How to Spend 1 Day in Nairobi
In a country known for wilderness and wildlife, Nairobi is the cosmopolitan heart. With one day in Nairobi you can see key highlights, from museums to colonial-era architecture, then find pockets of wildness just beyond the city. Whether you’re all about animals or interested in local history, use these tips to plan one day in Nairobi.
Morning: Discover Downtown
Follow the morning rush of local workers into the city center, where skyscrapers jostle for space with historic landmarks. It can be overwhelming for anyone who doesn’t live here, so join a guide who can lead the way between key destinations, which include Uhuru Park, the National Parliament, and the Kenya National Archives. For an entirely different look at life in Nairobi, head to the outskirts and visit Kibera Slums—a guide is essential here—where you can see how residents of this impoverished community live and work.
Afternoon: Celebrate Conservation
Some rescued elephants and other wildlife find their way to orphanages in Nairobi, where conservationists nurse them back to health. Visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Giraffe Centre gives you a glimpse of the work that Kenyans are doing to keep wildlife vibrant; lucky visitors get the added bonus of seeing workers bottle-feed baby animals. Some tours of the two conservation destinations add an additional stop at the Karen Blixen Museum, set on the former estate of the Danish author of Out of Africa. With gorgeous view across the Ngong Hills and a preserved 1912 bungalow, it’s a worthwhile destination even if you haven’t read Blixen’s work.
Evening: Urban Game Drives—and a Carnivorous Adventure
Just beyond the urban sprawl lies Nairobi National Park, where free-roaming giraffes, lions, and black rhinos live on grassy plains with the city skyline for a backdrop. It’s a year-round game-drive destination that you can slip in between lunch and cocktail hour, and early evening is the perfect time to see the park at its most beautiful. Following the trip, wrap up your day in Nairobi with the flamboyant show at Carnivore Restaurant; book a table in advance for the fixed-price meal, which is served by sword-wielding waiters in costume.