11 Unusual Date Ideas to Try in Nairobi

Uhuru Park
Uhuru Park | ©Jennifer Wu/Flickr
Love may be blind, but it need not be expensive. In a city known for its enterprising spirit, you definitely stand to win some points by thinking outside the box when planning a date in Nairobi. From trail biking in the forest to sipping sodas as you take in a 360-degree view of the city, here are some of the more adventurous ways to spend time with that special person and that will make little, if any, impact on your wallet.

Have a picnic at the Arboretum

Among the monkeys frolicking on the grass and fighting for scraps of food, and groups of people having animated conversations, why not join them by packing a picnic and heading to the Arboretum with your special someone for a romantic lunch date? The tall, mostly indigenous trees and gently sloping grounds mean there is always a cool breeze; perfect for setting the mood. Located just 20 minutes’ walk from the city center, this is a great place to get to know your date better.

Nairobi Arboretum, Nairobi, Kenya


Nairobi Arboretum © Ahero Dala/WikiCommons

Visit the Kuona Trust Centre

How about impressing your date by showing off your cultural side? The Kuona Trust Art Centre in the Kilimani area of the city is a combination of artists’ workspace and a gallery, with a focus on emerging local artists. Spend a couple of hours wandering around this breeding ground for great contemporary Kenyan art together, and you’re sure to have lots to discuss.

Kuona Trust Centre for the Visual Arts, Denis Pritt Road, Nairobi City, Kenya, +254 733 742752

Uhuru Park

Uhuru Park
Uhuru Park | ©Jennifer Wu/Flickr
Uhuru means ‘freedom’ in Swahili and the name of this green area could not be more apt. Uhuru Park is the place where you can forget the rules of dating convention and just have fun – run around together, take selfies on a pedal boat and ride on quad bikes. Get an ice lolly, walk to the top of the hill and take in the splendour of the city as it reflects the golden light of the setting sun.
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Go skating at Panari

Ice? Check. Skates? Check. A couple crazy enough to go ice-skating in the middle of the Kenyan savannah? Check! Whether you are a seasoned hand at skating, or are a beginner whose sole ambition is to ensure you don’t fall flat on your bum after 10 seconds, Panari’s novel ice-skating rink is a great place to spend some quality time together. Go to Panari, get those blades on and make memories. Or watch hilarity ensue.

Ice skating on the rink at the Panari Hotel ©Panari Hotel

Get a panoramic view of Nairobi

Once East Africa’s tallest building, the Kenyatta International Convention Centre is in the heart of the city. Survey the grandeur of the city to your west, and the hustle and bustle of downtown to your east. Don’t forget to take that obligatory panoramic picture of the city from up there!

Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Harambee Avenue, Nairobi City, Kenya, +254 20 221 4535

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Nairobi from the top of the KICC | ©Henrius Berger/Flickr

Take a Matatu tour

Get on board a matatu and see the city as the locals do. Matatus are Kenya’s most popular form of public transport. These cultural icons are cheap, convenient and reasonably comfortable, adding colour and noise to the bustling streets of the city. You can get a matatu to almost anywhere in the city from the city centre, so take a tour with your date and soak up the atmosphere of the city.

A matatu heading out on its route ©Nell Ward/Flickr

Race go-karts

If you want something a little more fast-paced, get your racing shoes on and head on over to the GP Karting track at Wilson Airport. You and your significant other will finally be able to settle that debate about who is the better driver.

GP Karting, Wilson Airport, Nairobi, Kenya

Stroll in Karura Forest

Waterfall at Karura Forest
Waterfall at Karura Forest | ©Ninara/Flickr
Nairobi is sometimes called the ‘green city in the sun’. Karura forest, however, is probably the epitome of this attribute. Lush, cool and serene, covering over 2,000 acres in the north of Nairobi, Karura is a great place to go trail biking or take a long, lazy walk to while away a weekend morning.
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Go hiking in the Ngong Hills

The Ngong Hills are a favourite for hikers. Set aside an afternoon to savour the particular treat of going up these iconic hills, and you can enjoy the magnificent view of Nairobi in the north-east.

Ngong Hills ©Ninara/Flickr

Visit the Bomas of Kenya

The Bomas of Kenya is a fantastic open-air museum featuring traditional tribal villages and is a great place to learn more about the heritage and diversity of Kenya. There are dance shows to watch every day in the afternoon, or spend some time walking around and looking at the various fascinating exhibits.

Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya