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Things to do in Nairobi

Go hiking in Karura Forest

Of the three gazetted urban forests in Nairobi, Karura is the largest and most beautiful. Criss-crossed by 50km (31 miles) of hiking trails, the forest is packed with wildlife including monkeys, marmosets and bush babies. Not to be missed is the spectacular 15m (50ft) waterfall courtesy of the Nairobi River.

Go on a city safari

Nairobi is the self-styled safari capital of Africa and one of the best starting points to spot the big five: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Most can be seen locally at Nairobi National Park (, but those prepared to go further afield should contact KATO ( to choose a reputable operator.

Saddle up for a horse safari

Nairobi is surrounded by spectacular hilly countryside and a great way to explore is by horse. Saddle up with Malo Stables (tel: +254 704 494 464; for a guided forest ride.

Try exotic barbecue meats

Nyama choma (grilled meat) is the unofficial Kenyan national dish and served practically everywhere. While the usual suspects (beef, goat and chicken) are popular, so too are more exotic cuts, among them camel and crocodile. Carnivore (tel: +254 20 514 1300; is a good venue to try some

Visit a working tea plantation

The Kenyans love their tea – just as well given that they're one of the world's largest tea producers. Many of Nairobi's tea farms, like Kiambethu Tea Farm (tel: +254 20 201 2542;, happily welcome visitors. Tours include a home-cooked lunch, a history of Kenyan tea farming and plenty of the produce itself.

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Featured Hotels


Sarova Stanley

One of the most historic hotels in Nairobi, the Sarova Stanley first opened its doors in 1902, and boasts a rich history of famous former guests, among them Ernest Hemingway. Rooms are well appointed and soundproof, and there's a gym, sauna, rooftop pool and bar. Don't miss out on the legendary Thorn Tree Cafe either, a travellers' haunt since British times.

Nairobi Serena Hotel

One of the more elegant options in Nairobi, this sophisticated place draws on influences from across Africa, and the interiors are full of tribal sculptures, textiles and wooden furniture. The spotless rooms have marble bathrooms and views over the grounds and lush gardens. There is also a swimming pool, health club and shops. Although the hotel itself is very secure, adjacent Central Park and Uhuru Park are not safe to walk around at night.

Central YMCA

This is a well-appointed, central hostel in Nairobi. Good-value rooms, reasonable food, swimming pool, tennis courts and an aerobics studio make this feel more like a small hotel, and you don't have to be male or Christian to stay here.

Sentrim 680 Hotel

This reasonably priced mid-range hotel in Nairobi is in a decent location. It is a bit shabby and not much to look at, but is safe, has clean rooms with en-suite bathrooms, useful facilities, a restaurant and its own bar. Rooms facing the main road can cop a bit of noise, so ask for one at the back.

Upper Hill Campsite

Part campsite for overland groups, part backpacker hostel, this expansive place is a hike from the centre of Nairobi, but it makes up for this with excellent facilities. Staff can organise all sorts of safaris and excursions, and the spacious, secure compound has its own bar, restaurant and games room.

Terminal Hotel

A good-value alternative to the backpacker crash pads, the Terminal Hotel in Nairobi is simple but well located. You get what you pay for in terms of luxuries, but the rooms have bathrooms and you can walk to everything in the centre. Ask for a room at the back, away from the street noise.