Nairobi which is famous for having the world’s only game reserve in a large city is the capital city of Kenya, with a population of about 3.5million people as of 2016. The official languages in Kenya to which all Nairobians can converse in are Swahili and English.
The climate is warm and temperate in Nairobi, but there is a significant amount of rainfall during the year. Winter days, between June and August, are mild with slightly cooler evenings. The drizzliest months are March to May. May and June can have high of 20 degrees Celsius, and lows of 12 degrese Celsius, with rainfall of 16cm.
In Kenya the power sockets are of “type G” British BS-1363 type. The standard voltage is 240 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. See https://www.adaptelec.com/index.php?main_page=document_general_info&products_id=213
Kenya Shillings (KES) is the currency used. Forex bureau at Nairobi City Center offer the best conversion rates. Major currencies are accepted. If you are coming from outside East Africa, you may have to carry with you any major currency.
Major credit cards and debit cards branded ATMs can be found everywhere from malls to gas stations. They disburse local Kenya Shillings. This page from the Central Bank of Kenya shows the prevailing exchange rates https://www.centralbank.go.ke/forex/
You can shop with your Credit Card or Visa/Mastercard branded card in major shopping malls and hotels.
Mobile Money is a widely used form of payment, with the world famous MPESA from Safaricom being the market leader.
You will need your Passport to register into any cellular network. Safaricom has the widest coverage of all cellular networks, and is the largest company in East Africa. Airtel and Orange also have good coverage. These three cellular networks offer competitive data packages. You can buy their sim cards from the airport and major malls at between $1 to $2.
Taxi hailing companies like Uber, Little cab, Mondo ride, and Taxify are established in the city with stiff competition between them. Safaricom owned Little cab, and Uber are the market leaders. Their apps are available on Android and Apple App stores.
There are many taxis in Nairobi City which you can use to move around. You are advised to inquire the price before starting your journey.
Public city buses shuttle from the airport to the city center, at a cost of KES100, which is around $1. The buses are in operation from 7am to 8pm. Public transport in the city operates from major terminals, roads, and bus stops. The cost for moving between different parts of the city would range from KES50 to KES150 ($0.5 to $1.5).
Nairobi National Park, located 7 Km south of the city offers the widest variety of tourism attraction sites.
1. Safari Walk: With its raised wooden boardwalk that allows for uninterrupted views of the animals, the Safari Walk is a show case for Kenya’s Parks and Reserves, allowing visitors to discover what they can expect to see across the country. Visitors can see a sample of the country’s rich animal life including the rare bongo, white rhino and albino zebra as well as big cats, antelopes and primates. It is also home to some 150 species of local trees. The non-resident fees is $22 for adults and $13 for children.
2. The Nairobi Animal Orphanage is located in the Nairobi National Park. It serves a treatments and rehabilitation centre for wild animals. The Orphanage hosts lions, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, serval cats, rare Sokoke cats, warthogs, leopards, various monkeys, baboons and buffalo. Various birds can also be viewed including parrots, guinea fowls, crowned cranes and ostriches. The non-resident fees is $22 for adults and $13 for children.
3. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is located at the KWS Central Workshop Gate, off, Magadi Rd, Nairobi, Kenya and is open to the public for one hour every day, from 11am to Noon. During this time the orphans arrive for their midday mud bath and feeding. Entrance to the orphanage for the visiting hour requires minimum contribution of $7 US dollars / 500 Kenya shillings per person.
4. Nairobi National Park: Nairobi National Park established in 1946 is the only natural game park in a city. It is located 7km south of the city center. I. Animals you can see at the park are Zebras, Giraffes, Antelopes, Impala, Wildebeests. There are also several Lions, Cheetas, Hippopotamus, and Rhinos. The park is highly recommended for anyone who loves Safaris. The non-resident fees is $43 for adults and $23 for children.
5. Nairobi museum located 1km from the city is open all year long from 0830hrs -17300hrs.
6. Giraffe Center is located in Karen, 5 Km from Nairobi
7. Panari Sky center along Mombasa road, 7 Km from the airport on the way to the city has a large ice skating rink with hourly skating sessions.
8. Mamba Village is a crocodile sanctuary Located 12 Km south of the city
Food, Restaurants and Entertainment
Nairobi is a cosmopolitan city. It’s cuisine you can be found in any big city anywhere in the world. The staple food for the inhabitants is Ugali, which is stiff porridge, usually accompanied by green vegetables and stewed meat. Past time for many Nairobians would include eating nyama choma (barbecued meat) accompanied by Kenya’s popular beer Tusker over the weekends. Although tap water is generally clean and treated, visitors are advised to take only bottled water. Tipping is not mandatory, but it is between 5% and 10%.
Popular restaurants and entertainment joints include
1. Java restaurants – a chain of finest Kenyan coffee located is several locations within the city. Want Kenyan coffee beans? Try them.
2. Carnivore Restaurant, Fogo Gaucho, and Safaripark hotel which are popular with their “all you can eat barbecue”.
2. Brew Bistro, and Sierra who brew their own beer.
3. Klub house (K1) Parklands
4. Florida Night Club
Nairobi has several hotels with different ratings from five. AirBnB is also popular among budget travelers.
Shopping and Antiques
You can get Kenyan traditional antiques at City Market at the city center. Other places would be the nomadic Maasai market which moves to a different location every day of the week. It operates from 8am to 6pm. Here are the locations.
Tuesday: Westgate Shopping Mall in Westlands (the upper car park) (relocated to 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
Malls: Nairobi has many huge malls selling all popular brands. You can try Sarit Center in Westlands, the gigantic Two Rivers in Kikisuru, Garden City along Thika road, among many others.
Like any large city, Nairobi has it’s security challenges, but it’ s nothing out of the ordinary. You should avoid deserted alleys in the city. Also avoid flushing valuables like jewellery and money.
Is there anything you need to know about Nairobi? Is there any addition to make the blog post more informative? Leave a comment.