Nairobi Travel Guide & Information

Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The name "Nairobi" is from the Maasai phrase “Enkare Nyirobi”, which translates to "the place of cool waters". Nairobi is now one of the most prominent cities in Africa, both politically and financially. Home to many companies and organizations, including the United Nations Environment Program and the UN Office in Africa, Nairobi has established itself as a hub for business, culture and tourism.

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Travel to Nairobi, a city popularly and lovingly also coined the “Safari Capital of the World”, with many spectacular hotels that cater to safari-bound travelers. Flights to Nairobi is an opportunity to experience the extraordinary allure of Africa, a city brimming with bustling markets, interesting sightseeing, a lively nightlife and safaris.

Nairobi embodies the word "contrast", reflected by its spacious suburbs, charming flower-lined streets and a refreshing climate. As mentioned, Nairobi is also the safari capital of Africa and a good base for travel in Kenya. Founded by the British more than 100 years ago, modern day Nairobi is a commercial center with interesting high-rises, fine cuisine and awesome attractions.

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Things to do in Nairobi

Museums:

Nairobi has a host of museums, which reflect the city’s historical and glorious past. A visit to the museum is a must while visiting the Green City in the Sun.

Nairobi National Museum: Nairobi National Museum is located at Museum Hill, a 10 minute drive from Nairobi’s city center. The museum houses some of the most celebrated collections of history, culture and art from Kenya and East Africa. The museum aims to interpret and celebrate Kenya’s heritage.

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National Railway Museum: The museum was established in 1971 by the then East African Railways and Harbors Corporation to preserve and display relics and records of the railways of East Africa, from inception to present day. In addition to the collection of steam locomotives and rolling stock, there is a large display of smaller exhibits and models.

Karen Blixen Museum: The Karen Blixen Museum in Nairobi was set up in 1985 in M'Bogani House, the main building of Karen Blixen's coffee farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills. A striking feature about Karen Blixen Museum is the beautiful grounds. Much of the original furniture is on display in the house. The original kitchen has been restored and is now open for viewing.

Must See:

The city of Nairobi has lots of attractions, safaris and sightseeing opportunities that are a must see for your itinerary.

Nairobi National Park: Established in 1946, the national park was Kenya's first. Nairobi National Park boasts a large and varied wildlife population. Migrating herbivores gather during the dry season. This is one of Kenya's most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries. The park's environment is an open grass plain with scattered Acacia bushes.

Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage: Visiting this orphanage is a must see, located near Nairobi National Park. This orphanage for elephant calves and rhinos from all over Kenya was founded and still managed by Daphne Sheldrick, the widow of one of Kenya's best known Game Wardens David Sheldrick. The center is open to the public each morning. At this time the calves are being exercised and bathed and visitors are free to watch.

Bomas of Kenya: Bomas of Kenya was started by the Government of Kenya in 1971 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Kenya Tourist Development Cooperation. Bomas of Kenya is a tourist village in Langata, Nairobi. Bomas displays traditional villages that belong to the many Kenyan tribes. The village was built with the idea to preserve, maintain and promote rich and diverse cultural values of each tribal group in Kenya.

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Where to Stay in Nairobi:

Nairobi has a wide range of safari hotels, spas and resorts, well-appointed internationally renowned hotels with a wide spectrum of amenities for tourists and business travelers. The accommodation options range from cheap hotels to 4-Star Hotels Under $99, hostels and bed and breakfast inns.

Central Business District: Nairobi has grown exponentially and has evolved into thecentral business district. Shaped like a rectangle, around the Uhuru Highway, Haille Selassie Avenue, Moi Avenue and University Way, it features many of Nairobi's important buildings, including City Hall and Parliament as well as the City Square. To the southwest is Uhuru Park and Central Park. The area is a perfect choice for business and leisure travelers, especially those seeking luxurious accommodations.

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Lang'ata: Lang'ata is a suburb of Nairobi in Kenya, southwest of the city center and east of Karen. Lang'ata has several attractions such as the Giraffe Center, the Uhuru Gardens and a tourist village, Bomas of Kenya. Lang'ata is also home to the world famous Carnivore Restaurant and adjoining Carnivore grounds, where many concerts are hosted. Wilson Airport, the largest private airport in Kenya, can also be found in Lang'ata, as well as the famous Nairobi National Park.

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Passport & Visa Requirements

For US Citizens:

As per the latest travel information available for Nairobi, here are the passport and visa guidelines to assist you further.

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* A passport and visa are required. Visas should be obtained in advance, although airport visas are available.

* Travelers to Kenya and neighboring African countries should ensure that the validity of their passports is at least six months beyond the end of their intended stay and that their passport contains sufficient blank pages for visas and immigration stamps.

* Visit the Embassy of Kenya web site for the most current visa information.

For Canadian Citizens:

* A valid Canadian Passport is required for Canadians intending to visit Nairobi.

* The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected departure from the country.

* Visitors to Nairobi require visas. It is recommended that visas be obtained prior to departure to avoid delays and difficulties on arrival.

This requirement applies to all travelers, regardless of age, including children.

We recommend that you check the latest travel alerts, various airlines baggage policies and travel safety tips, so that you do not miss out on any of the fun while visiting Nairobi.

*Kindly note that we take the utmost care in providing you with correct information at all times. However, the passport and visa regulations are subject to change and we strongly urge you to check the requirements directly with the US passport office and, or the Canadian Passport Office before traveling.

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When to visit Nairobi

Travelers can vacation in Nairobi any time of year, although the summer months are most popular, with the many sunny and warm days.

The two wet seasons are March to May and October to December. Budget travelers can choose to visit Nairobi during this period as the city is much quieter and flights and hotels are cheaper during these periods.

Planning your Visit:

High season: (November to February)

Low season: (March to May /October to December)

Situated at a high altitude, Nairobi has a moderate climate. The altitude makes for some chilly evenings, especially in June and July when the temperature can drop to 10 °C.

* The summer months are sunny and warm without blistering temperatures, while winters are mild to cool with very chilly evenings.

* Rainfall is also moderate, the wettest part of the year being late summer to autumn, when cloudy and drizzly days are common.

Currency and Language:

Currency:

ATMs are available in many parts of Nairobi - ensure you inform your bank before travelling abroad, and be aware you may be charged for cash withdrawals.

Languages:

* The official languages of Nairobi are Kiswahili and English.

* Though English is widely spoken and understood, knowing a few phrases can be very helpful.