Where to go

Nairobi

With lots of exciting things to do and see, Nairobi's reputation is a now completely different one...

To many people's surprise, beyond Kenya's sprawling, traffic-blocked capital, is a hustling capital with an array of things to do and see. Admittedly, Nairobi is mostly used as an unavoidable stopover on many itineraries, but this isn't to say you should rush out as soon as you can! Many beautiful boutique hotels and wildlife interactions, such as the Daphne Sheldrick elephant orphanage, have attracted a huge amount of visitors to the big city.

The two major cities in Kenya are generally held as being Nairobi and Mombasa. On the whole, as with most African cities, both tend to be passed through by travellers to the region… but, upon closer inspection, they can be a rewarding place to spend a couple of nights. Nairobi is a good destination to use as a base for trips out to the Rift Valley to see Nakuru and Naivasha, or to start or finish a safari in Kenya's national parks. On top of this, there are quite a few interesting things to have a look at while in the city. Approximately 30 minutes to the west of Nairobi centre, is the suburb of Karen. This is one of the best places to be based and a few of the highlights to see while in the area are watching the elephant orphans being fed at Daphne Sheldrick's Centre, feeding the giraffe at Giraffe Manor or the Giraffe centre, or simply relaxing in one of the private gardens with a view of the Ngong Hills in the distance.

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    At a glance... Nairobi

    • Size: 696 kilometres squared
    • Location: Central/ South Kenya
    • Recommended time: 1-2 nights
    • Time to visit: Year round except April and May
    • Things to See and Do: Nairobi National Park, Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Centre, Karen Blixen Museum

    Further reading...

    Our top five hotels & lodges in Nairobi:

    1. You will be joined by friendly giants at breakfast!

      Giraffe Manor

      Sharing your breakfast with giraffes is the norm here at Giraffe Manor! Once an old colonial mansion, the now refurbished boutique hotel is famous for its habituated Rothschild giraffes, who regularly come to say hi through the large vintage windows. There is no arguing that Giraffe Manor offers... More...

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    2. The view of the rooms at Hemingways

      Hemingways

      Hemingways is the ultimate luxurious hotel. On arrival, guests are appointed a personal and attentive butler to make a stay a truly memorable one. The expansive and delicate suites with enormous en-suite bathrooms are a luxurious haven, aside from the busyness of Nairobi’s city centre. Although it’... More...

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    3. The main building of The Palacina

      The Palacina

      With a proliferation of business and luxury lodges dotted in and around Nairobi, it can be a little tricky to choose the best of them. We have been going out to East Africa for the last 12 years and have, either routing through to the safari lodges or on to the beaches, spent many a night trying... More...

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    4. The interior of the suite in The Boma

      The Boma

      Boasting its great position between the international and domestic airports of Nairobi, The Boma is our pick of the choice for guests passing through the city. The comfortable rooms and superb service compliment the rest of the hotels space and amenities. The only downside is that its 148 rooms... More...

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    5. The exterior of House of Waine

      House of Waine

      As one of the favourite boutique hotels in Nairobi, House of Waine is a warm, family owned and run property, offering relaxation and intimacy in the exclusive suburb of Karen. Its name as House of ‘Waine’ is formed from the initials of the family members, and each of the 11 boutique rooms have been... More...

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