Things to do in Nairobi

Things to do in  Nairobi

Skyscrapers and safaris

Dynamic and dizzying, offering both sky-high urbanity and rural wildlife preserves, Nairobi is a dazzling contradiction, and one of East Africa’s largest cities. Ranking among the top things to do in Nairobi, the Nairobi National Park, Giraffe Centre, and David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust offer opportunities to discover elephants, rhinos, giraffes, lions, and more without leaving on safari. For a dose of culture, head to the National Museum or visit the Bomas of Kenya to learn about the region’s tribal groups. And don’t retreat to your hotel after dinner—Nairobi’s nightlife is legendary.

Top 15 attractions in Nairobi

Nairobi National Park

Located just south of the city, Nairobi National Park is Kenya’s first game reserve and the only protected area in the world that sits so close to a nation’s capital. Visitors to the vast wildlife park are likely to spot black rhinos, lions, giraffe, and zebra, as well as some 400 bird species.More

Giraffe Centre

Home to a towering crew of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes, Nairobi’s Giraffe Centre supports conservation work and educational programs across Kenya. Here, visitors can feed giraffes from a treetop platform, walk a nature trail to the Gogo River, and learn about wildlife conservation at the on-site nature center.More

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

A pioneering facility for the protection and rehabilitation of black rhinos and African elephants, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust saves injured and orphaned animals from the wild and rehabilitates them for a return to their natural habitats. This nonprofit park was founded in 1977 and operates within Nairobi National Park.More

Lake Naivasha

Known for its rich wildlife, Lake Naivasha is a nature lover’s paradise not far from the Kenyan capital. Situated at around 6,181 feet (1,884 meters) high in the Rift Valley ridge, the lake is home to hippos, exotic birds, and wetland flora, while its fresh water draws all manner of grazers, including zebras, giraffes, and buffalo.More

Bomas of Kenya

Located about 6 miles (10 kilometers) south of downtown Nairobi in Langata, just outside Nairobi National Park, the Bomas of Kenya cultural village recreates and preserves Kenya’s traditional heritages. The village offers the chance to see reconstructed villages, watch traditional performances, check out arts and handicrafts, and try regional cuisines from all over East Africa.More

Hell's Gate National Park

The inspiration for animators of Disney’sThe Lion King, Hell’s Gate National Park covers roughly 26 square miles (68.25 square kilometers). Named for a gap in the red-tinged cliffs carved by the flowing waters of a prehistoric lake, it’s the only park in East Africa in which you can get out of your safari vehicle and hike freely.More

Karen Blixen Museum

The Danish author ofOut of Africa lived in a coffee plantation farmhouse at the edge of Kenya’s beautiful Ngong Hills, where a small museum now celebrates her life and work. Since much of the original furniture has been preserved, it’s a fascinating glimpse into a colonial-era home and an interesting stop even if you haven’t read Blixen’s books.More

Masai Mara National Reserve (Maasai Mara National Park)

Arguably the most popular nature park in Kenya, Maasai Mara National Reserve (Maasai Mara National Park) is near the country’s southern border and spills over into neighboring Tanzania. Take a guided safari tour for a chance to spot big cats—including lions, cheetahs, and leopards—alongside other wildlife.More

Nairobi National Museum

With a massive permanent collection that combines history, culture, and artwork, the Nairobi National Museum is a must for travelers interested in Kenya’s rich heritage. Artifacts are displayed across two floors, and a nature trail winds through the surrounding grounds, a botanical garden, and collections of outdoor sculptures.More

Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Once a colonial beef ranch, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy is now a leading wildlife sanctuary. Backdropped by Mount Kenya’s snowy peaks, the 90,000-acre (36,422-hectare) savanna preserve is home to several safari must-sees, including East Africa’s largest black rhino population and the last northern white rhinos in the world.More

Kenyatta International Convention Centre

The Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) is a 28-story building located in the central business district of Nairobi. At 105 meters tall, the KICC is the third tallest building in Kenya and is used for national and international conferences and exhibitions, along with a variety of other meetings and events.This terracotta, cylindrical tower reflects traditional African architecture, as does the use of cuboids inside many of the main rooms and halls inside. The KICC features a revolving restaurant with panoramic views of the city, and a number of different conference and meeting rooms. The main auditorium has a capacity of almost 800 people across tiered seating, including three balconies.More


Kibera, the largest slum both in Nairobi and Africa, is home to more than a million residents packed into an area less than a square mile (2.6 square kilometers). While life here isn’t easy—it’s one of Nairobi’s poorest neighborhoods and the lack of running water and electricity are constant problems—the slum has its own buzzing industries, which include rows of tilted shacks selling produce, charcoal, homemade breads, secondhand clothes, and shoes.More

August 7th Memorial Park

On Aug. 7, 1998, at the corner of Moi Avenue and Haile Selassie Avenue in Nairobi, what was then the United States Embassy was blown up in a terrorist attack, causing 218 deaths and thousands of injuries. The August 7th Memorial Park opened on the same date in 2001 as a tribute to the victims of the blast, and also to serve to educate people about the futility of violence.The Memorial Park comprises a tranquil landscaped garden, a wall commemorating the names of those who died, and a sculpture made from the debris of the blast. The park also features a Conference Center and a Visitors Center with a Memorial Museum displaying various images and exhibits, plus a documentary about the events surrounding the tragedy.More

Mt. Kenya

Mount Kenya is a volcanic peak in the heart of Kenya that stretches to 17,057 feet (5,199 meters) high. The mountain is primarily a hiking and climbing destination enticing visitors from all over the world. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is surrounded by different types of wilderness, complete with lakes, forests, tarns, and glaciers, and is home to some rare animal species.More

Kenya National Archives

Far more than just a home to archives and public records, the National Archives in Nairobi also exhibit everything from traditional art to stamps, weapons, and photography. Visitors can explore the small on-site museum, spend a quiet hour paging through a newspaper, or check out the archives’ collection of rare books from across Africa.More

Top activities in Nairobi

Day Tour to David Sheldrick Elephant Trust and Giraffe Center
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Half-Day Nairobi National Park and Maasai Market with Pick up
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Half-Day Nairobi National Park and Maasai Market with Pick up

$170.00  $85.00 savings
Full Day tour; elephant orphanage,girafe center +optional museum
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All about Nairobi

When to visit

Owing to its high elevation, Nairobi enjoys relatively moderate temperatures throughout the year. However, avoid its rainy seasons—from October through December and March through May—if you want to explore and take a safari without worrying about weather. The high season is from June to early October, and it coincides with zebra and wildebeest migrations, as well as events such as Madaraka Day (a national celebration of the republic of Kenya on June 1) and the Kenya Music Festival in August.

Getting around

Nairobi is served by Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the Nairobi Railway Station. Public transportation in the city consists of matatus (smaller passenger vans), which can be lively but also unpredictable and sometimes unsafe. Passenger buses are an alternative, as are taxis, where price-haggling is often required. Ride-share services are generally a good bet for international travelers, as are guided tours.

Traveler tips

Looking for the perfect panoramic view of Nairobi? Bring your camera along and head to the distinctive Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), a 28-story skyscraper; for a fee, you can ascend to its roof deck and soak up the setting until early evening. As is common in many destinations in Nairobi, you will need ID and to go through a security screening before your visit.


People Also Ask

What is Nairobi known for?

Nairobi is the capital of Kenya, a vibrant city with energetic nightlife, colorful markets, leafy suburbs, and the country’s finest museums. It’s also famed as a metropolis where African wildlife roams freely within view of downtown skyscrapers, as nearby Nairobi National Park is home to lions, giraffes, zebras, and more.

Is Nairobi worth visiting?

Yes, Nairobi is worth visiting. The city is one of East Africa’s most vibrant places, rewarding visitors with great nightlife, restaurant culture, galleries, and shopping ranging from upscale boutiques to Maasai markets. The National Museums of Kenya preserve history, while lions, zebras, and giraffes roam in nearby Nairobi National Park.

What can you do in Nairobi for a week?

A week is enough time to see Nairobi’s top sites, including Nairobi National Park, National Museums of Kenya, Giraffe Centre, and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. You’ll have time for a few day trips, too—popular options include outings to Maasai villages, Lake Naivasha birdwatching, and nearby tea plantations.

How can I spend 24 hours in Nairobi?

With 24 hours in Nairobi, you can see some of the city’s most popular sites. The Karen suburb has access to both history and wildlife, so visitors can take in the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and Nairobi National Park in just one day.

Can you walk around Nairobi?

Yes, you can walk around Nairobi during daytime hours. However, the city’s sprawling geography means most tourist sites aren’t within easy walking distance of each other. For most visitors that means contending with regular traffic jams while getting around using licensed taxis, rideshares, buses, and budget-friendly matatus, or public minibuses.

Where can I go on a date in Nairobi?

Tranquil parks are popular destinations for Nairobi couples, with favorites including Oloolua Nature Trail, The Nairobi Arboretum, and Karura Forest. Wildlife lovers frequent the Giraffe Centre and the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s elephant orphanage. Culture fans, meanwhile, can browse handicrafts at the Maasai Market or African art exhibits in Nairobi Gallery.

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