Nairobi is a surprisingly versatile city that shouldn't be missed. The Western-style clubs, bars and restaurants that you'll find in the skyscraper-filled city centre is easily alternated with the great range of wildlife watching opportunities in and just outside the city. Nairobi is an ideal place to get adjusted to Kenyan lifestyle and to prepare your great travel adventures in Africa.
Since Nairobi is practically on the Equator, you might expect a hot and humid climate. However, located at almost 2000 meters, temperatures never hit more than 25 Celsius. This makes the city an ideal hangout, although the nights can be surprisingly chilly. The city's varied environment and relatively well-organized city centre make this an ideal start to your adventure travels in Kenya, Tanzania and the rest of East Africa.
Away from the lively surroundings of the multi-story glimmering buildings of the city centre, Nairobi offers an extensive genre of wildlife watching activities. The best place to experience this is at Nairobi National Park. It literally starts where the city ends and includes the "Big Nine", except for the elephant.
You should, if you have the time, consider arranging a daytrip that allows glancing over the Nairobi skyline from the Ngong Hills, 25 kilometres out of town. Looking the other way provides an amazing view over the edge of the Rift Valley.
Kenya's history and culture
Are you interested in the early days of the colonial era in Kenya? Then spend a day on a tour and visit the Norfolk Hotel, the Karen Blixen Museum (remember the movie Out of Africa?) and the Kenya National Museum. If you're more interested in traditional Kenyan culture, a trip to Bomas of Kenya is an ideal opportunity for you to get acquainted with tribal cultures. Sit down and watch the different traditional tribal dances that are displayed.
Go visit the outskirts
If you get a bit tired of the busy life in Nairobi's city centre, then catch a ride on a "matatu" and travel to some of the city's suburbs. The Kenyans are generally quite relaxed and friendly so select a local joint where you can easily fall into conversation with the locals - who are surprisingly skilled in English - and who also will be happy to challenge you to a game of "foosball" or a game of pool. In case you are hungry, order the "Nyama Choma". Half an hour later you are dipping the tenderly grilled meat into some salt, enjoying the taste of Nairobi!
Keep in mind that Nairobi is infamous for its high crime rate. Take a cab and do not explore the city after dark - not even in a group.
Nairobi is the perfect starting point for your onward journey through Kenya, Tanzania and perhaps the rest of the African continent. Remember that the coast of Mombasa and the beautiful white sand beaches are only 500 kilometres away. Here you will find good opportunities for relaxation and sunbathing after a tough safari program.