With enticing options to suit any taste, it’s never been more tempting to escape the hustle and bustle of Nairobi for a day. Nature lovers can explore pristine forest from the ground or from above the treetops, adrenaline junkies can ride whitewater rapids, while those in search of some peace and relaxation can stroll around a quirky art studio or a quaint tea farm.

A group of rafters riding down fierce rapids; the river is surrounded by lush, bright green trees and foliage.
You could get your adrenaline pumping on a day trip from Nairobi © Savage Wilderness

These day trips will take you around an hour or two to reach – depending on Nairobi’s notorious traffic – and allow you to swap the city's skyline for stunning scenery and memorable experiences.

Tea time at Kiambethu

For a relaxing day out, it’s hard to beat the tranquil grounds of Kiambethu Tea Farm. The owner, Fiona, starts by taking visitors through a brief history of the farm and the process of growing tea, which her family has been doing since 1910. This is followed by a guided tour through bright green tea fields and shady, indigenous forest, where you can spot colobus monkeys.

Sun shines on a verdant field of tea plants. There are trees lining the field and rolling hills in the distance.
Find out what goes into cultivating the tea leaves for your perfect cuppa © Clementine Logan / Lonely Planet

Guests are then invited to enjoy a freshly prepared vegetarian lunch, made with ingredients from the garden, and topped off with homemade ice cream made from the milk of resident cows. Afterwards, visitors can admire the different species of birds and flowers and a view that stretches to the Ngong Hills.

Getting there: Kiambethu is about an hour from the Westlands area, best accessed by private vehicle hire or taxi. Be sure to book your tour in advance.

Zipline over treetops at The Forest

Just an hour from the city is the pristine Kereita Forest. Here, you’ll find The Forest, a complex which offers a wide range of affordable activities, from horse riding and paintballing, to nature walks through a maze of scenic trails. The highlight is undoubtedly the Flying Fox Zip Tour, although it’s not for the fainthearted.

A woman smiles widely as she careers down a zip wire through the forest with one arm in the air, joyfully.
Never has admiring the view been so exhilarating © Clementine Logan / Lonely Planet

Depending on how much of an adrenaline rush you’re after, you can choose between a 45-minute or two-hour course that will take you over treetops and through lush valleys. Afterwards, enjoy a tasty barbecue lunch on the terrace, which overlooks the impressive Aberdare mountain range. On a clear day you might catch a glimpse of Mt Kenya.

Getting there: The Forest is located inside Kereita Forest, not far from Kimende town and best accessed by private vehicle hire or taxi.

Soak up the colourful surroundings of Kitengela Hot Glass studio

A visit to Kitengela Hot Glass starts with a slightly nerve-wracking walk along a suspension bridge, over a gorge. Once across, enjoy a leisurely stroll around the studio grounds, which are dotted with colourful sculptures, glass objets d’art, mosaics and the occasional grazing zebra. Be sure to catch one of the impressive glass blowing demonstrations, which show how each piece takes its shape.

A shop with a white floor and white shelves stacked with hundreds of colourful, hand-made glass vases, ornaments and tablewear
Colourful, handmade glassware for sale at Kitingela Hot Glass © Clementine Logan / Lonely Planet

Visitors can snap up a variety of vases, glasses, lampshades and more at a discounted rate in the shop. Each piece is unique and made with 100% recycled glass. Afterwards, take a break at the cafe, which serves a selection of tasty snacks and offers visitors an impressive view over the gorge.

Getting there: Kitengela is near Ongata Rongai, past Africa Nazarene University and off Magadi Rd. It's best to drive or take a taxi.

You might also like Nairobi wildlife: 5 places for incredible animal encounters

Go wild at Savage Wilderness

Savage Wilderness is definitely one for thrill-seekers. Twenty-five years ago, Mark Savage pioneered whitewater rafting on Kenya’s Athi river. Today, rafting is one of the adventure operator’s most popular activities, with a range of different rapids to suit every level. 

Three rafts, each with five people, floating along a calm river; some of the rafters are splashing water with their paddles.
Not all of the activities at Savage Wilderness are adrenaline-fuelled © Savage Wilderness

If you don’t feel like getting wet, there are plenty of other activities on offer, mountain biking across the dry plains to from rock climbing. Novice climbers can practice on a climbing wall before scaling bigger heights. Located in Sagana, this place is a little further afield but the natural surroundings are worth it. The experienced team of outdoor experts will take you along winding rivers and up rock faces, for an action-packed adventure you won’t forget.

Getting there: Sagana is around a two-hour drive from Nairobi. Try to avoid rush hour traffic by leaving early in the morning. The camp is best accessed by private vehicle hire or taxi.

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