Anouk will be off to Kenya next week, and is looking forward to spending a first day in Nairobi, almost as much as she is looking forward to her safari! This may surprise some of you, but it’s really a very vibrant city and a great place to spend an extra day and get over jet lag before heading out to the bush.
We recommend staying in the suburbs if you are in Nairobi for two nights – we love the House of Waine – as it’s a little out of the humdrum of the traffic, but there are lots of other good options. If you are traveling with your kids, an extra day in Nairobi is wonderful. Plenty of hands-on experience with the orphaned elephants and giraffe at the giraffe center, with a good dose of education about the importance of conservation.
All these attractions are doable in a full day with a private driver, which we would arrange for you.
- Start the morning with a game drive in the Nairobi National Park.
Nairobi is the only city in the world that is gazed upon by giraffe, lion and rhino — in the wild. Nairobi National Park was established in 1946 long before the city spread out into its current urban sprawl. Located just a few miles from the city center, it is home to black rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, eland, hippo and more than 400 species of birds. The park plays a vital role in education, allowing local school children the chance to view these animals in the wild, which they otherwise might never be able to.
- Visit the Sheldrick Orphanage in Nairobi National Park.
Dame Sheldrick has been raising elephant orphans since the 1950’s when she lived and worked in Tsavo National Park. She established an elephant and rhino nursery in Nairobi’s National Park in the late 1970’s, as part of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. To date the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by effectively re-integrating orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo, claiming many healthy wild-born calves from former orphaned elephants raised in their care. For a special treat, adopt an elephant orphan in advance and you can get your own private viewing hour at 5:00pm every day. Click here to adopt …
- Marula Studios for lunch, a workshop tour and some wonderful shopping.
Marula Studios is filled with unique gifts, many made at the onsite workshop from recycled flip-flops. You can get a tour of the flip-flop recycling process, purchase a pair of Maasai sandals, and enjoy a good cup of coffee and a salad or quiche in the next-door cafe.
- Have lunch at the original farm house on the land that Karen Blixen farmed (from Out of Africa fame).
If you have time, also check out the Karen Blixen Museum. The Museum is housed in the very farmhouse where Danish author (Out of Africa) Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) lived from 1914 to 1931. The house is located at the foot of the Ngong Hills and was built in 1912, and bought by Karen and her husband Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke in 1917. Fans of the movie starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep will love this!
- Go to the Giraffe Center to get a lick from a Rothschild Giraffe
The Giraffe Center is a successful breeding center for the rare Rothschild Giraffe, found only in East Africa. The center was established in the 1970’s by Jock Leslie-Melville, who successfully raised a baby Rothschild giraffe at what was then his home, in the Langata area of Nairobi. The breeding program has been very successful and several giraffe couples have been re-introduced to the wild. An education center to teach school children about conservation has also done important work to raise local awareness about conservation issues. The center is open daily for tours and visits from 9am – 5.30pm.
- End the day with dinner at the Talisman
The Talisman offers superb dining in a friendly setting with excellent service. A live band performs on Saturday, so note, it can get quite festive. The food is cosmopolitan, not African per se — check out their menu. Reservations are recommended.
If you are in Nairobi on a Sunday, and want to load up on trinkets to bring home, the Maasai Market is located in the Village Market area, an upscale section of Nairobi. Check out The Tribe Hotel across the way, it’s really a very well designed hotel, and nice spot to have lunch or a cup of tea.
On your way back from the Masai Mara? Check out the Aero Club for lunch at Wilson Airport, fascinating for any Beryl Markham or Denis Finch-Hatton fans!
Contact us to book your Kenya safari!