Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, promises an exciting adventure: From glimpses of rhinos and lions in the city’s vast national park, to a tour of its excellent national museum, and many more natural encounters in its grassy savannas, there’s a world to discover in Kenya’s beating heart. Said to have a similar climate to California, ranging between 11 and 26 degrees Celsius on average, Nairobi is comfortable year-round. And, being in the southern hemisphere, it’s an excellent way to swap the often dreary European winter for sunnier pastures. Read on to discover the best local activities, whichever season you choose to travel in.
The big four, at least
Nairobi is the perfect base for Kenyan safaris as it’s surrounded by magnificent wildlife. Just over seven kilometers out of town, the Nairobi National Park lets you enjoy a real safari without having to travel far or camp out. Featuring grassy plains and dry and wet forests encircled by the river, it’s a paradise for the many animals that call it home. See everything from endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and over 400 bird species—all with a backdrop of the city’s skyscraper-studded skyline. Extend the day with a picnic in one of the park’s many sites or pack your hiking boots for a walk along its trails.
Founded in 1979 as a breeding center for the endangered Rothschild giraffe, the Giraffe Center has throughout the years expanded its conservation efforts to include an education center and bird sanctuary. It’s also the only sanctuary within a capital city where you can get up close and even feed these friendly giants, but there are also warthogs, tortoises, and many exotic birds to see along the nature trail.
Named after the Danish author Karen Blixen who lived in this farmhouse-turned-museum between 1914 and 1931, The Karen Blixen Museum is one of Kenya’s national treasures, less than ten kilometers from the city. Having gained international fame with the release of her memoir and, later, the Oscar-winning movie Out of Africa, the house transports you to another time. Filled with personal artifacts and surrounded by a tranquil garden, not to mention the Ngong Hills in the distance, this one’s a true show stopper.
Extending the Nairobi National Park, the Nairobi Safari Walk is one of the most exciting excursions from the city, with its raised wooden boardwalk giving way to uninterrupted views of wilderness and the animals that roam in it below. Guiding you through three ecosystems—wetlands, savannah, and forests—the walk features many great viewpoints to look out over from a safe distance.
The perfect base
Bordering the Nairobi Arboretum park, the Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Nairobi Arboretum reserves an excellent location surrounded by lush vegetation. A popular destination for walks and picnics, the Arboretum offers a refreshing retreat away from the urban frenzy. Just ten minutes from the city center, its markets and museums, and half an hour from the airport, the hotel is perfectly placed for exploring Nairobi’s best kept secrets.