Nairobi, Nairobi. The green city under the sun. The definition of ‘a city that never sleeps’, fast paced and always go go go. Nairobians themselves share this characteristic as if direct reflections/echoes of the city itself: ever busy, ambitious and dazzling.
There’s always something to do: be it a play to watch, a Poetry slam to attend, art galleries to pore over, forests to explore, animals to marvel at, restaurants to indulge in…there’s always something, so much that while I was there I made sure to subscribe to Kenya Buzz in the hopes of being able to keep up with it all. Here are a couple of my personal recommendations if you’re ever in town 🙂
The Giraffe Centre
You can find this gem in the heart of Karen. Getting the opportunity to be so up-close-and-personal with these beauties is such a surreal experience. I fall in love every time I go there. The structure is built in such a way that you get to interact with the giraffes at an eye-to-eye level, and feed them, and kiss them as well if you’re a little more adventurous (i.e. not me 😂 there’s a little too much spit involved for my liking hahaha). There’s just something about being in such close proximity of animals that makes you appreciate how sacred nature is, how sacred life is, not just in the human form. I wish I could personally thank all those who have worked towards preserving and protecting this special place ❤
Let’s pretend she just really wanted to be in the picture and totally wasn’t trying to headbutt us ahaha.
Karura Forest and The Nairobi Arboretum offer a chance of escaping the hustle and bustle of the city without actually leaving it. You can go for a walk, check out the waterfall, go for a bike ride or enjoy a picnic. It’s the most peaceful, quiet and beautiful of places.
Food = life. If there’s anything Nairobians know how to do it’s food. There’s literally something for everyone and every possible food craving you could possibly have: Indian food, Chinese food, Ethiopian food, Italian food…It’s aaalll there. There are so many restaurants in the city popping up or waiting to be discovered-the list is endless! To name a few personal favourites and popular spots, you should check out Art Caffe, Java, Urban Eatery, and Osteria del Chianti. If you’re looking for a more relaxed, intimate, garden vibe then I’d suggest The Juniper Kitchen or The Arbor.
The Safaricom International Jazz festival
Next on the list of things you have to check out are music events! The Safaricom Jazz festival in particular has been picking up in popularity with every passing concert, it just gets bigger and bigger every year. Tickets sell out before you even know the event has come around, and at the rate of the growing traffic pandemonium that breaks out on the days it takes place, we’re gonna need to double the size of the city 😂 My good friend Leigh-Ann invited me to go because she had an extra ticket. I had the best time. I wouldn’t particularly classify myself as a jazz fanatic, but lemme tell you, go for this event and you’ll be converted! Another uber popular music event is Blankets and Wine. Such chilled vibes at Blankets, the performers never ever fail to impress (i.e. make you reluctant to ever leave the venue).
The Musical Masai Market
Aaaahhh, this one’s a special one! All those who love in Nairobi are pretty familiar with the Masai Market. It’s pretty much a clothes and craft market. There’s always something special to find, be it jewellery, kikoy pants or house ornaments. Where does the music come in? Last time I checked, The Junction mall holds Musical Masai Markets every Thursday: they bring live dancers and drummers to perform and its the actual coolest thing ever. A tourist or two are sometimes pulled in to dance along and it’s quite the sight to see hahaha (I say as I don’t possess a single dance enabled bone in my body). My family and I actually used to live right down the road from the mall so we always got to enjoy the music from within the apartment itself.
The UNON Tour
In case you didn’t already know Nairobi, Kenya, is home to one of the four major UN sites in the world where several UN agencies have a joint presence (the other three being the main offices in Geneva and Vienna while the headquarters is in Manhattan, New York City). No big deal (UH, YES, HUGE DEAL). If you never got the chance to attend EAMUN conferences, you’ll be glad to know that the U.N. offices in Nairobi actually hold tours of the grounds and the buildings open to the public. Major learning experience. Hopefully I’ll be back to work there someday (a girl can dream, can’t she?) When I’ve become the next Amal Clooney or someone of that calibre 🙈
There’s honestly so much more to do and see: go karting, paintballing, ice-skating, game drives at the national park or visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Centre to see the darling little baby elephants or hang out at the ever popular Thrift Social events. There’s so so much I’m yet to do, so if you get round to discovering anything new, do let me know 🙂