Nairobi – a Maasai word meaning a ‘place of cool waters’ sprang up with the building of the Mombasa to Uganda railway. When railway construction workers reached this area in 1899, they set up a basic camp and supply depot. By 1907 Nairobi had become the capital of all British East Africa and an important centre for the colony, and the capital for adventurers, hunters and travellers from all over the world. Modern Nairobi is still the safari capital of Africa and is the only city in Africa to have a national park teeming with wildlife. Cosmopolitan Nairobi is considered one of Africa’s most interesting cities and still is the ideal starting point for safaris to all East African countries.
Nairobi City Tour
The tour covers the main areas of interest in the city – the colourful market and shopping bazaars, the historic areas like the Parliament buildings and Mausoleum. Some time is spent at the renowned National Museum, where there are spellbinding displays of early man, tribal regalia, flora and fauna of Kenya. The tour also includes a visit to the adjacent Snake Park.
Bomas of Kenya
Just a few kilometres from the city centre, the Bomas of Kenya offers a tour of traditional homesteads reflecting Kenya’s cocktail of cultures that have been faithfully recreated for visitors to witness rural village life. An entertaining afternoon display of traditional dances and folk songs from the better-known tribes of Kenya completes the visit.
Nairobi National Park
This 117km2 park only 8Km from the city centre is unique by being the only protected area in the world with a variety of animals and birds, so close to a major city. The landscape is predominately open grass plains with scattered acacia bush with a highland dry forest and a permanent river with a riverine forest on one side of the park. The park is home to over 400 species of birds and its waters provide a sanctuary for crocodiles, hippos, and terrapins that are often seen sunning themselves on floating vegetation. Black rhinos thrive here making this one of the best places to spot them in their natural habitat. Four of the Big 5 – lions, leopards, buffalos and the rhinos can be found, as well as one of the largest populations of cheetah. Visitors may also visit the adjacent Safari Walk and Animal Orphanage.
Daphne Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage
Elephant calves orphaned by poaching are brought here from all over the country. They receive extremely specialized treatment and personal care 24 hours a day from highly dedicated staff who become surrogate mothers to the calves. Eventually the calves are released into the wild and monitored till they can bond with the wild herds. The orphanage is open to visitors from 11.00am to 12.00noon when the calves are fed. Shortly after you arrive, the little elephants come running in from the surrounding forest to greet you and to have a bottle of milk.
Karen Blixen Museum
Relive a small part of Kenya’s history as you visit author Karen Blixen’s home, Mbogani House, made famous in the film, Out of Africa. Restored by the Danish Community of Kenya, the house was Karen’s home from 1917 until 1931, when she sold the farm. Many of her personal mementos are on display in the house as are books and a cuckoo clock donated from the movie set. Denys Finch Hatton’s initials are engraved on a brass plaque on the bookcase. From the garden you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Ngong Hills where many white settlers set up farms and built their houses in the early colonial days. In the front of the house are the original millstone tables where Karen conducted much of her farm business.
Giraffe Centre is the headquarters for the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, made famous by “Daisy,” a Rothschild giraffe calf rescued from Western Kenya. You may see her offspring among the herd of gentle giants in this semi-wild estate. Here you will come eye-to-eye with the tallest animal in the world and hand feed them from a raised circular wooden platform.
A visit to the Kazuri bead and pottery factory is a refreshing way to end a day in Nairobi. Kazuri Beads factory is a women’s self-help project renowned for its unique and innovative ceramic pottery and jewellery. There is a shop right on the grounds where pots and beads are sold.
Lunch or dinner at the Famous Carnivore Restaurant
The Carnivore is simply an orgy for meat lovers; try the Ostrich and crocodile amongst other varieties of meat which will be brought to your table on Maasai spears. The waiters don’t stop coming with their chunky meats until “you lower your flag in surrender.” No tour of Nairobi would be complete without a stop at this fantastic restaurant. With every kind of roast meat imaginable on the menu, it’s a meat eater’s paradise. The choice is yours and the quantities are unlimited. There is also a tempting vegetarian menu and plenty of tasty side dishes, fresh salads, delicious desserts and hot mugs of flavorful Kenyan-grown coffee and tea.