Your Trip to Nairobi: The Complete Guide (Part 2)
Come to Nairobi! Discover some great restaurants that you should try on your next visit to Nairobi, you can also feed giraffes at the Nairobi Giraffe Center and raise elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
We hope you enjoy watching this video about How to Travel to Nairobi, Kenya
Source: Martha Mari
What to Eat and Drink
Thanks to a diverse community that includes immigrants and ex-pats from across Africa and beyond, Nairobi has an impressive culinary scene. Do you fancy French haute cuisine? You will find it here.
Mexican cantinas, Brazilian steakhouses, Japanese sushi bars, and more all have a place on the list of the best restaurants in the capital; but be sure to leave room for some local dishes as well.
For a delicious introduction to Kenyan cuisine, choose Nyama Mama, a local brand with three outlets in Nairobi and a menu full of delicacies like goat, chicken, and cassava curry, ugali fries, and chapati wraps.
Grilled meat is a staple in Nairobi and you'll find it in the capital's street restaurants.
Nairobi has also earned a reputation as a popular spot for nightlife, with a wide range of drinking establishments ranging from cocktail bars to noisy discos with dance floors that remain packed until dawn the next day. Westlands is the epicenter of the city's nightlife and the best place to be if exploring Nairobi after dark is your priority.
Try Champagne & Fishbowls for a sophisticated champagne bar experience or head to Brew Bistro Rooftop for some of Kenya's best craft beers. The best clubs include K1 Club House, Simba Saloon, and Black Diamond. For an exclusive Kenyan cocktail, order a Dawa - a blend of vodka, sugar, and lemon mixed with a honey-covered shaker.
Explore specific recommendations for dining in Nairobi with our guide to the city's best restaurants.
Where to Stay
Choosing the right neighborhood to stay in on your Nairobi trip can make all the difference to your stay there. Certain areas of the city should be avoided or require more care if visited, such as Eastleigh and municipal areas such as Kibera. (For more information, read our guide on safety in Nairobi.)
The best locations are the suburbs like Karen and Langata, which bring you closer to many of the city's top tourist attractions. Westlands is another good option, especially if you want to enjoy Nairobi's lively food and nightlife. The capital also has some very exclusive accommodation options.
These include Nairobi Tented Camp, an eco-style safari camp located within the Nairobi National Park; and Giraffe Manor, famous for the resident giraffes that roam freely on its grounds.
Read our article on the best hotels in Nairobi for a more detailed look at our favorite places to stay in the city.
The main port of entry for foreign visitors (to both Nairobi and Kenya in general) is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO). Located approximately 10 miles from the city center, it is the busiest airport in East Africa1. Ask your hotel if they offer airport transfers; otherwise, use a licensed taxi or shared ride to travel from the airport to your final destination.
Several international car rental companies, including Avis and Europcar, have outlets at Nairobi Airport. Visitors from most non-African countries need an e-Visa to enter Kenya, including the United States.
Culture and Customs
Tipping is at your discretion, and between 10 and 20 percent is an adequate amount for good service from waiters, bartenders, and tour guides. Tip porters, housekeepers, and car guards with coins or small bills, depending on how much they have helped you.
Nairobi has strict rules for smoking, so be sure to look for signs or other instructions that explain where you are and where smoking is not allowed.
Kenya is a predominantly Christian country. However, there are Muslim areas (mainly along the coast), and in these places, it is advisable to dress modestly so as not to offend, especially in public spaces. Pointing at a person is considered an obscene gesture, but whistling at someone to get their attention is acceptable. Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and homophobia is also prevalent.
That said, many LGBTQ + travelers have had safe and enjoyable visits; however, it is advisable to maintain discretion about relationships so as not to attract unwanted attention or harassment3.
The best safety tips include keeping valuables hidden, using licensed taxis or ride-sharing apps to get around, and never walking alone at night.
Read our full articles on staying safe in Kenya and LGBTQ + travel in Africa.
Tips to save money
- An easy way to save money on food and drink is to eat at local establishments rather than at the city's exclusive international restaurants. Look for street stalls with many customers to get an idea of which one has the best food.
- Traveling by matatu or public bus is not for the faint of heart; the former usually have problems such as overcrowding and lack of respect for traffic regulations. However, if you are on a budget, Matatu and the bus network connect you to most areas of the city for very little money.
- If you choose to travel by taxi, booking a day with a driver is usually cheaper than paying for multiple individual rides.
- Don't forget to negotiate the best price when calling a taxi and make sure you agree on the price before agreeing to a ride. Most taxis do not have parking meters.
- Bargaining at local market stalls is also encouraged. As a general rule of thumb, offer half of the vendor's original asking price, then trade back and forth until you reach an intermediate price.
- Book excursions with respected local companies rather than foreign travel agents to get the best rates.
- If you plan to rent a car anyway, you can save money on an expensive guided tour of Nairobi National Park by choosing to drive alone.
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