4 Places to Visit in Nairobi, Kenya
I’ve been to South Africa, and I go back to Nigeria every year. This was my first time going somewhere in East Africa and it certainly won’t be my last. Kenya was so welcoming and the people made me feel right at home. I really recommend that everyone goes.
Many of my friends were in Kenya the same week my group went and they ventured to the countryside, to the safaris, to the beach in Mombasa. We stayed in Nairobi proper, though. I’ll do all that the next time I go.
I was posting my journey on Instagram using the #NairobiLuvv hashtag.
*all pics in this post were taken by me or my friends. You’re welcome.
Nairobi National Museum
The Nairobi National Museum has exhibits about the history of Kenya, the cultures and the people. There is a hall where the fossils of animals are, where you learn what their Swahili names are called, and random facts.
This is where we learned that warthogs have 20 second memory. As in, every 20 seconds, they forget what they’ve known or what they were doing and it’s all brand new. So let’s say they see a prey and they start chasing it. Second 20, they forget and might just start eating grass. LMAO! That’s terrible. Poor things.
The oldest fossil of an ape ever found is at the Nairobi National Museum, and it was discovered in Kenya. It’s 17 million years old, and based on this, some believe humankind began in Kenya since we are thought to have evolved from apes. Please do not take to my comments to debate this. I am just relaying the point.
Next door to the main museum building is the Snake Park. I have no pictures from it because I spent the whole time petrified, even though these snakes were behind glass. Our guide told us about each snake and they’re ranked by how poisonous they are. The last snake we walked by was so deadly that it was behind double glass. I forgot its name but if it bites you, you’re dead in something like 15 seconds because it shuts down all your organs and your body basically rots from the inside. AND I CAN’T EVEN. NO, LAWD. I REBUKE IT.
One of my favorite things about my trip to Kenya was being able to see an elephant up close. I even touched a couple. They are truly majestic creatures but unfortunately, they are endangered. We went to the Elephant Orphanage (officially called the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust), which allows people to come view them being fed for ONE hour every day (from 11am-noon).
The elephants are fed baby formula, because they are allergic to cow milk. If they drink it, they will die of diarrhea. They get fed with giant bottles and it is adorable. The elephants there are all babies (under 3 years old). We saw them in two groups. The 0-18 months in the first feeding group. And then the 18 month to 3 year olds in the second.
The Orphanage works to conserve the population of African Elephants who are being killed because of poaching. People kill adult elephants for the ivory their tusks are made of. Soooo the babies end up losing their mothers, and without them, they have very little chance of survival.
Here’s what made me really sad too: elephants have perfect memories. Many of them were there to see their mothers killed. Some of them were even thrown down wells. This means they remember ALL this trauma and they carry it with them. This is why when they get to the orphanage, they get assigned caretakers, who will sometimes sleep next to them, acting as surrogate mothers. These caretaker commit to being with them until they’re 8 and released back to the wild with the skills to survive.
Either way, I give so much props to the Wildlife Trust for the work they do. You can “adopt” an elephant for $50 a year and they’ll send you info on your foster elephant but all funds benefit all the elephants in the Trust. Check out the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust site for more.
- Get to the orphanage 30 minutes before feeding starts (10:30am) so you’re in front of the line
- Wear shoes you don’t mind getting dusty.
- Bring sunglasses and a hat. Use sunscreen
- Bring water if you will be out there and it’s hot outside. 2 white people passed out (it was like 95 degrees).
The need for the conservation of elephants was reinforced when we were at the Nairobi National Park.
Nairobi National Park
The Nairobi National Park is apparently the only protected space in the world that is close to a capital city. It is a wide open natural space where all sorts of animals live. You can take a guided or self-driven tour through it to view them up close and enjoy the landscape. It’s beautiful because when you begin your drive, you can see the Nairobi skyline in the distance.
During our drive, we saw a sassy ass zebra that was DEFINITELY posing for pictures. It knew it was fly and who was gon check it? I got many pics of it, wearing those stripes so well.
We also saw wildebeest, hyena, giraffes. We didn’t see the lions because we went in the middle of the day when they’re sleeping to escape the heat. Had we gone around 4 or 5pm, we would have been more likely to see them.
The driving tour through the park was about 2 hours and it was so peaceful in some areas that I basically zoned out. One of my friends fell asleep. It was so chill. I loved it.
- Book in advance so there’s a truck available for you when you go
- I don’t recommend you drive through it yourself, especially in your own car. Your transmission will be shot. Let them drive you and enjoy the sights.
As we were driving out the park, our driver stopped and told us we have to see the burnt ivory monument. We got out and walked by the 4 feet tall pile and got us a little lesson.
The Tuesday before, the President of Kenya had burnt 15 tons of ivory that were seized from poachers who had killed elephants.
It was not just to make the statement that poaching was unacceptable, but it was so that no one could profit for the deaths of these precious animals.
1,000 elephants were killed for those 15 tons of ivory, and the burning was still happening. Ivory does not burn easily so it’s a process that takes weeks. The monument we were standing on was actually still in the process. We picked up pieces of charred ivory to get a closer look.
DAMBIT, HUMANS! WHY DO WE HAVE TO SUCK SO MUCH? Stop killing these elephants for this! ARGH!
You know good and damb well I had to shop while in Nairobi. I ALWAYS need to go to markets when I’m in another country. The fabrics are so point, man.
The Maasai Market is where artisans go to sell hand-crafted goods, jewelry, bags, art and more.
The venue of the market changes everyday, so you have to know where it will be on the day you want to go.
We went to three Maasai Markets while in Nairobi (because we all have a shopping problem). Thursday was at Junction Mall, Saturday at City Center and Sunday at the Yaya Center. Out of ALL these, Junction Mall was my favorite. It is indoors on the 4th floor of the mall, and it’s very calm. You walk around, stop at the stalls you want and figure out what you want. It’s low stress.
We were there for about 3 hours and came out with so many things for the low low, like some handmade bags for 900 KSH (Kenyan Shilling, which is less than $10). I bought a 100% leather wallet for the same price.
On Friday, we decided that we wanted more things so we went to the Saturday Market in the city center. That was a nightmare. We got swarmed and followed by about 10 broker men the entire time. They are there to be middle men and they collect commission on what they get you to buy. They surrounded us as we tried to walk though and we got so overwhelmed that we left after 20 minutes. Also, it was outdoors so it was hot as hell and they squeezed a lot of merchants into a smaller space. NOPE NOPE.
Then Sunday, before we left, we stopped at the Yaya Center Market to get the rest of what we wanted. This Market was outdoors (on the roof) but it was so much calmer than Saturday. There were no broker men and we shopped in peace.
I had to buy some new luggage to lug back all the things I bought. Fabric, bags, custom made shoes… I did a lot (read: the most).
* Walk around the entire market before buying anything. If you buy the first thing you like, you might find it somewhere else for cheaper, or even in a better design. Know what you’re working with.
* Keep the amount you want to spend TOTAL in mind. Try to stick to it because there’s so much goodness that it’s easy to blow your budget. Every time we went to the Market, we all ended up borrowing money from each other because the cash we brought had finished and we wanted more. We blew our budgets EACH TIME. Because: greed.
* Haggle. You have to negotiate to get the price you want. Ask them what the price is, and chop that in half. When they say no, walk away. Oftentimes, they will follow you and say “ok.” The Kenyan Poet has more tips on how to haggle at the Market.
Thank you for showing me a great time, Kenya. Shoutout to Kibali Morethi, who helped us really enjoy our time by being our tour guide.
He even got us concert tickets and served as our go-to. We told him he needs to start a business doing it. DO IT, KIBALI!
I came back from Kenya with a tan, so much stuff and an appreciation for the country. ANDDDD a readiness to go back. I can’t wait!