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Local time Nairobi

Currency

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Things to see in Nairobi

Tourist Offices

Nairobi Tourist Information

Address: Upper Hill, Off Ragati Road, Nairobi,
Telephone:
Opening times: Website:

Most information about Nairobi can be found on the tourist board's website (www.magicalkenya.com), as most official tourist centres are located around coastal areas. Nevertheless reliable information can be picked up in most hotels and backpacker lodges, with locals happy to chip in with information. Though be warned: being directed to a cousin's shop or gallery is likely. A good guidebook is essential.

Attractions

Giraffe Center

Located approximately 18km (11 miles) from the centre of Nairobi, the Giraffe Center is run by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) and aims to increase the number of rare Rothschild giraffes left in the wild. Situated on the edge of Nairobi National Park, this small sanctuary sits on a broad stretch of savannah and is easy to find. It complements visits to Nairobi National Park and the nearby Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage excellently. Children in particular will adore it here, and its tall observation towers offer a terrific opportunity to get close to these magnificent creatures.

Address: , Duma Road , Nairobi,
Telephone: +254 20 807 0804
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1700.

Website: http://www.giraffecenter.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Nairobi National Park

Just ten kilometres (six miles) from the city centre is Nairobi National Park, a fabulous stretch of wilderness home to most of the Big Five (lions, buffalos, leopards and black rhinoceros) as well as Thompson's Gazelle, zebra and wildebeest. Established in 1946, Kenya's first National Park has a backdrop of city skyscrapers and is home to several animal sanctuaries including the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Despite its proximity to the city, the 117 sq km (45 sq miles) park is also on several migration routes and attracts a large number of herbivores, including giraffes. Around 400 bird species and scores of plants, including several floras unique to the area, complete an impressive picture.

Address: Nairobi National Park, Langata Road, Nairobi,
Telephone: +254 20 242 3423
Opening times:

Daily 0600-1900.

Website: http://www.kws.go.ke/parks/nairobi-national-park
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Karen Blixen Museum

Karen Blixen, the Danish author behind Out Of Africa, one of the most famous books on Kenya ever written, lived in this tiny colonial-era bungalow from 1917 until 1931. Part of a larger farm, the film version of the novel was shot here in 1985. Inside, the building contains a selection of Blixen's personal belongings including the lamp she used to signal to her British lover, hunter Denys Finch Hatton.

Address: Karen, Karen Road, Nairobi,
Telephone: +254 20 800 2139.
Opening times:

Daily 0830-1730.

Website: http://www.museums.or.ke/karen-blixen/
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

Close to the Nairobi National Park, the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is run by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and takes in elephant calves orphaned by poachers or angry villagers. Although it's open for just an hour a day, the touching sight of tiny elephants playing in the mud with their keepers is worth the effort alone. Visitor donations are spent on keeping the calves well looked after, as well as rescue missions which involve picking up and transporting the animals from across Kenya to the orphanage. Once old enough, the elephants are released into Tsavo National Park.

Address: Nairobi National Park, , Nairobi,
Telephone: 254 20 230 1396
Opening times:

Daily 1100-1200.

Website: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Nairobi National Museum

A quick introduction to Kenya's long and fascinating history, the National Museum of Kenya charts the progress of the nation via a series of fascinating exhibits, among them paintings, tribal artefacts and even a skeleton or two. The collections of stuffed birds and wildlife species are impressive, and the geology displays offer a fascinating introduction to the forces that shaped the Rift Valley. Be sure to check out the cultural exhibits, especially the ones on the history and culture of the Swahili coast, and don't miss the snake park in the grounds.

Address: Museum Hill, Kipande Road, Nairobi,
Telephone: +254 20 374 2131.
Opening times:

Daily 0830-1730.

Website: http://www.museums.or.ke
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Kenya National Archives

Housed in the striking, old Bank of India building, this often overlooked museum boasts more than 400,000 documents racked up over the last half-century. But it's the Murumbi Gallery on the first and second floor which is the real draw here, as it houses paintings and tribal photographs from across Africa, not to mention some incredible pieces of art and jewellery that date from classical times. The gallery - named after the second vice president of Kenya, Joseph Murumbi - also has an impressive collection of tribal weaponry, instruments and masks, plus exhibits on the struggle for independence and the history of Nairobi.

Address: Central Business District, Moi Avenue, Nairobi,
Telephone: +254 20 222 8959.
Opening times:

Mon-Fri 0815-1700 Sat 0815-1300.

Website: http://www.archives.go.ke
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Nairobi Railway Museum

This privately run museum contains a treasure trove of photographs and memorabilia from the Uganda Railway, dubbed the "Lunatic Express" by British colonialists because of the vast amount of investment required to build it. The railway line also cost hundreds of lives – many taken by a single pair of man-eating lions in the area now covered by Tsavo National Park. Models, photographs and other relics bring this fascinating piece of colonial history alive. A collection of old trains in various states of disrepair stand in the grounds and include a rare example of the Mountain Class locomotive, one of the most powerful ever built.

Address: Central Business District, Station Road, Nairobi,
Telephone: +254 72 438 0975
Opening times:

Mon-Sun 0800-1700.

Website:
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Bomas of Kenya

If you can't get out to Kenya's tribal areas, this long-established cultural centre offers an entertaining introduction to their dances, music and artistic traditions. Much of what is on show is dedicated to the country's more colourful inhabitants with the Masai, Samburu and Turkana all well represented. The village itself is a small circle of nest-like huts and contains several stalls selling traditional beaded necklaces and handmade sandals for higher prices than those found in the city. The main attraction is the auditorium, which hosts more than 30 different traditional dances. It's a touristy show, but the enthusiasm of the performers makes this a worthwhile detour on the way to Nairobi National Park.

Address: Kuwinda, Langata / Forest Edge Road, Nairobi,
Telephone: +254 20 806 8400.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1800 (traditional villages), Mon-Fri 1430-1600, Sat-Sun 1530-1715 (cultural dance performances).

Website: http://www.bomasofkenya.co.ke
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Kenyatta International Convention Centre

Standing proud in the Nairobi skyline, the city's iconic tower was the cutting edge of architecture when it was constructed in the 1970s, but today it looks a little dated. Don't expect to find much of interest inside - the décor is similarly old-fashioned - but there are some interesting exhibitions here from time to time. Instead, take the lift straight to the rooftop helipad where you'll find a view that is as mesmerising today as it was when the conference centre opened. On a clear day, you can even spot big game wandering around Nairobi National Park.

Address: Central Business District, Harambee Avenue, Nairobi,
Telephone: +254 20 326 1000
Opening times:

Mon-Fri 0700-1800, Sat-Sun & Public Holidays 0800-1700.

Website: http://www.kicc.co.ke
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Kibera

Despite the obvious risks associated with visiting a slum, trips to Kibera - Africa's largest urban shanty town -are becoming increasingly popular, with visitors anxious to get a taste of the sharp side of life in the Kenyan capital. Home to an estimated 250,000 people Kibera is a vast urban sprawl six kilometres (four miles) from the city centre, divided into 13 'villages'. Guided tours usually include visits to local craftsmen and schools. It's best to go with a respected and responsible tour company as those who have attempted to go it alone have found themselves confronted with muggers.

Address: Kibera, Kibera Dr, Nairobi,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

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Featured Hotels

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Sarova Stanley

One of the most historic hotels in Nairobi, the Sarova Stanley first opened its doors in 1902, and boasts a rich history of famous former guests, among them Ernest Hemingway. Rooms are well appointed and soundproof, and there's a gym, sauna, rooftop pool and bar. Don't miss out on the legendary Thorn Tree Cafe either, a travellers' haunt since British times.

Nairobi Serena Hotel

One of the more elegant options in Nairobi, this sophisticated place draws on influences from across Africa, and the interiors are full of tribal sculptures, textiles and wooden furniture. The spotless rooms have marble bathrooms and views over the grounds and lush gardens. There is also a swimming pool, health club and shops. Although the hotel itself is very secure, adjacent Central Park and Uhuru Park are not safe to walk around at night.

Central YMCA

This is a well-appointed, central hostel in Nairobi. Good-value rooms, reasonable food, swimming pool, tennis courts and an aerobics studio make this feel more like a small hotel, and you don't have to be male or Christian to stay here.

Sentrim 680 Hotel

This reasonably priced mid-range hotel in Nairobi is in a decent location. It is a bit shabby and not much to look at, but is safe, has clean rooms with en-suite bathrooms, useful facilities, a restaurant and its own bar. Rooms facing the main road can cop a bit of noise, so ask for one at the back.

Upper Hill Campsite

Part campsite for overland groups, part backpacker hostel, this expansive place is a hike from the centre of Nairobi, but it makes up for this with excellent facilities. Staff can organise all sorts of safaris and excursions, and the spacious, secure compound has its own bar, restaurant and games room.

Terminal Hotel

A good-value alternative to the backpacker crash pads, the Terminal Hotel in Nairobi is simple but well located. You get what you pay for in terms of luxuries, but the rooms have bathrooms and you can walk to everything in the centre. Ask for a room at the back, away from the street noise.