, and cultural heart. Nestled on the eastern edge of the Great Rift Valley, Nairobi boasts a unique blend of natural beauty and urban excitement, making it a captivating destination for tourists from all corners of the globe.

Getting to Nairobi, Kenya

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

By Air

The most common way to reach Nairobi is by flying into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO). This airport is well-connected to major cities worldwide and serves as the primary gateway to Kenya. The airport is situated approximately 15 kilometers from the city center, making it convenient for travelers.

By Road

For those traveling overland, Nairobi is accessible via several border crossings with neighboring countries, including Tanzania, Uganda, and Ethiopia. However, road travel can be quite challenging and time-consuming, so it's essential to research the best routes and border crossing requirements before embarking on your journey.

Traveling to Nairobi, Kenya in 2024 – Entry Requirements

Before planning your trip to Nairobi, it is crucial to stay informed about the current entry requirements, especially considering global health concerns. As of my last knowledge update in January 2024, Kenya had specific entry requirements for travelers, including visa and vaccination requirements.

A Comprehensive Travel Guide to Nairobi

Things to Know Before Visiting Nairobi, Kenya

Currency: Kenyan Shilling (KES)

The official currency used in Nairobi and throughout Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KES). While major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants, and shops in the city, it's a good idea to carry some cash for small purchases and local markets.

Official Languages: Swahili and English

Swahili and English are the official languages of Kenya, and you will find that most Kenyans are proficient in English, making it relatively easy to communicate with locals.

Time Zone: East Africa Time (EAT, UTC+3)

Nairobi operates on East Africa Time (EAT), which is 3 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+3).

Voltage: 240V/50Hz (British-style plugs)

If you plan to use electrical devices in Nairobi, you will need a power adapter to fit the British-style plugs and potentially a voltage converter if your devices are not compatible with 240 volts.

The Best Time to Visit Nairobi

Nairobi enjoys a moderate climate year-round, but the best time to visit is during the dry seasons, which occur from June to September and December to February. During these months, Nairobi experiences pleasant weather with comfortable temperatures and minimal rainfall, making it ideal for outdoor activities and wildlife safaris.

Where to Stay in Nairobi

Nairobi offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Here are some popular areas to consider when choosing where to stay:

1. Westlands

Westlands is a bustling and cosmopolitan neighborhood known for its vibrant nightlife, shopping centers, and a wide range of hotels, from luxury to budget-friendly.

2. Karen

Karen is a serene and upscale suburb of Nairobi, named after Karen Blixen, the famous Danish author. This area offers luxury lodges, boutique hotels, and easy access to attractions like the Giraffe Center and Nairobi National Park.

3. City Center

Staying in the city center provides convenient access to Nairobi's business district, cultural sites, and major transportation hubs. You'll find a variety of hotels catering to different budgets.

4. Langata

Langata is a residential area that is home to the Nairobi National Park and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage. It's a great choice if you want to be close to nature.

5. Gigiri

Gigiri is home to the United Nations headquarters and several international embassies. This area offers upscale accommodation options and is known for its security.

Things to Do in Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi offers a wealth of activities and attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking cultural experiences, there's something for everyone in this vibrant city.

nature enthusiast

1. Visit the Giraffe Center

The Giraffe Center is a must-visit attraction in Nairobi, where you can get up close and personal with the endangered Rothschild giraffes. You can feed and even kiss these gentle giants, making it a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.

2. Visit the Elephant Orphanage – Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Located within Nairobi National Park, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned elephants and rhinos. Visitors have the opportunity to watch these majestic creatures during their daily feeding sessions and learn about conservation efforts.

3. Spend a Day with the Maasai Tribe

Experience the rich culture and traditions of the Maasai people by visiting a Maasai village. You can participate in traditional dances, witness beadwork demonstrations, and learn about their pastoral way of life.

4. Experience a Safari in Nairobi’s National Park

Nairobi National Park, located just a short drive from the city center, offers a remarkable safari experience. This unique park allows you to spot iconic African wildlife, including lions, giraffes, zebras, and rhinos, against the backdrop of Nairobi's skyline.

5. Visit the Maasai Market

The Maasai Market is a vibrant and colorful open-air market where you can shop for authentic African crafts, jewelry, clothing, and souvenirs. Bargaining is expected, so don't hesitate to negotiate for the best deals.

6. Afternoon Tea at Villa Rosa Kempinski

Indulge in a luxurious afternoon tea at Villa Rosa Kempinski, a renowned five-star hotel in Nairobi. The elegant setting and delectable treats make it an excellent choice for a relaxing afternoon.

Where to Eat in Nairobi – My Recommended Spots

Nairobi's culinary scene is diverse, offering a blend of international cuisine, traditional Kenyan dishes, and fusion flavors. Here are some of my recommended dining spots:

Eat in Nairobi

1. Carnivore Restaurant

Carnivore Restaurant is a famous dining establishment that specializes in serving exotic meats like ostrich, crocodile, and camel. It's an adventurous dining experience that meat lovers should not miss.

2. Talisman

Talisman is an upscale restaurant located in Karen that offers a fusion of international and Kenyan cuisine. Set in a lush garden, it provides a tranquil and romantic dining experience.

3. Java House

Java House is a popular local chain known for its great coffee, delicious breakfast options, and a wide range of dishes. It's an excellent choice for a casual meal or a quick coffee break.

My Nairobi Itinerary

To help you make the most of your visit to Nairobi, here's a sample 3-day itinerary:

Day 1: Exploring Nairobi's Wildlife

  • Morning: Visit Nairobi National Park for a safari experience.
  • Afternoon: Explore the Giraffe Center and get close to the giraffes.
  • Evening: Enjoy a relaxed dinner at one of Nairobi's fine dining restaurants.

Day 2: Cultural Immersion

  • Morning: Spend time with the Maasai tribe to learn about their traditions.
  • Afternoon: Discover local crafts and souvenirs at the Maasai Market.
  • Evening: Return to your chosen dining spot for a taste of Nairobi's culinary delights.

Day 3: Conservation and Nature

  • Morning: Head to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage to witness the baby elephants' feeding.
  • Afternoon: Take a leisurely stroll through the serene Karen Blixen Museum.
  • Evening: Wrap up your trip with an indulgent afternoon tea at Villa Rosa Kempinski.

Moving Around in Nairobi

Navigating Nairobi is relatively straightforward, with several transportation options available to suit your needs:

1. Matatus

Matatus are shared minibus taxis that serve as a primary mode of public transportation in Nairobi. While they are an affordable option, they can be crowded and may not always adhere to strict safety regulations. Use caution and negotiate fares in advance.

2. Taxis

Taxis are readily available in Nairobi and offer a more comfortable and convenient way to get around the city. Be sure to use licensed taxis from reputable companies, and consider using ride-sharing apps for added convenience and transparency.

3. Uber and Bolt

Uber and Bolt (formerly Taxify) are widely used ride-sharing apps in Nairobi. They provide a reliable and safe way to travel within the city, with transparent pricing and the convenience of cashless transactions.

4. Matatu Routes

Matatus follow specific routes within the city, and it's essential to know which one to take to reach your destination. Locals can provide guidance on which matatu to use for specific routes.

5. Car Rentals

If you prefer more independence and flexibility in your travels, consider renting a car. However, be prepared for Nairobi's often congested traffic and varying road conditions.

What to Pack for Nairobi

Packing for your trip to Nairobi depends on the time of year you plan to visit and the activities you have in mind. Here's a list of items to consider packing:


  • Lightweight, breathable clothing for warm days.
  • Layered clothing for cooler evenings.
  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring.
  • Swimsuit if your accommodation has a pool.


  • Sunscreen with high SPF.
  • Sun hat and sunglasses.
  • Insect repellent for outdoor activities.
  • Rain jacket or umbrella for potential rain showers.
  • Travel adapter for British-style plugs.


  • Valid passport with any necessary visas.
  • Photocopies of important documents, including your passport and travel insurance.
  • Printed itinerary, hotel reservations, and contact information for emergencies.
  • Vaccination records, especially if required.

Health and Safety:

  • Basic first aid kit with essential medications.
  • Reusable water bottle and water purification tablets or a filtering system.
  • Personal hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.
  • Travel insurance that covers health emergencies and trip cancellations.


  • Camera or smartphone with a good camera for capturing memories.
  • Power bank and charger for your electronic devices.
  • Travel guidebook or offline maps for navigating the city.

Safety in Nairobi

Nairobi, like many major cities around the world, has its safety considerations. While the city is generally safe for tourists, it's essential to stay vigilant and take precautions to ensure a trouble-free visit:

1. Personal Safety:

  • Keep your belongings secure and be cautious in crowded areas.
  • Avoid displaying expensive items, such as jewelry and electronics.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially at night.

2. Health and Hygiene:

  • Drink bottled or purified water to prevent waterborne illnesses.
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before eating.

3. Transportation:

  • Use reputable taxi services or ride-sharing apps like Uber or Bolt.
  • Negotiate fares in advance when using matatus.
  • Be cautious when walking at night and stick to well-lit areas.

4. Wildlife Safaris:

  • Follow park rules and guidelines during safaris to ensure your safety and that of the animals.
  • Listen to your safari guide's instructions and maintain a safe distance from wildlife.

5. Health Precautions:

  • Stay updated on any health advisories or vaccination requirements.
  • Carry a basic first aid kit and any necessary medications.


Nairobi, with its diverse cultural experiences, rich wildlife, and urban attractions, is a destination that promises an unforgettable adventure. Whether you're seeking close encounters with exotic animals, immersing yourself in local culture, or simply enjoying the city's culinary delights, Nairobi has something for every traveler. 

By following the recommendations and tips provided in this comprehensive travel guide, you'll be well-prepared to explore and savor all that this remarkable city has to offer. So, pack your bags, embark on your journey, and let Nairobi enchant you with its beauty and charm. Enjoy your adventure in the heart of Kenya!




To obtain a eTA for Kenya

  • Step1: Complete the online application by providing your passport details
  • Step2: Submit payment online using a credit card.
  • Step3: Monitor your email for confirmation of payment and receipt of your eTA, which will be sent electronically.
Get eTA to Kenya

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