If you’re looking to explore the beautiful country of Kenya, I highly recommend spending a day or two immersing yourself in the vibrant city of Nairobi. This bustling metropolis, known as the go-to city in Africa, offers a captivating blend of culture, history, and natural beauty.
From its bustling markets and lively streets to its stunning skyline and iconic landmarks, Nairobi has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in wildlife conservation, arts, and culture, or simply experiencing the local cuisine, this dynamic city will leave you awe-inspired and craving for more. Don’t miss the opportunity to uncover the hidden gems and rich heritage that Nairobi has to offer on your unforgettable journey through Kenya!
This guide is part of our Kenya Tourist circuit guides. You can also read about Central Rift Circuit guide here.
What is the Nairobi tourist Circuit:
According to Lonely Planet and other unofficial travel guides, Kenya has 7 or 8 tourist circuits and Nairobi circuit is one of them. For the city lovers, this circuit introduces you to the vibrant and fast-paced lifestyle of Nairobi. It covers some of the top attractions in and around the city, including national parks, museums, markets, and more.
Nairobi, the capital and largest city of Kenya, stands as a vibrant metropolis.
What does the word ‘Nairobi’ mean?
Nairobi derives its name from the Maasai phrase ‘Enkare Nairobi,’ meaning ‘cool water,’ inspired by the Nairobi river that flows through the city. With its captivating national park, vibrant cultural heritage, and numerous attractions, Nairobi stands out as the only city in the world with its very own national park.
Places to explore in this Circuit:
Situated in Langata, Bomas of Kenya is a captivating living museum that beautifully showcases the cultural richness and diversity of Kenya’s 42 tribes. Here, visitors are treated to a mesmerizing display of traditional dances, intricate crafts, and unique lifestyles that highlight the vibrant tapestry of different communities.
Immerse yourself in the enchanting replicas of traditional homesteads as you journey through this cultural village, located just 10km from the bustling city center. Bomas truly encapsulates the essence of Kenya, celebrating its diverse culture, distinct living styles, remarkable crafts, and captivating music and dancing. Notably, it is also home to the largest auditorium in all of Africa.
Karen Blixen Museum: Out of Africa up close
Located at the foot of Ngong Hills, approximately 14 km to the west of Nairobi city, is the Karen Blixen Museum. This historical site was once home to Danish writer Karen Blixen who lived here between 1917 and 1931. She is the author of the ‘Out of Africa’ book which was later turned into a movie in 1985 to showcase the wonders of Masai Mara Reserve.
The design of the Karen Blixen house, now a museum, offers a glimpse into the lavishness of the foreign colonizers in Kenya during that era. As a Kenyan, visiting this place serves as a powerful reminder of the remarkable progress that Nairobi’s metropolis has made over the past century.
Nairobi National Park: The Only National Park in the World in a Capital City
Did you know that Nairobi is the only city in the world with a national park within its boundaries? Located just 7km from Nairobi’s central business district, Nairobi National Park is home to an incredible range of wildlife, including lions, leopards, giraffes, buffalos, and even endangered black rhinos.
This park offers a unique experience, as visitors can go on safari drives or even have a picnic while watching animals in their natural habitat with the city’s skyline as a backdrop. Additionally, the Nairobi National Park is home to an animal orphanage where injured and abandoned animals are taken care of until they are ready to be released back into the wild.
The Giraffe Centre: A Conservation Effort to Protect the Endangered Rothschild Giraffes
Located on the outskirts of Nairobi, The Giraffe Centre is a popular tourist destination that serves as a conservation effort for the endangered Rothschild giraffes. Visitors can interact with these majestic animals by feeding them and learning more about their behavior and habitat.
The center also has a nature trail that offers a peaceful and scenic walk through the surrounding forest. This is a great place to not only learn about conservation efforts but also get up close and personal with these beautiful animals.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: A Haven for Orphaned Elephants
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, located within the Nairobi National Park, is a must-visit destination for animal lovers. This organization is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned elephants, and visitors can witness firsthand the incredible work they do.
At specific times during the day, visitors can watch the elephants being fed and even adopt an elephant through the trust’s fostering program. This is a unique opportunity to not only see these intelligent creatures up close but also contribute to their conservation and welfare.
During the Summer, my family and I had the opportunity to visit a rescue center. I was truly impressed by the way they organized their tours. Visits were scheduled during lunchtime when the elephants were bottle-fed. We were fortunate to have a knowledgeable English speaker who passionately explained the history of each rescued elephant. The presenter’s 45-minute presentation, while walking alongside these majestic creatures, deeply influenced my newfound love and admiration for elephants. Unfortunately, I cannot speak highly of the giraffe center since our guide appeared to have limited knowledge about giraffes. It was later revealed that he was an intern.
Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC):A Historical and Cultural Landmark
The Kenyatta International Convention Center is the heart of Nairobi city, towering over 100 meters above the bustling streets below. This iconic building was inaugurated in 1973 by Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, and has since become a symbol of national pride.
Visitors can take a guided tour up to the rooftop, which offers breathtaking views of the city skyline and surrounding landscape. The tour also includes a visit to the revolving restaurant, located on the 22nd floor, where visitors can enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the panoramic view.
Nairobi National Museum: A Gateway to Kenya’s Rich Cultural Heritage
The Nairobi National Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in learning about Kenya’s history and culture. Located just 5minutes from the city center, this museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts, art, and exhibits that showcase the diverse cultural heritage of Kenya.
Visitors can explore the various sections of the museum, including the Kenyan History Gallery, Cradle of Humankind Gallery, and Art Gallery. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year, making each visit a unique experience.
Karura forest: A Nature Lover’s Paradise
Karura forest is a hidden gem in the heart of Nairobi, offering visitors a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The forest covers over 1,000 hectares and is home to various species of birds, monkeys, butterflies, and other wildlife.
Visitors can take a guided walk through the forest or rent a bike to explore the many trails and paths. There are also designated picnic areas and a waterfall, making it a perfect spot for a family day out or a romantic date.
Maasai Market:A Shopper’s Paradise
The Maasai Market is an open-air market that takes place every day in different locations throughout Nairobi. Here, visitors can find a wide variety of traditional African handicrafts, jewelry, textiles, and other unique souvenirs.
Visiting the Maasai Market is not just a shopping experience but also an opportunity to interact with local artisans and learn about their culture and traditions. Bargaining is encouraged, so visitors can get good deals on their purchases.
Ngong Hills:An Adventurer’s Dream
Ngong Hills, with its iconic silhouette, is a popular destination for hiking and outdoor activities. The hills offer stunning views of Nairobi and the surrounding countryside.
Visitors can choose from various trails ranging from easy to challenging hikes or even go mountain biking. The Ngong Hills are also a favorite spot for paragliding, offering visitors a unique perspective of the city.
The Railway Museum:A Journey through Kenya’s History
The Nairobi Railway Museum offers visitors a glimpse into the history of Kenya’s railway system. The museum houses various exhibits, including old locomotives and train cars, as well as artifacts and photographs showcasing the development of the railway in Kenya.
Visitors can also take a ride on an original steam-powered train from 1926 or visit the adjacent Railway Museum Gardens for a peaceful stroll.
When to do the Nairobi Circuit Tour:
Nairobi boasts a consistently pleasant climate throughout the year, making it an ideal destination for the Nairobi Circuit tour at any time. For budget-conscious readers of our blog, I advise against visiting during Kenya’s tourist peak season from July to October and in December. During these periods, accommodation rates skyrocket and popular tourist spots become overcrowded.
My personal recommendation is from January to March as the weather is still dry and pleasant, and there are fewer crowds. At this time, the dry weather will allow you to explore the city’s during the day and can stay up as long as you want hopping from one club to another. No better way to remember the city than that!
How you can book a Nairobi Tour with Kambu Campers:
We can arrange short safari trips to various destinations in the city if you write to us to express interest. we will do the pre-booking and make all arrangements from airport pick-up to hotel reservations. Nairobi awaits you!