In Nairobi, there are some great international hotels and restaurants, and the shopping opportunities – in malls or outdoor curio markets (so-called ‘Maasai markets’) – can be very good. More importantly, Nairobi has some creditable must-sees of its own, of which the standout attraction is the remarkable Nairobi National Park.
Flying into Nairobi and where to stay
The main Nairobi airport is Jomo Kenyatta International, known as Jomo Kenyatta International Airtport. The city’s second airport is the domestic airport, Wilson airport, which is closer to the city Centre. Most internal safari flights leave from Wilson. There are no flights between the two airports and transfers between the two frequently take approximately 15 minutes or maybe more depending on traffic jam.
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is a unique ecosystem by being the only protected area in the world close to a capital city. The park is located only 7 km from Nairobi city centre. Nairobi National Park covers 117km² and, in an area that in any other capital would be suburbs, the park is a rolling wilderness of grasslands, streams, woodland and ravines, where lionshunt, black rhinos browse, white rhinos graze and giraffe do their slow motion cantering against a skyscraper background. At the other end of the wildlife spectrum, on one recent visit, we stopped to watch a young python moving off the earth road one evening, and paused to look at a large leopard tortoise – significantly out of its species’ normal comfort zone at this altitude.
Dozens of species of plains wildlife, including wildebeest, impala, zebra, hippo, waterbuck, warthog, eland, jackal and hyena (the only major absentee is the elephant) live completely natural lives in Nairobi National Park, only stopped from wandering into the city by a fence along the northern boundary, but free to move out onto the plains to the south across the Mbagathi River.
Major wildlife attractions are the Black rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, buffaloes, Giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, elands and diverse birdlife with over 400 species recorded. Other attractions include the Ivory burning site Monument, Nairobi Safari Walk, the Orphanage and the walking trails at hippo pools.