Nairobi is the capital and the largest city of Kenya. The name comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi. This means “cool water“, a reference to the Nairobi River which flows through the city. The city has the nickname Green City in the Sun.
Nairobi was founded in 1899 by British East Africa, as a rail depot on the Uganda Railway. After that, the town quickly grew to replace Mombasa as the capital of Kenya in 1907. As a result, it became the capital of the Republic of Kenya after independence in 1963. Until today it is the centre for the colony’s coffee, tea and sisal industry.
The modern world has quickly caught up with the city. A frontier town no more, Nairobi is one of Africa’s largest, and most interesting cities today. Nairobi is a city that never seems to sleep. The entire town has a boundless energy, and is thriving place where all of human life can be found. This is a place of great contrasts where race, tribe and origin all become facets of its unique character. The city has not lost its sense of the past. With an excellent museum and the historical home of Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa open to visitors. Home to thousands of businesses, international companies and organizations, Nairobi is an established hub for business and culture.
A short drive from downtown Nairobi is the Nairobi National Park. The wide, open grass plain begins right on the city limits and is home to a variety of wildlife, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffalo, giraffes and a diverse bird life with over 400 species. And it is also the most popular place to see the endangered black rhinos and they owe the park its nickname “Kifaru” (rhinoceros), of which there are still more than 50 here.
Next to it you will find the well-regarded elephant orphanage operated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. It works to protect elephants, rhinos and giraffes and runs the world’s most successful rescue and rehabilitation program for orphaned animals.
Nairobi is also used as a jumping-off point for safari trips to the Masai Mara Natural Reserve.
Attractions in Nairobi
- Nairobi National Park
- Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
- Karen Blixen Museum
- Giraffe Manor
Excursions from Nairobi
The Masai Mara Natural Reserve is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and is around 270 km from the capital Nairobi – only around 45 minutes’ flight time. It is home to over 95 species of mammals and over 400 species of birds and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kenya.
Another attraction is the Solio Ranch, a fenced, privately owned sanctuary dedicated to the protection of rhinos. The ranch is located in the valley between the high slopes of Mount Kenya and the peaks of the Aberdare Mountains just north of Nairobi. Up to 40 Rhinos live here in harmony with other wildlife, including buffalo, zebra, giraffe and flat game such as eland, oryx, impala, waterbuck, Thompson’s gazelle and warthog.
Best time to visit
Nairobi can be visited all your round.
It takes about an hour flight time to reach Nairobi from Kilimanjaro international airport in Tanzania.
My name is Harrison and I am a guide in Nairobi for 22 years. Most of our guests are impressed how busy and vibrant Nairobi is. It offers so much! You can be in a huge shopping mall in the morning and bottle feeding a baby rhino in the afternoon.
How long to stay? At least 1-2 days, depending on what you are planning to do
- Tamarind Hotel (Silver)
- The Boma Hotel Nairobi (Gold)
- Nairobi Serena Hotel (Platinum)
Giraffe Manor is an exklusive Boutique-Hotel and one of the most famous ones in the world! One of the most fascinating things about Giraffe Manor is the resident herd of Rothschild’s giraffes, who stick their long necks through the windows in the morning and in the evening in the hope of a reward before retreating to their forest reserve.
Information and facts
Nairobi is a modern city. It is one of Africa’s largest, and most interesting cities and never seems to sleep. The entire town has a boundless energy, and is thriving place. Nairobi and its surrounding area offers many attractions and is also used as a jumping-off point for safari trips to the Masai Mara Natural Reserve.
Facts about Nairobi
- founded in 1899
- population of 4,397,073
- city lies on the River Athi
- elevation of 1,795 m above sea level
- area of 696 km2
- largest city of Kenya
- boundless energy and thriving place
- Karen Blixen museum
- established hub for business and culture