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Where to Stay and What to Do in Nairobi, Kenya
As the world slowly begins to open back up again, and international travel planning becomes possible, I’ve got my sights set on revisiting some of my favorite places on the globe. I’ve traveled far and wide (and high! Hello, Kilimanjaro!), and of all the incredible places Chad and I have been lucky enough to go, Nairobi is truly a favorite. As I make my own plans to visit in early 2022, I’m sharing a list of where to go in Nairobi, Kenya for the perfect weekend adventure before heading out into the bush on safari or any other grand African adventure.
From the epic conservancies to the beautiful sites, Nairobi is definitely a must-see destination for every world traveler. Below you’ll find some of my and Chad’s favorite stops in Nairobi.
Be sure to bookmark this page for the next time you get bitten by the travel bug!
Known for its upscale dining scene and posh fashion culture, Karen is our favorite neighborhood to stay in. We’ve stayed at Karen Gables and it's like arriving at your expat's home in Africa. Beautifully situated and warm and inviting, Karen Gables comes complete with homemade dinner while the large dogs lie at your feet.
Fortunately, Karen is also home to one of the most unique hotels in the world. Giraffe Manor is a boutique hotel with some very unique guests—beautiful Rothschild’s Giraffes. They visit morning and night, sticking their heads through the windows for treats from delightedly surprised guests. If you’re looking to share your breakfast with the world’s tallest mammals, this is the place to stay.
If you’re looking to venture outside of town, The Lodges on the Lewa/Borana Landscape are unmatched. They have ten separate lodges that accommodate the adventurous safari-seeker, the private family getaway or a world-class resort experience. One of their private homes, Arijiju, was named the most beautiful house in Africa by Conde Nast. All of the offerings, from luxury tents to cottages to large, private homes, are immersed in the natural beauty and landscape surrounding them and offer an array of safari experiences, outdoor adventures and recreational activities. Lewa is about a four hour drive northeast of Nairobi, but Lewa’s Lodges are well worth the trek.
If, like us, you can’t get enough giraffes, discerning travelers and animal lovers should stop by the Giraffe Center, a world famous Nature Education Centre focused on educating youth about their local wildlife. This 60-acre sanctuary opened in 1983 to bring attention to the alarming plight of the Rothschild’s Giraffe. Today, it is a non-profit organization devoted to giving local children and international visitors an authentic experience with this beautiful yet endangered animal. Just 40 minutes from Nairobi’s city centre, this popular attraction is an affordable and delightful way to get up close and personal with wildlife.
As animal lovers and committed conservationists, no trip to Nairobi is complete without a visit to our partners at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Starting on July 12th, the Nursery will be reopening its daily 11am to noon visiting hours. Visitors are invited to learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of orphans from the Keepers who work with them every day, while the orphans graze and enjoy mud baths. Reservations must be made in advance. Visit this page to get all the information you need to plan your visit to the Nairobi Nursery.
All that site-seeing is sure to leave you craving some local food and drink. We love to start the day off in Nairobi at Artcaffe or Java House for some great coffee and free wifi. And at the end of the day, we love stopping by Hemingway's Bar for a drink. Hemingway’s is a 5-star luxury boutique hotel collection with locations across Kenya, and the Bar in Nairobi is a treat. Sitting in front of the fireplace or taking in the view of the Ngong Hills with a signature cocktail is a relaxing and luxurious way to end an adventurous day in Nairobi.
Lastly, no visit is complete without a few memorable tokens or gifts to commemorate the occasion. We love shopping at Matbronze Wildlife Art. Their handmade bronze gifts and keepsakes are sculptural works of art that capture the beauty of the local wildlife. Grab lunch while you’re there at the Matbronze Café and take in the natural, wildlife-inspired garden surrounding it.
While you’re visiting the Nairobi Nursery at The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, don’t forget to stop in their gift shop. It features a delightful and impressive collection of gifts, apparel and handmade wares—all of which support the invaluable work of their conservancy. So you can shop ‘til you drop knowing you’re putting your dollars to a very worthwhile cause.
If you’re looking for an out-of-this-world trip to an extraordinary place, Nairobi, Kenya is at the top of my list. Now is the perfect time to plan a visit for the upcoming holiday season or a New Year’s getaway. The dry season, from June or July through September/October is a popular time to go and catch the Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra. But anytime of the year is a great time to support the local businesses of Kenya, who need our tourism to sustain the difficulties of the last year.
As you’re planning, check out my Top Tips for Traveling to Kenya and my handy guide on What toPack for a Safari.