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Keeping the flame alive
Keeping the flame alive | © Desiree Fawn / Unsplash
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11 Free and Cheap Date Ideas to Try in Nairobi

Picture of Nandika Macharia
Updated: 2 April 2018
Dating can be an expensive affair. Pretty soon it becomes a financial strain to entertain your love interest and you quickly run out of fresh ideas of what to do when together. Nairobi is full of free and cheap places where your love can blossom without leaving you broke. Read on to see how and where love is brewed in the city under the sun.

Picnic at the arboretum, Nairobi

Park
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You have nature at your beck and call at the arboretum, with its lush greenery and meandering trails that allow you to take long romantic walks. It is a spot created with lovebirds in mind and even when groups are around, it never appears crowded. A great place for reflective conversation!
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Sun - Sat:
6:00 am - 6:30 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Services & Activities:

Entrance Fee, No Smoking, Picnic Tables

Atmosphere:

Peaceful, Instagrammable, Quiet

Explore Karura Forest

Forest
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Karura
Karura picnic | © Ninara / Flickr
This is another scenic picnic spot and what the arboretum lacks in a water body, the Karura forest has in plenty. Walk along the numerous trails and end up by the waterfall listening to bird calls and the sound of rushing water. Just pack your walking shoes, buy snacks and a beverage, and carry kshs 100 ($1) for your entrance fee.
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Sun - Sat:
6:00 am - 6:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Adults Only

Services & Activities:

Rentals, No Smoking, Entrance Fee

Visit scary animal parks

Park
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The Safari Walk, animal orphanage, and the David Sheldrick Wildlife sanctuaries are all superb places to visit. Don’t worry, the animals are secure in their enclosures. Consider visiting the crocodiles at the Nairobi Mamba Village during feeding time or the snake park for slithering chills for less than $5. These reptiles will provide you with a perfect excuse to hold on to each other. You can even hold a crocodile egg, a baby crocodile, or eat crocodile.
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Sun - Sat:
8:30 am - 5:30 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours, Independent

Stay in and cook

Greengrocer, African, American, $$$
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Cook
Share a home-cooked meal | © Herson Rodriguez / Unsplash
Prepare your favorite meal together, cuddle on the sofa with a movie after dinner, and watch your love tanks fill to the brim. Consider cooking your comfort food, as opposed to gourmet, which may be more complicated. You will spend quality time together and there is the option of seconds if you want more.
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Sun - Sat:
7:00 am - 8:00 pm

Do some charity work

Homestay
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Children
Children at play | © Tina Floersch / unsplash
Visiting a children’s home or a medical facility to volunteer is a great way to spend time together while you do something good for society. Not only do you see each other in a different light, the experience makes you more wholesome as a couple.
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Work out together

Gym
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fitness 2
Work out together | © Justyn Warner / Unsplash
Pay for the gym membership for a month and spend time working out together. You can be work out partners helping each other with weights, aerobic steps, and Zumba dance moves. The time spent together working out doesn’t need to cost you more than the monthly gym membership.
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Sun - Sat:
5:45 am - 8:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Adults Only

Services & Activities:

Fitness classes, No Smoking

Atmosphere:

Indoors

Grab some fast food

Fish and Chip Shop, Fast Food, $$$
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fast food
Burger and a drink | © Waferboard / Flickr
Fast food cafés pepper the city of Nairobi along every nook and cranny. A packet of chips from one of these joints is a meal that lovebirds can enjoy together without overspending. The typical fast food meal is a packet of French fries, a piece of rotisserie chicken, and a soft drink, which costs less than three dollars.
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Sun - Sat:
8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Attend a free exhibition

Art Gallery
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Free exhibitions abound in the city, as most galleries are keen to cultivate and increase interest in local art. Spaces like the Alliance Francaise and the Goethe Institute in Nairobi are among the popular venues for such exhibitions. The Godown Arts Center is also another space that hosts interesting art shows, as well as plays and concerts.
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Sun - Sat:
7:00 am - 7:00 pm

Enjoy a laugh at a stand-up comedy gig

Concert Hall
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There are quite a number of comedy gigs in the city, as stand-up comedy continues to gain popularity in the country. You and your partner can enjoy an evening of good humor for a minimal fee as up and coming comedians perform their sets at venues like the Kenya National Theatre or Sarakasi Dome.
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Sun - Sat:
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Get on a merry-go-round

Park
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merry go round
Merry-go-round horses | © Gavin Allanwood / Unsplash
Adults on a merry-go-round are as goofy and free-spirited as it gets. For just $1 at the Uhuru Park, you will have the time of your life trying to hold on to the little horses that will have disappeared under you. Hopefully, you have thick skin and don’t mind the disapproving glances from the adults in the room. This is a great date for people with a sense of humor.
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Sun - Sat:
8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Go for a dip

Swimming Pool
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The city has several well-maintained pools that charge a minimal fee for a dip. The YMCA Central and the Olympic-sized pool at the Kasarani International Sports Center are just two examples. If you are lucky enough to live an apartment building with a pool, you can take your Saturday afternoon date to the poolside with a tall glass of lemonade.
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