Top 15 Things to Do in Nairobi, Kenya

Top Tourist Spots in Nairobi

Baby elephant being fed at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust photo by The Trump White House Archive

Bucket List: 15 Best Places to Visit in Nairobi, Kenya

Kenya is most prominent for its exhilarating safari adventures and dazzling beaches along its coast. But deep into the urban jungle is the flourishing multi-faceted capital city of Nairobi, with several cultural and historical attractions where visitors can learn more about Kenya’s colonial past, Kenya’s independence, and modern life in Nairobi.

Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park is the only national park close to the city. It was first established in 1946 and now houses lions, leopards, buffalos, zebra, antelopes, giraffes, and hundreds of species of birds. Visitors can arrange for game drives and guides or take the safari walk near the entrance.

Location: Animal Orphanage Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Visiting Hours: 6AM to 6PM, Daily
Entrance Rates (Citizens and Residents): Ksh 215 (Children), Ksh 500 (Adults)
Entrance Rates (Non-residents): Ksh 20 (Children), Ksh 60 (Adults)

Nairobi National Museum

Nairobi National Museum photo via FB page
Nairobi National Museum photo via FB page

The Nairobi National Museum is a great starting point to choose from the several other museums in the city. The museum was established more than 100 years ago and has gone through Kenya’s colonial past through its independence. The museum has several galleries, each focusing on Kenya’s history, heritage, and anthropology. Visitors can do a self-guided tour on their own or hire a guide.

Location: Kipande Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Visiting Hours: 8AM to 5PM, Mondays to Fridays; 8AM to 12PM, Saturday; Closed on Sundays
Entrance Rates (Citizens): Ksh 100 (Children), Ksh 200 (Adults)
Entrance Rates (Residents): Ksh 400 (Children), Ksh 600 (Adults)
Entrance Rates (Non-residents): Ksh 600 (Children), Ksh 1,200 (Adults)

Kenya National Archives

Kenya National Archives by Jorge Lascar via Wikipedia cc
Kenya National Archives by Jorge Lascar via Wikipedia cc

The Kenya National Archives was established in 1965 and now houses over 40,000 volumes of records and archives that date back from colonial times to independence. The Archives’ main attraction is the Murumbi Gallery on the ground floor where Pan-African artifacts, like jewelry, textiles, and tribal masks, which belonged to former Vice President Joseph Murumbi and his wife, are exhibited. The gallery was created to honor and remember the significant work the former Vice President had done for the people of Kenya. More artworks and postage stamps can be viewed on the second floor.

Location: Moi Avenue, Nairobi, Kenya
Visiting Hours: 8AM to 5PM, Mondays to Fridays; 8AM to 12PM, Saturday; Closed on Sundays
Entrance Rates: Ksh 50 (Kenya Citizens and Residents), Ksh 200 (Non-residents)

Karen Blixen Museum

The Karen Blixen museum in Nairobi, Kenya by Alexander Leisser via Wikimedia cc
The Karen Blixen museum in Nairobi, Kenya By Alexander Leisser – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

Karen Blixen Museum was once a farmhouse built in 1912 and owned by Baroness Karen Blixen and her husband, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke. The museum was made famous by the Hollywood movie “Out of Africa” based on Karen Blixen’s autobiography of the same title. The former farmhouse was purchased by the Danish government in 1964 and then gifted to Kenya after gaining independence from Britain. It was transformed into a museum in 1985 and opened its doors to the public in 1986 to honor Karen Blixen. Visitors can take a look around the museum and glimpse the life of Karen Blixen and the story of colonial Kenya. Inside the bungalow are original items owned by the remarkable woman and mementos from the movie.

Location: Karen Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Visiting Hours: 8:30AM to 5:30PM, Daily
Entrance Rates:
Website: museums.or.ke/karen-blixen

Kazuri Beads Factory

Kazuri Beads Factory photo via FB Page
Kazuri Beads Factory photo via FB Page

Kazuri Beads Factory is an artisan workshop founded by two single mothers in 1975. Now, the workshop employs more than 300 women, most of whom are disadvantaged and need regular jobs. Each product is hand-made and hand-painted. Visitors can purchase necklaces, bracelets, and potteries made by these amazing women to support their livelihood.

Location: Lang’ata Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Visiting Hours: 8AM to 5PM, Daily
Website: kazuri.com

Bomas of Kenya

Kuria village at Bomas of Kenya near Nairobi by Alexander Leisser via Wikimedia cc
Kuria village at Bomas of Kenya near Nairobi by Alexander Leisser via Wikimedia cc

Learn about the Kenyan ethnic minorities and experience their culture at the Bomas of Kenya, a tourist village established to preserve and promote the rich and diverse cultural values of the ethnic communities of Kenya. Visitors can watch a live cultural performance by the Bomas Harambee Dancers resident dance troupe, visit the traditional homesteads representing the bomas (villages) of Kenya, participate in educational programs and have a taste of traditional Kenyan cuisine at the Utamaduni Restaurant. Cultural artifacts from ethnic communities around Kenya are also exhibited and can be viewed from the Gallery Space. These artifacts range from food and beverage containers to artifacts reserved for special ceremonies like ritual masks.

Location: Lang’ata Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Daily Cultural Performance: 2:30PM to 4PM, Mondays to Fridays; 3:30PM to 5:15PM, Weekends and Public Holidays
Entrance Rates (Citizens): Ksh 50 (Children), Ksh 200 (Adults)
Entrance Rates (East African Community): Ksh 200 (Children), Ksh 300 (Adults)
Entrance Rates (Non-residents): Ksh 500 (Children), Ksh 1000 (Adults)
Website: bomasofkenya.co.ke

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Baby elephant being fed at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust photo by The Trump White House Archive
Baby elephant being fed at David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust photo by The Trump White House Archive

Founded in 1977, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is one of Africa’s oldest wildlife charities and pioneer conservation organizations in rescuing and hand-raising orphaned baby elephants and rhinos. SWT has nine projects that ensure a sustainable future for all wildlife and habitats, and the Orphan’s Project is perhaps their most recognized.

The project rescues the elephant and rhino populations that fall victim to the dangers of poaching, habitat loss, deforestation, and drought. These orphans are cared for round-the-clock, day in and day out, until they are reintroduced to the wild when they are old enough. SWT’s Elephant Orphanage is based in Nairobi National Park.

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has a special, time-honored tradition where they open their doors for an hour every day to invite the public to learn about the organization’s conservation work and meet the orphans in care. Visitors are highly advised to book in advance to ensure the safety of the staff, orphans, and other guests.

Location: KWS Central Workshop Gate, Magadi Rd, Nairobi, Kenya
Public Visiting Hours: 11AM to 12NN, Daily; Booking is necessary
Entrance Rates: Ksh 500 (Children below 12 years of age), Ksh 1,500 (Children and Adults 12 years and above)
Website: sheldrickwildlifetrust.org

Giraffe Center

Giraffe Center by Jorge Lascar via Wikimedia cc
Giraffe Center By Jorge Láscar from Australia – Feeding a giraffe – Giraffe Centre, CC BY 2.0, cc

The Giraffe Centre is one of the popular day trip destinations in Nairobi for families with young children. Created by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya (A.F.E.W. Kenya) in 1979, the center’s goal is to protect the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe and educate the Kenyan youth and general public on wildlife the environment. Visitors can take a stroll on the Nature Trail, watch the giraffes while enjoying some refreshments at the Tea House or get close to the giraffes from the Feeding Platform.

Location: Duma Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Visiting Hours: 9AM to 5PM, Daily
Entrance Rates (Residents): Ksh 200 (Children aged 3 to 12 years), Ksh 400 (Adults), FREE for Children below 3 years of age
Entrance Rates (Non-residents): Ksh 750 (Children aged 3 to 12 years), Ksh 1,500 (Adults)
Website: giraffecentre.org

Nairobi Animal Orphanage

Nairobi Animal Orphanage via FB page
Nairobi Animal Orphanage via FB page

Established in 1964, the Nairobi Animal Orphanage is a treatment and rehabilitation center for wild animals and can be found in Nairobi National Park. It is the oldest conservation and rehabilitation facility in Kenya. Wildlife and birds are taken care of inside the orphanage, such as lions, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, serval cats, rare Sokoke cats, warthogs, leopards, monkeys, baboons, buffalo, parrots, guinea fowls, crowned cranes, and ostriches. Although the animals are not roaming in the wild, their enclosures are labeled with their stories; how they were rescued, where they came from, who takes care of them, and if they are injured or abandoned.

Location: Nairobi National Park, Nairobi, Kenya
Visiting Hours: 8AM to 5PM, Daily
Entrance Rates (Citizens and Residents): Ksh 125 (Children), Ksh 250 (Adults)
Entrance Rates (Non-residents): Ksh 15 (Children), Ksh 25 (Adults)

Maasai Ostrich Farm

Maasai Ostrich Farm photo via Fb Page
Maasai Ostrich Farm photo via Fb Page

Kenya’s only and largest ostrich farm, the Maasai Ostrich Farm, was established n 1991 and named after the ethnic community within the area. The farm has more than 1000 Somali ostrich and Maasai ostrich. Visitors can join organized tours of the farm, get a ride from one of the trained ostriches, buy ostrich meat, take a dive at the farm’s public swimming pool or simply relax at the picnic grounds.

Location: Enkasiti Road, Off Nairobi – Namanga Rd
Visiting Hours: 8AM to 5PM, Mondays to Saturdays
Rates: Ksh 500 (Ostrich Rides), Ksh 300 (Farm Tour)
Website: maasaiostrichfarm.co.ke

Karura Forest

The Karura Forest Natural River by Evans Nyawate via Wikimedia cc
The Karura Forest Natural River By Evans Nyawate – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

Karura Forest was established in 1932 and is maintained by the Kenya Forest Service in cooperation with the Friends of Karura Forest Community Forest Association. The 2,570-acre urban forest welcomes all visitors providing a scenic escape from the busy capital city. Visitors can enjoy hiking, jogging, dog walking (on-leash), bird watching, mountain biking, horseback riding, tennis, picnicking, and tree planting, among other activities. The Friends of Karura Forest also offers eco-tours on the ecology, history, and vegetation of Karur Forest. Otherwise, visitors can explore the forest independently and discover small caves, waterfalls, and indigenous animals.

Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Visiting Hours: 6AM to 6PM, Daily
Entrance Rates (Citizens): Ksh 50 (Children), Ksh 100 (Adults)
Entrance Rates (Residents): Ksh 100 (Children), Ksh 200 (Adults)
Entrance Rates (Non-residents): Ksh 300 (Children), Ksh 600 (Adults)
Picnic Fees: Ksh 100 (Children), Ksh 150 (Adults)

Eco-Tours (Citizens): Ksh 150 (Children, General Tour), Ksh 300 (Adults, General Tour), Ksh 400 (Children, Specialized Tour), Ksh 800 (Adults, Specialized Tour), Ksh 900 (Children, Exclusive VIP Tour), Ksh 1,800 (Adults, Exclusive VIP Tour)

Eco-Tours (Residents): Ksh 300 (Children, General Tour), Ksh 600 (Adults, General Tour), Ksh 500 (Children, Specialized Tour), Ksh 1,000 (Adults, Specialized Tour), Ksh 1,150 (Children, Exclusive VIP Tour), Ksh 2,300 (Adults, Exclusive VIP Tour)

Eco-Tours (Non-residents): Ksh 550 (Children, General Tour), Ksh 1,100 (Adults, General Tour), Ksh 700 (Children, Specialized Tour), Ksh 1,400 (Adults, Specialized Tour), Ksh 1,650 (Children, Exclusive VIP Tour), Ksh 3,300 (Adults, Exclusive VIP Tour)

Website: friendsofkarura.org

Nairobi Arboretum

The Nairobi Arboretum Park by Hero dala via Wikimedia cc
The Nairobi Arboretum Park By Ahero dala – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

The Nairobi Arboretum is a quiet place to unwind after a day’s worth of work or traveling. The Arboretum was established in 1907 by Mr. Batiscombe to introduce exotic tree species to Kenya. After the country’s independence, the Arboretum received little attention and funding from the government. It was in 1993 when the Friends of Nairobi Arboretum was created to look for volunteers and donors to save the Arboretum.

Today, the Arboretum has 350 species of indigenous and exotic plants and 100 species of birds. Visitors can enjoy jogging, dog walking (on a leash), and picnicking in the Arboretum.

Location: Kilimani Arboretum Road, Off State House Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Visiting Hours: 6AM to 6:15PM, Daily
Entrance Rates: Ksh 27 (Children), Ksh 65 (Adults)
Website: nairobiarboretum.org

Uhuru Gardens Memorial Park

Uhuru Gardens Memorial Park by Luide Kakembo via Wikimedia cc
Uhuru Gardens Memorial Park By Luide Kakembo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

Uhuru Gardens Memorial Park is the largest urban memorial park in Kenya, where various landmarks dot the property, each with its own history. The site was chosen by Kenya’s founding fathers, the same spot where the first Kenyan flag was raised in 1963, and the national anthem played for the first time. The park was built to celebrate Kenya’s independence from British colonizers. The word “Uhuru” means “freedom” in Swahili. President Uhuru Kenyatta officially opened the Uhuru Gardens National Monument and Museum this year.

Location: Off Lang’ata Road, Nairobi, Kenya
Visiting Hours: 8AM to 6PM, Daily

Jeevanjee Gardens

Monument at Jeevanjee Gardens by MowtoMowto via Wikimedia cc
Monument at Jeevanjee Gardens by MowtoMowto via Wikimedia cc

Found within the city center, Jeevanjee Gardens was donated by Alibhai Jeevanjee in 1906, one of the first settlers in Nairobi, as a resting area. In the 90s, it was almost transformed into a shopping complex but was deterred by thousands of protesters. Today, Jeevanjee Gardens has paved paths, several bougainvillea and jacaranda, and sculptures that include one of Queen Victoria and Alibhai Jeevanjee.

Location: Monrovia Street, Nairobi, Kenya
Visiting Hours: 24/7

The Maasai Market

The Maasai Market in Nairobi, Kenya by Wawerumacha via Wikimedia cc
The Maasai Market in Nairobi, Kenya By Wawerumacha – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

The Maasai Market is one of Kenya’s most popular open-air markets. Vendors sell a wide range of products like Maasai blankets, Maasai sandals, jewelry, artwork, wooden carvings, wooden bowls, wooden baskets, and utensils. The market rotates around the city:

  • Tuesday – Kijabe Street opposite the Norfolk Hotel
  • Wednesday – Capital Centre on Mombasa Road near the airport
  • Thursday – Nakumatt Junction Shopping Mall on Ngong Road
  • Friday – Village Market in Gigiri (the upper car park)
  • Saturday – The High Court parking lot in the city center (behind the Hilton)
  • Sunday – Yaya Centre in Hurlingham

Maasai Market Tips:

  • If possible, shop with a local
  • Learn to bargain, but don’t over bargain that may hurt the business
  • Bring local currency
  • Explore as many stalls as possible
  • As with any crowded market, be aware of your surroundings
  • Wear comfortable footwear

Visiting Hours: 8AM to 5PM, Tuesdays to Sundays

How to get there

Whether you’re visiting Nairobi for a day or a week, there are several attractions to choose from that you won’t regret. Like other urban centers around Kenya, Nairobi has international and recognized accommodations, which is why the city is popular with expatriates. Jomo Kenyatta International, formerly Embakasi Airport and Nairobi International Airport, services Nairobi with over 40 passengers and 25 cargo airlines. Public transportation, shuttle, and rental services are available to get to the city center.

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