Must see attractions in Nairobi

  • Top ChoiceSights in Nairobi

    David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

    Occupying a plot within Nairobi National Park, this nonprofit trust was established in 1977, shortly after the death of David Sheldrick, who served as the antipoaching warden of Tsavo National Park. Together with his wife, Daphne, David pioneered techniques for raising orphaned black rhinos and elephants and reintroducing them into the wild, and the trust retains close links with Tsavo for these and other projects. The centre is one of Nairobi's most popular attractions, and deservedly so.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Nairobi

    Nairobi National Park

    Welcome to Kenya’s most accessible yet incongruous safari experience. Set on the city’s southern outskirts, Nairobi National Park (at 117 sq km, one of Africa’s smallest) has abundant wildlife that can, in places, be viewed against a backdrop of city skyscrapers and planes coming in to land – it's one of the only national parks on earth bordering a capital city. Remarkably, the animals seem utterly unperturbed by it all.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Nairobi

    National Museum

    Kenya’s wonderful National Museum, housed in an imposing building amid lush, leafy grounds just outside the centre, has a good range of cultural and natural-history exhibits. Aside from the exhibits, check out the life-size fibreglass model of pachyderm celebrity Ahmed, the massive elephant that became a symbol of Kenya at the height of the 1980s poaching crisis. He was placed under 24-hour guard by President Jomo Kenyatta; he’s in the inner courtyard next to the shop.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Nairobi

    Karen Blixen's House & Museum

    If you loved Out of Africa, you'll love this museum in the farmhouse where author Karen Blixen lived between 1914 and 1931. She left after a series of personal tragedies, but the lovely colonial house has been preserved as a museum. Set in expansive gardens, the museum is an interesting place to wander around, but the movie was actually shot at a nearby location, so don’t be surprised if things don’t look entirely as you expect!

  • Top ChoiceSights in Nairobi

    Giraffe Centre

    This centre, which protects the highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, combines serious conservation with enjoyable activities. You can observe, hand-feed or even kiss one of the giraffes from a raised wooden structure, which is quite an experience. You may also spot warthogs snuffling about in the mud, and there’s an interesting self-guided forest walk through the adjacent Gogo River Bird Sanctuary.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    Bomas of Kenya

    The talented resident artists at this cultural centre perform traditional dances and songs taken from the country’s various tribal groups, including Arabic-influenced Swahili taarab music, Kalenjin warrior dances, Embu drumming and Kikuyu circumcision ceremonies. It’s touristy, of course, but still a spectacular afternoon out. The complex consists of a number of bomas (villages), each constructed in the architectural style of Kenya's major ethnic groups.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    Railway Museum

    The main collection here is housed in an old railway building and consists of relics from the East African Railway. There are train and ship models, photographs, tableware and oddities from the history of the railway, such as the engine seat that allowed visiting dignitaries like Theodore Roosevelt to take pot shots at unsuspecting wildlife from the front of the train.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    Kenyatta International Conference Centre

    Nairobi’s signature building was designed as a fusion of modern and traditional African styles, though the distinctive saucer tower looks a little dated next to some of the city’s newer and flashier glass edifices. Take the lift up to the 27th floor, then climb the remaining two floors to the viewing platform and (if it's open) helipad on the roof for marabou-stork's-eye views over Nairobi in all its wonderfully tangled madness.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    African Heritage House

    Designed by Alan Donovan, an African-heritage expert and gallery owner, this stunning exhibition house overlooking Nairobi National Park can be visited by prior arrangement only. The mud architecture combines a range of traditional styles from across Africa, and the interior is furnished exclusively with tribal artefacts and artworks. For those with a bit of cash to spare, it’s possible to negotiate overnight stays, formal meals and luxurious transfers by steam train or helicopter. The house is off Mombasa Rd.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    Ivory-burning Site

    This is one the most important landmarks in the annals of conservation: it was here that Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi made a dramatic statement to poachers by setting fire to 11 tonnes of seized ivory in 1989. The event improved Kenya’s conservation image at a time when East African wildlife was being decimated by relentless poaching, and it's widely credited as playing a role in turning the tide against poaching in Kenya.

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    Kazuri Beads & Pottery Centre

    An interesting diversion in Karen, this craft centre was started by an English expat in 1975 as a place where single mothers could learn a marketable skill and achieve self-sufficiency. From humble beginnings, the workforce has grown to over 100. A free tour takes you into the various factory buildings, where you can observe the process from the moulding of raw clay to the glazing of the finished products.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    Nairobi Safari Walk

    Just outside the main entrance to Nairobi National Park, off Langata Rd, this safari walk is a sort of zoo-meets-nature-boardwalk, with lots of birds as well as other wildlife, including a pygmy hippo, a bongo, an albino zebra and a white rhino, as well as primates and big cats. Children in particular love the chance to get closer to the animals than they're likely to be able to do in a national park.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    Kitengela Hot Glass

    Brave the suspension bridge and enjoy a stroll around the quirky, colourful grounds of Kitengela Hot Glass. There are regular glass blowing demonstrations in the studio and visitors can buy handmade, recycled glass objects at a discounted price in the shop. The cafe has great views onto a gorge and serves a range of tasty snacks and homemade ice cream.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    Red Hill Art Gallery

    The Red Hill Art Gallery is tucked away in the lush green hills of Limuru, just outside Nairobi. The space is devoted to African Art with a focus on contemporary East African artists. The gallery has around six exhibitions each year, and also showcases an impressive private collection of paintings and sculptures amassed over 25 years.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    Circle Art Gallery

    One of Nairobi's better exhibition spaces for contemporary art, Circle Art Gallery is, unlike some other Nairobi galleries, more a gallery aimed at serious collectors than a shop aimed at a mass market. Its properly curated exhibitions feature paintings by predominantly local artists alongside works from elsewhere in East Africa.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Nairobi

    Go-Down Arts Centre

    The Go-Down Arts Centre, a converted warehouse in Industrial Area, contains 10 separate studios and is a hub for Nairobi's burgeoning arts scene, bringing together visual and performing arts with regular exhibitions, shows, workshops and open cultural nights.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    Hippo Point Lookout

    One of the best places in Nairobi National Park to see hippos.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    Hippo Pool

    Nairobi National Park's main concentration of hippos.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    Uhuru Park

    An expanse of manicured green on the fringe of the central city, this attractive park is a popular respite from the downtown noise and bustle. It owes its existence to Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner. In the late 1980s, she fought to save the park from the bulldozers of the former Moi government. Upon her death in late 2011, her funeral was held in the park and attended by thousands of mourners.

  • Sights in Nairobi

    Snake Park

    In the grounds of the National Museum, the Snake Park has some impressive snake species, including the puff adder, black mamba, Egyptian cobra, African rock python and Gaboon viper (with 4cm-long fangs, the longest in the world). There are also local fish species, lizards, turtles and some sad-looking crocodiles. Watch for the elephant fossil on the way down from the museum.