Top Attractions in Nairobi
Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, used to be just a stopping point for tourists headed off to their beach holiday. But today, Nairobi has become a popular travel location – keeping business and leisure travelers entertained for days (even weeks). There are plenty of attractions and sights to see while you stay in this African safari location. No matter how long you’re staying, there are a few attractions that offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities you cannot miss.
Tour the Dame Sheldrick Elephant and Rhino Orphanage
This place has been raising orphaned rhinos and elephants since 1950. It was in the late 1970s that she founded the elephant and rhino nursery within the Nairobi National Park. You can see her legacy and visit the park every day in Nairobi from 11am to noon. You can even pick an elephant or rhino to adopt for just $50 USD and then visit the babies after feeding and baths each night at 5pm. The orphanage is inside the National Park and just visiting contributes to the welfare of these animals. It is a truly memorable experience that is great for the entire family and allows you to get closer to nature, give back and see some adorable animals in the process.
Nairobi National Park
There is a lot more to the Nairobi National Park than just elephants and rhinos. This park is what makes Nairobi a unique attraction on its own – after all, what other capital city has elephants, zebra and lions watching it? In 1946 the Nairobi National Park was founded so that the city no longer mingled amongst the wild animals. http://www.gapyear.com/products/220899/nairobi
It is located just 7 kilometers from the city’s center and features a diverse ecosystem. Here you will find a collection of animals that you couldn’t even see on a single safari. The park is open every day and there is an entrance fee of $40 for non-Kenyon visitors.
Nairobi National Museum
The Nairobi National Museum was originally founded in the 1920s, but it didn’t fully establish itself until 1929. It gives visitors to Kenya a chance to learn about the rich culture of the region, see historical artwork, and even learn a little history. The museum received a complete remodel that took over a decade – finally opening its doors back up in 2008. The anthropological discoveries of the Leakey Family are on display in the museum and there is a large collection of birds, a botanical garden and two restaurants so that you can spend the day immersed in Kenyan culture. The museum is open daily from 8:30am to 5:30pm.
Go to the Giraffe Center
Have you ever wanted to see a giraffe up close? Go to the breeding center for the Rothschild Giraffe – a rare breed of giraffe currently being preserved. You can only see this giraffe in East Africa, which is one reason the center was founded in the 1970s. It was founded by Jock Leslie-Melville, a man who successfully raised his own baby Rothschild in Langata. The program since then has been successful at breeding several couples and putting them back into the wild to procreate. The center serves as an educational center, teaching local school children and tourists about the important work and conservation of the species. You can tour and visit the center daily from 9am to 5:30pm and if you want, you can even spend a night at Giraffe Manor, where you will eat your complimentary breakfast with giraffes peeking into the dining area.
Kibera Slum Tour
Kibera has become a popular location for slum tourism. While some countries look at slum tourism as a negative, the community and locals appreciate the visits; because these tours help contribute to their social projects and development. It is also an educational opportunity for those visiting Kenya, especially those that do not understand how these third-world countries live. There are local guides in Kibera who can offer insight as to how their community lives, the struggles they face, and more. You must first ask permission to take photographs and if you take the tour, you are obligated to contribute some sort of donation toward a community project.
These tours are messy, so purchase or bring mud shoes along for the journey and dress comfortably, because the majority of the tour involves walking.
Kazuri Bead Factory and Pottery Center
If you are interested in seeing local crafts, make a stop here. From the ceramic beadworks to pottery to handmade leather goods, you will find a variety of hand-produced crafts from local women. The founder of the center chose the name because Kazuri means “small and beautiful” in Swahili. The company originally started in 1975 and now employees over 300 local women, helping them provide for their families.
You can take a full tour of the factory, watching the pots get fired and beads made by hand. Weekends are hard to get in for tours, so try to go during the week. The Bead Factory and Pottery Center are great stops if you are on your way to the Karen Blixen Museum.
Karen Blixen Museum
This famous farmhouse is where the Danish author, Karen Blixen, wrote the book Out of Africa. The house is located on the Ngong Hills and was originally constructed in 1912. It was bought by Karen and her husband in 1917 and since has been turned into a museum. Here you will find everything you want to learn about the author and her novel. You’ll find hand crafts, souvenirs and a little history behind the author during the tour. While the house can become crowded, you will also see the gardens that were featured in the book. The museum is open from 9:30am to 6:00pm each day.