Bus

The ordinary city buses are run by KBS, but you shouldn’t need to use them much. Forget about them if you’re carrying luggage – you’ll never get on, and if you do, you’ll never get off! Most buses pass through the city centre, but the main KBS terminus is east of the centre. There are other private companies, such as City Hoppa and MM, plying routes within the city. There's a central bus stop for services to Langata, Karen and Jomo Kenyatta Airport.

Car

If you're driving, beware of wheel-clampers: parking in the centre is by permit only (KSH200), available from the parking attendants who roam the streets in bright-yellow jackets. If you park overnight in the street in front of your hotel, the guard will often keep an eye on your vehicle for a small consideration.

Car-rental companies:

  • Adventure Upgrade Safaris An excellent local company with a good range of vehicles and drivers.
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Central Rent-a-Car This longstanding car-rental agency has a number of 4WDs, SUVs and standard cars for hire at competitive rates. The owner knows the roads of Kenya well and can offer very helpful route tips.
  • Market Car Hire Local car-hire firm with a solid reputation.
  • Roadtrip Kenya A new arrival in Nairobi, this longstanding Dutch-run agency has nevertheless been working in Uganda and Tanzania for years and offers excellent value, local knowledge and support.

Matatu

Nairobi’s horde of matatus follows the same routes as buses and displays the same route numbers. For Westlands you can pick up 23 on Moi Ave or Latema Rd. Matatu 46 to the Yaya Centre stops in front of the main post office, and 125 and 126 to Langata leave from in front of the train station. Buses and matatus for Milimani leave from Kenyatta Ave, close to the corner with Posta Rd. There's a central stop for matatus to Kibera. You should keep an eye on your valuables while on all matatus.

Taxi

As people are compelled to use them due to Nairobi’s endemic street crime, taxis here are overpriced and undermaintained, but you’ve little choice, particularly at night. Taxis don’t cruise for passengers, but you can find them parked on every other street corner in the city centre – at night they’re found outside restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Fares around town are negotiable but end up pretty standard. Any journey within the city-centre area costs KSh500, from downtown to Milimani Rd costs KSh600, and for longer journeys such as Westlands or the Yaya Centre fares range from KSh750 to KSh1000. From the city centre to Karen and Langata is around KSh1200 one way. It can be much cheaper to hire a taxi for the day if you plan to do a lot of moving around town. Ask at your hotel or simply negotiate with a taxi driver.