Nairobi Travel Guide: The Bustling Capital Of Kenya

By Azure Lee

The majority of tourists traveling to Kenya for safaris stay at least one night in Nairobi, dubbed the "Safari Capital of the World." Many visitors pass through Nairobi quickly on their route to safari parks or beaches farther away, but if you have the time, you should spend at least a few days seeing this vibrant city full of culture.

From unofficial Maasai Markets dotting the streets selling handcrafted arts and crafts to local tailors who can complete a beautifully designed, reasonably priced safari outfit in a day, the city is bursting with activity.

There are not many cities in the world as fascinating as Nairobi, Kenya. The city has it all, from mouthwatering cuisine to stunning scenery, a safari, and the friendliest locals you will meet on your travels. If you are considering visiting Nairobi, it is time to start planning your itinerary. To help you, we have put together this Nairobi travel guide.

Where Is Nairobi Kenya Located?

Nairobi is located in South-Central Kenya, 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of the Equator. Encircled by 113 square kilometers (70 square miles) of plains, cliffs, and forests forming Nairobi National Park. Nairobi is bordered to the east by the Rift Valley, to the west by the Ngong Hills, to the north by Mount Kenya, and to the southeast by Mount Kilimanjaro.

Nairobi is a diverse city worth exploring, with everything from the posh suburbs to the bustling Central Business District to Africa's largest slum area. Whether you are interested in colonial history, Kenyan independence, or modern life in Kenya's capital city, Nairobi is a place where you can truly learn about Kenya.

There are not many cities in the world as fascinating as Nairobi

There are not many cities in the world as fascinating as Nairobi

How To Get To Nairobi

As the capital of Kenya and a popular travel destination, it benefits from good access to international airports and a regional road system that connects it to other significant East African cities.

How to get from Arusha to Nairobi

There is a bus that travels directly from Arusha to Nairobi. It leaves once daily and runs every day, taking around 4 hours and 24 minutes.

Additionally, the flight duration from Arusha (ARK) to Nairobi (NBO) is approximately 5h 48m, covering a distance of approximately 229 km, with an average layover of 3h 2m. Precision Air, Air Tanzania, Kenya Airways, and other carriers operate these flights, with an average of 149 weekly departures; however, weekend and holiday schedules can vary, so check ahead.

How to get from Mombasa to Nairobi

Air travel is the quickest way to get from Mombasa to Nairobi. Kenya Airways and Jambojet Limited conduct flights between Mombasa (MBA) and Nairobi (NBO), covering a distance of approximately 423 kilometers in approximately 1 hour and seven minutes.

If you want to save costs, a direct bus runs from Mombasa to Nairobi, departing every two hours daily. The journey typically lasts around 9 hours.

Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and a popular travel destination

Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and a popular travel destination

How to get from Nakuru to Nairobi

There is no direct train from Nakuru to Nairobi. The cheapest way is to take a bus or matatu, which costs between $4 and $11 and takes 3 hours and 30 minutes.

The quickest route from Nakuru to Nairobi takes 2 hours and 20 minutes by car, costing between $18 and $27.

How to get from Kisumu to Nairobi

Operated by Skyward Express, the flight from Kisumu to Nairobi takes approximately 50 minutes and covers a distance of about 328 kilometers. There are typically seven flights per week.

Things To Do In Nairobi

These are some of our top picks for things to do in Nairobi, which is ideal for a quick trip lasting five to seven days. From safaris at the national park to visiting the Maasai tribe in their communities, there is never a dull moment.

Spend a day with Maasai tribe

Probably one of the most wholesome experiences you can have in Nairobi is spending a day with the Maasai tribe. You might have visited Maasais on a previous trip to Nairobi, but this one will feel very different. It's more intimate and special.

You get to learn about their customs, traditions, way of life, and, most importantly, make friends. They'll likely feel like family and be incredibly excited to have you around.

Spend a day with Maasai tribe

Spend a day with Maasai tribe

Visit the Giraffe Center

You can’t miss the giraffe center when visiting Nairobi. A tour that included entry (about $25 USD) is included in the price of the giraffe center, which is a must-see when in Nairobi. It is a terrific chance to engage with the giraffes, feed them, and take in the natural surroundings.

Explore the Elephant Orphanage

A must-see in Nairobi is the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where you can adopt an elephant for $50 a year and receive monthly updates on its progress. You sure enjoy watching the elephants being bathed, fed milk, and having fun. This orphanage is doing fantastic work rescuing endangered elephants and providing them with a safe place to live.

Explore the Elephant Orphanage

Explore the Elephant Orphanage

Visit the Maasai Market

The Maasai Market is the place to go if you like to shop for handcrafted goods. Local vendors sell their wares there for very reasonable prices, but be aware that the market is not just one place; it moves every day and has a designated location for each day of the week; make sure to check this before you go.

You can haggle for the best deals there, but remember that the prices are already fairly reasonable and these people work so hard so bargain, but not too hard.

Experience a Safari in Nairobi’s National Park

Nairobi National Park is a good option for those who do not want to make the long drive down to Maasai Mara; you can see lions, giraffes, buffalos, zebras, and many more animals there. 

The only thing is that there are no elephants there, but if you go to the Elephant Orphanage, it's not too bad.

Nairobi National Park is a good option

Nairobi National Park is a good option

Where To Stay In Nairobi

Nairobi offers a range of accommodations for every taste, with 5-star hotels like the Palacina The Residence & The Suites and great affordable options like the Monarch Hotel. Average nightly rates for a double room in a 3-star hotel start at about $57 and go up to $117 for a 5-star experience.

Budget-friendly options that have received good reviews are Seldom Hotel and Kenya Comfort Hotel.

Where to eat in Nairobi?

  • Carnivore Restaurant in Kenya is well-known for its all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet, which includes exotic meats like as crocodile and ostrich, providing a one-of-a-kind gastronomic experience in a boisterous atmosphere. It's the ideal location for meat aficionados.
  • This is an excellent breakfast and lunch location. The meal is wonderful and the ambiance is lovely. It's fresh cuisine that's genuinely farm-to-table. The farm where all of the materials are grown is physically visible. I highly suggest their ceviche and corn on the cob. Both are quite delicious.

Nairobi Travel Tips To Ensure A Safe And Enjoyable Trip

To ensure a safe and enjoyable journey, you should know some Nairobi travel tips before visiting Kenya's capital. These are some key points to consider:

  • Visa Requirements: Most visitors to Kenya need a visa. Prior to visiting Nairobi, check Kenya ETA requirements for your nationality. Travelers can apply for a Kenya ETA online through Kenya Immigration Services website without visiting the embassy or consulate. Ensure you have the necessary documentation before your trip to avoid any last-minute complications.
  • Safety and Security: Like any big city, Nairobi is generally safe for visitors, but it is still advisable to exercise caution; avoid flaunting expensive goods, exercise caution in congested places, and make use of dependable transit.
  • Currency:The Kenyan Shilling (KES) is the currency used in Nairobi. Credit cards are generally accepted in major businesses, restaurants, and hotels; however, small purchases should be made with local money. It is suggested to carry cash as there may be a foreign exchange cost.
  • Language: Nairobi's official languages are English and Swahili. Although English is the language used by most people, knowing a few basic Swahili phrases will improve your interactions with locals and your overall experience. 
  • The best time to visit Nairobi: The best time to visit Nairobi will largely rely on your interests and the kinds of experiences you are looking for. If you are looking for ideal weather, you should go between June and September and December and February, which is the dry season.
  • Transportation: Taxis, matatus (minibuses), and ride-sharing services like Uber are among the many ways to get around Nairobi. Uber was dependable and reasonably priced.


Nairobi is a bustling, fascinating city that you should absolutely consider visiting. It's a city where skyscrapers meet savannahs, where cultural diversity dances alongside modernity. Whether you're drawn to its wildlife, culture, or the buzz of urban life, Nairobi promises an unforgettable journey that leaves an indelible mark on the traveler's soul.

So, pack your bags and contact us for an unforgettable journey in this dynamic city! We hope you enjoyed this Nairobi travel guide.