The vibrant and multi-cultural capital city of Kenya is Nairobi, an ideal starting or ending point for any exploration of this beautiful country. Nairobi started life as a camp for railway construction workers in 1899 and by 1907 was the capital of all of British East Africa. Today, this city, also often referred to as ‘the green city in the sun’ because of its many parks and green open spaces, offers you many luxury accommodation options, exciting activities and it is situated close to the region’s main attraction, the Nairobi National Park.
For those interested in history, a visit to the National Museum, Kenya National Archives and the Railway Museum is recommended. You can also visit the historical home of Karen Blixen, well-known author of the much-loved book, ‘Out of Africa’. Combining history with modern amenities is the famous Lord Delamere Terrace found at the Norfolk Hotel; this terrace has been a popular gathering place for hunters, adventurers and explorers since the early 1900s.
Shop up a storm in the eclectic array of shops, shopping malls and colourful street markets found throughout the city; there is an abundance of local arts and crafts to purchase as well as some speciality stores offering Kenyan music. Carnivore Restaurant is not to be missed; an open-air, world-renowned destination famous for its menu of meat – in particular wild game that is served in a pretty spectacular fashion. It is best to take a day excursion to get the most out of the city and please note that as with most major cities around the world, it is advisable to be on the look-out for petty criminals.
One of few national parks that border a city in Africa is the spacious Nairobi National Park, home to an array of wildlife and an abundance of birds. There are some exciting ways to interact with animals in Nairobi from the popular Snake Park to several animal sanctuaries set up in or nearby to the city. To have a chance at feeding and interacting with the endangered Rothschild Giraffe head to the luxury accommodation venue of Giraffe Manor at the heart of a pristine reserve. Another sanctuary you need to visit is the Elephant Orphanage, home to rescued baby elephants and rhinos.
Soak up some culture at the local markets, in the music shops or sign on for a tour of the cultural village and enjoy some traditional drumming and dancing. Start your journey of discovery in Nairobi before embarking on a tour of Kenya’s multitudes of attractions.
The Nairobi National Museum
Home to the full remains of a homo erectus, Turkana Boy, the museum boasts a large collection of artefacts that show the rich history of Kenya. This is done through displays on history, culture, nature as well as the country’s best contemporary art.
The Karen Blixen Museum
The book ‘Out of Africa’ which was later made into a film captured the imagination of an international audience who all felt the romance and mystery that was Africa. Visit the original house of author Karen Blixen, the museum still has many of her belongings in this beautiful building set in the midst of a coffee plantation.
Nairobi National Park:
Just outside of the city you will find the Nairobi National Park, 113 square kilometres of plains, cliffs and forest. Expect to find buffalo, giraffe, black rhinoceros, cheetah, herds of zebra and a large population of lions. The park is known for its resident Maasai Giraffes and Impala. Head off on the Nairobi Safari Walk, a rare on-foot experience for close-up interaction with the animals.
Not for vegetarians!
The Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi is a meat-lovers delight. Choose from a menu featuring every type of meat imaginable including wild game and crocodile! The meat is roasted on traditional Maasai swords over a massive charcoal pit in the open-air restaurant. The meat is the delivered, still on the sword, to your table where it is ceremoniously carved onto your plate, feel free to ask for seconds or thirds...
Buy traditional Kenyan beads and jewellery
The Kazuri factory is located near the Karen Blixen Museum and is home to a large group of women who hand make beautiful beads from local clay. Their work ends up in intricate jewellery pieces ranging from earrings, necklaces and bracelets. There is also other craft on sale here.
Located opposite the Nairobi National Park is the unique destination of Kitengela Glass. A family-run enterprise that has grown organically into an art destination of note; the grounds are filled with sculptures made from recycled materials including glass and tin and amaze and astound with their ingenuity and wild beauty.
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