For a fascinating visit to one of the most stylish and exciting capitals in Africa, you can’t get a sleeker mode of transport than flying from London via Amsterdam on a classic KLM Dutch Royal Airlines 747.
KLM offers convenient connection points from a grand total of 17 UK regional airports to Amsterdam Schiphol, and from the Dutch capital you can pick up a comfortable, reliable direct flight to some of the world’s most interesting destinations.
Nairobi, the Kenyan capital has been selected as one of KLM’s top 10 destinations for travellers in 2017. With a lot on offer from African culture and natural life, it’s no wonder that KLM customers are taking advantage of this fantastic flight route.
In honour of one of KLM’s top 10 destinations, here is a list of 5 things any traveller would enjoy on a visit to Nairobi, Kenya.
1. Hang out with the giraffes at the Giraffe Centre
Any animal lover will adore this trip to the home of the rare and endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, the Giraffe Centre. The centre protects these beautiful animals in a caring space, so your visit goes to an incredibly good cause.
You’ll also find that this is the location for the very popular Giraffe Manor hotel, which is always fully booked and is certain to break the bank. One for a very special occasion for sure!
Take a look around the Giraffe Centre and get to know the same giraffes that join you for breakfast at the Manor for a tenth of the price!
At the Centre you can feed them by hand and learn all of their names.
Say hello to Edward for me when you visit! I loved how passionate the keepers were with the beautiful and elegant giraffes, and they knew so much about each of their personalities. Super fun to have such a close encounter.
2. Enjoy the view from the KICC Kenyatta International Conference centre
Head straight to the top of the KICC (Kenyatta International Conference centre) for some of the best panoramas of the Kenyan capital.
Don’t forget to bring your passport for ID and security purposes, and pay at the ground floor before you take the lift up.
The conditions at the top are somewhat interesting (there was quite a bit of rubble on the viewing deck when I was there!) but the view will make up for it for sure and the attraction will set you just under a fiver, fantastic.
3. Enjoy a feast at the world famous Carnivore restaurant
Carnivore was once voted as one of the best restaurants in Africa. This is the place to go to experience an interesting Kenyan-style meal called nyama choma (a type of Kenyan BBQ).
Once you’ve been seated you will be given a flag, and the wide selection of delicious meats will keep flowing until you lower your flag and quite literally surrender.
Check out the incredible BBQ pit they have for cooking over, and enjoy trying all the new and interesting types of meats on offer such as ostrich, crocodile and if you’re brave enough, ox balls.
It’s a beast of a feast. Be sure to also try a local Kenyan Cocktail called Dawa, so delicious!
4. Take a walk along the Nairobi safari walk
Enjoy a safari-like experience at the Nairobi safari walk, all within the city itself! This really is a once in a lifetime kind of a day out. You don’t need a guided tour or even a car.
You can simply walk along the wooden walkways and see an incredible selection of noble wildlife and protected animals such as lions, rhinos, cheetahs and leopards.
Simply grab an Uber to the outskirts of the city and enjoy this unique wooden boardwalk safari park.
5. Go on safari and explore the Masai Mara
A trip to Kenya just wouldn’t be complete without a safari excursion.
Masai Mara is a half day of travel time away from Nairobi and is the nearest national safari park (apart from the one within the city of course). You will need a few days spare to make the trip happen but it’s undoubtedly totally worth it.
What’s more, this trip can be done on an affordable budget. I was quoted many high prices in the UK as I travel solo. You can find great value with local tour companies on websites such as Viator cutting out the middleman that don’t offer discounted solo tours. This way you can tag along with some new pals and fill up a safari van that has an empty seat.
Your package price will include cooked meals, water and safari styled tented rooms within a hotel like complex. It’s possible to visit over three days two nights including the journey to and from Nairobi.
The package will also include access to the safari as well as a guided tour, double check this before booking a budget tour so you don’t discover any hidden surprises along the way.
With any luck you will spot some or all of the big 5 (rhinos, giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos) to make your trip to Africa truly complete.
Personally, I was lucky to spot all of them apart from wild rhinos which was a bit more tricky to spot but over the moon to see 4 out of 5 in the wild first hand.
As an optional extra you can get the chance to meet Masai Mara locals and visit Masai warriors. Visit a tribe and join them for coffee within a local home. If you’re lucky they might put on a traditional Masai dance. Be sure to buy handmade gifts from them directly to take back home as authentic souvenirs to remember your time in Kenya.
You can even have your safari tour transfer you directly to the airport (which I did) so you’re ready to end your trip on an incredible high before flying home.
Bonus travel tips: – Getting Around Nairobi
Using Uber in Nairobi is rather safe and easy to do, and it’s my preferred choice for getting around. It can be much more reliable and secure compared to the unlicensed local taxi or confusing public transport system.
For mobile phone data so you can find your way around Nairobi and order taxis etc., you can get an Airtel sim card at the airport arrival area from the Airtel kiosk. It wasn’t that expensive for a local data sim.
I loved Nairobi and would highly recommend staying with a local on Airbnb. It was great to experience a real Kenyan homestay in this fascinating and welcoming country.
My final tip: It was easy to get a Kenya tourist visa on arrival for UK passport holders. You can get a visa in advance but on the day worked well for me.