Top 10 things to do in Nairobi
Being in Nairobi, you can get overwhelmed by the city life and sometimes we need to slow down and relax, breathe in some fresh air and makes plans that calm our aura and spirit. So here are ten things you can do in Nairobi that are absolutely free and if not free, the cancellation prices here do not apply at all.
Let’s start with the wild stuff, the outdoorsy activities, the type of activities that give you the thrill of the wild, breeze in the air and will definitely end with you petting or feeding an animal or two.
- Nairobi National Park.
Nairobi National Park is the most accessible safari destination in Africa. Its proximity is one of its major selling points, with it being just 15 minutes from the city centre. It is home to the largest family of rhinos in Kenya earning its prestigious nickname of Kifaru Ark, a rhinoceros sanctuary.
The park has 5 entry points for ease of access and has lovely walking trails that offer a safe and serene area to walk around and the trails also lead to the hippo pools. One of the largest aquatic herbivores areas you shall see in Kenya. They also lead to the Ivory Burning Site. A monumental ivory burning site that is a must visit for conservatives. It’s the site where the late former Kenyan president Daniel Arap Moi burned 12 tonnes of ivory, in 1989 to show Kenya's commitment to the conservation of elephants, and zero tolerance to ivory it also doubles up as a camping site as well. The park also offers a great picnic area for a meal with friends or family overlooking the Impala Observation Centre where you get to dine in and observe one of the calmest animals, the gorgeous sturdy impalas.
On this safari tour you are bound to see the Cape Buffalo, Masai Giraffe, Plain Zebra, Impalas, Ostriches, Hippos, Lions, Spotted Hyena, Jackals, Leopards, Cheetahs to name but a few.
Definitely a top visit spot. The rates are;
Citizens 500 adults 300 children
Residents 1200 adults 600 children
Non-Residents USD 50 adults USD 25 children.
- David Sheldrick Trust / Elephant Orphanage.
Located inside the Nairobi National Park, the David Sheldrick Trust opens its doors every day to the public for an hour. Between 11am and 12 noon. They limit the human interaction with the elephants so as to help them better integrate in the wild when they are eventually let out into the wild.
For ksh1500 per person for 12 years and above and ksh500 for those under the age of 12, you can get to see and experience the beauty that is baby elephants and even sign up to adopt one lovely elephant. The entry point is along Magadi road, at the Kenya Wildlife Service gate. Since their establishment they have successfully raised 285 elephant orphans. This is definitely a must visit in Nairobi. Remember no entry without a prior appointment. So definitely book via their site to avoid delays.
- Nairobi Safari Walk.
This is the greatest way to explore the Nairobi National Park form a safe distance and without the hustle of getting 4x4 vehicles and a tour guide to take you along. Located off Langata Road, the Kenya Wildlife Service head office, you can get to experience the Safari Walk. The rates are;
Citizens 250 adults 125 children
Residents 250 adults 125 children
Non-Residents USD 25 adults USD 15 children.
The safari walk combines all three of the sights, the wetlands, savannah and forestry. As you walk along the high sturdy bridges you are bound to sight see several mammals, reptiles, insects and birds of different species. Popular sightings include lions, leopards, hyena, cheetahs, buffalos, zebras and the wildebeests. It also has access to walking trails that lead to the hippo pools and the ivory burning site. They both double up as Picnic sites as well. This is a great option not only for adults but also the kids as they have a children’s museum, this enables the children to understand the animal kingdom better.
- Giraffe Centre.
Founded in 1983, Giraffe centre is home to 3 kinds of giraffe species. The Rothschild giraffe, the Reticulated giraffe and the Maasai giraffe. For the rates of; Residents 400 adults , 200 children and Non-Residents 1500 adults , 750 children. You get to feed the giraffes with feed provided for at the gate and get a guided tour.
They provide free tours to schools who pre-book. They receive over 50,000 children from all over the country every year. The children learn environmental themes such as sustainable development, forest conservation, wetlands protection and waste management. Coupled with the thrilling experience of interacting with the giraffes. It definitely is an experience to explore.
- National Museum of Kenya.
Learning our culture and heritage is key and where better than a museum to learn. The National Museum of Kenya proudly links nature, culture, history and contemporary art. It has an Art gallery, Botanical gardens, a Snake Park, Nature trails, temporary exhibitions, workshops, shopping centres and dinning out areas as well.
It is open daily, (inclusive of weekends and public holidays) from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. They do sell combination tickets, that grant you entry to the museum halls and the snake park at;
Citizen Adults Kshs. 300
Child below 16 years Kshs. 150
Resident Adults Kshs. 600
Child below 16 years Kshs. 300
Non-Resident Adults Kshs. 1,500
Child below 16 years Kshs. 1,000. They also offer night museum tours upon request and advance booking for a minimum of 10 people from 6:00pm to 10:00pm. The rates for the night tours are;
Non-Resident Rate: Adult: Kshs. 2,000/- Child: Kshs. 1,000/-
Resident Rate: Adult: Kshs. 1,000/- Child: Kshs. 500/-
Citizen Rate: Adult: Kshs. 500/- Child: Kshs. 250/-
- Nairobi Arboretum.
A park within the hustle and bustle of Nairobi, Nairobi Arboretum is open 365 days from 6:00am to 6;15pm ever since it opened its doors in 1907. It is a hot spot for those who want to go for morning or evening runs, picnics with groups, significant others, friends or alone, retreats, team buildings or just a quite moment with nature to reflect and grow. It also gives creatives a space for videography and photography.
The charges are Adult: Kshs 65/-, Child Kshs 27/- car park fees 65/-.
The charges for videography are 3,306, photography – 1322 and for films its 46,400.
- Karura forest.
A lovely urban forest just 15 minutes from the CBD. It has two major entry ways for the public, Limuru road and Kiambu road. Managed by Kenya Forest Service, they charge rates as follows;
Citizens 100 adults 50 children
Residents 200 adults 100 children
Non-Residents 600 adults 300 children.
You can get a guided tour with a guide at 3000 shillings for 2 hours. Karura forest is a hive of activities. Hiking trails, it has over 50 kms of newly marked hiking trails. Cycling paths, the forest has a dedicated 12 km bike trail in the northern area of the forest. You can come with your own bike or rent one at the gate for 500 shillings for two hours. Along the path you can go bird watching as the forest has over 200 bird species residing within. There is also horse riding and several picnic sites within the forest. Please note they do not allow plastic and alcohol within the forest so to avoid leaving your items at the gate please do not carry them. They have a restaurant not too far from the Limuru road gate called the river café. A gorgeous setting to have lunch within a forest. Truly an experience of its own.
- Kitengela hot glass.
We all know hot glass is not something to joke around, but via Kitengela Hot Glass we can get to live dangerously under guided and safe hands. They have an array of experiences that include Blowing bubbles (on request) - 500/- for three minutes, touching fire - 2,500/- for 15 minutes at a bench, shaping a paperweight. Though you do have to give a one hours’ notice. Next experience is Blown to life 5,000/- for 30 minutes. This includes making a glass from start to finish, or 2 smaller objects and can be shared with one other person. For this you have to give a two hours’ notice. Catching light also a two hours’ notice experience goes for 10,000/- for 60 minutes. Making 2 to 4 glass objects. Can be shared with up to three other people. The best part in all this is that all objects made can be taken after 4pm the next afternoon or have them delivered at any of their other shops for pickup.
It is tough, dirty work, but deeply real and satisfying.
They are open daily; Tuesday – Saturday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and Sunday & Monday from 8:00am to 1:00pm.
After all that hard work they have a café called the Glasstronomique Café that has glass decorations all over and uses almost exclusively glass cutlery.
They have a wide range menu as they serve vegetarian fare, coffee, teas, soft drinks, milkshakes, beer and wine. Popular foods include margherita pizza, fries, spring rolls & samosas. To reduce single use plastic, they do not useplastic straws or water in plastic bottles. They also do have a shop that displays a myriad of glass-based products that you can purchase and take home.
9. Red Hill Art Gallery.
The Red Hill Art Gallery is located in lush green hills just outside of Nairobi along Limuru Road roughly 14 kms from Village Market. A light and airy gallery, tucked away in a beautiful garden with views of the Nairobi skyline. It provides stunning and a wholly appropriate space devoted to passion for the African Art. The gallery owns a large collection, amassed over a period of 25 years by the owners, A combination of the finest modern and contemporary African artwork, including paintings and sculptures. It is free and opened daily from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm.
10. Browns Cheese Factory Tour.
If you love cheese, Browns Cheese Tasting Room is definitely an experience for you.
Open Thursday through Saturday by appointment (12-4pm) at 4000 for the whole afternoon that consists of
Cheese Tasting, you get to discover flavourful differences and cheese families with up to 8 cheeses including some seasonal cheeses kept specifically for group tastings.
Factory Tour, a guided tour of the cheese factory and learn how cheese is made through traditional methods and ingredients.
3-Course Meal, after a whole lot of learning, food is essential. Get to dine over their 3-course lunch made with 100% homegrown ingredients.
The price includes up to 2 glasses of wine or beer per person.
They also have a child friendly activity program and menu. Kids under 5 eat and participate free. Kids 5 years and above are 500/- while kids 12 years and above are 1,500/- The prices include pizza and ice cream as well as lunch if they would like some and they can try milking a cow too!