While Kenya is known as one of the best safari destinations in the world it also boasts one of Africa’s largest cities, Nairobi. If you’re planning a trip to Kenya, its capital city has a lot more to offer than just traveling through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on your way to the savannah.
During my 9-day stay in Kenya I was able to visit several of Nairobi’s top must-do tourist attractions ranging from museum tours to helicopter rides and, of course, wildlife excursions. Here are 5 things to do in Nairobi:
One of the many highlights of my time spent in Nairobi was taking a safari drive with a view of the cityscape in the background. How many places can you spot giraffes and skyscrapers at the same time? The Nairobi National Park sits on the outskirts of the city and is home to a large variety of animals including black and white rhinos, lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, zebras, and buffaloes. You can also camp inside the park at the Nairobi Tented Camp which has eight double tents and a central mess tent. I spent a leisurely afternoon at the camp before catching my plane back to the states. The tents were lovely – we were definitely glamping – and the food was fantastic.
Meet Oltaiyoni. She was born on April 20, 2013 and arrived at the Daphne Sheldrick Orpahange at 6 months old. Her reason for being orphaned is unknown, but I – and countless others – have adopted her via The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Baby Elephant Foster Parent Program. I fell for Oltaiyoni and all of the baby elephants during my visit to the orphanage. It was a true thrill to have the calves run right by us as they hurried in for their afternoon feeding. This is such a fun, educational, and interactive experience for both adults and children to learn about the elephants and the reintegration program the orphanage provides to reunite them with their herds. The orphanage is only open to the public during feeding times. You can an adopt an elephant (or several) of your choosing by making a $50 donation and receive monthly email updates for one year.
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Nairobi National Museum
If you’re interested in learning about Kenya’s history, culture and art this is the perfect place to visit. I was immediately captivated by the wide array of collections; as well as the enthusiasm and pride our tour guide shared as she walked us through the museum. There’s also a Snake Park, Botanical Gardens, dining and shopping available at the museum. We enjoyed a light lunch before our tour and I was able to pick up several souvenirs for my family there, too. The museum is open daily and is located approximately ten minutes from the city center.
Airkenya Helicopter Scenic Flight
Exciting, exhilarating and absolutely breathtaking is the best way to describe my helicopter ride over Kenya’s Rift Valley. Five us took flight with Captain Marco Brighetti, head of Airkenya’s Helicopters, and were all smiles as we soaked in the spectacular views. Knowledgeable about the terrain, Brighetti shared interesting facts about the animals and areas we flew over. Landing in the hills and soaring sans doors was epic. This excursion is definitely on the expensive side, but is well worth the investment.
Karen Blixen Museum
While I didn’t have a chance to visit the Karen Blixen Museum in person it’s definitely on my list of things to do during my next visit to Kenya. The museum was the home of the famous author Karen Blixen, whose autobiography yielded the Oscar Award winning film “Out of Africa.” Established as a museum in 1986 by the National Museums of Kenya, it offers daily guided tours and has a museum shop complete with “Out of Africa” souvenirs.