These are 5 tours and activities in Nairobi worth doing if you’re based in the country’s capital for a brief period of time. It’s not always possible to explore the vast wildlife-rich areas of Kenya and its reserves if you’re just in Nairobi for a city break, but the Nairobi National Park more than makes up for the lack of time you have in Kenya. And Nairobi also happens to be quite an interesting – and chaotic – city to explore.
Here is our choice of tours and activities in Nairobi.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) : Elephant Orphanage
Fondly referred to as “Nairobi’s Nursery”, the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage is a safe-place and sanctuary for orphaned elephants rescued by the trust. Most of these calves have lost their mothers and matriarchs to poaching; and some to natural causes. The elephant nursery is located in Nairobi National Park and provides the first stage in the hand-rearing of young elephant calves. When the youngsters have graduated from the nursery phase they are moved to Tsavo East National Park where they will be reintegrated into the wild after years of proper rehabilitation.
Visitors are welcome to visit during the milk feed and mud bath time of day, which normally only last for about 1 during midday. During your visit the passionate keepers and conservationists will give a bit of background about the trust, and the heartbreaking stories behind the orphaned pachyderms.
Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick founded the trust in 1977 in honour of her wildlife loving husband who passed away in the same year. Her and her husband – David – rehabilitated a number of species needing a helping hand.
Although world-renown for their protection and passion for elephants, their operation is not only limited to elephants. The Sheldrick family and foundation is also involved in anti-poaching, environmental protection and assistance to injured/sick animals.
Find out more here : The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Giraffe Manor : Breakfast with the Rothschild Giraffes
Giraffe Manor is luxury boutique hotel set on exquisite, cascading lawns. Surrounded by a flourishing indigenous forest in the heart of one of Nairobi’s suburbs, the Giraffe Manor hideaway is one of the most appealing destinations in the capital.
Its major drawcard? There is a huge herd of resident giraffe that visit the grounds every morning and evening, without fail. They are creatures of habit and routine, and return to the hotel in the hopes of getting fed a treat from the hotel’s guests. The giraffe often poke their long, gangly necks through the expansive windows of the restaurant and demand a portion of your meal.
The stately hotel comprises only 12 rooms which means you will be treated to a personalised and intimate stay. To “have breakfast with the giraffe” you will need to stay at the hotel, as it’s not open to visitors. However, site inspections can be arranged prior to arrival and exceptions might be made.
Karen Blixen Museum : Visit the House from “Out of Africa”
Baroness Karen Blixen is a world-renown artist and notable author. Her book, Out of Africa, is an iconic memoir of her life in Kenya from 1917 – 1931. The book centres around her life on a coffee plantation on her farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills, and pays tribute to those who touched her lives.
Visitors to Nairobi are encouraged to visit Karen’s original home, which is not only interesting in terms her cultural and celebrity status; but also because her home is of great historical significance. The building is associated with the typical settlement pattern of the Europeans and the architecture is reminiscent of a bygone era. It is also the place where the Oscar winning film adaptation of “Out of Africa” was filmed and many personalities of the time would flock to the Blixen home. Interestingly enough, the small suburb that populates the land where Blixen farmed coffee is called “Karen”.
The museum is open between the hours of 9:30 – 18:00 and guided tours are available.
Nairobi National Park : Wildlife in the City
On the fringe of Nairobi’s sprawling city laden with high rise buildings and a frenetic network of inner city mayhem, lies a wildlife-rich national park. The Nairobi National Park is perfect if you’re in the capital for a brief city break or stopover. The National Park is an ideal substitute if you cannot afford to take time out to visit the outlying parks in Kenya. Nairobi has earned itself a reputation of being the “world’s only wildlife capital”
The park is a short drive outside of the CBD, and is home to leopard, cheetah, lions, rhino, buffalo, giraffe, and other wildlife in a landscape of scattered acacia. There are picnic sites, campsites and trails crisscrossing across the park, ensuring plenty of activities in a game-rich area.
Do head here if you cannot get to the outlying areas – it’s well-worth the visit.
Nairobi City Walking Tour with Traditional Kenyan Lunch
A local guide will take you through the hustle and bustle of Nairobi, and explore the hidden gems of Nairobi that often go unnoticed. These walking tours are normally about 5 hours long and include a traditional Kenyan lunch at a revered local restaurant. Walks include a meander through Uhuru Park, and viewing a few of Nairobi’s top attractions.
A city tour certainly takes the stress out of finding your way through the chaos and it’s always good to chat to a local guide who can introduce you to the customs and cultures of the region.