Top 9 Things to Do in Nairobi, Kenya

Popularly known as the “Green City in the Sun,” Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi is a popular first stop on Kenyan safaris. Here, visitors can receive a crash course in Kenyan culture, history, and even wildlife.

Although Nairobi is just 87 miles south of the equator, its 3 million residents enjoy a comfortable year-round climate. Temperatures rarely fall below 50ºF at night or rise above 77ºF during the day.

Looking for ways to make the best of your time in Nairobi? In this article, we highlight Ujuzi travelers’ nine favorite things to do in the capital city of Kenya. Whether you want to see nature, experience a different culture, or enjoy local foods, Nairobi has something for you!

female lion walks across dry grassy terrain in Nairobi National Park.

Lions are among the many animals visitors may see at Nairobi National Park.

Explore Nairobi National Park

One of Kenya’s most successful rhino sanctuaries lies right on the edge of the city! The sanctuary is part of Nairobi National Park, established in 1946 as the country’s first national park.

Nairobi National Park has an astonishing variety of wildlife, including all Big 5. It attracts antelopes and giraffes in the dry season. More than 400 bird species have been identified at the park, along with hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, and lions. Large zebra and wildebeest herds gather here in July and August.

close up of a tamarillo fruit in a persons hands at Nairobi City Market

A seller displays tamarillo fruit in Nairobi’s City Market. Photo by Orrling.

Shop at City Market

Nairobi is the largest city in East Africa, and shopping opportunities are everywhere—from sophisticated boutiques to pavement stalls. The City Market is well worth a visit for its colorful array of tropical fruits, beautiful flowers, and exotic vegetables. Try a tamarillo, which looks like a tomato but has a flavor reminiscent of passion fruit, or sample varieties of bananas and mangos that cannot be found in the United States.

facade of Nairobi National Museum with metal sculpture of tree in front

Nairobi National Museum is the flagship facility of the National Museums of Kenya.

Visit the Nairobi National Museum

The Nairobi National Museum was started in 1910 by naturalists who wished to catalog samples of the wildlife and plants of the region. Today it also houses exhibits on history, culture, and contemporary art.

It’s easy to spend hours immersed in the collections, then strolling through the beautiful botanical and sculpture gardens that surround the museum.

close up of bright green snake at Nairobi Snake Park

Nairobi’s Snake Park brings you eye-to-eye with intriguing reptiles. Photo by Mike W.

See cool creatures at Nairobi Snake Park

Near the museum lies Nairobi Snake Park, perfect for lovers of things that creep and crawl. Here you’ll find many species of snakes, amphibians, and marine and freshwater fish. The park even has giant snails and millipedes!

Nairobi Snake Park rescues and rehabilitates Kenya’s indigenous snakes and educates the public about their practical benefits, such as rodent control. They also teach people the differences between harmless snakes and dangerous ones.

nairobi skyline at sunset with skyscrapers and colorful buildings in foreground

The sunset illuminates Nairobi’s skyline.

See the landmarks

Towering above Nairobi is the Kenyatta International Conference Center. From a revolving restaurant at the top, get superb views of the city.

Or try a driving tour to see important buildings like Parliament, the Law Courts, and City Hall. Spot exquisite examples of religious architecture at All Saints Cathedral, the Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family, Jamia Mosque, and Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (a Hindu temple).

Would you like to get a closer understanding of day-to-day life in Nairobi? Try a neighborhood tour with a trusted tour guide who can introduce you to residents and small business owners.

giraffe bends down to lick person's face while another giraffe in background peers at people over the side of a second-story balcony at Giraffe Centre in Nairobi

The Giraffe Centre in Nairobi offers learning, fun, and the occasional “kiss” from a resident giraffe. Photo by Deborah.

Get face-to-face with the world’s tallest land mammal

At the foot of the Ngong Hills, the Giraffe Centre is dedicated to rescuing endangered Rothschild giraffes. Injured or orphaned giraffes stay at the center for care before being returned to the wild. A few that cannot return become life-long residents.

From the second story of the visitors’ center, you can get an eye-to-eye view of one of these gentle giants. But beware—long-term residents are so comfortable with people, they may want to “kiss” you!

Read more about the Giraffe Centre.

Karen Blixen's library is an early 20th century study with wall-to-wall wooden bookshelf filled with books and a wooden desk with mechanical typewriter

This room in the Karen Blixen Museum was the renowned author’s personal library. Photo by Stuart Price, Make It Kenya.

Learn about history at the Karen Blixen Museum

Down the road from the Giraffe Centre lies a relic of Kenya’s colonial past. Built in 1912, the museum was originally the farmhouse for Karen Blixen, a novelist and coffee farmer who wrote as Isak Dinesen. Her memoir inspired the Academy Award-winning film Out of Africa.

Today you can tour Blixen’s former home and gardens. Afterward, enjoy a cup of Kenyan coffee at the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden.

young elephants, a human caretaker, and a giraffe walk across a grassy area at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Orphans' Project

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates the world’s most successful elephant rescue. Photo courtesy of Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Coo over baby elephants

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust provides a temporary home for orphaned elephants and rhinos. The animals sleep at the orphanage, then spend the day with human caretakers in Nairobi National Park. There, they learn to forage and become familiar with the scents and behaviors of local herds.

The Orphans’ Project is open to the public during scheduled hours, when visitors can watch young elephants feed and play.

Read more about the Orphans’ Project.

child running playfully through lush greenery at Nairobi Arboretum

Trails throughout Nairobi Arboretum bring visitors close to the tropical greenery. Photo by Ninara.

Stroll through Nairobi Arboretum

Nairobi Arboretum has the finest collection of trees and shrubs in Eastern Africa. A guided plant or bird walk there can provide an excellent orientation to the local landscape.

If you’re lucky, you might even see some of the resident vervet or Sykes monkeys at play!

Visiting Nairobi

Nairobi is easy to get to, as it’s home to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport—the country’s largest airport and the seventh busiest airport in Africa. Spending a few days in Nairobi is a great way to start or wrap up your African safari!

Are you trying to imagine how Nairobi might fit into your safari? Check out our Legendary Kenya itinerary for an example of a two-night stay there.

For additional itinerary ideas, simply contact Ujuzi! We’d love to make your travel dreams come true.

Explore More Kenya Attractions

Sign up for the Ujuzi Newsletter!

From top travel tips to innovative safaris and conservation movement, get inspired to plan your next African safari!

Ready to start planning your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa?

Request a 1-on-1 video or phone consultation today!