Nairobi, Nairobi. Green city in the sun. You could spend a lifetime here and still fail to run out of things to do. There’s always something to see, something to do, or people to meet. Being a Kenyan myself, I might be biased in heaping an endless amount of praise on this East African gem, but it truly is a special place. Every time I’m in town, I discover something new that I’ve never tried, or seen before. So I’ve resolved to make a new list or city guide whenever I’m there. You can check out the first post that I ever made about what to get up to while you’re in Nairobi.
Some general tips for newbies: The traffic can be absolutely horrendous, so leave wherever you’re staying in good time, and be careful trying to go anywhere between 3pm and 5pm. Also, warning: Most everything in Nairobi is cash-less, so rather invest in opening an M-Pesa account or be prepared to have your card at the ready to swipe, swipe, swipe away.
Most of all, be prepared to have fun. I can promise you that.
The Karen Blixen Museum
Explore the life and home of the late Danish author Karen Blixen, famous for her novel “Out Of Africa” (which was adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep).
I’m a huge history lover because I adore stories about the lives that people lived and how our current world came to be. Our trip to this museum was without a doubt one of the top highlights of our entire month-long trip.
On arrival, you are met by a tour guide who takes you through the property and the home. Our guide, Leon, was excellent and fielded all our questions about anything and everything we saw.
I was surprised to learn about just how much land she owned in the Karen area. There’s much to be said about Kenya’s colonial history and the foreign families who still own and control many of these properties.
If you’re in town, this one’s a must-visit!
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is world-famous for the continuous work that they put into protecting animals, namely elephants and rhinos.
Nairobi’s elephant orphanage branch oversees the raising of rescued orphaned baby elephants. For an hour a day, members of the public are allowed to visit and watch their mud-bath and feeding time. During this viewing, a park ranger talks to all attendees about how each of the orphans came to be in their care.
Many elephants end up here as a result of either human conflict (their mothers being killed or getting separated from the herd). Hearing all their stories ripped my heart in two. I’m so glad that this beautiful place gives them a second chance at life. The baby elephants are looked after, until they are old enough to be reintroduced to the wild.
I’d been dreaming about coming here for years. It was so worth the wait. It was easily one of the happiest days of my entire life. I also got to touch one of the elephants when they came close to the barrier and I will never ever forget that moment.
The late Daphne Sheldrick is credited as being the one to discover a milk formula that actually keeps orphaned elephants alive. I find that piece of information wicked cool.
UM Art Gallery
Usanii Mashariki Gallery was a happy find we discovered while at The Waterfront, a shopping centre in Karen. In their own words, the gallery is “grounded on the principles of dignity to the artists”. They have housed the works of over 130 artists and have curated a truly fantastic space. You’ll want to pay a visit I’d you’re in the neighbourhood. They also hold regular talks with local artists and writers, doubling up as a great learning space for all who are looking to mingle with other creatives.
Everyone there is so relaxed and friendly too! We had someone show us around and really felt welcome. Art spaces and the people in it can be intimidating at sometimes. But there was none of that here.
Nairobi is home to scores of art galleries and I can’t wait to be back and discover even more of them.
Nairobi has such a rich creative scene.
When thinking about art mediums, we’re quick to think of pencil and paper, paintings, and maybe fashion. But if you’re yet to discover the ornate and extravagant world of bronze-casting, then you’re in the right place. You will find so many whimsical, grand pieces at Matbronze, you won’t even know where to look first!
They’ve got a lovely café too, making it the perfect day out.
Barista & Co
If you’re ever at Sarit Centre, this café is a must! I’m not a coffee drinker, so hot chocolate ends up being my go-to (and only option) a lot of the time. This place is a different kind of heaven that I never thought possible to have, because their menu features multiple hot chocolate variations and options. I would kill to have something like this here in Port Elizabeth. I love the simple, minimalistic décor and aesthetic of the place too.
Short for Café Javas, CJ’s is a relatively new string of restaurants. They’ve got multiple branches around town, which means that you don’t always have to drive across town (depending on where you live) to get to one. Their decor is next level! Every branch looks like something out of the pages of Architectural Digest.
Their food is pretty standard, but the one thing on their menu that is so excellent that I’m guaranteed to return for, is their passion flavoured nojito. It is to die for!! I dream about if often, nothing tops it.
Another must if you’re ever in Sarit. This boutique Japanese-inspired restaurant features a dazzling selection of pastries (like the ‘24k gold chocolat’ croissant) and their dumplings (you have to go for the gyoza) are to die for. This is also the sister restaurant to Barista & Co, which explains the impeccable décor.
Honestly, garden restaurants reign supreme. There’s just something about an outdoor setting. If you’re looking for a location that resembles an enchanted fairy garden, then I think I’ve found just the right spot for you. If you’re also looking for a quiet, secluded catch-up location, then Tin Roof is the perfect match. I met-up with my high-school bestie Leigh-Ann at their House of Treasures branch, and really liked it. They’ve also got a pretty extensive selection of vegetarian options which is so great.