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Nairobi City Guide

Welcome to Nairobi - The Gateway to Africa

Nairobi – a Masai word meaning ‘place of cool waters’ – sprang up with the building of the Mombasa to Uganda railway. It is the political capital and commercial canter of KenyaNairobi is the only city in Africa to have a National Park flourishing with wildlife just 8km from the city centre.

Nairobi  City is the ideal starting point for a safari into the wilderness of Kenya – Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Amboseli National Park, Mount Kenya National Park, Samburu and Aberdare National Park.

What does the name Nairobi mean?

Named after the Nairobi river, Nairobi is a Maasai word that means “cool waters”. In the pre-colonial period, Nairobi was occupied by the pastoralist, Masai tribe that roamed around the whole of East Africa in search of greener pastures.

Nairobi City Attractions

Visitors can have a good game-viewing experience at Nairobi National Park, a large wildlife preserve on the outskirts of the city, which is a major tourist attraction. Other points of interest include the National Museum which has displays on wildlife, Kenya history and culture and the Railway Museum, an interesting little museum which displays historic locomotives and exhibits.

Nairobi City Tours & Karen Blixen Museum

Families can visit the Karen Blixen Museum – the former residence of the famous author, a charming colonial house set in lovely gardens and an interesting place to wander around; the adjacent Giraffe Centre is a sanctuary for the rare Rothschild giraffe. Here you can observe and hand-feed the giraffes which are quite an experience. In the family-friendly Ostrich Park, the ostriches can be fed and touched. Artists display their talents in painting and crafts.

Maasai market & Shopping in Nairobi

Local handicrafts include African art, masks, wood, stone and ebony carvings, Masai dolls and beadwork, Kenyan gems (particularly tsavorite and tanzanite), brightly- coloured kangas, tie-dyed and silk-screened fabrics, batiks as well as brass artefacts.


Masai Market – where over 50 Masai women sell traditional wares including beadwork and baskets. Banana box – gift shop in the Sarit Centre with African crafts.

Eating Out

Just outside Nairobi city, is the famous Carnivore Restaurant that serves a wide range of meats prepared on open charcoal pits and one of the few places in Kenya to offer game meat. This is hands down the most famous ‘nyama choma’ restaurant in Kenya.

Itineraries and safari packages

Kenya Safari Tours

Bespoke Kenyan Safaris

You can tailor-make a safari in Kenya