Nairobi has a population of three million plus. Situated on the Nairobi River, the city is not only the largest and fastest growing city in Kenya, but one of the largest in Africa.
The word Nairobi derives from a water hole known in Maasai (an Eastern Nilotic language) as Enkare Nyirobi, which means “cool waters.” Nairobi, which was a swamp area, was founded in 1899 and was first a railway camp for the Uganda Railway. The city became Kenya’s capital, which was Mombasa initially, and it also became the capital of the British East Africa Protectorate in 1905. With the spread of plagues in the early 1900s, the town was burnt down and had to be rebuilt. Having a railroad system in the system helped it to have drastic growth, becoming the second largest city in Kenya behind Mombasa.
The city of Nairobi also grew due to administration and tourism businesses (mostly big game hunting). The British, who were one of Kenya’s colonizers, set up shop in Nairobi, leading to the creation of big hotels primarily for the British hunters. Also, Nairobi has an East Indian community from those who are the descendents of original colonial railway laborers and merchants.
Citizens from most countries will have to obtain a visa upon arrival. Currently, this costs US$50 for a single-entry visa and $100 for a multiple-entry visa (Euros, British Pounds and Swiss Francs are accepted as well). However, some countries require a visa before arrival, and some don’t require one at all.
For more information, see the Kenya article. If you are only traveling through the country via a connecting flight and will not leave the secure area of the airport you will not need a visa.
The yellow fever vaccination is no longer required if you’re coming from EU, Asia or North America. However, a vaccination certificate might be required if you’re coming from a country where yellow flu is endemic.
Regular flights to Nairobi are operated by Ethiopian, Kenya airways, British Airways, Egypt Air, Etihad Airways, Fly Emirates, KLM Qatar Airways, Swiss International Airlines and Turkish Airlines. Kenya Airways is the national airline and travels throughout Europe, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region. Nairobi’s main airport is JKIA Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA: NBO), southeast of the city centre.
If taking a taxi from JKIA, use a reputable taxi; many are waiting outside to give you conveyance, and the cost should be very near 1,500KSh to the city center; Westlands (car with chauffeur KES2,000 – Sept 2015) or such places more west or north will be more. When taking a taxi to your accommodation, avoid being talked into taking their recommendation for accommodation, although this is very at your own risk. There is also Wilson Airport, south of the city’s center, for domestic flights. Lighter, Cessna-type aircraft can be seen there. The military/government airport is in Eastleigh district (pron: “East-Lee”), a very large residential area of housing in the east/north-east of Nairobi, but the government airport is fenced around and does not handle civilian traffic.
To and From the center, you can take Bus #34 for 50KSH to the international airport from the Ambassador Hotel.
The city is also accessible by train from Mombasa, with three times a week arrivals and departures at the Nairobi Railway station. The trains only go east to Mombasa. There are 3 classes: First, Second and General. First and Second are sleepers. First have 2 seats in a cabin, Second have 4. In Second Class genders are separated unless you purchase the entire compartment of 4 seats. First and second-class includes bedding, breakfast, and dinner. Both can be purchased without bedding or food. Tickets have to be booked through the office on Station Road in south-central Nairobi, or online. the 1st and 2nd class train fares are 2 or 3 times more than the bus fare. but the 3rd class fare is less than the bus fare.
Kenya’s bus system is mostly reliable. There are many bus companies that have routes going to and from the country’s different cities, including Nairobi, the center of the bus network.
Matatus (14-18 seater minibuses) and shuttles (6-seater cars) are convenient, inexpensive (and often the only) modes of public transport connecting Nairobi to towns and tourist destinations in the Rift Valley and Central Highlands such as Naivasha, Nyeri, Nanyuki, Isiolo, and Thika. Matatus can be obtained from the River Road area.
Exercise extreme caution in this area: petty theft is a major concern, and valuables such as mobile phones and wallets should not be prominently displayed here, particularly after dark and even while in the matatu (see safety section below). The best method of connecting to a matatu is to arrange for a taxi to drop you off and pick you up directly at the location of the matatu that you are boarding or alighting from. If you’re boarding a matatu from Nairobi, tell the taxi driver your destination and they will drop you off at the correct location. If you are being picked up, then tell the taxi driver the location you’re coming from as well as the matatu company that you are using (your ticket should have the operator’s name). It is best to arrange for a taxi from the hotel you’re staying at. Matatu prices can cost anything from 200 KSh (matatu to Naivasha) to 450 Ksh (shuttle to Nanyuki). The price is dependent on the distance of travel.
Entry into Nairobi by boat is not possible, but one could certainly arrive in Kenya by boat via Mombasa or Lamu, and proceed by road, air, or rail to Nairobi.
Nairobi has notoriously bad traffic and at rush hours (7-9am, 4.30-6.30pm) much of the city grinds to a halt. Just about every bad driving habit is practiced, in particular by matatus and buses. Be careful getting around Nairobi if you have an appointment to make, traffic is very bad like any other major city, but if you use common sense and a local or guide, you should be able to get where you want.
If self-driving a GPS is a good idea, essential even, given the lack of road signs. However GPS’s can tempt you to take backroad shortcuts when stuck in traffic that turn out to be dead-ends. As a general rule don’t take a short cut if no one else is trying the same thing.
Due to the danger of hiring taxis off the street and the high prices of corporate taxis, most taxis users in Nairobi develop long-term relationships with a few trusted taxi drivers who are based around their home and office. They’ll call them for everything and if he’s not available, he’ll send one of his trusted colleagues serve them. The challenge is what to do if you don’t have a trusted taxi or know who to ask.
Taxis are not very cheap, but will make city life easier and safer, at least at night. Always set and agree on prices before the trip, and pay afterwards. You can find taxis parked around hotels and tourist areas though they’ll often charge exorbitant prices. The taxis tend to be marked with a yellow line on each side. You can also hire a taxi for the full day if you are making multiple stops either for business or tourism.
Taxi Apps such as local favorite MARAMOJA (which is built on trusted networks) and international brands such as Easy Taxi and Uber are increasingly more popular in Nairobi. If you need to arrive somewhere very fast and Nairobi’s notorious traffic is bad, you can hire a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) for a fraction of the cost from most street corners although due to fear about motorcycle taxis, many people prefer to find boda boda through apps.
Walking is not generally considered safe for foreigners in many parts of Nairobi but because of traffic jams, sometimes it’s necessary. It could be best to walk if the destination is less than 3km away at some times. On average, it can take you one whole hour to reach a destination that’s 4km away during congested periods.
By bus (matatu)
A matatu (public minibuses/commuter buses) is typically used for traveling between downtown Nairobi and the suburbs. Matatus vary in size, between the van sized 14 seat Matatus and the larger 50-seat buses. While generally safe, you should be aware that matatus are involved in a high number of accidents every year. Matatus are often overcrowded, with more people than seatbelts and therefore can be dangerous if involved in accidents. Because there are no licensing requirements, matatus are often poorly driven, with drivers passing on curbs, speeding, or passing in oncoming lanes while cars are oncoming.
On each bus is a conductor who will hang out of the matatu and call out a price (usually between 10ksh and 40ksh) and location the matatu is driving. Recently, the government has decided to ban the 14-seat matatus inside Nairobi, effective January 2011 in hopes of reducing traffic and accidents in town (which is actually not in effect since 2011-2013, that is until now). The best choice is probably the Double M Commuter Buses or the City Hoppa bus service and of late, the revived Kenya Bus Service. Beware of traffic jams on the large motorways, not only in the rush hours.
Walking around Nairobi is fairly easy since the city is small and places are easy to get to. However, there are some areas within the city where tourists should not go; minimise walking around at night. Thugs are rampant in many areas.
By Rental Car
Car hire from the airport is possible, and fairly painless with prices in line with other African countries. In the recent past, Nairobi had a severe car-jacking problem, but because of increased police check-points, it has become marginally safer. Travelling during the day reduces your chances of getting car-jacked, as most car-jacking occur after dark.
Many of the usual car hire chains have franchises in the city and several rental options are available, with the cheapest rentals starting from Kshs4,000 per day. You can hire cars with a driver(chauffeur-driven) or on self-drive basis. Most car hire companies offer saloon cars, 4x4s, Vans, Buses and Safari Vans and Jeeps. Local car hire firms are available often on a cash-in-advance basis. These operators are cheaper and more flexible than the international brands, but you risk greater levels of hassle in the event of an accident, theft or breakdown. Rates for local car hire start at around Khs3,500 per day for a saloon car.
Central car hire is a reliable, trustworthy, and helpful rental company based in Nairobi. Two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles are available and are well-maintained.
Cyrus Car Hire, based at the Fairview Hotel, offers Corollas at Khs4,000 per day and a Rav4 at Khs5,000. Happy to pick up and drop off the car anywhere in town. 0722 705071.
Hire N’ Drive Kenya Ltd.+254722417475 has a variety of vehicles and they can bring and pickup the car at your hotel, airport or at any shopping mall within the city.
Nairobi Car Hire offers good services for 4×4 and other categories of cars. Starting at USD100 according to their website.
Offroad Car Hire specializes in off-road 4X4 vehicles and has prices for volunteers, missionaries and NGOs which are below the average car rental rates.
Nairobi is known as the safari capital of Africa, however the city has still managed to keep up with modernization. Unlike other cities, Nairobi is surrounded by 113 km² (70 mi²) of plains, cliffs and forest that makes up the city’s Nairobi National Park. The city is filled with many things to do during the day and the night. Tourists can have their pick from numerous safaris (wildlife, cultural, sport, adventure, scenic and specialist), ecotourism tours, restaurants, culture, shopping and entertainment. While in Nairobi, tourists can also engage in numerous sports from golf, rugby, athletics, polo, horse-racing, cricket and football (soccer).
- Nairobi National Park, just outside Nairobi. This is home to large herds of Zebra, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Giraffe, Lion, Cheetah, Hippo, Rhino and even birdlife (over 400 species). Here you can also go on the Nairobi Safari Walk, an educational centre to make people aware of wildlife and habitat conservation. Also in the park is the Nairobi Animal Orphanage.
- Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, close to the Nairobi National Park. This Orphanage takes in elephant calves and rhinos from all over Kenya which were orphaned by poaching. Showing is only once per day from 11am-12pm (admission 500Ksh) and gives you a great opportunity to interact directly with baby elephants.
- Giraffe Centre, in Lang’ata right outside of Nairobi. The Centre breeds the endangered Rothschild Giraffe and has conservation/education programmes for Kenyan children. It also has many warthogs. Here you can feed giraffes by hand and even get a kiss (their tongues can get up to 20″ long and are antiseptic).
- Mamba Village. Typically the 3rd stop for most tourists after the Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Center, this pleasant park is home to ostriches and crocodiles. Surprisingly quite interesting as you get the chance to interact directly with crocodiles and even hold a baby, with very knowledgable employees serving as guides.
- Lake Naivasha. About 1.5hrs outside of central Nairobi, this area is a haven away from the chaos of the city where many 3rd and 4th generation British colonialists continue to reside. Crescent Island  is a particularly nice place to visit, even if you have already done a safari. Unique because it gives you the opportunity to walk around the grounds literally alongside giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, impalas, etc.
- Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park, 65 km from Nairobi, is centred around a 2,146-m (7,141 ft) mountain. This is a mountain forest and plain land, with a large population of Buffalo. It also serves as a refuge for Colobus monkeys, bushbuck, duiker, leopard, and a large variety of bird species.
- 14 Falls, a waterfall at Thika.
- Kenyatta International Conference Center (K.I.C.C), (Central District), . The best place to get that far ranging view over the sprawling, congested metropolis that is Nairobi. You can go up to the saucer-shaped top of the conference centre’s round viewing tower and depending on smog and fog, you might be able to see as far as the slums and the national park. 400KSH / 200KSH reduced.
- US Embassy Memorial Site, (Central District), . In 1998 a blast rocked downtown Nairobi. A truck had exploded next to the US Embassy building, reducing it to rubble and killing 212 people some on staff, most bystanders. On the same day, August 7, the US embassy in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, was also subject to a similar terrorist attack. 21 people have been charged with the crime, including Osama Bin Laden. The former embassy site today contains a memorial that can be visited.
- Tana River, is an hour’s drive from the city. White water rafting throughout cataracts, which leads to the 14 falls can be done here. The rafting trip also includes a full BBQ lunch.
- Nairobi National Museum, . 8:30AM-5:30PM. Where visitors can learn about Kenya, its history and culture. The museum celebrated 100 years in 2010. A live snake compound is adjacent but not for the timid.
- National Railway Museum, visitors can learn more about the history of Kenya’s railroads and the Kenya/Uganda railway. It also houses, some of the engines and rolling stock from the country’s colonial period.
- Nairobi Gallery, P.O.Box 40658-00100, +25420216566. This is a museum housing only special exhibits, so the featured artwork is always changing.
- Karen Blixen Museum, P.O Box 40658-00100, +254208002139 (firstname.lastname@example.org). is based on the Karen Blixen’s book “Out of Africa”. Her house is now the home of the museum. It is on the outskirts of Nairobi and a taxi or bus can get you to the museum.
- Bomas of Kenya, portrays Kenya’s culture. Visitors can see exhibits of traditional Kenyan homes, artifacts, dances, music, and song.
- Uhuru Gardens, built in remembrance of the struggle for independence, which Kenya was granted in 1963. The monument is a 24-m (79 ft) high triumphal column supporting a pair of clasped hands and the dove of peace, high over a statue of freedom fighter raising the flag. The monument is surround by fountains and lush-landscaped gardens.
- Westlands by night, Visit the bustling and hip Westlands district, which has turned into the new nightlife center of Nairobi. Many restaurants and bars line the busy Woodvale Grove and Mpaka Road. A visit to ‘Treehouse’ club is good for those not willing to stray too far from their comfort zone, with an expat crowd rather than often overcrowded local clubs. Traffic can become hectic, well into the early hours. Security is generally tight and the action spills out from packed clubs into the street.
- Jamia Mosque, (Central District), . While Jamia Mosque is tucked away in between other buildings their are striking views to be glimpsed of its intricate structure from many different angles. Easily the most impressive religious structure in the capital, the interior is off-limits to non believers
- Safari in central Nairobi park.
- Try the many excellent restaurants in Nairobi.
- Go dancing and be a part of Nairobi’s excellent nightlife
- Go ice skating at Panari
- Visit Village Market and Sherlocks with your friends
- Go to Maasai market and buy keepsakes for yourself and friends: On Saturday it is at Nairobi High Court parking lot, Village Market on Friday, The Junction on Thursday, Capital Centre on Wednesday. Prepare to haggle and as a guide, pay about half to two thirds of the asking price.
- Do something different: visit Kibera, the slums of Nairobi. Guided walks are arranged by Kiberatours.
- Go-Down Arts Centre, (South of Center), +254 (0)20 555770, . A former warehouse turned arts centre – this has also happened in Nairobi and this spot allows you to get a glimpse of what contemporary Kenyan artists are up to, including exhibitions, performances and discussions.
- Kazuri Beads shop – Started in 1977 the workshop of beads is adjacent to Karen Blixen’s Museum. Was started by an English women to provide sustainable income to the poor Kenyan women. Has beautiful jewelry created of clay brought from the areas surrounding Mt. Kenya.
- It Started in Africa (It Started in Africa), PO BOX 9006 – Market Lane, Nairobi, +254 714 135 086 (email@example.com), . 8AM-8PM. A Safari with It Started in Africa. This travel agency, for long established in Tanzania and Kenya, offers probably the best prices while not sacrificing quality. Part of their profits go to education for local children who have no access to it.
- Visit Oloo’s Children Center (OCC) in Kibera: Lend a hand at the volunteer operated school, take a tour of Kibera, and have a cup of tea with the OCC Founder. The founder of the school lives in Kibera and works to provide children in need with education and meals. 616-987-1106
There are quite a number of networked banking machines in major shopping areas of Nairobi as well as the arrivals area of the airport. A Barclays ATM can be found near Gate 9 within the security area, easily accessible when arriving, and another one on the left side immediately after leaving the security area. Most transactions are cash only, so it is best to have enough cash on hand to pay for purchases and transport. Major banks such as Barclays, Kenya Commercial Bank, and Standard Bank give better exchange rates than any of the FOREX bureaus. Independent machines such as Pesa-point have lower cash limits and may have a higher fee. For example, in 2007, Barclays did not charge any additional fee for a cash withdrawal but gave a lower exchange rate than Kenya Commercial Bank. KCB charges a CDN$5 fee for a withdrawal with a maximum of 40,000/= per day.
Cash is dispensed in units of 1000/=. Note: Many smaller businesses do not have much change, so be sure to have a good selection of smaller notes before going shopping for curios.
Forex Bureaus are located in many parts of the city where tourists are common. They will exchange cash of different currencies, and may also accept a personal cheque for Kenyan cash. They will want a photocopy of your passport before they exchange money. Rates are not bad, but will be worse than a banking machine will offer. Be aware that many exchange bureaus and hotels will NOT accept or exchange American currency printed before 2000. When the exchange bureaus do accept pre-2000 notes, they typically offer substantially lower exchange rates than for curreny printed after 2000. Exchange rates are also typically lower for small denomination currency than for $100 and $50 bills.
Credit Cards Many specialty stores accept international credit cards, however they normally tell you up front that they will charge you bank fees, typically 5% of the purchase. The Nakumat and Uchumi supermarket chains would accept credit cards without a surcharge.
This may also be a good place to repeat the warning about safety: Pickpockets are rampant in Nairobi and have been known to keep an eye on people getting cash from a machine. It is best to carry cash in a hidden pouch rather than a wallet. Men: do not carry your wallet in your back pocket, and women: do not carry your purse to your side or behind you, particularly in busy locations.
The four primary supermarkets in Nairobi are Tusky’s, Uchumi, Naivas and Nakumatt. For goods beyond supermarket fare, try Yaya Centre on Argwings Kodhek Road in the Kilimani area, The Junction on Ngong Road, or the Sarit Centre and Nakumatt Westgate which are both located in the Westlands suburb.
The Sarit Centre will be recognizable to any Western traveller as a shopping mall, with an Uchumi supermarket inside. Clothing, shipping, and Internet are all available here. In addition, there is a small movie theater. Other malls in Nairobi include Yaya Centre near Hurlingham and The Mall in Westlands.
Nakumatt Westgate is a just finished competitor to Sarit Centre. It is a large building with many spaces for stores to move in to (they have yet to move in at the time of this writing, however the building is still unfinished). Currently, the primary occupant is the Nakumatt itself, which has modeled itself to emulate a Super Wal-Mart type experience. Any taxi driver will know these two shopping centers by name, so getting there is not a problem.
From the 21st to the 24th of September 2013, the Westgate Shopping Mall was held under siege by gunmen (later identified as members of al-Shabaab), during which over 2000 persons were injured and at least 72 were killed (including both civilians and militia).
An additional smaller supermarket, catering more to expatriates, is in ABC Plaza, along Waiyaki Way. Chandarana supermarket carries a wide variety of imported goods, Zucchini greengrocer is a highly dependable spot for clean and varied veggies, and Gilani’s is a well stocked western style butchery.
For local curios and souvenirs, the most easily accessible and tourist-friendly is the Maasai Market, held on Fridays at the Village Market, an upscale, open concept shopping center near the United Nations and American Embassy complexes. Bargaining is necessary, and one should probably not spend more than 1000KSh on one item, except in extraordinary circumstances. The Masai Market is also held on Thursdays at the parking lot of the Junction Shopping Center and Tuesdays at the parking lot of the Westgate shopping center. Bargain hard, and do not let that deter you from speaking with many of the friendly shopkeepers who are apt to offer gifts with no other incentives.
For slightly better prices, visit the Tuesday market in town, just down from the Norfolk hotel. This market is less secure, but is larger and offers more variety and opportunity for bargaining.
Another Nakumatt is located at Nakumatt Junction, past Lavington towards the Ngong Racecourse (Horse Flat-Racing takes place 3 Sundays a month, and is a great way to spend an afternoon). The Nakumatt Junction shopping complex features a few more boutiques – one of note being Zebu, a store highlighting local Designer Annabelle Thom’s leather bags and more, where you will find higher quality and higher prices for beautiful designs.
Biashara Street, located downtown, is the spot for textiles. Make sure you pick up at least one kikoi or kikoy (a traditional wrap for Swahili men, predominantly at the coast). Haria’s Stamp Shop (been around for more than 70 years!) (www.hariastamp.com) has one of the best selections of kikoy as well as other african fabrics and souvenirs.
Roast House in the city centre facing the matatu station on Tom Mboya Rd. Regular local prices with more selection, excellent food, friendly service. Very busy at lunchtime.
Habesha near Ya Ya center- great Ethipian food for around 5-6 USD
Nairobi has a fantastic array of mid-range eateries.
Open House is an excellent Indian restaurant nearby Westlands area of Nairobi. With such a high predominance of Indians in the country, this is one of the best places to get authentic cuisine in an upscale environment at a reasonable price. Do not miss the ginger chicken wings – very unique!
Mesob is an authentic Ethiopian restaurant located at the China Centre on Ngong Road near the Chinese embassy. Meals cost around Ksh 500 and the food is excellent.
Java House, with quite a few locations, including The Junction, ABC Place, and close to the United Nations, features a western coffee house menu, from bagels to burritos, with excellent coffees and milkshakes, and a full breakfast menu. 500KSh-750 for a complete meal. Another popular coffeehouse is Dormans
Trattoria is an Italian restaurant. Do not expect anything decent when it comes to the mains (all around 700KSh). However, there is a fabulous and extensive dessert menu, including crepes, tiramisu, souffle, and a coffee granita with fresh cream (250KSh-500).
Motherland, is an authentic Ethiopian restaurant with great and affordable food (typical of Ethiopian restaurants in Nairobi!).
Havana Bar, Woodvale Grove, Westlands. Popular bar and restaurant with a laid-back Latin theme. Renowned for their sizzling Fajitas, steaks and seafood dishes. Reasonably priced. The kitchen is open daily from noon til late. Tel: 020-4450653
Village Market Food Court, Has an array of different ethnic cuisines, including Thai, Italian, Chinese and German, as well as a Mongolian Barbeque. Good prices as well. Venture further into Village Market to find a good Japanese restaurant as well, though with slightly steeper prices. There are also food courts at other malls in the city.
Nairobi has a wide range of Indian restaurants that speaks to the significant South Asian community in Kenya. The city also offers other restaurants specializing in different European and Asian cuisine.
Common fast food restaurants include Steers, Debonairs, Wimpy, Galito’s, local favourite, Kenchic among others.
In addition, there are several local restaurants that cater to local cuisine like sukuma wiki (green spinach-like vegetable, ‘Kale’ in English), ugali (corn bread, ground maize flour and made to a tasty white bread/porridge form), nyama choma (lit: meat roast), chapati, and other specialties.
The Carnivore, located just outside the city, close to the Uhuru Gardens, is a luxury restaurant famous for its meats. In 2006, the restaurant was listed as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Once seated, different masai grilled meats will be carried around on sticks and carved to your plate at request. Very expensive by Kenyan standards, beware of additional taxes and catering levys. Reservations might be a good idea, ask at your hotel.
Furusato, located in Westlands, has fantastic Japanese food. For a price.
The Rusty Nail, in Karen, has been super in the past, but mediocre of late. No reason not to give it another chance.This restaurant has now closed.
The Lord Errol, past Village Market and into Runda, is said to have very good food, and is popular with the expat crowd.
“Moonflower,” on State House hill at the Palacina hotel, is a very upscale bistro / fusion / grill restaurant in a lovely outdoor setting. Fantastic food.
“Pango Brasserie” at the Fairview Hotel features upscale french and continental dishes. Dinner begins in an underground stone wine cellar where the chef will send out complimentary tasters while you sip a bottle of wine of your choice.
“Alan Bobbe’s Bistro” is a venerable, legendary restaurant now located on Rhapta Road (near St. Marys School). Founded in 1962, the restaurant features French haute cuisine at about a third of what you would pay in Paris!
- Little Temple Night Club and Bar, Tom Mboya Street. down town Nairobi. 8pm till late. beer from Ksh 200.
- Gipsy:, Opp,Barclays,Bank Westland, Box 40322, Nairobi, Tel: 020 4440964,4440836, Mob: 0733 730529, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Klub House 1 (K1):, is located along Ojijo Road in Parklands, Box 33003 – 00600 Nairobi, Tel: +254 20 374 9870, Fax: 254 20 374 7099, Mob:+254 733 77 22 33, Email.email@example.com.
- Klub House 2 (K2):, Baricho Road, Industrial Area is home to K2 Klubhouse
- Choices:, Majestic House, Moi Avenue, Box 53319, Nairobi, Tel: +254 20 550 629, Mob: +254 722 521, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Leobag Investment Ltd, Baricho Road
- Chillers:, Anniv Towers
- Black Diamond:, many expats and travelers and has a cover band that plays very good music.
- Havana: Its an expats favorite on Thursdays nights. The live band on Saturdays attracts a good cosmopolitan crowd. Bar snacks available throughout the night. Tel: 020-4450653
- Apple Bees: (Strip club) located downtown and recently opened a branch in Parklands, next to the local Police Station.
- Annie Oakley’s:Next to Milimani Backpackers, has pool tables, a descent menu, and a big screen with cable TV. another expats favorite hangout.
- Cockpit: Langata Road opposite Uchumi Langata Hyper, not just popular with Wilson Airport pilots
- Barrels: Stripclub. Watch out for police raids
- Red Tape:, Westlands, Mpaka Road, Bishan Plaza, e-mail email@example.com
- Florida 2000 (F2):, Located at Commerce House, Moi Avenue.
- New Florida Clubs (F1):, The New Florida, locally known as Madhouse or Madi, is in the heart of Nairobi on Koinange Street.
- Pango (F3):, Commerce House, 1st Floor, P.O.Box 55381 – 00200 Nairobi, Tel:+254-20-229036/217269, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. The Latest addition to the Florida Group
- Double Inn: Also out in Karen, they show rugby/cricket games and it’s always full of expats and white Kenyans. The place to get hammered.
- Seven Seafood & Grill, ABC Place (ABC Place Waiyaki Way), 0737776677,. 24. Amazing seafood and spectacular decor a must visit 2000.
- Klub Zinc Thika (Zinc Club Thika), Kenyatta Hwy (Opp. Total Filling Station Thika), +254202621500, . We pride ourselves as masters of all tastes and genres of music and also the ability to cut across generations as music is ‘Food for All’. The music ranges widely from the latest to the golden oldies and in styles such as Rock, Rhumba, Reggae, R n B, Hip Hop, Lingala and Salsa to mention but a few. Patrons are also encouraged to place their requests and dedications to the DJs. The atmosphere is further enhanced by the latest disco lights and effects.
- Shooters & Dips Cocktail Lounge, 4372-00506 (Panari Sky Centre,Mombasa Road opp Simba Colt Offices,5km from JKIA), +254 787 637948 OR 254 725 694 000/1/2,. 5PM. Chill out, relax and unwind at the dazzling Shooters & Dips where the decor transports you to an international surrounding. Listen to handpicked music by the DJ and let yourself go to the rhythm. The bar also offers a varied food menu along with a long list of signature cocktails, fine wines and liquors. Shooters and Dips is the perfect place to meet friends, meet new people and experience Nairobi’s nightlife right in the safety of the hotel. 250/=.
- Mercury Lounge ABC, ABC Place (Off Waiyaki Way), 0722309947, . 4pm. Mercury ABC, ABC Place (Off Waiyaki Way), 0722309947. checkin: 4:00pm. Mercury ABC is an upscale modern cocktail and tapas bar. Open from 4pm to late. Recently put under new management, Mercury is definitely the place to be seen, with a delicious tapas and bitings menu, and the best cocktails and high end spirits array in Nairobi.All major imported and local wine and beers are available chilled to perfection. A popular hangout for expats, well to do locals and local business leaders. A must for any Nairobi traveller. Shooters and cocktails range from $3 to $6 with shooters and high end globally popular wines and spirits from $6-$15. All major credit cards accepted. Ample parking and good security make this one of Nairobi’s more popular spots.
- Mercury Irish Pub (The Last Drop), Junction Mall (Corner of Ngong Road and Kingara Rds), 0722309947, . 11:00am. Mercury Pub at the new Junction Mall is the latest and most authentic Irish Pub in Nairobi. The most recent addition to the Mercury Group, the pub specializes in the best steaks in town, a wide range of cocktails, local and imported beers, high end spirits and shooters and a superb wine list. Furnished in beautiful woodwork, leather seating, and with images of colonial Nairobi, it is located in the secure Junction Mall which has ample parking, good security and central location. Doubles up as a popular sports bar on the weekends with multiple screens. A popular expat hangout. A great balcony from which one can sip a cocktail while watching life pass by. Food prices from$10-$15, and all major credit cards are accepted.
- Upper Hill Campsite and Backpackers, Hospital Road – Upper Hill (off Hospital Road, on a cul de sac), +254 (0)20 2500218, . Provides a range of budget accommodation. Bringing your own tent is the cheapest way. If you are two people, try to go for a big hire tent which is the better deal than a dormcamping1000. dorm KSH1500 rooms 3500 KSh.
- New Kenya Lodge, River. checkout: 10am. has dorm beds and single/double rooms. looks run down and not very clean. dorm Ksh750. single KSH1000. double KSH1500.
- Arkland Palace Hotel, Junction of Tom Mboya & Ngala Streets (opp KTDA Plaza. near Moi Aveune), 020-2142600. checkin: from 6am; checkout: 10am. big Spacious rooms with faded simple, decor all rooms have hot water bathrooms with free soap. all rooms have cable TV. very reasonable prices for a city center hotel. breakfast KSH300 per person. many internet cafes for Ksh30 per hour in the mall under the Arkland Hotel Like any place in the city centre it can get loud. the airport bus 34 is just a 2 mins walk from the hotel and you can gets 10 seat mini vans going to most places in Kenya not far from the hotel. Jan. 2016. free wifi inc, street below very loud allnight … 1200KSH (single) 1,400KSH Double one big bed,.
- Wildebeest Camp, 151 Mokoyeti Road West, Langata, . You can get a bed in a dorm here or camp (they provide the tent and bedding) for Ksh 1000 per night per person. They also have larger permanent tents and rooms available at a higher price. The place is clean, secure and popular with backpackers. from 1000 KSh per person for dorm and camping (tent provided).
- International Guest House, UpperHill, Matumbato Road (Next to Don Bosco Church, 10 min walk from Kenyatta National Hospital), +254 020 2726966,. With 30 years in the tourism business, owner Tom J. Kamau is happy to custom arrange any additional travel or safari needs. Located on a quite street in Upperhill, this family owned and operated guest house is conveniently located just a few minutes from downtown. Airport pickup and transportation is available for a small fee. Single rooms available from from Ksh2000.
- Milimani Backpackers & Safari Centre, PO Box 21005 – 00500, . A little further out of the downtown core, about 15 minutes walk down a major, safe road, is Milimani Backpackers which has moved from Milimani Road. It has free WI-FI internet, cable TV, hot showers, 24hr self-service bar, affordable restaurant, fireplace, and a parking area. They offer dorms (1400KSH), doubles and singles, twins and camping space (Ksh1000). Milimani also offers good-value safaris and other trips from 1400KSh for dorms.
- Olive Gardens Hotel, Argwings Kodhek Rd, Hurlingham (Opposite Nairobi Womens Hospital) (30-min drive from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.), +254 20 2737854, 2727777, . Olive Gardens Hotel has 62 rooms.
- Ole-Sereni Hotel (Sarovar Hotels & Resorts), Mombasa Rd (5 km from Jomo Kenyatta international airport off Mombasa Rd opposite Zain offices), +254 20 390 1000 (email@example.com), . checkin: noon; checkout: noon. Wildlife resort overlooking the Nairobi National Game Park.
- Country Lodge, . On upper hill, the Country Lodge is aimed at the budget business traveler. Probably the best deal in town.
- Fairview Inn, . Also on upper hill, the Fairview is a lovely old historic hotel, with beautiful grounds and several restaurants. It is quiet at night, a real respite from the city. Rates are relatively low, compared to many of the other hotels listed here. They also rent apartments.
- Holiday Inn Nairobi. Built in the 1940s as the Mayfair Court Hotel, this historic hotel has retained its charm even as it has joined the Holiday Inn family.
- The Ndemi Place (www.ndemiplace.com), Ndemi Close, Ndemi Road Off Ngong Road; a minute’s drive from Adam’s Arcade (Connect to Ngong Road from town a minute’s drive from Adam’s Arcade), 0720226760, . checkin: 12pm; checkout: 11am. Tucked away in the suburbs of Kilimani, The Ndemi Place a serene natural resort and the ideal stop over for those seeking peace and vintage charm in the city of Nairobi. 4,800. The Ndemi Place Bed & Breakfast is a quaint, 10-room oasis.
- InterContinental Hotel. Located only 5 minutes from the city center and 15 min from the airport with views of the city.
- Nairobi Hilton. Part of the Hilton family of hotels and located near the city center. Several different restaurants, open air pool but some rooms need refurbishment
- Nairobi Safari Club. Kenya’s only all-suite hotel.
- Panafric Hotel. Located in the city centre and only 20 minutes from the airport.
- Karen Blixen Cottages. Located in the suburb of Karen, 32 km (20 mi) from downtown, the cottages offer a unique change from the normal hotel fare.
- Nairobi Serena Hotel. Found in the middle of Nairobi’s Central Park this hotel offers great convenience as well as a quiet place to stay.
- Norfolk Hotel. Opened on Christmas Day over 100 years ago, this hotel that has served many special guests is located only 30 min from the airport, and a short distance from the shopping district.
- Safari Park Hotel. Started as a retreat for British Army officers more than 50 years ago, this hotel is only 15 min from downtown.
- The Stanley Hotel. This over 100 year old hotel has recently be renovated back to its days of Victorian perfection. Lcoated in the city’s shopping and business district.
- Windsor Golf and Country Club. Located 15 min from the city center, 45 min from the airport. Features a 18 hole golf course on site.
- The King Post . Rhapta Road, Westlands, Nairobi. The King Post brings about a unique architectural synthesis between the East African coast and the lands across the Indian Ocean. it reflects the social and cultural interaction between the regions over more than 2000 years.Accommodation is in 1, 2 or 3 bedroom apartments available on daily basis and long-term.The apartments are secluded but not isolated from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and the main roads being sorrounded by peace, tranquility and security.
- ‘Giraffe Manor Hotel Nairobi’. www.giraffemanorhotelnairobi.co.ke tel +254 731 999 999 The converted home of the founders of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, located a few kilometres from the city center, sitting on 57 ha (140 a) of land. The giraffes can be fed at the front door or even from the second floor bedroom window!
- Ngong House. 30-min drive from the city center and airport, the Ngong House is on a land that was originally part of a vast coffee estate. Located on the grounds are five traditional looking, yet elegantly decorated tree houses.
Nairobi has a reputation for thievery. Beware of snatch and grab, con artists, or groups of people following you. Scams are elaborate and can involve up to 10 or more people working together. The best advice for a tourist is to stay in the city centre, know where you are at all times, and pretend you know where you’re going (even if you don’t). If you find yourself in an unfamiliar area your best bet is to find a taxi (although you will probably pay dearly if the driver suspects a panicked westerner!). Don’t carry large quantities of money or passports on the street, and assume that anyone trying to engage you is up to no good or trying to sell you something. In recent years, crime has significantly reduced, though one should still be wary. If one stays smart and plays safe, without going around much after dark, Nairobi is a safe place to stay. Most locals are honest people who will happily help you if you approach them.
Kenyans are proud people and there is not a lot of begging like you find in some other countries. Some opportunistic people will hang around shopping centres and beg, but they will generally accept a simple ‘sorry’ and leave you alone if you do not give. Many of these ‘beggars’ are middle class kids or adults who have realised they can profit from exploiting foreigners, and should not be encouraged. If you are ever lucky enough to visit a slum as a local (not on some perverse tourist safari) you will discover the poorest of the poor do not even beg.
Outside of tourist and expat communities, young children will become excited at the sight of foreigners. If you are fair-skinned, children may run towards you to try to shake your hand, or yell “mzungu” (white person) or “how are you?”. Older kids are more reserved, and you should be wary of kids who are older than 9 or 10 who are trying to distract or get close to you.
Slums should be avoided by tourists as you will attract a lot of attention which can quickly turn into a dangerous situation.
Apart from the inner city centre, Nairobi dies out at night. Streets are mostly empty. Do not walk alone after nightfall. Always use taxis. The areas north and east of River Road should be avoided, especially if you’re not a local!
Biashara Street is a safe shopping street due to the presence of 10-15 Maasai guards. A place to avoid as a tourist is the City Market; you could end up paying a much higher price than on Biashara Street and the smell from the meat/fish section of the market can be putrid.
If you are in a matatu and moving slowly through traffic, particularly after dark, you should keep your window closed if your valuables are in reach to prevent people snatching them from the outside (there are thieves who walk through traffic looking for such opportunities). Mobile phones and wallets should be securely kept and not displayed prominently during calls or cash transactions in the River Road area, particularly after dark.
Eastleigh (known as ‘little Mogadishu’) is an area near the city centre that is decaying due to years of neglect by the government (including the police). It is predominantly populated by Somalian migrants and refugees, and most Kenyans will not go there for fear of their safety. Tourists would be wise to avoid it day and night.
There have been several grenade attacks in the city for which Al-Shabaab have claimed responsibility. These are likely to be ongoing while the Kenyan army has a presence in Somalia. They are random and often fatal, and one should be weary and report any suspicious behaviour.
It is recommended that before tourists come to Nairobi, that they should be vaccinated well in advance (6 weeks) of their trip. The most common recommended vaccines for people traveling to Africa are Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Rabies and Meningitis.
Food and beverage
Be careful with the food that you eat outside the more upscale establishments. Before eating, make sure that the food is freshly and thoroughly cooked and served hot. Also avoid seafood,apart from the upmarket restaurants and hotels, and make sure that your fruits and vegetables have been properly sterilized in clean water. The safest fruits to eat are bananas and papayas. Do not drink tap water or brush your teeth with it. Only use bottled or canned drinks (especially popular brands). Also, do not use ice as it may also be contaminated water, and remember that alcohol does not sterilize a drink. The general rule of thumb is, the more high end an establishment is, the greater the safety of the food and drink within.
In Africa you are going to be exposed to yellow fever, dengue fever, other viral diseases, sleeping sickness, filariasis and malaria, although none of these diseases are a concern in Nairobi itself. When insects are biting you should cover up and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers, socks and pyjamas especially when night falls. It is best to use an insect repellent that contains DEET on your exposed skin and clothing. As for mosquito nets, it is best to use a permethrin-impregnated net along with an insecticide such a pyrethrum coils or an electric mosquito killer during the night. And remember to spray your hotel room every evening.
Heat & Sun
Make sure to drink plenty of fluids (not coffee, alcohol or strong tea) to avoid dehydration. The average temperature is around 25 C (maximum might reach 30 C) throughout the year. Try to avoid plenty of physical exertion and try to stay in the shade and keep cool as much as possible. Increase the amount of salt intake in your food and water. Also, apply a lot of high factor sunscreen, avoid direct sunlight, and try to wear a hat and shady clothing.
There are very many internet cafés around Nairobi, but connection speeds and computers are not always super fast, but still you will manage to open your email, probably even use a webcam or watch YouTube. Prices are usually at ranges from 0.5KSh/minute to 1KSh/minute, usually with a minimum fee of 5-20KSh. The more expensive internet cafés are rarely better and the best ones charge 1KSh/minute with discounts for using the internet for longer. Most of the good cafés are found in Norwich Union which has quite a number just opposite Hilton Hotel next to Nandos while the expensive ones are found in malls in Westlands. Although it may be more appropriate for tourists to use the ones in Westlands since they are usually less crowded and are more exclusive but not necessarily faster or better in terms of equipment.
Free wireless internet is available at Java House restaurants and Doorman’s coffee shops in the city and malls. Some bars like Havana in Westlands also offer free wifi. The internet cafe in Sarit Centre also has wireless internet available at a good speed and a reasonable price.
Mobile Phones are ubiquitous in Kenya with fairly good coverage from all providers (Safaricom, Orange and Airtel) that extends to most populated parts of the country. Safaricom has the best national coverage especially if you are using 3G data. The phone system is GSM 900 and 3G 2100 (Asian and European standard). Phones and SIM cards are available at many locations throughout Nairobi and the country including at the airport. Phone prices are very competitive and priced for average income Kenyans. A basic phone may be obtained new from an independent dealer for ~2000/=. A vast majority of people use pre-paid phones with scratch-card top-ups available at a huge number of merchants across the country. All phones are sold “unlocked” for use on any network. Much business is conducted via mobile phone, so possession of one for even a relatively short stay in the country can be beneficial. Rates are extremely affordable with in-country calls at around 3/= per minute. Overseas calls cost around 5/= per minute to the United States (~USD$0.06/minute) and 3/= per minute to India (~INR 1.80, USD 0.04) on the Airtel network.
3G data service is available in most coverage areas on Safaricom and is of a fairly high standard. The other networks have 3G in major population areas and EDGE/GPRS everywhere else. If you have a smart phone you should buy a data pack (200mb, 500mb or 1.5gb) or your credit will go down very fast! Orange has the second best coverage and started to provide unlimited Internet bundles for 0,50$ per 24 hours (monthly pay as you go is also available).
Smoking is against the law out on the streets in the city center (the downtown grid area with numerous skyscrapers). There are certain smoking zones, and outside of the city center it becomes much easier to find locations where it is acceptable. However, a general rule would be to not smoke along the side of any roads or streets with pedestrians and/or vehicles. Be observant and take your cues from other smokers – if there are no smokers or cigarette butts on the ground, it is likely a non-smoking location.
Embassies & High Commissions
Austria, Off Limuru Road, Opposite Muthaiga Mini Market, +254 20 406 00 22 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +254 20 406 00 25)
China, Woodlands Rd, +254 20 2726851 (email@example.com, fax: +254 20 2726402),
Cyprus, International House 6th Floor Mama Ngina Street, +254 20 2220881 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +254 20 312202).
Egypt, Othaya Road off Gitanga Road, Kileleshwa, +254 20 4441248 (email@example.com, fax: +254 20 3870383), . 9:00 AM – 16:00 PM.
Eritrea, 2nd Floor, New Rehema House Raphta Road, Westlands, +254-20-4443164 and +254-20-4448174 for Ambassador, +254-20-4443163 for Councellor(fax: +254 20 3870383 for Ambassador and +254-20-4443165 for Councellor).
Ethiopia, State House Ave, +254 20 2732054 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +254 20 2216044),
France, Barclays Plaza building 9th floor, +254 20 2778000 (email@example.com, fax: +254 20 2778180),
Greece, 13F Nation Tower, Kimathi St, +254 20 340722 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +254 20 2216044),
Indonesia, Menengai Road, Upper Hill P.O.Box 48868 Nairobi, (+254) (20) 714-196 to 198 (email@example.com, fax: +254 20 713-475),
Israel, Bishop Roda, +254 20 2710381 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +254 20 2715966),
Nigeria, Lenana Rd, Kilimani, +254 20 3864116 (email@example.com, fax: +254 20 3875871),
Serbia, State House Ave, +254 20 2710076 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +254 20 2714126),
Spain, CBA Building, 3rd floor, Mara & Ragati Road, Upper Hill, +254 20 2720222 (email@example.com, fax: +254 20 2720226).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Upper Hill Road, +254 20 2844000 (DLNairobi-CommerialSectionprotect@fco.gov.uk, fax: +254 20 2844-088),
Lake Naivasha is worth at least a day’s visit and has enough to keep you occupied for two or three days. Lakeshore country clubs are a good place for lunch. You can take a boat ride on the lake to see hippos, go for a walk among zebra and giraffes on Crescent Island, ride thoroughbred horses among zebra, giraffes and wildebeest at the Sanctuary Farm, and ride bicycles among wildlife and dramatic scenery at Hell’s Gate National Park.
Further afield, Nakuru National Park deservedly warrants a 1-night stay for a late-afternoon and early-morning game drive.