Basic Facts about NairobiNairobi is the capital city of Kenya and East Africa's most populous city (3.5 million). Nairobi was founded in 1899 as a railway stop en route to Mombasa. Within a decade it grew to become the capital of British East Africa and became Kenya's capital after independence in 1963. Nairobi is a major business hub and many Aid agencies headquarter here as well. Nairobi has a modern city center, some beautiful suburbs, as well as Africa's largest slum. The city is built on a plateau and it stays pleasantly cool year round. Both English and (ki)Swahili are widely spoken. See Top 10 Nairobi Attractions...
Claim to FameNairobi's crime rate is quite high and the US Government warns travelers to visit with care. On a lighter note, Nairobi is unique in having a very good wildlife park situated just 5 miles from the city center.
in transit. Getting around the city is easy by taxi, matatu or tuk-tuk.
Nairobi has many interesting sights including:
- Nairobi National Park is one of Kenya's most successful black rhino sanctuaries, it also has its own wildebeest migration as well as over 400 species of bird.
- Good museums include the National Museum, the Karen Blixen Museum (of Out of Africa fame) and the Kenya Railway Museum.
- Carnivore Restaurant offers wildly interesting dishes.
- David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust houses elephant and rhino orphans.
- Nairobi Slum Tours -- for those interested in seeing how most of the city's inhabitants live.
- Recommended hotels include the luxurious boutique hotel Ngong House, where you can stay in a tree house, or the ultra modern Tribe Hotel. The family owned Fairview Hotel is the best mid-range option, and the tiny Miit Mingi Guesthouse for budget travelers. If you want to avoid the city center, check out Nairobi Tented Camp, just 15 minutes from Wilson airport and situated in the heart of Nairobi National Park. Around the leafy suburbs of Karen, there are some excellent boutique hotel options including: House of Waine, and Giraffe Manor. The Panari Hotel and the EKA Hotel are both close to the international airport. Click here for a list of my recommended hotels in Nairobi.
- Nairobi has many restaurants serving a wide variety of cuisines. For people-watching grab a snack at the Thorn Tree Cafe. Fresh seafood can be had at Tamarind, and French cuisine at Alan Bobbe's Bistro. Of course the Carnivore Restaurant is perfect for meat lovers.
- Nairobi city tours are a good option for those worried about their personal safety.