Nairobi has its share of historical places and monuments, not to mention its vibrant nightlife. If you know where to go, who to hang out with and abide by simple safety rules, Nairobi may become a unique urban exploration experience.
The city was founded in 1899 as a train depot for the Mombasa-Kampala railway. Its name derives from the Maasai name for Nairobi River, meaning ‘cold water’. It has eventually become the colonial center of coffee, tea and sisal production, and later the capital of independent Kenya.
While most people come to Kenya for a safari and use Nairobi just as the landing point for international flights, you must know that, in fact, you can go on your first safari right here, on the outskirts of the city. Nairobi National Park hosts some fascinating wildlife, and from time to time a stray lion or two come out on the highway, creating crazy traffic on the road and big amusement on Instagram. Adjacent to the park, you will find an elephant and rhino sanctuary, where injured or orphaned animals are brought from all over Kenya. In the giraffe sanctuary in the western part of the city you can stand on the platform right at the height of giraffe’s head and even get properly licked by one.
Every night, the Westlands area of the city welcomes many expats and locals to multiple bars and night clubs to sample local Tusker beer, fantastic coffee, and smoke sheesha, listen to reggae and African popular music.
On the outskirts of Nairobi you will find the historical house of Karen Blixen, famous Danish author of ‘Out of Africa’, portrayed by Meryl Streep in the eponymous Oscar-winning movie. Here, you can immerse yourself into the atmosphere of colonial Kenya and a personal story that took place among its hills.