The young yet vibrant capital of Kenya has grown rapidly since its founding in 1899, transforming into one of the largest cities on the continent from a swampy terrain with wild animals. It is a city with a large economic impact in Africa and is a place where you can find an abundance of cafes, bars, restaurants, safari adventures and museums.
The best way to experience any city is with a local, but for those of you who are venturing out here on your own, with a partner or your entire family, we recommend you check out these hidden gems recommended by the ones who know best.
Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages
(Image source: TripAdvisor)
Start your day off at Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages—the home of the late Karen Blixen, a famous Danish author who wrote: “Out of Africa”. This cottage was built where the first farmhouse and coffee plantation stood back in 1908 and remains to be a large part of the city’s history.
The area features several of the oldest “official” gardens in the country that can be enjoyed as you sit and sip on a cup of coffee or tea while eating breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. However, make sure you get there early or book a reservation as the place only sits up to 30 people.
(Image source: Biashara Kenya)
Shopping is always a must, and the place to go to is the Maasai Market—an open flea market selling drawings, clothes, fabrics, jewelry, souvenirs, wood-carvings and other hand-made items that make a perfect gift for anyone back home.
The Maasai Market is not located in just one spot, so you must check the location depending on the day of the week you plan on going. It’s said that the downtown location on Saturdays and Sundays tend to be larger and less expensive compared to other locations.
Here are the current spots of the market according to their Facebook page:
• Monday: Closed
• Tuesday: Kijabe Street Park next to Nairobi River and Prestige Plaza along Ngong Road
• Wednesday: Capital Center along Mombasa Road
• Thursday: The junction Mall and along Ngong Road
• Friday: The Village Market along Limuru Road and Lavington Mall
• Saturday: The High court parking in the city Center opposite Re-Insurance Plaza and Prestige Plaza along Ngong Road
• Sunday: Yaya Center along Valley Road in Hurlingham
(Image source: Extraordinary Africa)
No matter where you are in Africa, a safari adventure is always a must. We recommend heading over to Maasi Mara, a reserve full of animals full of cheetahs, lions, zebras, leopards, hyenas and more.
If you’re in Nairobi anytime in July through October, you can witness a small migration. The animals travel in large packs and spend a lot of their time in the open—an amazing event to watch.
Maasi Mara offers safari rides in a truck or SUV, as well as rides in a hot air balloon. If you’re the type of traveler that loves to camp, there are campsites and lodges in the park available for rent. It’s an experience not to be missed!
(Image source: Ole Sereni)
After a day of adventures, wind down at the Waterhole, a terrace bar that sits right next to Nairobi National Park, located at the Ole Sereni hotel. Sit, drink and relax as you watch wild animals roam the land. The bar offers beer, cocktails and fine wines. The best time to go is right before 6pm so that you can gaze at one of the most gorgeous African sunsets.
Nairobi is a city full of wild animals, gorgeous sites, delicious food, and a rich culture—a destination that should make it on your list at least once. For those who plan to travel (or even go back for a second round), we recommend you check out these hidden gems.
If this or any other destinations speak to you, we’d love to help you get there in comfort and put some savings in your pocket. Submit a flight request or contact your agent and we’ll find the best dates to travel there!