A rough outpost amidst a highland swamp was the colonial capital of British East Africa in 1907, Nairobi today is the urban heartbeat of an independent Kenya and one of Africa’s most important cities. Nairobi has long been a meeting point for adventurers and travelers from all over the world, and most East Africa safaris still originate here. Nairobi’s national museum and the historic home of Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa, are popular attractions.
While Nairobi is a bustling hub of more than 4 million residents, much of interest lies in the peaceful suburbs of Langata and Karen, where the original coffee farm of Karen Blixen, who wrote “Out of Africa” under the pen name Isak Dinesen is located. Her home is now a museum and a piece of Kenya’s colonial history. The suburb features small boutique hotels and guesthouses, as well as some of Nairobi’s best attractions. The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s elephant and rhino orphanage is situated just inside Nairobi National Park and offers scheduled and private visits. Since taking in its first orphaned elephant in 1954, Dame
Daphne Sheldrick has rehabilitated and successfully released more than 100 hand-reared orphaned elephants back into Tsavo National Park. The nearby Giraffe Centre is home to the Rothschild giraffe-breeding program, where giraffes breed naturally within a private 120-acre reserve, and the young ones are released into the wild to encourage population growth of this endangered sub-species. Enjoy browsing at the Kazuri workshop, where some 350 Kenyan women handcraft beads and ceramic jewelry.
Nairobi National Park is unique indeed, in that you might see a towering giraffe with the city’s skyline as the backdrop. The only National Park in the world on the edge of a major metropolis, the park has a full and diverse population of wildlife, including all the “Big Five” except elephant and it’s one of the best places to see black rhino in the wild.
Within the East African arts community, Nairobi, with its extremely vibrant arts and cultural scene continues to be at the forefront in Africa. From artists, musicians and fashion designers to multi-media entrepreneurs, performers and writers Nairobi is bursting with creativity and ingenuity. Visit one of several art projects throughout Nairobi and experience some of the best art that Africa has to offer.
In Kenya’s capital, choose among unique and historic properties that tuck you into serene locales away from the noise of the city center, yet are convenient to airports and sightseeing highlights.