Are you visiting Nairobi for the first time? Or have you lived here your whole life and are looking for something new and interesting to do in the city – I have a few suggestions for you.

1. VIEWING NAIROBI FROM THE TOP OF KENYATTA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE (KICC)

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_KICC from uhuru park2View of the KICC from Uhuru Park

The Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) is a 28-storey building located in Nairobi’s CBD (Central Business District) and is within walking distance of several five-star hotels. During its 39-year history it has been the host of several international conferences, seminars, exhibitions and summits.

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_KICC sunsetSunset view. Photography by Mutua Matheka

KICC succeeded the Hilton Nairobi as the tallest building when it was completed in 1974 and held the title for 23 years. The view from the rooftop, which historically served as a helipad, is one of the best of my beloved Nairobi. This 360-degree bird’s eye view of the city center is unrivaled. On a clear day you can spot some of the city’s green spaces like Uhuru Park, Central Park, City Park, Railways Golf Course and the Nairobi National Park. Do dress warmly; it gets rather windy up there, especially in the evenings.

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_KICC from nation center View of the KICC from the Nation Center. Photography by Mutua Matheka

Management allows visitors to access the rooftop every day from 9:00am till 8.00pm on weekdays, and till 6.00pm on weekends. Charges:  Citizens Ksh 150 ($1.5), Residents Ksh 200 ($2), Foreigners Ksh 400 ($4).

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_view from KICC

 

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_KICC panoramaPhotography by Mutua Matheka

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3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_KICC panorama2Photography by Mutua Matheka

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Above the 'Eye'Panoramic Views of the CBD from KICC. Photography by Mutua Matheka

 

If you are interested in a bit of shopping, KICC is within walking distance of the Maasai market, which is set up at the High Court parking lot on Saturdays and Sundays. From experience, this market has fairly good rates compared to others in more upmarket locations. Walk around the market first before making any purchases. You will find duplicates differing in quality so it is best to see what is on offer. Be ready to bargain; depending on how naïve the seller thinks you are, he/she might quote an amount 2-3 times the actual cost. Also decline all offers of anyone who tries to show you around the market.

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_maasai marketThe Maasai Market. Image Source

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3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_maasai market2Products at the Maasai Market. Image Source

 

2. VISITING THE NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK

The Nairobi National Park is a unique ecosystem as the only protected area in the world close to a capital city. The park is located only 7 km from Nairobi city centre.

It offers surreal views of the CBD. If you have seen any photos of the park, they most likely include animals and savannah in the foreground and the sprawling city in the background.

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_Nairobi national park

 

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_Nairobi national park2.

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_Nairobi national park3.

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_Nairobi national park4.

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_Nairobi national park5.

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_Nairobi safari walk.

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_Nairobi safari walk2The raised boardwalk in the Nairobi Safari Walk

Officially opened in 1946, Nairobi National Park was the first national park established in Kenya. Its major wildlife attractions are the Black rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, buffaloes, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, elands and diverse birdlife with over 400 species recorded.

Early morning and late afternoons are the best times to see the animals. You can also enjoy a picnic breakfast or sun-downer in the park, which you organize yourself or ask a taxi or tour company to arrange for you. If you are staying in the CBD most hotels in the city also organize day excursions to the park.

Charges are:

Citizen (Kshs) Resident (Kshs) Non-Resident (USD)
Adult 500 1200 50
Child 300 600 25

 

For vehicles with less than 6 seats, charges are Kshs. 350 per day.

Should you choose to forgo a game drive inside the park, you can go to the Nairobi Safari Walk or the Animal Orphanage, both are located within the Kenya Wildlife Service HQ.

Citizen (Kshs) Resident (Kshs) Non-Resident (USD)
Adult 250 350 25
Child 150 200 15

Another attraction, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, is also located inside the park. If you’d like to catch elephant calves being fed, you can visit the orphanage from 11am-12pm daily. Charges are Ksh 500 ($5).

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_David Sheldrick

 

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_David Sheldrick2Orphan baby Elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

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3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_David Sheldrick3Feeding a baby Elephant at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

 

3. ‘NYAMA CHOMA’ AT THE CARNIVORE RESTAURANT

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_Canivore entranceImage Source

It’s hard to be in Nairobi without having some nyama choma (barbecued meat). There are several locations to find some but the Carnivore Restaurant is by far the most convenient location. This 34-year old restaurant is modelled after a Brazilian churrascaria but for a local touch, meat is roasted on traditional Maasai swords.

3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_CanivoreImage Source

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3 unmissable experiences Nairobi_Canivore2Image Source

Occasionally, the menu includes ostrich and crocodile including your regular beef, pork, lamb and chicken and a selection of African (Kenyan and South African) wines. Fret not if you’re vegetarian, there is a vegetarian menu and you can comfortably join your friends. The Carnivore is also home of the Simba Saloon, a delicious a la carte restaurant by day and a popular nightlife and concert venue, so check ahead if this is something you’re interested in. Overall, in the words of one reviewer, “Come hungry!”

What other unmissable experiences in Nairobi can you think of?

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17 Comments

  1. Sammy
    August 11, 2014 at 9:09 pm — Reply

    Who’s your photographer? He/she does a pretty excellent job!

    • August 14, 2014 at 10:20 am — Reply

      I take most of the photos for the blog (unless otherwise stated). In this post the only photos I took are the David Sheldrick ones, most of the others are c’o other photographers.

  2. August 12, 2014 at 3:04 am — Reply

    This was great, Rachel! Those pictures by Mutua are absolutely amazing and I’m a huge fan of finding building top vistas. Even better if they have a restaurant! I was so surprised see the zebras that close in the Nairobi National Park to the city! I’ve never seen a picture like that paints just how close the two exist. I would love to pet and feed the elephants but not clean up after them 🙂

    • August 14, 2014 at 10:24 am — Reply

      The KICC does have a revolving restaurant at the very top but I don’t think it’s currently operational.
      You can definitely pet the elephant calves, no need to clean up after them.

  3. August 12, 2014 at 8:02 pm — Reply

    The images of the Nairobi cityscape are stunning – wow! I’ve been wanting to visit Tanzania for years now, but the more I read your blog, the more you inspire me to prioritize Kenya as well. It looks like Nairobi has a lot to offer!

  4. August 12, 2014 at 10:21 pm — Reply

    I’ve been to the elephant orphanage and could have spent a full day there.What an amazing place. The Nairobi National Park sounds like another winner.

  5. Keniamoja
    August 13, 2014 at 8:44 am — Reply

    My goodness this is AWESOME STUFF from Mutua Matheka!

    Awesome to see how the David Sheldrick Foundation is supporting orphaned Elephants, rehabilitating them to take their rightful place back in the bush.The place is an absolute gem.

    Where else in the world can you see non-captive lions, rhinos, leopards, buffalo, and giraffes with skyscrapers in the background? NAIROBI!!!

  6. August 13, 2014 at 8:55 am — Reply

    Great photos 🙂

  7. Manesha
    August 13, 2014 at 1:05 pm — Reply

    The view from KICC..priceless!!

  8. Tanya
    August 13, 2014 at 3:19 pm — Reply

    I’m absolutely hooked on Kenya’s tourism especially local tourism of my city of birth!! Brings so many memories of the tons of trips my Dad used to take me even that boardwalk in Nairobi national park is to die for!!! I need to bring my kids to see these sights just as my Dad did for me…being in the U.K makes me miss home too much. Those nostalgic panoramic views of home bring a tear to my eye!!

    • August 14, 2014 at 10:30 am — Reply

      Come visit!

      • June 12, 2015 at 11:49 am — Reply

        Welcome all to Kenya!

        We facilitate custom safaris 🙂

  9. August 16, 2014 at 8:30 pm — Reply

    Amazing this our Nairobi, I have to be to some of those places I haven’t been too. Ashamed I haven’t yet gone to Safari walk.

  10. August 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm — Reply

    WoW spectacular photos !

  11. August 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm — Reply

    I still can’t believe I have not made it to Carnivore yet! The meat and atmosphere there is legendary. Hope I can try nyama choma soon and also make it to the top of the KICC on a clear day.

  12. August 28, 2014 at 11:55 pm — Reply

    Amazing pictures. When we were in Nairobi, we didn’t get the best feeling about Nairobi city center. It look like we were the only tourists there and everybody were noticing us (especially on the market). But looking at these photos it looks really great and we regret, that we didn’t visit KICC. On the other hand we loved Carnivore (food is fantastic), Nairobi national park and, of course, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. They are really doing an amazing and noble job. To bad, there is not more people like them.

  13. September 16, 2014 at 5:54 pm — Reply

    I like the contrast between the modern city of Nairobi and nature 🙂

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