FROM THE AIRPORT
The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Airport code NBO) is 15km from Nairobi’s business district. There are official taxi services offered by Kenatco. Fares are fixed and a ride will cost between Ksh 1,500 – 4,000 (€13.30 – €35.50) It is important to negotiate the fare before getting into the taxi.
DIALING CODE +254
Ten minutes from the airport and five minutes from the city centre, Hillpark Hotel (Lower Hill Road, Upper Hill, 202724312/3/5, hillparkhotel.com) is one of the conveniently situated establishments. There is also the Nairobi Serena Hotel (pictured below, central Nairobi, 2022822000, serenahotels.com/serenanairobi).
The new Villa Rosa Kempinski (kempinski.com/en/nairobi) combines Kenyan hospitality, Italian style and Swiss expertise – the staff are exceptionally friendly, the building resembles an Italianate villa, and when you’re in the hands of a Zurich-based hotel group with over a century of experience, nothing is left to chance. With 200 rooms and suites you will find all levels of luxury.
Need something more affordable? Godials Bed & Breakfast (godials.comop-cl) in Westlands, is a boon to travellers on a low budget. It offers quiet, clean and secure basic accommodation and top-class service.
For fine local and Western dishes, try The Talisman (320 Ngong Road, 705999997, thetalismanrestaurant. com).
For something completely different, go to the Carnivore Restaurant (Langata Road, 722204647, tamarind.co.ke/carnivore), which has lots of eat-as-much-as-you-can meat dishes, including ostrich, zebra and crocodile. Vegetarians will not find any joy here.
For “original” Indian dining, opt for Open House Restaurant (tel. 727726345, Opposite The Mall, Ring Road, Parklands, openhouserestaurant.co.ke).
TIME TO PARTY
Nairobi’s Westlands district fizzes with life most evenings – and weekends can be wild. Get the party started with drinks at Gipsy Bar, an ever-popular expat haunt with a large terrace, big-screen sports, mighty cocktails and impressive bar food.
If it all gets a bit too much, cross the road to the Sankara Hotel. The rooftop Pool & Supper Club has good views of downtown Nairobi. Have tapas and wine.
Nairobi’s in-crowd can be found at the popular Brew Bistro & Lounge on Ngong Road. It’s an ambitious venture, combining East Africa’s first and finest microbrewery (five varieties of beer are made on the premises) with a lounge bar, nightclub and restaurant. The food is good, the atmosphere is super and the most important – the happy hour – is from 5pm-7pm daily, which means 2-4-1 drinks.
Nairobi’s Maasai markets are colourful affairs, where beautiful arts, crafts, clothes and pottery are piled high in all directions, although you shouldn’t arrive expecting a peaceful stroll. If you can tolerate the high levels of hassle you’re going to be subjected to if you look like a tourist, you’ll find authentic Kenyan paintings, jewellery, masks and accessories. There are some wonderful bargains to be found, but expect to haggle hard – the first price you’re given is likely to be outrageous. The market can be found next to the law courts in downtown Nairobi on Saturdays and the rooftop of the Junction Mall on Thursdays. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out exactly when the markets will be active.
You’ll find woodcarvings, drums, spears and shields at the City Market (Muindi Mbingu Street), or go to the Kazuri Bead Factory (Mbagathi Ridge, Karen district, kazuri. com) for hand-made beads.
The Nairobi National Park (202423423, nairobinationalpark.wildlifedirect.org) is just a 20 minute drive from the city.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve (0202331627, maasaimara.com) is home to Africa’s largest population of lions.
Take a quick trip to Nairobi Safari Walk (along Langata Road, kws.org/parks/education/nairobi_safariwalk) where you’ll find Africa’s “Big Five” in their natural habitat. It’s a great place to see the most amazing creatures and to take some wildlife photos.