Best Things To Do In Nairobi, Kenya

things to do in nairobi
Barry Juma
Endorsed by Local Expert
Barry Juma

Nairobi is the capital city of the country Kenya. The city has a population of about 3,138,369 residents and is famous for being the only major town in the world with a game reserve. The name of the city originated from its original inhabitants who were the Maasai people, and it means cold waters. The name was brought about by a river within the city called the Nairobi River. The city, which was then a town back in the 1800s, had once been wiped off by a plague and fire, but later in the 1900s it was completely rebuilt and even replaced Mombasa as the capital city in 1905. After independence and struggles between the Kikuyu people and the Maasai people, the city has rapidly grown. The city has many places that you could visit and here are some of my recommendations.

1. Karura Forest

Karura Forest Nairobi 03
Source: Photo by user Ninaras used under CC BY 4.0

The natural beauty of the forest covers about 2,750 acres (1,113 hectares) of land. The forest has defined pathways for visitors to walk through or bike on, as they explore the beauty of the surroundings. The forest is a home to about 200 species of birds and other animals such as porcupines, bush pigs, monkeys and so many other animals and reptiles. The walk is about 50 km (31 miles) of trails, and therefore you are sure to bump into many creatures on the way and take pictures. Also within the forest is a beautiful, serene waterfall and a running river which is a great site to behold.

Karura Forest

Address: Nairobi, Kenya

Website: Karura Forest

2. Nairobi National Park

Nairobi National Park Tour
Source: Photo by user teakwood used under CC BY-SA 2.0

This park is one of the world’s most famous game reserves because it is found in a major business central city. The park is in an open field in the town, with wild animals such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, black rhinos, hyenas, and buffaloes, among other animals. The park also has over 400 species of wild birds. The park has defined hiking trails and picnic sites for visitors. Tours guides are also available to drive visitors to the park to explore the wild. This park is a major tourist attraction in the city, and you want to visit the city to see this park.

Nairobi National Park

Address: Nairobi, Kenya

Website: Nairobi National Park

Tip from our local expert

The best time to view the animals is in the evenings or morning hours when they come out to hunt. If you visit at midday or early afternoon, you'll hardly see any animals since they'll be hidden away, having their naps. This is why most organized safaris are organized in the mornings or evenings, just FYI. If you're coming alone, you might be met by locals at the gate offering to be your guide for a fee. Only get an official Kenya Wildlife Service guide at the park's offices, if you need this service. 


Trip101 Local Expert for Nairobi

3. Kenya National Archives

Source: Photo by Flickr user Regina Hart used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Kenya National Archives was established in 1965 and contains the Murumbi Gallery, which includes African artifacts collected since the 19th-century. The gallery is named after Joseph Murumbi, the then vice president of Kenya, who owned the collection before an agreement to hand it to the government. This is currently the biggest pan-African art gallery in Africa. Apart from African artifact, the building also has a library collection of African books.

Kenya National Archives

Address: Moi Ave, Nairobi, Kenya

Website: Kenya National Archives

Tip from our local expert

This is a treasure trove of local history. If you're a student of history or you're simply fascinated by past events, this modest yet information-rich attraction would make for a wonderful afternoon or morning. Their prices are also much lower than the Nairobi National Museum, probably because it isn't often on the radar of tourists. My personal favorite spot is the section of the old newspapers, an interesting place to find out how far the country has come. If you have a couple of hours to spare then definitely drop by the National Archives.


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4. Nairobi Gallery

This gallery was built in 1913 and was commonly called the hatches matches and dispatches, because of the births, marriages, and deaths that took place there. This was the first pan-African gallery to be opened, and the Late Joseph Murumbi opened it. Like the archives, he sold the studio to the government in 1976. The gallery is a great place to visit to learn about the history and culture of Kenya.

Nairobi Gallery

Address: Kenyatta Ave, Nairobi, Kenya

Phone : +254 203742131

Website: Nairobi Gallery

5. Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages

Karen Blixen Museum is located 10km from the city centre at the foot of Ngong Hills and it was once the centre piece of...

Posted by Orange Adventures on Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Karen Blixen Coffee Garden and Cottages was built around 1906 to 1908. The coffee garden sits on about 5 acres (2 ha) of land with different types of beautiful flowers and a population of birds. Besides the beautiful scenery, the garden has an excellent restaurant and bar, where you can relax and enjoy the magnificent view. The beautiful cottages are in the midst of the gardens with jacaranda, candelabra and other trees. The cabins are designed after historic Swede houses. The garden is a beautiful, and perfect place for a getaway and to have fun.

Karen Blixen Coffee Gardens and Cottages

Address: Nairobi City, Kenya

Phone: +254 20882138

Website: Karen Blixen Coffee Gardens and Cottages

6. All Saints Cathedral Church

Posted by All Saints' Cathedral Church Nairobi on Friday, 16 December 2016

All Saints Cathedral was originally built in Pumwani in 1922 but was later demolished because it was built near the parliament, which needed expansion. In 1952 after raising funds and building a bigger church, the church was then consecrated by Bishop Crabbe and stood where it stands now. The design and vintage appearance of the architecture of the building is very appealing, as it tells of the test of time. The church is a beautiful place to visit, take pictures of and attend mass.

All Saints Cathedral Church

Address: Nairobi City, Kenya

Phone: +254 202722640

Website: All Saints Cathedral Church

7. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Posted by Hiroshi Tabata on Friday, 27 January 2017

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is an organization focusing on elephant conservation in order to save them from being extinct. They do so by helping and rescuing orphaned elephants whose parents might have been killed by poachers. The organization was founded in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne who named it after her late husband, who was the famous founding Warden of Tsavo East Park, a wildlife park in Kenya. This is how the organization works; it operates a digital foster program where people all over the world are given the opportunity to adopt an elephant and support it through a 50 USD donation per year. The orphanage is located in the Nairobi National Park and is a great place to visit.

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Address: Nairobi, Kenya

Phone +254 202301396

Website: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

8. Nairobi National Museum

Source: Photo by user Kayhan ERTUGRUL used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The museum was opened back in 1910, but was closed in 2006 and later reopened in 2008, bigger and better. The museum is an excellent total representation of Kenya’s contemporary art, nature, history, and mostly culture. The park is also famous for the snake park within the museum. It also has a nature trail that lets you enjoy the nature and botanical gardens within the museum. This is a great place to visit with friends and family for a fun day out.

Nairobi National Museum

Address: Kipande Rd, Nairobi, Kenya

Website: Nairobi National Museum

Tip from our local expert

The animal exhibits at the museum The museum entrance on a sunny day in Nairobi

You can either get a ticket to visit the museum or the snake park but you'll get the best value when you buy the combo ticket and visit both sites. In any case, why come all the way and skip one of the attractions? The Nairobi National Museum boasts a wonderful collection of artifacts but my favorite exhibits are those of early man, fossils discovered within the country that are traced back millions of years. 


Trip101 Local Expert for Nairobi

9. Ngong Hills

Ngong Hills, Nairobi, Kenya
Source: Photo by user Ninara used under CC BY 2.0

Ngong Hills got its name when the colonialists could not pronounce the Maasai name given to the place, Enkong'u Emuny, which means rhinoceros spring. The hills are green and so beautiful to hike on, along the defined trails by the Kenya Forestry services. It is a good place for team building and good fun.The South peak overlooks the Rift Valley, giving a breathtaking view while on the North hill is an active wind farm filled with windmills. This is a nature stop you do not want to skip while in Nairobi.

Ngong Hills

Address: Nairobi, Kenya

Enjoy your time in Nairobi

Nairobi is a great and beautiful city to visit because besides it being a major city, it carries a lot of historical sites, cultural sites, and wildlife. While you enjoy the nature here, you can easily access all public necessities. The people in Nairobi are also very friendly and helpful, and due to the culture normality, visitors are always given special treatment. I would therefore highly recommend anyone looking for a vacation destination to consider visiting this beautiful city.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.
This article has been endorsed by Nairobi local expert Barry Juma

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Hello there! I am Angie and I am a freelance writer. My main goal is to immerse you into the serenity and beautiful chaos that is part of cultures and environments across the world. Not only am I...Read more

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