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© Corbis / age fotostock
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Nairobi

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Our Editorial team's advice

Like most capital cities of this world, Nairobi is a city with numerous sites of interest for tourists. It is, however, generally just the departure point for excursions to Kenya's wildlife reserves. The city is itself fairly noisy and often falls victim to numerous traffic jams. Indeed, it is a place which is lively at every hour of the day.
For those who decide to linger for a day or two, numerous places can be found for you to stay. The city's surroundings rely on wildlife attractions, whereas the city offers the possibility to go on cultural tours of the Nairobi National Museum, for example.

To see

Animal lovers will doubtless visit Nairobi's nearest animal reserve: Nairobi National Park, a twenty minute drive away from the city centre.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: it is an orphanage which takes in young elephants. If you are curious to see them, you will be able to visit between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm to stroke the elephants and watch them being bottle-fed.
The Giraffe Centre: this centre exclusively looks after giraffes, as its name indicates. Tourists can feed them and give them a few strokes on the head!

To do

Visit the Blixen Museum: it is the house where Karen Blixen lived, the lady who inspired the film 'Out of Africa'.
Go to Kazuri and visit the factory where a great number of women make pretty ceramic pearls. There is a boutique at the entrance for shopping addicts.

pros

  • +  The friendliness of the population

cons

  • -  The traffic jams

To think about

Do not forget to buy anti-malaria pills before you go on holiday because this disease still rages in Kenya, and equip yourself with a repellent to avoid being bitten.

To avoid

Be aware smokers: it is forbidden to smoke on the streets of Nairobi. That's no joke: if you are caught smoking, you will be fined!
For short journeys, always favour walking through the streets of the city because traffic jams are very frequent. Allow a greater amount of time than is usually needed to go to the airport at peak times.

To try

The legacy of numerous colonisations is keenly felt in the local food - Kenyans use a lot of different spices and you will find, of course, a great variety of seafood and various kinds of stews such as kuku wakupaka, which is chicken cooked in coconut milk. Kenyans also often serve their dishes with ugali, a sort of porridge of crushed corn. Unfortunately, this dish does not really have any particular flavour. Very tasty Indian cuisine can also be sampled here: the gourmands among you will be delighted to taste mandaazis (doughnuts) or even sambusas. The price of food is generally very low, it is therefore quite a rare thing to leave the table still feeling hungry!

To bring back

Kenyan handicraft is very varied. There is an incredible number of carved wood figurines, which all represent the animals of the Savannah. Some very beautiful Maasai masks can also be found and painting enthusiasts will love the very colourful Kenyan paintings. Most of them portray Maasai villages, but also hunting scenes. It is pointless to rush to the first market that you come across, all the shops sell the same thing, with a few rare exceptions. Do not hesitate to haggle over the prices, the Kenyans love that!
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