Nairobi was my first entry into Africa. I’m of the belief that this was both wonderful and terrible at the same time.
Well, because I left my heart there. I stepped into Kenya eager to be connected to the continent, to see the beauty that isn’t shown on television. I left fearing I’d become incapable of loving any country the way I loved Kenya.
Maybe the word “terrible” is a bit dramatic. But seriously, I fell in love with the country the way one falls in love with their first spoonful of Talenti or the insanely attractive and charming bartender who has no idea he’s so gorgeous. Kenya is both a delight to the senses and a humbly beautiful country. Here’s why I know you’ll fall in love too:
1. City safaris (yes, you’re reading this right)
Skyscrapers and zebras don’t really tend to go together. Unless you live in Nairobi.
This is the only city in the world with a national park that has wildlife! Yep. That means, a lite safari is just a cab ride away! You can set up camp in the middle of Nairobi National Park and enjoy a game drive to take in buffalo, baboons, gazelles, zebras, leopards, lions, giraffes, and more...and still make it back to the city center to meet friends for dinner!
2. Cool spots to kick it
Maybe you don't think of Nairobi as the cool place to be on a Saturday night. But microbreweries like Brew Bistro & Lounge might change your mind. They serve 100 varieties of burgers. That’s right, one hundred! How cool is that?
If B&B (Beer and Burgers) is not your poison, how about a place that has street food, an outdoor arthouse cinema and the accompanying cocktails, a place where you can enjoy all that seated in a double-decker bus? It’s aptly named The Alchemist and it’s one hard act to beat.
Pining for Shoreditch? Nairobi has that too, only better. East Africa’s version is called The Westlands, and it has its own distinctive and personal vibe. You’ll have to visit to find out how it compares.
Sundays aren't bad either at the K1 Flea Market where folks gather for brunch, live music, shopping all kinds of vendors from handmade fashion to jewelry and organic beauty items.
3. Elephants and Giraffes
Ever daydreamed about adopting a baby elephant or kissing a giraffe? No? Well you should start thinking about it, and then actually do it! The thing is, nothing compares to the feeling of seeing these animals in their natural element, up-close and personal. To please the nature lover in you, why not visit a place where, in addition to taking selfies with animals, you can also contribute a little bit to animal conservation?
You can do that on the premises of the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Here, you’ll be able to see the feeding of the elephants AND contribute to the efforts of a world-leading animal conservation pioneer, working with orphaned elephants, nursing them back to health and reintroducing them gradually into the wild. What’s more, you can “adopt” an elephant for just $50. Find out more about the work they do here.
Then, how about a visit to the Giraffe Centre, only half an hour from downtown? Giraffes are mysterious animals. Apart from being the tallest mammals on Earth, they are incredibly gentle. And you can get really close to them, even looking them in the eyes and feeding them some specially made pellets. No, not junk food! No way!
If you’re looking for something truly special, something worth both “likes” and “lols”, place a pellet between your lips and wait. See what happens. Spoiler: giraffe kiss. A giraffe will slobber all over your face when taking the pellet. Not something you can experience riding the couch, for sure.
4.Culture and People
Your immersion in the culture (and people) of Kenya will begin as soon as you step off the plane. It is not a metaphor! You will immediately feel welcomed by the warmth and big smiles directed at you. Not a bad first impression if you ask me. And there is nowhere to get a better feel for a place and its peoples than in a real-life everyday market. You can take your pick of the numerous colorful markets run by the Masai and other tribes.
For a more curated experience, a visit to the Nairobi National Museum is a very good starting point. After a crash course in the history, art and culture of Africa, drop by the Karen Blixen Museum. It takes up the former home of the renown “Out of Africa” author, telling her life’s story.
5. Just 4 hours from the BEST safari you will ever experience!
Many places boast safari experiences in Africa. But if you want THE safari experience, you can only get that in one place - Kenya.
Be it the world-renowned Great Wildebeest Migration in September, world-class bird watching at the Great Rift Valley lakes, or high-density assorted wildlife experiences in many National Parks and Reserves, Kenya has it all, for every and all tastes. These safaris are so good, in fact, that you might start feeling a little guilty and wish to make a difference. When that happens, visit Kenya's pioneer private conservancies, where you can see how these amazing people are keeping nature alive for future generations. See what you can learn from them and how you can contribute.
If these reasons don't have you wanting to visit Nairobi NOW, you may want to check your pulse! But, maybe you just can’t hop a plane to Nairobi right this minute. How about visiting for the month of September?
We’re taking a group of exceptional people to live + work + play and truly experience Nairobi for a whole month: September 1st - 30th.
We've already planned the entire trip for you (amazing Kenyan safari included), all you've got to do is get there!