Nairobi is the bustling capital city of Kenya, known for its vibrant culture, stunning wildlife, and bustling streets. Getting around Nairobi can be a daunting task for travelers, especially for those who are new to the city. However, with a little bit of knowledge and some helpful tips, navigating the city can be a breeze.
- Understanding Nairobi
- Transportation in Nairobi
- Safety Tips for Travelers
- Exploring Nairobi’s Wildlife
- Touring Nairobi’s Cultural and Historical Sites
- Outdoor Activities in Nairobi
- Traveling Outside Nairobi
- Accommodation in Nairobi
- Dining in Nairobi
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the most reliable transport services in Nairobi?
- What are the main public transport options in Nairobi?
- What are some tips for getting around Nairobi?
- What are the best neighborhoods to stay in for easy access to transportation in Nairobi?
- Is it safe to use Uber in Nairobi?
- What should I know about using matatus to get around Nairobi?
One of the best ways to get around Nairobi is by using public transportation. The city has a variety of options, including buses, matatus (minibusses), and trains. While these modes of transportation can be crowded and sometimes unreliable, they are also affordable and can get you to your destination quickly. Visitors should be aware that some areas of the city may be unsafe, so it’s essential to research the route and take necessary precautions when using public transportation.
For those who prefer a more comfortable and convenient option, ride-sharing apps like Uber, Taxify, and Lyft are popular and abundant in Nairobi. These apps offer a safe and affordable way to get around the city, and they’re especially useful for visitors who are unfamiliar with the area. Additionally, taxis are also widely available, but it’s important to negotiate the fare before getting in the car to avoid being overcharged.
Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya, located in East Africa. It is a modern city with a bustling Central Business District (CBD) and numerous suburbs. It is also the largest city in Kenya and the regional hub for commerce, politics, and culture.
One of the largest and most famous suburbs in Nairobi is Kibera. It is home to around one million people and is one of the largest slums in Africa. Despite its reputation, Kibera is a vibrant and lively community, with a rich culture and history.
To get around Nairobi, visitors can use a variety of transportation options, including buses, taxis, and matatus (minibus taxis). Matatus are the most popular and affordable option, but they can be crowded and uncomfortable.
When exploring Nairobi, visitors should be aware of their surroundings and take precautions to stay safe. While crime rates have decreased in recent years, it is still important to be vigilant and avoid carrying valuable items or walking alone at night.
Overall, Nairobi is a diverse and exciting city with a lot to offer visitors. Whether exploring the vibrant streets of the CBD or venturing out to the suburbs, there is always something new to discover.
Transportation in Nairobi
Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, has a variety of transportation options for visitors to choose from. Here are some of the most common ways to get around Nairobi.
Matatus and Minibuses
Matatus are shared minibuses that are the most popular form of public transport in Nairobi. They are easily recognizable by their yellow stripe and can be found at street corners throughout the city. Matatus are licensed to carry up to 14 passengers, but it’s not uncommon for them to exceed this limit. Passengers pay fares in Kenyan Shillings, usually ranging from 20 to 100 KES depending on the distance traveled.
While matatus are a cheap and convenient way to get around Nairobi, they can be overcrowded and uncomfortable, especially during rush hour. It’s important to keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of your surroundings when using matatus.
Taxis and Ride-Sharing Apps
Taxis are another common way to get around Nairobi. Private taxis can be hailed on the street or ordered by phone. Fares are negotiable and should be agreed upon before the ride. It’s important to use licensed taxis with a yellow stripe and a city council badge.
Alternatively, ride-sharing apps like Uber, Bolt, and Little are becoming increasingly popular in Nairobi. These apps offer a convenient and safe way to get around the city. Fares are calculated based on distance traveled and are paid through the app.
Renting a Car
For those who prefer to drive themselves, renting a car is an option. There are several car rental companies in Nairobi, including Double M and City Hoppa. It’s important to have a GPS and to be familiar with Nairobi’s traffic laws before driving in the city.
In conclusion, Nairobi has a variety of transportation options for visitors to choose from, including matatus, taxis, and ride-sharing apps. While each option has its advantages and disadvantages, visitors should choose the option that best suits their needs and budget.
Safety Tips for Travelers
When traveling to Nairobi, safety should be the top priority for any tourist. While Nairobi is generally safe for tourists, there are still a few things to keep in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Pickpocketing is a common problem in Nairobi, especially in crowded areas such as markets and public transportation. Tourists are often the target of pickpockets, so it’s important to take precautions to avoid becoming a victim.
One of the best ways to avoid pickpockets is to keep your valuables out of sight. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear expensive jewelry. Keep your wallet and phone in a secure pocket or bag that is difficult for pickpockets to access.
It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings. Avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar areas. Stick to well-lit and busy streets. If you’re taking public transportation, be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings at all times.
Ensuring Luggage Safety
Tourists often travel with a lot of luggage, which can make them an easy target for thieves. To ensure your luggage stays safe, it’s important to take a few precautions.
First, make sure your luggage is secure. Use a lock or luggage strap to keep your bags closed and make it more difficult for thieves to access your belongings. Avoid leaving your luggage unattended, even for a few minutes.
If you’re traveling with valuable items such as electronics or jewelry, it’s a good idea to keep them in your carry-on luggage. This way, you can keep an eye on them at all times.
By following these simple safety tips, tourists can enjoy a safe and worry-free trip to Nairobi. While there is always some risk when traveling, taking these precautions can help minimize the risk of theft and ensure a more enjoyable experience.
Exploring Nairobi’s Wildlife
Nairobi is a vibrant city with a diverse range of wildlife attractions that are a must-visit for any nature lover. From national parks to elephant orphanages, Nairobi has something for everyone. In this section, we will explore some of the top wildlife attractions in Nairobi.
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is a unique wildlife reserve located within the city limits of Nairobi. It is home to a wide variety of animals, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, and more. Visitors can take a safari tour through the park to see these majestic animals up close. The park is also a popular destination for birdwatchers, with over 400 species of birds to be found in the area.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is an animal orphanage that specializes in rescuing and rehabilitating baby elephants and rhinos. Visitors can watch the baby elephants being fed and cared for by their keepers. The Trust is open to the public for a limited time each day, so visitors should plan ahead to ensure they can see the animals.
The Giraffe Centre is a conservation center dedicated to the protection of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. Visitors can get up close and personal with the giraffes, feeding them from a raised platform. The center also has a nature trail and a small museum dedicated to the conservation efforts of the center.
Overall, Nairobi offers a unique opportunity to experience wildlife in a city setting. Visitors can take a safari tour through Nairobi National Park, visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and see giraffes up close at the Giraffe Centre. These attractions are a must-visit for anyone interested in wildlife and conservation.
Touring Nairobi’s Cultural and Historical Sites
Nairobi is a city rich in cultural and historical sites that offer visitors a glimpse into Kenya’s diverse heritage. Here are some must-visit places to explore:
Nairobi National Museum
The Nairobi National Museum is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in learning about Kenya’s history and culture. The museum is located in the city center and features exhibits on Kenya’s prehistory, natural history, and contemporary art. Visitors can also explore the Snake Park, which houses a variety of snakes, crocodiles, and other reptiles.
Karen Blixen Museum
The Karen Blixen Museum is located in the suburb of Karen and is dedicated to the life and works of the famous Danish author Karen Blixen, who lived in Kenya for many years. The museum is housed in the former home of Blixen and features exhibits on her life and work, as well as the history of colonial Kenya.
Kibera is one of the largest slums in Africa and is located in Nairobi. Despite its reputation as a poverty-stricken area, Kibera is a vibrant and bustling community that is home to many talented artists and entrepreneurs. Visitors can take a guided tour of Kibera to learn about the history and culture of the area, as well as the challenges faced by its residents.
Bomas of Kenya
The Bomas of Kenya is a cultural center located just outside of Nairobi that showcases the traditional cultures of Kenya’s various ethnic groups. Visitors can watch traditional dances, sample local cuisine, and learn about the customs and traditions of the different tribes.
Overall, Nairobi is a city full of cultural and historical sites that offer visitors a unique glimpse into Kenya’s rich heritage. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or culture, there’s something for everyone to explore and discover in Nairobi.
Outdoor Activities in Nairobi
Nairobi offers a variety of outdoor activities for those who love adventure and nature. From hiking to cycling, there is something for everyone. Here are some of the top outdoor activities to enjoy in Nairobi.
Hiking in Nairobi
Hiking is a popular outdoor activity in Nairobi, and one of the best places to hike is the Ngong Hills. The hills offer breathtaking views of the city and surrounding areas. The hike is not too strenuous, making it suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. Another great place to hike in Nairobi is the Athi Plains, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including zebras, giraffes, and antelopes.
Cycling in Nairobi
Cycling is another great way to explore Nairobi’s outdoor beauty. There are several cycling tours available that take visitors through lesser-known areas like the Karura Forest Reserve. The best time to go cycling is during the dry season, between June and September, when the weather is favorable.
Overall, Nairobi offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking and cycling. Visitors can enjoy the city’s natural beauty while getting some exercise and fresh air.
Traveling Outside Nairobi
Traveling outside Nairobi is a great way to explore Kenya and its many attractions. There are several options for transportation, including buses, trains, and private cars. Here are some tips for traveling outside Nairobi.
Day Trips from Nairobi
There are several destinations near Nairobi that make for great day trips. One of the most popular is Lake Naivasha, which is about an hour and a half drive from Nairobi. Visitors can take a boat ride on the lake and see hippos, giraffes, and other wildlife. Another popular day trip is to the Maasai Mara, which is about a five-hour drive from Nairobi. Visitors can go on a safari and see lions, elephants, and other animals.
For longer excursions, there are several options. One is to take the train to Mombasa, which is a coastal city. The train ride takes about 12 hours and is known for its scenic views. Another option is to drive to Mount Kenya, which is about a three-hour drive from Nairobi. Visitors can go hiking or explore the mountain’s many trails.
Another popular destination is Kisumu, which is located on the shores of Lake Victoria. Visitors can take a boat ride on the lake and explore the city’s many attractions. For those interested in history, a visit to the Uganda Railway is a must. The railway played a significant role in Kenya’s history and is now a popular tourist attraction.
To get around outside Nairobi, visitors can take buses or hire private cars. The Coast Bus is a popular option for those traveling to Mombasa, while the Kikuyu buses are a popular option for those traveling to Mount Kenya. Private cars can be rented from several companies, including Hertz and Avis.
When traveling outside Nairobi, it is important to be aware of the local customs and traditions. Visitors should be respectful of the local culture and dress appropriately. It is also important to be aware of any performances or events that may be taking place. For example, the Nanyuki Horse Show is a popular event that takes place every year in Nanyuki.
In conclusion, traveling outside Nairobi is a great way to explore Kenya and its many attractions. Whether visitors are interested in wildlife, history, or culture, there is something for everyone. With several options for transportation and many destinations to choose from, visitors are sure to have a memorable experience.
Accommodation in Nairobi
Nairobi has a wide range of accommodation options for travelers to choose from, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. Here are some tips on where to stay in Nairobi:
Neighborhoods to Consider
- Westlands: This neighborhood is popular among expats and has a variety of restaurants, bars, and shopping centers. It’s also close to the Nairobi National Park and the Giraffe Center.
- Kilimani: This neighborhood is known for its upscale residential area and has a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops. It’s also close to the Nairobi Arboretum and the Nairobi National Museum.
- Karen: This neighborhood is named after Karen Blixen, the author of “Out of Africa,” and is known for its large homes and leafy streets. It’s close to attractions such as the Giraffe Center and the Karen Blixen Museum.
- The Wildebeest Eco Camp: This eco-friendly camp offers tented accommodation and is located in the Langata area, close to the Giraffe Center and the Nairobi National Park.
- The Milimani Backpackers: This hostel is located in the Kilimani neighborhood and offers dormitory-style accommodation. It’s close to the Nairobi National Museum and the Nairobi Arboretum.
- The Sarova Stanley: This historic hotel is located in the central business district and offers spacious rooms and a variety of dining options. It’s close to attractions such as the Nairobi National Museum and the Nairobi Gallery.
- The Tribe Hotel: This boutique hotel is located in the Gigiri neighborhood and offers stylish rooms and a variety of dining options. It’s close to attractions such as the United Nations headquarters and the Village Market shopping center.
- The Hemingways Nairobi: This luxury hotel is located in the Karen neighborhood and offers spacious rooms and a variety of dining options. It’s close to attractions such as the Karen Blixen Museum and the Giraffe Center.
- The Fairmont Norfolk: This historic hotel is located in the central business district and offers spacious rooms and a variety of dining options. It’s close to attractions such as the Nairobi National Museum and the Nairobi Gallery.
Dining in Nairobi
Nairobi is a multicultural city with a diverse culinary scene. Visitors to the city can enjoy a range of local and international cuisines at various restaurants, cafes, and bars. Here are some dining options to consider when in Nairobi:
Carnivore Restaurant is a must-visit for meat lovers. The restaurant is famous for its all-you-can-eat meat buffet, which includes a variety of game meats such as crocodile, ostrich, and camel. The meat is roasted over a charcoal fire and served with traditional Kenyan sides such as ugali and sukuma wiki. The restaurant also offers vegetarian options. It is located on Langata Road, near Wilson Airport.
Nyama Mama is a popular restaurant that serves modern Kenyan cuisine. The restaurant offers a range of dishes that are inspired by Kenyan street food and traditional home-cooked meals. Some of the must-try dishes include the “Mama’s Stew” and the “Nyama Mama Burger.” The restaurant also offers vegan and vegetarian options. Nyama Mama has several locations in Nairobi, including at the Delta Towers and at the Village Market.
Talisman is a fine-dining restaurant that serves international cuisine. The restaurant is located in Karen and is known for its beautiful garden setting. The menu includes dishes such as grilled prawns, lamb shank, and mushroom risotto. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list. Talisman is a great place for a romantic dinner or a special occasion.
Java House is a popular coffee chain that also serves food. The restaurant offers a range of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, including burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Java House is known for its excellent coffee and cozy atmosphere. The restaurant has several locations in Nairobi, including at the Sarit Centre and at the Junction Mall.
Mama Oliech is a local restaurant that is known for its fish dishes. The restaurant serves a variety of fish, including tilapia and Nile perch, that is cooked in a traditional Kenyan style. The restaurant also offers other Kenyan dishes such as ugali and sukuma wiki. Mama Oliech is located on Marcus Garvey Road in Nairobi.
Brew Bistro is a popular bar and restaurant that serves pub food and craft beer. The restaurant offers a range of dishes such as burgers, pizzas, and wings. Brew Bistro is known for its lively atmosphere and is a great place to hang out with friends. The restaurant has several locations in Nairobi, including at the Westgate Mall and at the Rooftop Terrace.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most reliable transport services in Nairobi?
The most reliable transport services in Nairobi are taxis and ride-hailing services like Uber, Bolt, and Little Cab. These services are readily available and can be accessed through mobile applications.
What are the main public transport options in Nairobi?
The main public transport options in Nairobi are buses and matatus. Buses are operated by the government-owned Kenya Bus Services (KBS) and privately owned companies such as Double M. Matatus are privately owned minibusses that operate on fixed routes and are known for their colorful decorations.
What are some tips for getting around Nairobi?
Here are some tips for getting around Nairobi:
- Plan your route in advance and allow for extra time due to traffic.
- Avoid traveling during rush hour, which is typically between 7-9 am and 4-6 pm.
- Keep your valuables close to you and be aware of your surroundings.
- Use reputable taxi or ride-hailing services.
- Negotiate the fare before getting into a taxi or matatu.
What are the best neighborhoods to stay in for easy access to transportation in Nairobi?
Some of the best neighborhoods to stay in for easy access to transportation in Nairobi include Westlands, Kilimani, and Upper Hill. These neighborhoods are well-connected to major roads and public transport hubs.
Is it safe to use Uber in Nairobi?
Yes, it is generally safe to use Uber in Nairobi. However, it is important to exercise caution and ensure that you are getting into the correct vehicle. Always verify the driver’s identity and the vehicle’s license plate before getting in.
What should I know about using matatus to get around Nairobi?
When using matatus to get around Nairobi, it is important to be aware of the following:
- Matatus are privately owned minibusses that operate on fixed routes.
- They can be overcrowded and uncomfortable.
- They often play loud music and have flashy decorations.
- It is important to negotiate the fare before getting in.
- Be aware of pickpockets and keep your valuables close to you.