Kenya
Nairobi

Here you’ll find travel reports about Nairobi. Discover travel destinations in Kenya of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

42 travelers at this place:

  • Day1

    The first day in Nairobi

    October 6, 2017 in Kenya

    We didn’t really know what to expect in Nairobi, but now being here and we are slowly realizing, that traveling in Africa is still traveling - and that is a good thing!

    When we arrived yesterday, it has already been dark and on our drive to the hostel, we haven’t really seen a lot, well, apart from zebras at the edge of the road and a giraffe head in the bush, isn’t it crazy? 😳

    Today the plan is, to go to town and to see the baby elephants. But how to get there? The prices proposed in our hostel are simply too high. So we decide to go local!

    So we are walking from our Hostel “Milimani Backpackers” in a gated community to the main street (monkeys on the power lines take a little pee on Annina’s face 😂) and then we’re taking a Matatu, a mini bus full of Kenyans, that costs 0,20 cents instead of 15€.

    Two Matatus later we are walking past wild baboons (we are alone – and aren’t baboons dangerous?) to the entry of the baby elephant center.

    We can see about 29 small and playful elephant orphans, that are raised here, as their parents were killed, mostly by humans. It was quite amusing.

    We’re taking another Matatu to the expensive Carnivore restaurant and we’re deciding not to have the $39pp all you can eat meat.

    Tomorrow safari ✌️
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  • Day134

    Karen, Nairobi

    September 17, 2017 in Kenya

    We’ve spent a relaxing week with minimal driving or activities in this leafy suburb outside of Nairobi. We found an idyllic stone cottage where we were able cook our own meals, watch mindless TV (including John’s cricket (emphasis on the mindless- ha, ha)), read, sleep, clean up and organize all of our stuff so it fits into our small bags. Christy also got a haircut, mani/pedi, and we’ve both enjoyed drinking cold, bubbly water and wine. We were also lucky enough to catch up with Vishal and Sita, who Christy knew from Campbells/Wharton/Philly, and enjoy a wonderful lunch getting the scoop on what life is like here compared to the US and other places.
    Since this part of our trip is winding down and because the Land Rover has been the third character in our trip these past 5 months, we need to take a moment to discuss its’ role in our recent adventures.
    Nicknamed Tokoloshe (a mythical and mischievous bush elf in South African folklore), we’ve written many things about this LR as we’ve been travelling. It’s featured so often in our posts because it’s been our home - functioning not only as our transport, but also as our bedroom, kitchen, and living room. We’ve probably spent 95% of our time, since first getting into the front seat in Johannesburg last May, within just a few yards of the LR. It was very rare for it to be out of our sight at any time during this entire part of the trip. We also have written several times about repairs we’ve had to do along the way and several days spent in mechanic’s yards getting things fixed. However, we’ve put this vehicle through a LOT. We’ve driven almost 20,000 kilometers (about 12,000 miles) through 9 countries over the last few months in all kinds of weather and road conditions. We’ve been through hot, dusty deserts, over steep and twisty mountain passes. We’ve driven through rivers, mud, deep, endless sand and long stretches of tarmac for hours on end. We’ve inadvertently hit multiple potholes at speed and driven over roads made up of endless rocks and corrugations so wide and deep that we started a collection of all of the small pieces of the LR that had been shaken loose during the day and we tried to return each piece to its proper place, often with the help of some duct tape.
    With all of the bad roads we’ve driven, it’s a miracle that we haven’t experienced any major tire issues – just a few unlucky flats early in the trip. We also fed the poor thing some contaminated fuel, but it still did not die or leave us stranded.
    We lost count of how many times we were stopped at police and military checkpoints, but are proud we only picked up one ticket and never paid any bribes. We are especially thankful we did not collide with any vehicles, goats, sheep, cows, donkeys, and - most importantly – hit any humans. With all this torture, the LR still started every morning, without hesitation. Tokoloshe has also been a magnet, attracting people wherever we stop and enabling us meet so many friendly, funny, helpful, generous and interesting locals along the way. So, yes, we are happy not to be driving or camping anymore (although we will miss the experience of camping wild with all the animals), but are thankful to Tokoloshe for enabling us to experience so many great adventures.
    It was with mixed emotions that we said goodbye to Tokoloshe as Jennifer & Gerrit (the Dutch couple we met in Zambia) picked it up and began their 8-day drive back to Johannesburg.
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  • Day1

    Arrive in Africa

    June 29, 2017 in Kenya

    After a long journey from Australia, finally arrived in Kenya - the wait for immigration took over 1.5 hours and we were the last to go through (due to some staff mis-direction!).
    Was collected by Smiley, the happiest driver we've met yet! Staying at Karen Camp for the night before heading out tomorrow. Met some of the guys we will be travelling with and shared a beer.
    First sight of our bright yellow truck that will be our home for the next few months.Read more

  • Day16

    Wildebeest Eco Camp

    June 24, 2017 in Kenya

    We arrived at Wilderbeest Eco Camp at about 10:00am, we had to remove everything off of the bus as they were taking it to get it cleaned because tomorrow a new group starts (well we lose some and gain some) for the next part of the trip.

    Once we had set up our tents we began doing our washing, Adam set up an elaborate washing line for everyone and then we began 'day drinking' while we snacked on chips and dips!

    It has been an awesome day, as stated before this camp site is really nice and has good wifi so I even got the chance to call mum and dad.
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  • Day2

    Wildebeest Eco Camp

    June 10, 2017 in Kenya

    I made it alive! The drive was scary but somehow, even in that crazy traffic we made it alive to our accommodation for the night. Our accommodation is what they call 'dormitories' but in reality they are the cutest tents that have four bunk beds inside.

    First up we had what they call a 'pre-departure meeting' where we met our tour manager, driver, cook and other people on the tour. There is only one couple that is doing the complete fifty-seven day tour from Nairobi to Cape Town, the rest are doing a shortened version of our tour, there will also be several people joining us throughout the tour.

    Once we finished the pre-departure meeting it was a little bit of a rush to the showers, I smelt so bad it wasn't funny! twenty-four hours flying does that, those clothes almost need to be thrown out haha.

    It is now 7:00pm and I am showered, I have re-packed my bag and I made the mistake of laying down (it just feels so good) that I am skipping dinner and staying in bed, catching up on some much needed sleep.
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  • Day3

    Made it to Nairobi

    July 30, 2017 in Kenya

    All a bit worse for wear after 18 hours of travelling. Early morning in Zurich was nice - you could see the snow capped mountains. Emily fits very nicely in an economy seat - benefits of being 5ft 2". We had to hand over $50 each for our Kenyan tourist - we will do that again when we get to Tanzania. So far the highlight was seeing wild roaming zebras by the road just outside the airport like you might expect stray dogs in another country.
    Early night and then a pick up at 7am to start the safari!
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  • Day36

    Day 33 - Giraffe Sanctuary

    May 14, 2017 in Kenya

    It was neat to see the giraffes up close and personal. At the sanctuary they give you little pellets to feed the giraffes. You are up a story and they come to the railing at about your head height. They are treats for them, like candy. By holding the pellets in your lips you can get the giraffes to kiss you when they take the treat. Not a spitless experience by any means. However, their saliva is free of germs. The way it was explained was that they often get pricked by the thorns of the acacia trees - their favourite food. The saliva is what heals the wounds inside their mouths, so it has to be disinfecting. There are signs around to watch out for head butts - if you are close to them and aren't offering them food, they will swat you in the side of the head with their head to tell you they want more food. Tom got one while waiting for Sherry to take a photo.Read more

  • Day36

    When we got into Nairobi Saturday night I had quite a headache that was still with me in the morning. Thought I would be smart and drink a little coffee to open up the blood vessels to work along with the ibuprofen. I had forgotten how awful too much caffeine feels - in fact that feeling is what made me switch to decaf about 13 years ago. The feeling hit while we were on the way to the giraffe sanctuary. It was so awful I thought I might have a real problem so we stopped off at a mall to see if we could find a clinic to get checked out. Tom had had a similar feeling awhile ago when his blood pressure spiked for no really good reason.

    We found a clinic, paid $3.50 to get my blood pressure checked. It was quite high, but it was back to normal in 10 minutes when the nurse checked it again. I also drank a cup of hibiscus tea (Jamaica for our Mexican friends) which works really well to bring the bp down.

    We headed off to see the giraffes a little late, but gradually feeling much, much better. Almost normal a couple of hours later.

    On the way home we stopped to have a snack at a place that makes bronze sculptures - there is a beautiful park like restaurant and it was very peaceful.

    Next stop was at a sister's place. She is an artist (Daphne Butler) who does some beautiful work. We had a little visit and took a look at what she had for sale. She has some original oils, some limited prints on canvas and some poster prints. Mostly of African wildlife. In fact, there is some of her African art hanging in the Bethel - we had one above the head of our bed (unsigned, of course). She has recently been hired exclusively to paint for a Chinese businessman. He gives her more work than he can handle painting whatever he wants her to paint - the current projects were copies of long gone classical artists (subjects like a woman in a robe holding an urn). The arrangement is that she paints only for him and she retains all the copyrights. That way she can make and sell prints. One day it would be nice to get one of her canvas prints but for now our budget allowed for some posters.

    Now on to the Habesha restaurant for an Ethiopian dinner. They arrange the different meets and vegetables over a large pancake of their bread on a large platter. (Injera is an East African sourdough-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Traditionally made out of teff flour, it is a national dish in Ethiopia and Eritrea). All eaten with the fingers. We also tried their traditional honey wine which was sweetish and a bit lemony.

    Home after dinner, shared a glass of wine and some visiting before bed.
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  • Day86

    Some shopping, some hangin'

    March 27, 2016 in Kenya

    Today was easy, it's almost like things were being brought to us to do! The streets of the city center felt entirely deserted. Easter Sunday, figures. On our way to breakfast I was signaled over by an army guy while I was crossing the street. I had noticed a few army people patrolling, so I assumed it was simply to warn me of something. Finally, the man asks for my passport. Right then and there, I wasn't sure if I should run, or play stupid. Rumor is, any authority figure will try to extort money from unknowing tourist. The passport gag meant he would threaten to arrest me for my lack of ID unless I paid him. I went with the play stupid role, said I didn't have it on me. He asks why. I say it's safer in my hotel. I respond I was stolen from recently so the streets aren't safer (since I know there's a huge pickpocketing issue here), we go back and forth. Finally Jack appears and says if he wants a passport, he'll have to follow us to our hotel, after which we just slowly walked away... Yep, just walked away from the army man. He never did ask for money, but he must have seen we weren't intimidated. Well I say that, but my heart was pounding! Imagine, having to bargain a bribe with an army personal in the middle of the day downtown. According to what I've read and been told, the only thing to do if they insist is bargain down. A bribe is the only way out.

    After that fun little bit, we find the breakfast shop we were looking for - great coffee and actual breakfast items! No beans for me this morning! We then explored downtown, walked by the parliament and huge fancy official buildings. Our only true goal today was to go to the Masai market (tourist market), but it turns out, the market came to us! In front of the Supreme Court was a little market with a bunch of touristy trinkets. We didn't even have to leave downtown! Did some shopping. Hard bargaining. I was quite proud of my skills. Every time I offered a price, they were outraged because it was usually a third of their initial offer, yet with some tough looks exchanged, I usually ending up paying exactly what I wanted. I honestly don't feel I overpaid once. Being cheap pays off!

    After all this walking, we wanted to kick our feet up an relax in the city's park. Turns out, Sundays is fair day! There's tons of locals roaming the park with rides, and mini trains, and paddle boats on the lake, and cotton candy, and camel to ride on... Everything a girl could ask for! We sat for a while, until this homeless kid, maybe 10 years old, inhaling gas, wouldn't leave us alone. Even when we left to walk around the park he followed us for about 15 minutes until we finally lost him. Sorry I didn't want to contribute to the petrol purchases...

    It was great to see Kenyan families just enjoying their outdoor spaces, relaxing on the weekend. Walking out of the Uhuru Park and into Central Park, another little surprise - outdoor mass. A big celebration amongst what appeared to be mostly religious figures of the church. Everyone chanting and dancing under the shade of the trees. It was great. A little bit of true culture before it all ends. Walking back home we dropped by the National Archives, more of an art museum. Some beautiful pieces, and very little pottery thankfully. Mostly sculpture and traditional tribal wear. Nice exhibit.

    My anxiety and my need to explore more are colliding with tomorrow's plan. Since we only leave at 740pm, we could do a full day activity like the Nairobi National Park or a tour or something. But there's a little voice in my head telling me I can't go too far from the airport, I must avoid any situation that could make me late for my flight... Who knows what we'll do. We were told that as deserted as the streets were today, with all the shops being closed, it will be worse tomorrow. Staying downtown all day just doesn't seem like fun...

    Side note! (it's been a while!)
    I've become very efficient at fixing toilets! Pierre would be proud. The amount of times I've had to take the lid off the tank and problem solve is ridiculous. The most entertaining part is trying to fix a toilet which has been previous fixed, African style. Metal wire as a flushing lever, parts holding together with zip-ties or tape. This current room for example, I took the lid off the toilet to find the thing that gauges the water level in the tank taken apart in 3 pieces. Guess who made it work!? Good thing too, since I told them yesterday at 6pm that the toilet was broken and the sink has no water running. At 7pm, I reminded them of this coming back from diner. At 830pm I went down to ask for at least a bucket so we could flush, until it was fixed. Not too long after I got a bucket of water. We are now more then 24 hours later, I remembered them of it again today at 530pm, its now 650pm and my sink is still not running, and I've had to trouble shoot fixing the toilet every time we go. Let's just say service isn't the quickest when it comes to repairs... But we have a bucket! FYI - great for laundry!
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  • Day70

    Still Nairobi.

    March 11, 2016 in Kenya

    Traffic noise from the room wasn't enough to stop me from sleeping awesome, thank you! Breakfast is included with our room, and the best part about that is not having to look for breakfast in the morning! It always takes us a while to find anything open in the morning and serving food. Today, I just have to go down a set of stairs. Strenuous!

    It took us around 2.5 hours to find and book our safari to the Masai Mara. We went with Baboon Budget Safari, it was the first place we stumbled upon, we got a great impression from Charles, the man who book it with us, and it was the best price. And by best price, I mean it's the same price and same tour concept offered everywhere, but they were willing to negotiate the price because they already had a group of 3 going, so we would just be tagging along with this group. There's tour agencies around every corner, and on top of them all, there's touts. The touts were so incredibly annoying. Granted we were the only white people we saw all morning, and the only touristy looking ones I saw all day! We would tell them to leave us alone, and they followed from a few feet behind, then when we would come out of any building or establishment they would pop back up asking we go have a look at their offices. We kept seeing the same 4 guys constantly that we became more direct; leave us alone, stop following us, we don't need your help... Nothing worked. One guy actually responded "be polite please" after we asked him to leave us for the 10th time... Really? Polite? In Canada, I could have you charged with harassment, but apparently I have to be polite.

    By the time the tour was settled, it was 1230 ish, so we set out for the National Museum. Beautiful day, sunny but not crazy warm... Downtown has a mix of high rises and interesting architecture. Very metropolitan. Obviously very different from any other big city in Kenya. It is huge, yes, and there's tons of districts... But all the districts make sense when walking them, and we've manage to easily find our way around. It's hasn't felt overwhelmingly big. I was more lost in Kigali, Rwanda, then I am here.

    Jack did the museum while I grabbed a drink and read my book in the shade of the museum grounds. I've noticed that I really don't find too much enjoyment in reading info cards and looking at glass displays of old pottery... I just don't like museums. I had myself a wonderfully peaceful afternoon, and Jack told me all about the museum, excited at what she had read. That was of course after she flipped out of excitement after seeing a T-rex statue... The women's love for T-rex, or any creature for that matter, is hilarious. She warned me that she might cry when she sees a lion. I already figured she would.

    This is where my day took a not so good turn. But for honesty and transparency's sake, here goes:
    It was 5pm by the time we were done with the museum grounds. I had the list of things we needed to do before heading back to the room in my mind and started getting a little anxious. I had a backpack with me to carry our guide book and water for the day, and knew that it would attract attention. I had expressed wanting to be back at the hotel before dark to at least ditch the bag and drop off extra cash. We stopped to have a quick diner on our way back, we picked a place we knew would be quick so we could keep going. We stopped at the atm since we had a balance to pay for the safari tomorrow morning. We still have to stop at a pharmacy and grocery store on the way home, and it's now 545pm. Sun goes down around 630pm, total darkness at 7pm. My anxiety is rising.

    My anxiety is amplified when I don't have a sense of direction. I mapped out our way home with my phone map, but Jack requested I trust her directions, as she gets a sense of satisfaction in knowing her way around. At this time, my anxiety was controlled, or so we both thought, so why not just follow her. There's more and more people walking the streets, assuming because they're all finishing their work day. I have to make my way around people and buses and cars to make my way home. People keep brushing up against me, bumping into my shoulders. Knowing I was carrying a lot of money due to our atm stop, and a bright red bag, and you know, I'm white, my anxiety kept roaring at me. I just wanted to get home.

    We finally got to our "sub-neighbourhood", Jack said we were close to home and we're standing next to a Tuskys (grocery store). At this point, Jack went a different way then what I had mapped out, so I didn't recognize myself at all. I'm lost. And it's 610pm. I gave Jack a 10 minute limit to get what we needed (she gets distracted and read all the labels and over thinks which cookies to get). Getting in Tuskys, it's just clothing, the food section was a block down the street, apparently away from our hotel. For some reason, going into a store that I thought I would recognize (since it's in every city), and still feeling entirely lost, increased my anxiety x1000. Jack asked if I was OK going to the other, and I acted tough and said yes, even though I wasn't sure if I wanted to cry or hide in a corner somewhere. We walked to the other store. Again, it was different. I didn't recognize the layout. The lineups at the cash were long. There's tons of people, I had to almost push my way through them. Anxiety x100000. I looked at Jack and said, one for word, "I'm overwhelmed, I want to go home". I think she could read in my eyes that I wasn't doing well. She didn't argue, didn't try to calm me, she just said OK and asked if I wanted to map it out with my phone or trust her. My phone GPS wasn't reading, time ticking away, it's 620pm, so I went with trust. It took us 5 minutes to make it home. I didn't stop anywhere along the way, I held back whatever confusing emotions that were coming over me... Once in the hotel I had to take a few breaths once passed the front gate, but knew that I needed to be alone somewhere safe asap. Jack saw it again I guess because as I rushed upstairs to the room, she rushed to open the door ahead of me and I burst into tears getting into the room.

    Even now, I can't fully explain what happened. I knew I still had about 20 minutes of daylight. I knew there were enough people around to keep me safe. I just couldn't control my emotions, I got incredibly overwhelmed and needed to get out of the crowds but couldn't do so without walking through them. It was irrational and inexplicable. Anxieties is a bitch. I've never had it be as highly uncomfortable and uncontrollable as today. It was rough. And I'm so incredibly thankful Jack was there and able to read what I needed.

    A few slow, easy breaths... A few tissues... A big hug... And I was back to myself. Believe it or not, I decided to go back out there! No way Nairobi was going to win over me! I dropped the bag, dropped the money, just kept enough for groceries and pharmacy, and off we went. We actually got what we needed at the pharmacy and made it back to Tuskys before dark! That just meant one way, 5 minutes, of walking in the dark, in busy enough streets to have power in numbers. I did good! And before any of you avid readers get too worried for me, the pharmacy is because I developed a ridiculously itchy rash on my neck and it's driving me crazy! So I got ointment. That is all.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Nairobi, ናይሮቢ, نيروبي, نايروبى, Nayrobi, Горад Найробі, Найроби, নাইরোবি, ནའི་རོ་བི།, نایرۆبی, Ναϊρόμπι, Nairobo, نایروبی, Nairoby, ניירובי, Նայրոբի, NBO, Naíróbí, ナイロビ, ნაირობი, ನೈರೋಬಿ, 나이로비, Nairobî, Nairobia, Nairobis, Најроби, നയ്റോബി, नैरोबी, နိုင်ရိုဘီမြို့, Nairòbi, ਨੈਰੋਬੀ, نیروبی, Nairóbi, Найробі, Nayroobi, நைரோபி, ไนโรบี, Naýrobi, 内罗毕, נייראבי, 奈洛比

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