If you find yourself with a full day in Nairobi and are interested in exploring it and some of the surrounding attractions within easy reach of Kenya’s capital city, here is what I would recommend you do in this vibrant East African city.
The Karen Blixen Museum
‘I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills, up in this high air you breathed easily …‘ We visited the Karen Blixen Museum to walk in the home of a woman I endlessly admire and who has always left me dreaming. A true romantic who made a brave life for herself right here, one which has been made famous by her book and the movie ‘Out of Africa’. The National Museum has reopened after an extensive renovation and is well worth a visit. Buy the book if you haven’t read it, or like me need to reread it. The words weave intrigue in a way that seems lost in time.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
We spent time with the precious orphan elephants at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which is always a moving experience. It’s one of my favourite places that leaves my heart bursting with admiration for the incredible work being done here, yet broken by the knowledge that they should be with their families. There are currently 29 babies in their care, all rescued after losing their mothers to poaching, human intervention or even after falling down wells. We caught them coming in from a day in the park, Masai blankets on the babies, ready for their dinner of milk before bed. While there possibly consider fostering one of the baby elephants in support of their work, I have.
Little SIMOTUA was found with a spear wound in his head, piercing right through into the honeycomb of his forehead, and a snare wound on his leg. He’s making a good recovery but is clearly still in much pain.
Other attractions in the area include the Giraffe Centre where you can kiss (read feed) a giraffe if you’re completely mad like I clearly am. The Masai Market and even a visit to Kibera the largest slum in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Nairobi National Park and Galleria Shopping Centre are nearby too. If you’d like you can even go white water rafting on the nearby Tana River.
Kazuri Beads Kenya
Take a tour of the Kazuri Beads Kenya. Kazuri means small and beautiful in Swahili, which is how this project began in 1975 as a tiny workshop experimenting in making ceramic beads by hand. Each bead is shaped from clay by hand, then kiln fired, hand painted and glazed then fired again before being used to make up a necklace or bracelet which is more than just jewellery, its a piece of work. Now employing over 300 people with a strong social upliftment program in place, from here you’ll want to take a collectable gift.
Where to stay, Wilderness Eco Camp
Don’t underestimate this city, it’s bursting with interesting things to do and warrants at least a couple of days here. In my opinion, Karen remains a great area to base yourself in and the Wilderness Eco Camp where we stayed is perfect for just that. Situated on beautiful grounds with friendly efficient staff and an inviting wooden deck overlooking the pond. The food is great too! Not to mention the excellent wifi. With affordable accommodation ranging from Camping to Cottage Rooms, we opted for the beautiful Deluxe Safari Tents, Hemingway style luxury under canvas and I loved mine.
Know that traffic in Nairobi is really crazy and it makes good sense to stay in the area that offers the attractions you’re interested in, or you could find yourself driving for an hour or two on either side of your visit. We achieved all of these attractions in a relaxed and easy 6 hours. The top pic of walking into the Karen Blixen Museum is by my best travel companion Linda Markovina of Moving Sushi, who always captures me at my happiest. This is the beautiful pup that I got to hang out with at Wildebeest Eco Camp.
** Top pic by Linda Markovina of Moving Sushi who was travelling with me on my last visit.