Best Things to do in Nairobi

8 Best Things to do in Nairobi

Introduction: 

Looking for the best things to do in Nairobi?

Whether you need inspiration for your next trip or you’re ready to book your next big adventure, I’ve got all the insider info you need.

These activities have been handpicked by me to ensure you have a great trip, just like I did when I visited Kenya recently. These are activities that I did personally, or had highly praised recommendations by other travelers to ensure you get the full spectrum of what Nairobi has to offer.

If your exploring all over Kenya or just to Nairobi, make sure to have this Ultimate Kenya Travel Guide so you have everything you need to know to travel to Kenya like a pro.

If you want to explore beyond Nairobi, then check out these best places to visit while in Kenya which includes visiting other great destinations like Hell’s Gate or Mombasa.

1. Nairobi National Park:

Best For travelers who want a safari experience close to the city 

DV at Nairobi National Park
Rhinos at Nairobi National Park

While in Nairobi National Park, you can spot lions, giraffes, leopards, rhinos, zebras, and over 400 species of birds while you have Nairobi’s city skyline in the backdrop. 

It’s one of the few places in the world where such a unique scene exists.

What’s truly special about this park is how close it is to the city, being only 6 miles away! So you can experience a safari adventure without having to travel far from Nairobi.

While you can rent a car and do a self-guided tour throughout the park, I highly recommend taking a guided tour. The local guides are fantastic at knowing where the animals like to hide (which you may miss on your own) and share fascinating facts about the wildlife and the park’s ecosystem. 

Plus, you can sit back and relax as you’re being driven to the best wildlife viewing spots! 

Before your next safari adventure, make sure to have the ultimate safari packing list, so you can ensure a great time while spotting the Big 5.

During my visit to Nairobi National Park, it was so convenient to have an amazing safari experience so close to my hotel in the city. Plus, I was able to see a baby and mama Rhino, while having the city’s skyscrapers off in the distance. 

It’s a powerful moment that I will never forget!

Key details:

  • Entrance Price: International visitors pay 450 KES (about $43) for adults and 210 KES (about $22) for children.
  • Opening Hours: Open daily from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, giving you a full day to explore.
  • Plan to Spend: At least 4 hours here (but the more time here the better)
  • Address: Located just 10 km (6 miles) south of Nairobi’s city center.

If you love safari adventures, and looking to travel further outside of Nairobi, then I highly recommend visiting the Masai Mara National Park, which is ranked as one of the best things to do while in Kenya. Especially if you want to see the Big 5 and be completely surrounded by nature.

2. Nairobi Elephant Sanctuary: 

Best For: Animal lovers and families who love animals and want to support conservation efforts.

Elephant in Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya, Africa
Elephant in Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya, Africa

The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is a sanctuary for over 20 orphaned baby elephants and 2 rhinos. These young elephants are nurtured and rehabilitated until they’re ready to return to the wild.

While you’re at this sanctuary, you can watch the elephants, eat, play in the mud, and interact with you as their caretakers share the story of the elephant. The best part, you can hear how the caretakers rehabilitate each animal until they can be re-introduced into their natural habitats and rejoin the herd. 

What I love about this place is not just the ability to learn how to ethically interact with the animals, but the chance to also understand their stories and join the efforts to protect them. 

After the viewing, you also have a chance to adopt an elephant for around $50 a year annually! This is such a small cost that tremendously helps each elephant and goes to a great cost (just for $50 a year). 

I loved every minute while in the Elephant sanctuary. From watching the elephants play with one another to the baby rhino rolling around in the mud to learning about how we can help protect these animals. Visiting this sanctuary is a must-do activity for every traveler. 

Key Details:

  • SWT required-entry donations: Around $20 per adult and $5 per child under 12 years old.
    • Please note that to enter the Nairobi National Park (which is why the SWT is located), you must also pay the park entry fee, regardless if you will venture further into Nairobi National Park or not. 
  • Opening Hours: Visit from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM daily.
    • Make sure to arrive at least 20 minutes early so you can get a spot in the front, so you can touch the elephants as they walk by. Please note that you are only allowed to gently touch these animals if they walk past you. 
  • Plan to Spend: Around 1 hour here to witness the feeding and learn about the elephants.
  • Address: Located off Magadi Road, Nairobi. 

3. Giraffe Centre: 

Best for animal lovers and families looking for a unique interaction with giraffes

DV at Giraffe Centre, Nairobi Kenya
Giraffe Centre, Nairobi Kenya

At the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi, you can feed, receive a kiss, and just observe the giraffes in their natural habitats. You can feed the giraffes by hand, which allows you the chance to get close to these animals and take Instagram-worthy pictures in the process!

While you’re here, you can learn about the conservation efforts to protect giraffes, specifically the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe.

While you’re here, you can also take a hike across the 1.6-kilometer natural trail and count how much wildlife you can spot! Or you can wind down with refreshments at the tea house while watching people feed the giraffes. 

During my visit, I was amazed by how close I could get to the giraffes. The platform is designed to be at eye level with them, making the experience even more personal. 

Plus, in 1979, one of the first giraffes protected by this center was named Daisy, so they even named the gift store after her. How cool is that!

Key Details:

  • Entrance Price: 1,500 KES (about $13) for adults and 750 KES (about $6.50) for children for international visitors.
  • Opening Hours: The center is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Plan to Spend: Around 2 hours here. 
  • Address: The Giraffe Centre is located at Duma Rd, Nairobi, which is about 40 minutes from Nairobi city center.

4. Nairobi National Museum: 

Best Activity to Do in Nairobi for History Lovers.

The Nairobi National Museum is a perfect place to learn more about Kenya’s fascinating history and culture. You can walk through exhibits that show you the history of Kenya, from the earliest humans to today’s cultural diversity. You’ll see real fossils and tools used by early humans, giving you a glimpse into how they lived millions of years ago. 

You can also see exhibits about the stories of mammals, the circle of life, and so much more! Besides the indoor exhibits, the museum is surrounded by beautiful botanical gardens where you can relax and maybe even spot some local birds. It’s a nice place to unwind after exploring the museum.

Key Details:

  • Entrance Price: 1,200 KES for non-resident adults and 600 KES for children under 16 years old. 
  • Opening Hours: You can visit any day from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
    • You can also request an exclusive night tour from 6:00-10:00 PM with a minimum of 10 guests. 
  • Plan To Spend: Around 2 hours here. 
  • Address: Located at Museum Hill, it’s just a short drive from the center of Nairobi.

5. Karura Forest

Best for anyone who enjoys nature on a budget. 

Karura Forest is a beautiful 2,500-acre park located just 15 minutes away from the middle of Nairobi. 

Within this park, you can enjoy a 15-meter waterfall, caves, archaeological sites, and spot animals like monkeys, bats, and over 200 species of birds.

This forest is unique because it’s one of the biggest city forests in the world, and it has a long history of being preserved by environmentalists. 

While at Karura, you can enjoy park activities like hiking, biking, playing tennis or just relaxing under the tree shade. 

Key Details:

  • Entrance Price: 600 KES for nonresident adults and 300 KES for children under 13 years old. 
  • Opening Hours: From 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
  • Plan to Spend: at least 2.5 hours here. 
  • Address: You can find Karura Forest on Limuru Road, not far from the middle of Nairobi.

6. Explore Nairobi’s Nightlight

Best for music and party lovers, looking to have fun after dark! 

Alchemist Nightclub in Nairobi
Alchemist Nightclub in Nairobi

Nairobi transforms as the sun sets, offering an electric nightlife that caters to your interests.

If you enjoy an upscale and energetic vibe then, “B-Club Nairobi” is where you want to be. Known for its luxurious ambiance and top-notch sound system, it attracts international DJs who play a wide range of music, from chart-topping hits to deep house beats. 

The energy here is contagious, and it’s the perfect place to see and be seen.

If you enjoy a more chill vibe, with tons of great music, then “The Alchemist Bar” is your go-to spot. 

I personally visited Alchemist twice, during my time in Kenya, and I absolutely loved it! It offers a chill outdoor setting with artsy decor to add to the unique vibe. Plus, you have a huge dance floor with great music that brings everyone together on the dance floor, so you can dance all night. 

Daisy’s tip: Bring Kenyan Shillings in case you have to pay a small cover fee at the door. You may then receive a token that allows you to get a “free drink” at the bar.

While I felt safe at the club, be sure to always proceed with caution and know these valuable safety tips to stay safe while in Kenya or at the local Nairobi clubs.

Regardless, if you choose the high-energy atmosphere of B-Club or the laid-back charm of the Alchemist, you’re in for a memorable night!

7. Shop at Maasai Markets

Best for shoppers and tourists looking for unique Kenyan souvenirs

The Maasai market is a colorful open-air market that offers everything from intricate beadwork and hand-painted fabrics to stunning jewelry and detailed wood carvings. The best part is all of the souvenirs are locally made in Kenya and you can even see people making the souvenirs off to the side. 

The Maasai Market doesn’t have a fixed address because it’s held in different locations throughout the week. However, you can easily visit the Maasai market in the High Court parking lot in the city center on Saturdays and Sundays. This is when the market is the busiest but also filled with tons of great tables to shop at. 

If you’re a shopaholic, then you can also visit Nairobi’s city market for more shopping experience and a great bargain. 

Regardless of where you go to shop, you are expected to bargain. This is one of my top tips to know when visiting Kenya, that most people do not know which leads them paying 4 times higher than the actual price.

So prepare to bargain for a good price.

Key Details:

  • Best Days to Visit: Aim for Saturdays and Sundays at the High Court parking lot for the most extensive selection and liveliest atmosphere.
  • Bargaining: Seen as both an art and a necessity, bargaining is expected. Approach it with a smile, and you’ll enjoy the interaction as much as the shopping.
  • What to Look For: Seek out unique items like handcrafted Masai beads, vibrant Kitenge fabrics, and skillfully carved soapstone pieces. 
  • Plan to Spend: At least 1-2 hours to explore, shop, and bargain. 

8. Learn to Play the African Djembe Drums

Best for music enthusiasts and anyone looking to dive into African culture

Bomas of Kenya offers a vibrant gateway into the heart of African music by teaching visitors how to play the African Djembe Drum.

At Bomas, you can become part of the music, as a skilled musician guides you through the basics of Djembe, ensuring you can follow the beats and understand the drum’s significance in African culture. The best part? You don’t need any prior experience. 

Whether you’re a seasoned musician or a curious newbie, you’ll leave with a new skill and a deeper appreciation for African music. Then afterward, you can enjoy a great meal with traditional Kenyan food. 

Key Details:

  • Entrance Price: $20 for non-resident and $10 for non-resident children.
  • Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 2:40 PM-4:00 PM and weekends and holidays from 3:30-5:15 PM.
  • Plan to Spend: Set aside at least 2 hours for your visit. This gives you enough time to enjoy the drumming lesson and explore the other cultural exhibits Bomas has to offer.
  • Address: Located at Lang’ata Road, Nairobi.

If your exploring all over Kenya or just to Nairobi, make sure to have this Ultimate Kenya Travel Guide so you have everything you need to know to travel to Kenya like a pro.

Conclusion:

As you explore these best things to do in Nairobi, I hope that you discover the same beauty and love for this incredible country as I have.

If you love dreaming of your next trip, but hate the planning process, then grab your free easy-to-use (hassle-free) detailed guide to planning your trip.

So you can enjoy more of your trip with less stress! 

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