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Nairobi – The capital city of Kenya
Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya. Founded in the late 1890s as a British camp during the construction of the Mombasa-Uganda railway, it served as a British Provincial capital from 1899 to 1905 before becoming the capital city of Kenya in 1963.
The name “Nairobi” comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to “the place of cool waters”. Today, it is a metropolitan city popularly known as the “Green City in the Sun”. Besides being the economic powerhouse of the East African region, Nairobi is the only capital city in the world with a National park within its precincts.
Nairobi city is served by Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the largest and busiest Airport in East Africa. Wilson Airport serves scheduled domestic ﬂights to other towns in Kenya and to tourist destinations such as parks and game reserves.
Nairobi is situated between the cities of Kampala and Mombasa. The Ngong hills, located to the west of the city, are the most prominent geographical features in the city. Mount Kenya lies north of the city while Mount Kilimanjaro is due southeast.
The history of Nairobi began with the Lunatic or “Looney” Express. In 1899, when the builders of the “Lunatic Express” railway line decided to set up camp at “Ewaso Nai´beri”, (Nairobi). They likely had no idea that they had just sown the seeds of what would become the largest city in the region. They chose to camp in this place for two main reasons:
It was cool and well-supplied with water. It is no wonder that the local Maasai people had named it “Ewaso Nai´beri” meaning “a place of cool waters”. The cool temperature was a welcome relief from the hot Mombasa coastal sun the British had to contend with as they built the railway line from Mombasa to Uganda.
It offered an escape from the man-eaters. The fact that “Ewaso Nai´beri” (Nairobi) was a swampland reduced the likelihood of an encounter with lions. During the construction of a bridge at Tsavo a year earlier, two very large male lions killed and ate more than 135 railway workers.
This railway line, meant to connect the East African interior with the rest of the world, had been named the “Lunatic Express” by skeptics doubting its economic worth.
The Looney express camp gave rise to the town that would later become the City of Nairobi.
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Hotels in Ngara: Esterina Suites, Longonot Place Serviced Apartments, Red Buffalo House Hotel, Jill’s Nest, Alpha Queens Home, Adies Garden Suites, Villa De Rose Westlands, Heritage Plaza Accommodation, Smothers Garden, Restead Stay Apartments, Karen Ndege House Inn, Leon Villas Guest House, Villa Leone, Fourways Junction Villa 1, Keekorok Guest, Juliett Wonder Apartment, Blue Hut Hotel, New Swanga Lodge, Ngara Riverside Hotel, Nairobi Glory Palace Hotel, Kahama Hotel, Desai Villa Hotel, Seldom Hotel, Hotel Southern Blue, Desai Abbex Guest House, La Jardine Hotel, Khweza Bed & Breakfast, Ngara Riverside Hotel, Nairobi Glory Palace Hotel, Deka Hotel, Park Road Hotel, Bermuda Garden Hotel Nairobi, Nairobi Transit Hotel, Rabi Hotel, Hotel Arizonas, Hennessis Hotel, KenGen Furnished and Serviced Apartments, Pearl Palace Hotel, Mooreland Hotel Nairobi, Bermuda Garden Hotel, Sirona Hotel, Cloud Hotel & Suites, Ngara Riverside Lodge, Hotel Veecam
* Hotels in Karen
* Hotels in Langata
* Hotels in Kilimani
* Hotels in Westlands
* Hotels in Lavington
* Hotels in Upper Hill
* Hotels in Embakasi
* Nairobi Hotels Deals
* Cheap Hotels Nairobi
* Nairobi Hotels Near Airport
* Hotels in Nairobi City Centre
Nairobi Luxury Hotels | Nairobi Budget Hotels | Nairobi City Tours
Nairobi Nightlife Guide
Nairobi is known for its vibrant nightlife with leading signature & contemporary restaurants, clubs, pubs, lounges & bars, cinemas, and casinos. Whether in search of something quiet, something traditional, something eclectic… Nairobi has it all.
Shopping in Nairobi is fun, easy, convenient, and safe. With plenty of modern shopping malls, grocery stores, open-air markets, convenience stores, and supermarkets located throughout the city, you will find enough choices to fit your budget and taste.
Yaya Centre – Location: Along Argwing Kodhek road.
The Mall – Location: ln Westlands, along Waiyaki way, Sarit Centre – Location: In Westlands, Westlands/Parklands road.
Westgate — Location: ln Westlands, along Mwanzi rd.
Village Market – Location: In Gigiri, along Limuru diamond Plaza – Location: In Parklands, along 4th Parklands Avenue.
Africa Heritage is a gallery and retail shop at the entrance to the Carnivore selling artifacts inspired by the designs of Africa. Also available are textiles, sculptures, and arts of Africa as well as a clothing boutique and craft shop. Another feature of the shopping area is the GALLERY sells wrought iron sculptures by the internationally acclaimed local artist Kioko Mwitiki.
Maasai Market is an open-air market ideal for African handicrafts, jewelry, and souvenirs like beaded jewelry, batiks, baskets, sculptures, and paintings. It features in designated areas during the week.
Geographically, the city of Nairobi now occupies approximately 425 square miles (684 sq.km). The current population of Nairobi city, according to statistics released at the beginning of the year is approximately 6.54 million.
Nairobi City Tours & Day Safaris
For many visitors to Kenya, Nairobi is simply a transit point en route to the country’s world-famous game reserves or idyllic coastal resorts.
There are plenty of attractions to keep tourists content for a day or two of sightseeing. Some of the city’s top attractions include; The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Nairobi National Park, and the Nairobi National Museum.
Other places of interest include; Giraffe Center, Kibera Slum Tour, Kazuri Beads Factory and Pottery Center, Karen Blixen Museum, Shopping in Nairobi, etc.
Kindly Click Here to see all the tours available for Nairobi.
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi Animal Orphanage,
Nairobi National Museum
Nairobi National Park is the oldest of all Kenya’s national parks. It is known for its Black Rhino Sanctuary and, despite bordering the city, it is home to lions, leopards, and hyenas as well as many other Kenyan animals.
Its closeness to Nairobi also means it is very accessible to Kenyans and tourists alike who want to experience a safari without having to travel and stay overnight elsewhere.
Situated around the Embakasi River, Nairobi National Park has herds of buffalo and a concentrated population of ostriches. It is also a good place to experience the wildebeest migration in the summer months and to see four of the “Big Five” African animals.
Nairobi National park history and overview
Nairobi National Park was established in 1946. It gives visitors a chance to indulge in pure African safari in the footsteps of a major urban center. It is tiny in comparison to many of Kenya’s other national parks and shows how Kenya was in its natural state when the City of Nairobi was just becoming established over 100 years ago.
Nairobi National Park is perhaps best known for its significant black rhino sanctuary. This is the best place to see these endangered animals in their native environment.
There are no elephants in this national park, but four of the “Big Five” can be seen here (lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos). Other wildlife commonly seen in the national park include giraffes, elands, zebras, and wildebeest.
As well, hippos and crocodiles can often be spotted along the Embakasi River. Nairobi National Park attracts over 150,000 visitors who come to the park every year to see the native African wildlife.
Carry a notebook and a spotter’s guide, as well as plenty of water when you go on safari.
Nairobi National park – weather and climate
The best season for visitors to Nairobi park is from July through March when the climate is mainly dry and sunny. The rainy season is from April through June. During this time, transport is difficult and it is nearly impossible to view the animals on safari.
There may also be some rain from October to December. How to get to Nairobi National Park
By road: Nairobi National Park is only 7km from Nairobi’s city center via Langata Road and visitors can get there by private or public mass transport.
By Air: You arrive through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Wilson Airports.
What to see and what to do at Nairobi National Park
The annual wildebeest and zebra migration takes place from July to October when 1.5 million animals migrate in search of water and grazing. The best time to see this incredible movement is in July and August.
The endangered black rhinoceros is protected here and the park supplies black rhinos to other national parks. Other major wildlife attractions in the park include the lion, cheetah, leopards, buffaloes, giraffes, hyenas,s and zebras.
There are also sanctuaries for rhino breeding, nature trails, hippo pools, and an animal orphanage.
Take a game drive to see four of the “Big Five” – lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos, but no elephants.
Walking trails can be enjoyed, along with five picnic sites.
Bird watching is popular here, with 400 species recorded.
Turtle and tortoise watching can also be enjoyed.
The park is open for game viewing, bush dinners, film production, and weddings.
Nairobi National Park accommodation: hotels and lodges
There is no accommodation or lodges in the park, but lodging is plenty in Nairobi city which is less than 10 KM away from the park.
Check out this list of great hotels where you can stay in Kenya including high-end to budget hotels in Nairobi.
Best time to visit Nairobi National park, entrance rates, and fees
The high season is July through March when over 100,000 visitors enjoy seeing the Kenya wildlife in its natural habitat. Avoid the rainy months of March through May.
The best times for viewing are early and late in the day, as animals tend to sleep in the hot midday sun.
Nairobi National Park covers just 117km² (44 square miles) and consists of typical, original Kenyan landscape such as plains, forests, steep gorges, and lush vegetation along the banks of the Embakasi River.
It has a high-altitude, savannah landscape with acacia trees dotting the open plains. The park is located just outside of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, and its boundary adjoins the city’s industrial area.
The protection of animals such as lions, leopards, and rhinos, as well as the black rhino conservation program, so close to a major city sometimes results in conflicts between the local Maasai tribe and the city’s four million inhabitants.
There are further problems as development continues and air pollution from the nearby industrial area increases. It is quite odd to see a giraffe grazing against the distant backdrop of high-rise buildings!
Nairobi is a culinary melting pot with a good variety of cuisine types available. Restaurants in Nairobi cater to all budgets and tastes with dishes from virtually all corners of the globe.
All continents are aptly represented, and what is most impressive is the authentic touch that characterizes these dishes
The choices are numerous with options for fine dining or casual eats with dining establishments ranging from five-star hotels to restaurants offering takeaway services.
Great places to dine in Nairobi range from fast food restaurants to restaurants where you can enjoy authentic Kenyan cuisine.
Across the city and into the suburbs, there are plenty of regular and fine dining venues. Enjoy Chinese, Japanese, Indian, American, French, European flair, and more.
Chinese and Japanese Restaurants
* Bamboo; situated at Zen gardens, Lower Kabete Road
* August Moon; situated at the food court, Westgate Mall
* Taste of China; is situated inside the stylish Prime Apartments at the very end of Rhapta Road, Westlands.
* Alabaster Lounge
* Half Past One Café
* Jade Coffee and Tea House
French Cuisine Restaurants
* Le Rustique
* Ambiance Restaurant
* Piano Bar at Captains Club Casino
* La Dolce Vita
* La Prudna D’oro
* La Grigla Restaurant
* Haandi Udupi
* Anghiti Westlands & Muthaiga
* Open House Karen & Westlands
* Café Habibi and Sheesha lounge