Forget the week long standard safaris to the jungle of Mount Kenya or to the plains of Maasai Mara. A short trip to the capital city can be very exciting if planned well. Between the city skyline view, a national park, several museums, art galleries and nature trails, there is so much that Nairobi has to offer.
Nairobi National Park
Start the day with an early morning game drive at the Nairobi National Park, which is surprisingly close to central Nairobi. The park has been enchanting enthusiastic tourists since 1946. A morning game drive gives you a really good chance of spotting the wildlife that call this park home, which include the Big Five starting with the Big Cats (lions, leopards, cheetahs), the endangered black rhino and buffaloes. Others you are likely to see include hyenas, giraffes and over 400 species of birds. After the game drive, enjoy a sumptuous meaty or vegetarian meal right in the middle of the park.
Head to the Giraffe Centre, which is a short drive from the park. This conservation centre was established to protect the endangered Rothschild giraffes. Relax as you feed the giraffes and learn all about their conservation.
Karen Blixen Museum
A short drive from the conservation centre is the Karen Blixen museum. Take a glimpse into the life of Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke during her stay in Kenya. It is also the basis for her world-acclaimed book, Out of Africa.
Oloolua Nature Trail
Finish the first day’s adventure with a walk at the Oloolua Nature Trail. Just a short distance from the museum, a scenic view awaits; a river, a waterfall, caves, a bamboo forest and an indigenous forest combine to form a tranquil nature sanctuary.
Then take your tired limbs back to your hotel. Get a good nights rest in readiness for another fun-filled day.
This is not the tallest building in Nairobi, in fact, it is fourth in line, but this iconic landmark has the most intoxicating view of the city and its outskirts. Make your way to the rooftop restaurant (which actually rotates), order breakfast, sit back and enjoy 360 degrees’ panoramic view of the city in exactly 76 minutes. With a full belly, head over to the helipad, one staircase up, for an open-air view of the city (and some selfie moments?).
Nairobi National Museum
After a panoramic tour of the city, delve into Kenya’s cultural heritage at the Nairobi National Museum, a 10 minute drive away. Its exhibitions range from Ahmed, the giant elephant and symbol of the 1980’s poaching crisis, to over 900 bird specimens, stuffed mammals, early human fossils, a rich presentation of the Kenyan history and lastly, artifacts from all the tribes in Kenya.
Within the grounds, there is an art gallery, a snake park, botanical gardens and a nature trail. There is also a wide array of shopping and dining facilities, the popular being the Vogue café.
At this point, you may choose to have lunch here or purchase some bites for a picnic at the next stop.
Head northwest to Nairobi Arboretum approximately 15 minutes drive from the museum. Established in 1907, the arboretum is a nature-lovers’ heaven. It has over 350 well-labelled indigenous and exotic trees, planted during the construction of the Kenya-Uganda railway in order to preserve indigenous forests. Walkways crisscross the reserve for easy treks with prime picnic spots along the way (this is a cue to pick a spot and have your lunch or late lunch). Spend the rest of the afternoon learning about these trees and later return to your hotel to get ready for your journey home.