Nairobi

​Nairobi is a thriving, cosmopolitan hub of government offices, embassies, businesses, banks, churches, mosques, temples, shops, restaurants and markets. Attractions include the National Museum, Railway Museum, National Archives, Karen Blixen Museum and Bomas of Kenya. Nairobi is the world’s only capital city to boast a national park within its boundaries.


Overview

​Nairobi is derived from the Maasai word Ewaso Naiberi, meaning place of cool water. The town grew up around the railhead, during the building of the railway from Mombasa to Lake Victoria in the late 1890s. Nairobi was the centre of the British Colonial Administration, and since independence in 1963 has been the seat of the Kenyan Government.

The Central Business District, CBD, is the pulsating heart of the city. Upper Hill is home to businesses and administrative offices. Gigiri is the site of the huge United Nations Regional Headquarters and a number of embassies. Muthaiga, with its legendary colonial Country Club, is a prime residential area. Westlands is a vibrant hub of shopping centres, cinemas, galleries, restaurants and nightlife. Karen, named for Karen Blixen, borders Nairobi National Park.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, named for Kenya’s first president, lies southeast of the city centre. Wilson Airport, Africa’s largest light aircraft airport, is on Langata Road. Nairobi Railway Station is in the city centre. Public transport is by minibuses, known locally as matatus. Taxis are available throughout the city, and can be booked privately or called by any hotel reception.

The National Museum of Kenya was established in 1910 in a single room. It was relocated to its current site on Museum Hill in 1930, and completely refurbished between 2005 and 2007. There are excellent exhibitions on archaeological excavations, hominid fossils, ethnography, rock art, wildlife and birdlife. The Railway Museum details the building of the railway. Built between 1896 and 1901, the railway claimed the lives of nearly 2,500 labourers, earning it the nickname the Lunatic Express. Exhibits include a display on the notorious Man Eaters of Tsavo. The National Archives of Kenya houses historical documents dating back to Britain’s colonisation of Kenya and the Mau Mau fight for independence. Contemporary art, historical photos and cultural artefacts are on display.

Karen Blixen, who farmed coffee in Kenya from 1913 to 1931, was most famous for her iconic memoirs Out of Africa. Her farmhouse and garden are now a well-preserved historical museum. Bomas of Kenya introduces visitors to Kenyan traditions and culture. Dancers and artists perform traditional dances and songs belonging to the various tribal groups. Nairobi National Park was gazetted in 1946, and has grass plains, highland dry forest and a permanent river with riverine forest. Wildlife includes black rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest; over 400 species of birds have been recorded. Park gates are Main Gate, Langata, Cheetah and Maasai; picnic sites are at Mokoyiet, Kingfisher and Impala.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, on the edge of Nairobi National Park, raises orphaned elephants and black rhinos. Visitors are welcome daily at the 11am feeding time; the site has an information centre and gift shop. The Giraffe Centre, in nearby Langata, is a breeding centre for endangered Rothschild giraffes. Giraffes can be fed by hand from a raised wooden structure.


Listings In The Nairobi Region

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A graceful whitewashed building, the InterContinental has for many years been a prominent hotel in Nairobi. The hotel combines classic style with modern facilities. It is centrally located, and is within walking distance of the parliament buildings and the Kenyatta International Conference Centre. There are 376 en-suite rooms, including 16 suites. All ...

Nairobi is the only city in the world with a game park within its precincts. Ole Sereni epitomises this juxtaposition, offering the comforts and services of a city hotel and the atmosphere of a safari lodge. Meaning place of tranquility in Maasai, Ole Sereni is the name given to this ...

Brackenhurst Conference Centre, set amongst the green tea fields of Limuru, is part of the African Encounter group of companies. The hotel started life in 1914 as a farm called Three Tree Farm because of the 3 tall muna trees that stood on the ridge. It became a hotel in 1927 and was ...

On the original estate of the Swedo African Coffee Company, the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden is a lush, manicured garden with a history stretching back to the early days of last century. The Swedo House, built in about 1908, was the farm manager’s house for the Blixen Coffee Plantation, owned ...

Famous for its resident herd of Rothschild giraffe, Giraffe Manor is the only place in the world where guests can enjoy the experience of feeding and photographing giraffes over the breakfast table and at the front door. An elegant, personally hosted hotel, Giraffe Manor is situated in the Nairobi suburb ...

Ngong House is an exclusive homestay in 10 acres of gardens. The house was established in 1994, and offers luxury, privacy and personal service. There are 6 tree houses, 2-floor stilt houses of indigenous materials, each with private balcony. These are individually designed, with furniture from Lamu, batiks from Ivory Coast, Kuba cloth ...

A boutique hotel, Hogmead is located on the border of the Hog Ranch, part of the Giraffe Centre. Hogmead has luxury accommodation in beautiful gardens, which are home to several families of warthogs. The house is fully hosted and offers personal service. There are 6 en-suite double rooms, 2 on the ground ...

Established in November 2010, Nairobi Tented Camp is the first and only safari camp in Nairobi National Park. Deep in a riverine forest, in the speckled shade of an olive grove, this authentic tented camp offers a true wilderness experience on the doorstep of Nairobi. There are 8 en-suite tents, made up ...

A boutique hotel conveniently located near the centre of Nairobi, Palacina Suites combines understated elegance with warm hospitality. There are 14 luxury suites, including 2 penthouses, each with its own living room and private furnished balcony. The suites are decorated in natural shades, with teak wood, crisp cottons and African crafts. Their ...

Established in September 2010, Sankara is a sleek, contemporary hotel in the heart of Westlands, Nairobi’s commercial and entertainment centre. There are 156 en-suite rooms on 7 floors, made up of 82 superior, 65 deluxe, 7 junior suites and 2 executive suites. All rooms are equipped with interactive LCD flat screen TV with plug and play ...

The signature hotel of Nairobi, Fairmont The Norfolk has a long, rich history dating back to the very first days of colonial settlement. Centred on a courtyard garden adorned with vintage cars and carriages, the Norfolk is a sweeping Tudor-style building. Corridors decorated with period photos of Nairobi and a ...

The Sarova Stanley has been making history since the day it opened its doors in 1902, and has hosted a long line of legendary personalities such as Edward, Prince of Wales, Ernest Hemingway and Ava Gardner. The Exchange Bar, overlooking Kenyatta Avenue Boulevard, was the home of the Kenya Stock Exchange ...

In the heart of Nairobi’s Central Business District stands the circular tower of the Hilton Hotel, a landmark in the centre of Nairobi. There are 287 en-suite rooms, made up of doubles, twins, suites and deluxe executive rooms. All rooms are equipped with aircon, satellite TV with movie channel, clock ...

Tribe has been designed to meld New York Chic with the warmth of Africa. It blends rich earth colours with stainless steel and gleaming glass, rustic metal with natural stone and handmade wooden furniture. The hotel has 20 standard rooms, 80 delux rooms, 14 delux spa rooms, more spacious than deluxe, and 5 superior ...

Set around a lovely 18-hole golf course, the Windsor Golf and Country Club is an attractive country house hotel. The hotel combines Victorian style buildings with modern amenities and facilities. There are 130 en-suite rooms, made up of 80 deluxe, 20 studio suites and 15 2-bedroom cottages. All rooms have satellite TV, safe and ...

Kentmere Club opened its doors in the 1920s, when it was particularly popular with the members who used the nearby shooting range. Since then the club has changed management several times; the current team took over in 1986. The club is set in extensive, manicured gardens, filled with trees, plants and ...

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