Get the absolute most out of your stay in Nairobi by reading this interview guide with safari254.com. Don’t miss out on these local recommendations to the Kenyan capital.
In some travel destinations, it is difficult to find information on what to do and see unless you know someone with a little inside knowledge. That is why we got in contact with Nairobi local Rachel from Safari254.com. Rachel and her siblings created this travel website and won the BAKE (Bloggers Association of Kenya) award for best travel blog in 2014. Who better to ask about what to do in the Kenyan capital than a passionate young native?
What do you find in Nairobi that you can’t find everywhere else?
One of the things Nairobi is famous for is the national park; it is the only one within a capital city. On a good day, it is a short drive from the central business district. The best time to visit if you want to get a chance to view most of the animals is early morning before the midday sun causes them to retreat to their hideaways. There are a number of neighborhoods near the park that have to deal with the animals. It’s really funny when animals go beyond the limits of the park to have people who are in the city be concerned about it. Well, funny for me perhaps not so much them.
You can visit the Ivory Burning Site Monument where history was made in 1989. 60 tons of confiscated ivory was reduced to ashes in the name of conservation. More recently a further 15 tons were torched to further emphasize the country’s stand against poaching.
What about the city’s art culture?
© LMspencer / Shutterstock.com. Maasai Market
Nairobi’s art culture may not be geographically restricted but our way of expressing it in our public transportation is unique. Matatus are minibuses that people use in their commutes every day. We’ve taken something mundane and made it artsy with wild expressions of creativity and color. It’s fascinating too how matatus have pushed back in various ways against stricter enforcement. Initially, it was anything goes, from color to music levels in the vehicles to the outfits worn by conductors and drivers. Then the government tried to regulating by enforcing stricter dress, color codes and lower noise levels but they always find a way to creatively push against this.
For gifts and souvenir shopping, I’d go to the Maasai crafts market. They have a wide-variety of Maasai jewelry and fabrics that would make wonderful gifts or decorative items.
If a visitor only had time for one attraction, what would you recommend?
© Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
Well, it would have to be the Nairobi National Park. The park is host to a variety of wild animals, if you get lucky you might just spot a lion.
Definitely also try out some game meat at the Rangers Restaurant, which is run by the Kenya Wildlife Service. If, after consuming all that game meat, you want to do your part in aiding conservation in Kenya head on over to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which rescues orphaned elephants and rhinos and rehabilitate them so that they can eventually return to the wild.
Can you pick two different restaurants in the city you love? What makes them awesome?
I’m a huge fan of Indian food so I my first pick is Anghiti in Westlands. The ambience is inviting and the food there is amazing. Their service is great and the meals are affordable.
My next pick would have to be Maru’s Bhajias in Diamond Plaza, it is located in the food court and I wouldn’t exactly call it a restaurant, it is more of a takeaway place. They have the best bhajias I have ever had. They’re crispy, delicious and best enjoyed with the sauce they’re usually served with.
If you had a day to show a newcomer around the city, what would you show them?
I would definitely take them to take them to the Oloolua Nature Trail. It’s a little known hideaway that’s ideal if you want to relax and just enjoy nature. It is easily accessible. Then I’d take them to the nearby Karen Blixen Museum, which is sure to be of interest for the history buff but also entertaining for other folks as well. Finally, I’d round off the day with sundowners and craft beer at the Brew Bistro’s terrace.
How do you relax in such a fast-paced city?
My favorite spot to relax is in Uhuru Gardens, it is a public memorial park dedicated to those who died fighting for Kenya’s freedom. Nairobi Nightlife is also one for the books, and I love a good night out especially in the Westlands neighborhood. Because of my blog, I travel a great deal and even though that is for work, it does include play as well.
Thanks to Rachel for all the great insider tips to Nairobi! Nairobi may trigger daydreams of exotic animals and nature, but it is also a fast-paced metropolitan city that serves as a cultural and commercial hub for East Africa. Relax when on business or in between your safari adventures at Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi Upper Hill, which is opening soon!