An Introvert's Guide to Nairobi

Time alone
Time alone | © Joshua Harvey / Unsplash
Nandika Macharia

You like your space and for people to respect your boundaries and you’re perfectly fine hanging out on your own. Introverts have the most fun when they get the travel bug because they determine the pace of their holiday and it matches their chilled-out nature. If you have decided on Nairobi as your holiday destination here is a comprehensive guide for you.

1. For the private introvert’s accommodation

Independent Hotel, Homestay, Hostel

Hotel signage
© Robert Huffstutter / Flickr

There are many beautiful boutique hotels in Nairobi. Depending on your budget, you will find something to suit your needs. If you are traveling alone, you can expect to pay a higher amount because the hotel cannot make the same amount as they would with a double occupancy. Alternative accommodations are available in the city, including Airbnb or hostels. Airbnb’s are quite popular with introverts in Nairobi because the local are respectful and understand their visitor’s boundaries. As for the hostels, choose a place that will allow you to have your own privacy and peace to recharge, like the YMCA Central, Nairobi.

2. For the culturally-aware introvert

Natural Feature

Grass thatch houses
© William Warby / Flickr
Art is also a huge part of the Nairobi culture. There are many galleries, performances, and other art forms in the city. Most of these spaces are within reach of the hotels, although you may need to travel for a few minutes for some. Shopping at the craft markets will get you in touch with the right art and land you great pieces.In terms of language, English is the official language, while Swahili is the national language in the country. A lot of people also speak French, German, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, and other languages, so you are always able to communicate. However, if you are up to it, you can pick up the local slang, known as Sheng. If you are very particular, arranging for a guide before your arrival may be the best option, as you’ll eliminate any miscommunication from the get-go.

3. For the self-aware introvert

Botanical Garden, Park

© Tommaso Pecchioli / Unsplash

Nairobi is full of parks where you can spend as much time as you need reflecting. Enjoy the beautiful scenery at the arboretum or visit the Resurrection Gardens in Karen for peace and tranquility.Consider companions for safety rather than for company. Perhaps you can pair with an introvert friend or be part of a smaller group where you have plenty of opportunities to spend time alone. This ensures that you have people looking out for you and aware of your presence at all times. In case of the group, choose shorter tours or walks that end early and leave you to make your own plans. Alternatively, employ a guide who is with you for a limited number of hours and understands your preferences.

4. For the focused introvert

Art Gallery, Park, Theatre

itinerary 2
© Oxana V / Unsplash

Ensure you have an itinerary. Introverts do well with planning, which ensures that they have a selected number of destinations and activities. Nairobi has so many interesting places to visit, so you need a plan to prevent burnout. As an introvert, being around too much can cause you to enjoy the city less, as you are constantly around people. Enjoy a bit of the wildlife or shopping during the day and make reservations for a delicious meal and a glass of wine to wind down your evening. It is very tempting to wing it in Nairobi, but the bustle of the city may be a bit much for an introvert.

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