Nairobi is one of the busiest and fast growing cities in Africa, to many visitors, it is a city they are sad to leave and one to which they vow to come back to. The city is the home to more than 3 million people and a bubbling melting point for most of Kenya’s 40-plus ethnic groups. The name “Nairobi” comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyrobi, which translates to “cold water”, the Maasai name of the Nairobi river, which in turn lent its name to the city. However, it is popularly known as the “Green City in the Sun” and is surrounded by several expanding villa suburbs.
The most famous is the Nairobi National Park is unique in being the only game-reserve of this nature to border a capital city, or any major city. The park contains many animals including lions, giraffes, and black rhinos. The park is home to over 400 species of birds. The Nairobi Safari Walk is a major attraction to the Nairobi National Park as it offers a rare on-foot experience of the animals.
Nairobi is home to several museums, sites, and monuments. The Nairobi National Museum is the country’s National Museum and largest in the city. It houses a large collection of artifacts portraying Kenya’s rich heritage through history, nature, culture, and contemporary art. It also includes the full remains of a homo erectus popularly known as the Turkana boy. Other prominent museums include the Nairobi Gallery, Nairobi Railway Museum, and the Karen Blixen Museum located in the affluent Karen suburb. Uhuru Gardens, a national monument and the largest memorial park in Kenya, is also the place where the first Kenyan flag was raised at independence. It is located along Langata road near the Wilson Airport.
Nairobi is nicknamed the Safari Capital of the World, and has many spectacular hotels to cater for safari-bound tourists. Five star hotels in Nairobi include the Nairobi Serena, Laico Regency (formerly Grand Regency Hotel), Windsor (Karen), Holiday Inn, Nairobi Safari Club (Lilian Towers), The Stanley Hotel, Safari Park & Casino, InterContinental, Panari Hotel, Hilton, and the Norfolk Hotel. Other newer ones include the Crowne Plaza Hotel Nairobi in Upper Hill area, the Sankara Nairobi in Westlands, Tribe Hotel-Village Market, House of Wayne, The Eastland Hotel, Ole Sereni, and The Boma located along Mombasa Highway. Upcoming establishments include The Best Western Premier-Nairobi, Radisson Blu and Kempinski which are near completion. International chains apart from the Hilton, the Intercontinental group, and Serena Hotels are also setting up prime properties in Nairobi city.
Shopping malls in Nairobi include; The Yaya Centre (Hurlingham), Sarit Centre (Westlands), ABC Place (Westlands), The Village Market (Gigiri), Junction Shopping Centre (Ngong Road), Prestige Plaza (Ngong Road), Crossroads Shopping Centre (Karen), and T-Mall (Langata). Nakumatt, Uchumi, and Tuskys are the largest supermarket chains with modern stores at most locations within the city.
The Nairobi Java House is a popular coffee house and restaurant chain with multiple branches located around the city including one at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Other coffee chains include Dormans Coffee House and Savannah which is part of Sasini Tea, a blue chip tea producer in Kenya owned by Naushad Merali – an admired investment guru. Kenyan tea and coffee are very popular both locally and internationally and one can purchase premium gourmet blends at any of these outlets.
Nairobians generally go out every day of the week and most establishments are open till late.
Kenya’s unit of currency is the shilling (KSh) (Bob). There are no currency restrictions into or out of Kenya for currency transactions. Forex Bureaus are available both at the airport and at the city center with various currencies being traded. Cash is also accessible with Visa cards at all Bank ATMs which they operate 24/7.
Basic Safety Rules for Travelers to Kenya
• Make a copy of your passport and keep it in your luggage.
• Don’t walk on your own at night in the major cities or on empty beaches.
• Don’t carry too much cash with you.
• Wear a money belt that fits under your clothes.
• Don’t carry a lot of camera equipment especially in the major cities.
Most international credit cards are accepted in Kenya.
• Standard chartered bank allows access to over 60 money link ATM’s situated at all its branches, major shopping malls, and other strategic locations country wide.
• Majority of ATMs can accept any international VISA and MASTERCARD credit cards.
• Money link also enables holders of VISA cards to link up to their home bank or credit card account through money link ATMs.
Several vaccinations are highly recommended, they include:
• Yellow Fever
• Hepatitis A
It is also recommended that you are up to date with your polio and tetanus vaccinations.(Kindly check with the Kenyan Embassy in your country on the latest requirements)
Following recent legislation by the Kenyan government, European visitors do not require a tourist visa to enter Kenya, but entry business visas are required.
Kindly visit the Kenyan Embassy Website in your country to establish the requirements for Visa application.
Nairobi – Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Jomo Kenyatta international airport is half-an-hour’s drive from the Nairobi city centre. Taxis are readily available but it is advisable for tourists to establish the fare before setting off for their destination. Marble Travel is one of the reliable taxi company that KEHPCA uses.
Most international visitors will arrive through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi . If you are already in Nairobi and need to get to the airport, please make sure that you plan at least three hours to get there as the main road to the airport has heavy traffic jams, and security checks are tedious.
Kenya has a network of long distance bus lines. Speed is limited to 80km/h. Local buses in town are run by private companies (usually from US$ 0.66 to US$1.00). They have regular services in and out of the Nairobi city suburbs. They usually seat 20-35 passengers (no standing passengers allowed by law) and are a cleaner and less hectic mode of.
There are various outlets Nairobi and its surroundings:
• Nakumatt Stores (24 hour services)
• Uchumi supermarkets
• Sarit, Capital and Yaya center
• Village market
There are various hotels offering affordable accommodation within the city center and slightly out of the city. Kindly see the recommended accommodation centers on our conference website.