Nairobi Strolling Excursion: What to do with 24 Hours in Nairobi

If you’re questioning what to talk over with if you’re handiest within the town for a little while, a Nairobi strolling excursion is an excellent approach to benefit from the charming capital of Kenya. Many of us merely go during the town, en-route to a safari, however when you’ve got time to spend an evening, you must undoubtedly get out and discover.

I handiest had 24 hours in Nairobi however left feeling I had made a reference to town. As Kenya’s capital, Nairobi has an enormous historical past, from being on the middle of human evolution to the colonial days and from being as soon as a poster kid for a a hit post-colonial devolution, to the civil unrest that also bubbles underneath nowadays.

Through taking a Nairobi strolling excursion with a information, you gained’t handiest see the primary vacationer puts in Nairobi, however you’ll additionally pay attention their retail outlets and percentage their enjoy of existence within the town.

I used to be fortunate sufficient to satisfy Charles, my information who I’m nonetheless involved with, who helped me now not handiest benefit from the town, but additionally really feel protected and benefit from my 24 hours in Nairobi.

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A skyline view of Nairobi Kenya

Arriving in Nairobi

The plan was once to fly into Nairobi, out of Johannesburg with plenty of journey in between.

Taking a look again, as a primary solo go back and forth it was once one hell of a studying enjoy, in particular having misplaced my pockets, telephone and Passport in Dubai airport, however that’s some other tale.

Getting a visa at Nairobi Airport

Jomo Kenyatta Global Airport is unassuming, simply apply everybody off the aircraft to the visa table, pay $50 and go on thru.

There are a number of choices on visas into Kenya, so make sure that you get the right kind one. I had a easy Kenyan vacationer visa, however you’ll be able to additionally get a transit visa if you’re travelling immediately thru and out of Kenya which I imagine is $30 or a a couple of access visa for $70.

In case you plan to depart Kenya and re-enter, make sure that you get this one in a different way you’ll finally end up paying the total $50 once more upon re-entry. Undergo this in thoughts if you’re visiting one of the crucial neighboring international locations equivalent to Kampala in Uganda or Rwanda earlier than coming again to Kenya.

All of those visas are to be had for UK electorate on the airport, even though different nationalities must almost definitely double-check earlier than flying. It’s also imaginable to steer clear of all this via getting an e-visa earlier than your talk over with.

Nairobi traffic

Getting a taxi from Nairobi airport

After clearing immigration I accrued my bag and wandered out of the airport. Once I emerged I used to be accosted via plenty of other other folks all crying “Taxi Taxi” – I discovered it fairly intimidating.

I had learn so much about taxi scams and being cautious as you go thru from the bags space. The sophisticated hangover nonetheless lasting from my over-enthusiastic good-bye beverages in the United Kingdom made it appear dreamlike (or nightmare) as drivers attempted their toughest to clutch my baggage and take me with them.

The primary guy to method me grabbed my arm and attempted to pull me to a automotive, he was once main me to the auto park, pointing at his automotive.

I didn’t wish to get within the first taxi I got here throughout as I sought after slightly of time to assemble my ideas and defined that I sought after to get some water. This didn’t deter him, he walked me to a café, watched me purchase a bottle of water earlier than announcing “Let’s move now, let’s move”.

His automotive was once clear of the primary taxi space, which was once a priority, and appeared to be beautiful beat up so I selected to not accept as true with him and moved on. I stopped up having to get uncomfortably company with him and requested him to depart me by myself, I don’t need a taxi . . . I didn’t even say please.

I instructed myself to chill out as I sipped on my water, walking round on the lookout for any person who seems to be devoted and had an professional decal on it on his taxi, however each and every different step there was once any person else short of me to get into their taxi.

It dawned on me later that I had no concept what an professional decal must seem like however I suppose the theory was once there.

After all, after round quarter-hour I picked my taxi. Little did I do know that the former man have been following me and I just about brought about a battle between the primary man who took me to get water and my selected taxi motive force.

It sounds as if, when you lie and inform them you aren’t after a taxi to check out and lose them after which get in any person else’s, they take offence.

On the other hand, now safely in my cab, I used to be on my approach to downtown Nairobi.

The experience from the airport grew to become out to be ok. The taxi motive force was once a pleasant man, we chatted as we sat in site visitors, making an attempt our highest to stick cool.

As we sat in site visitors I realized the minibus at the back of us had had sufficient. In poor health of the queue the driving force prompt it onto the footpath, honking like loopy as pedestrians dove to get out of the way in which and rancid it went, into the space.

Happily no-one was once harm because the bus sped out of sight leaving the taxi motive force and I, nonetheless desk bound within the gridlocked site visitors, chewing at the dusty air pollution and questioning if it is higher to place the window up and bake in a automotive and not using a air con or proceed to steadily shorten our existence expectancy, during the onslaught of carbon fumes.

24 Hours in Nairobi

Arriving at my resort

As my taxi dropped me off at my resort, I used to be very shocked to look a guard brandishing an AK-47 stood on the door to welcome me. I later went on to understand that is common, however the first time I noticed it, I had rather a large number of questions operating thru my thoughts about my selection of resort!

The New Oakwood Lodge is the place I might be spending the evening earlier than keeping off to Mombassa the next night. It was once fundamental and inexpensive, however proper within the middle of town. Sadly, the TV handiest had one operating channel taking part in some terrible tune. I exploit the time period tune very liberally

A night walk

That night I went for a stroll. My purpose was once to seek out the Nairobi educate station and purchase a price tag for my onward educate from Nairobi to Mombasa, however I were given misplaced.

As I walked I felt very uncomfortable, I realised temporarily that I used to be in no way in a vacationer space and I realized that my resort wasn’t particular, nearly each and every store had guards brandishing an AK-47 or a shotgun outdoor.

Coming from the United Kingdom the place there extremely strict gun regulations or even the police don’t usually lift a weapon, seeing armed guards with guns that seem like they must belong to the unhealthy guys in a James Bond film, didn’t put me relaxed.

Because the solar set, I began to really feel very frightened, I believe this was once tradition surprise surroundings in, and it was once so much scarier than I anticipated.

I determined it’d be highest to go again to the protection of the resort because it dawned on me, I didn’t in reality know the rest about Nairobi, and didn’t wish to be out by myself after darkish.

I spent the remainder of the night in my resort, playing a meal within the resort eating place and the primary of many Tusker beers, a fairly great Kenyan brew, whilst having a look forward to a recent get started within the morning and search for issues to do in Nairobi with simply sooner or later.

Nairobi National Museum

My Guided Nairobi strolling excursion

The following morning, I nonetheless wanted to shop for my educate price tag and idea it could be an excellent alternative to find what to do in Nairobi and primary vacationer points of interest, however I didn’t know the place I used to be.

I requested the receptionist within the resort if they’d a map, which they didn’t, however he instructed me of a vacationer knowledge position simply across the nook the place I may just get a map of town, so off I trotted.

Discovering a map of Nairobi is tougher than you suppose

Something I realized about Nairobi is that everybody desires to “be offering” you one thing, be it a whistle to get your consideration adopted via calls of “taxi taxi” or only a fast chat after which ask for cash.

My vacation spot was once inside 400 metres and as I used to be walked I counted 3 separate other folks providing me taxi earlier than a man got here as much as me, proper outdoor the vacationer place of job, and requested me what I used to be after.

Nairobi National Museum

Getting temporarily pissed off via all of the approaches, I sharply instructed him that I simply sought after a map and walked immediately previous him into the vacationer place of job.

As soon as in there, the woman instructed me they’d no maps however instructed me elsewhere that will and pointed to the fellow who I fairly rapidly neglected outdoor, as any person who may just display me the place.

I believed it ordinary that a spot promoting vacationer knowledge had no maps, however for the reason that the resort I stayed in pointed me this fashion I depended on where and wandered off with the fellow from outdoor, his title was once Charles.

We engaged in small communicate as we wandered off in combination to visit his tourism place of job. As soon as there I gained my map however was once additionally introduced more than a few safaris and day journeys. After explaining I simply sought after a map so I may just get to the educate station and ebook my price tag to Mombasa for later that night, he duly obliged.

At this level, I used to be nonetheless sceptical of Charles however I used to be instructed he would feel free to stroll me all the way down to the station so I agreed. I preferred the steerage and the corporate as we walked and mentioned Kenya, dwelling in Kenya and what it was once like rising up right here.

The stroll took about 20 mins however I scarcely spotted the time passing as he walked with me all of the approach to the price tag place of job.

Passing the insanity of Nairobi bus station

Many of the path was once easy sufficient however about 200m clear of the educate station you need to go during the bus station.

I had by no means observed the rest adore it. There should were about 100 buses all in an area, almost definitely in regards to the dimension of a soccer pitch, competing for passengers, screaming and calling out their highest offers, it was once whole pandemonium.

Each and every bus had a person outdoor simply shouting noise. I may just handiest think he was once telling you the place the bus was once going, it should have made sense to the locals but it surely seemed to be madness to me.

The buses themselves have been tiny, similar to VW camper trucks, no larger, it astonished me what number of people may just get inside of, it should be like Dr Who’s Tardis inside of, however I had no actual want to to find out!

Purchasing a educate price tag from Nairobi to Mombasa

Charles walked me into the station and identified the price tag counter to the suitable the place I controlled to shop for my price tag.

There are 3 other probabilities in purchasing a educate price tag in Nairobi, first, 2nd or 3rd elegance.

The 3rd elegance is just a seat, 2nd elegance will get you a mattress in a sleeper cabin shared with 5 other folks and primary get you a sleeper shared with only one different, bedding and foods.

Nairobi train Station

The difference in value between 2nd and primary is handiest about £5 and because it approach you percentage your cabin with one different individual versus 5, I reckoned it was once £5 neatly spent (3rd was once by no means in reality an possibility for my first in a single day educate go back and forth).

A strolling excursion of Nairobi

After reserving the educate price tag to Mombasa, Charles walked me again after which requested what else I had deliberate for the day to which I truthfully spoke back not anything.

He introduced me the similar journeys as the opposite guy within the vacationer place of job, together with a Nairobi town excursion the place you force round seeing stuff.

Having been in a taxi the day gone by and experiencing the Nairobi site visitors first hand, I didn’t fancy this so I requested if lets do a guided Nairobi town excursion on foot, to which Charles agreed and transform my non-public excursion information.

We walked . . . so much . . . and talked, it was once interesting.

Visiting Nairobi National Museum

Nairobi Nationwide Museum

Charles and I began via visiting the Nairobi Nationwide Museum the place there have been unbelievable reveals. I learnt so much about Kenyan historical past, how they received independence from the British in 1963, the Mau Mau rebellion that resulted in it and in regards to the fierce preventing in 1992 as the folks struggled for truthful and open two-party elections.

Kenya First elections

I additionally learnt so much in regards to the evolution of humanity, lots of the most important fossils in human historical past have been discovered on this space of Africa, so on the subject of the Rift Valley, and are on show right here, together with the glorious Lucy.

I extremely suggest the museum as some of the highest puts to talk over with in Nairobi if you are interested within the historical past and tradition. It has no frills or fancy bits however provides a fantastic studying setting and is a good way to flee the solar for a couple of hours.

Some of the oldest human remains

Nairobi Nationwide Museum Snake Park

Simply throughout from the museum is the snake park; a mini snake zoo.

By itself, it’s in reality now not that particular, even though I used to be hypnotised for some time gazing two mating tortoises, they’re sluggish at the whole thing it seems.

I had bought an access as a mixed price tag with the museum and as a facet appeal it’s rather attention-grabbing, however unquestionably now not price a solo go back and forth.

I got here head to head with vipers, spitting cobras and black mambas, neatly, head to head with a sheet of glass in between.

Whilst I used to be within the museum Charles waited for me outdoor, simply chilling. When I used to be completed we left and walked again in opposition to town centre once more.

Satan’s Nook Nairobi

As we walked we handed a place that was once identified in the neighborhood as Satan’s Nook, the web page were given its title after being the web page of many killings right through the battle for independence within the 60s and it’s stated the streets ran pink with blood.

As soon as independence was once awarded, the brand new executive donated that space of land to faith and Satan’s Nook is now the web page of 3 massive church buildings and a synagogue, not anything like development at the Satan’s personal land, I like the theory.

Charles in Uhuru Park

Uhuru Park

From there we headed to Uhuru (freedom) park. Here’s the place you’ll be able to get an excellent view of Nairobi and is the place all of the High Ministers and Presidents come to be sworn in and take an oath in an overly public method. It was once that they might take an oath in non-public so no-one in reality knew what they have been promising to do.

It’s also the web page that Pope John Paul the twelfth held mass again in 1980 when he visited Kenya.

As a Christian, Charles was once very proud to were there. This were given us speaking about faith, which as you’ll be able to consider took rather slightly of time and were given us thru to lunch.

A standard Kenyan lunch

I requested Charles to take me someplace very conventional for lunch and I wasn’t upset.

Subsequent to the Library, there was once a big, open plan eaterie the place you order and pick out up your meals earlier than taking a seat on the communal tables. In each and every of the corners, there have been basins so that you can wash your fingers earlier than consuming however something I realized was once lacking . . . knives and forks.

I had rooster soup and Charles had fish, each served with ugali, this is a native maize dough-like product. These things you’ll want to say was once A-maize-ing (sorry) – however and not using a cutlery or napkins consuming soup was once rather a problem, messy however a large number of a laugh.

Being well mannered, I waited for Charles to start out. In point of fact I simply sought after to understand how the hell I used to be intended to devour these things and watch him. The ugali is basically a lump, more or less like safe to eat play dough (tastes slightly like play dough too), however this intended it was once simply moldable.

So, the right way to do it’s rip off some ugali, mold it into a coarse spoon form, dip it on your soup and stick the entire thing on your mouth, interesting and superior, I might feel free to devour each and every meal like that.

The one problem to my lunch was once the very thin rooster. I struggled to seek out the beef at the bone. This additionally set the seeds for my later evolved idea that you’ll be able to inform the entire wealth of a rustic via the plumpness in their chickens.

Because the afternoon got here to an finish I had to return to my resort to pack and get to the educate station for my in a single day educate to Mombasa. As we went our separate techniques Charles introduced to satisfy me once more later to lend a hand me get to the educate station, an be offering I gratefully permitted.

True to his phrase, he met me later at my resort at 5 pm and walked with me to the educate station, even serving to with my baggage. As soon as there we stated our goodbyes and on I were given the educate to Mombasa.

Train from Nairobi to Mombasa

Leaving Nairobi via educate

There was once a bit of confusion on the station as in the United Kingdom while you purchase your price tag that’s your price tag, you don’t want the rest. Right here this is a little ordinary.

Even though I had bought my price tag, as I attempted to go thru to the platform, the guard wouldn’t permit me and pointed me again to the price tag place of job.

Slightly perplexed I headed again in there, anticipating I’d come what may been scammed. Happily no, it seems when you’ve got pre-bought a price tag, you need to trade that for a boarding go earlier than you’ll be able to get admission to the educate.

It’s price understanding this in case you need to go away some additional time for it, however, don’t concern an excessive amount of about that more or less factor, that is Africa and as the whole thing is at all times past due, you’ll have numerous time to paintings stuff out.

Get your Nairobi town excursion itinerary

Trusted tour guide in Nairobi
Charles (proper) and trade spouse.

If you’re on the lookout for a depended on excursion information in Nairobi, can’t talk extremely sufficient of Charles and his ability as each a information and a human. He was once the very best spouse for a excursion of Nairobi so I believe it’s handiest proper to depart his main points.

In our day in combination we visited the Kenyan Nationwide Museum and Snake Park, Satan’s Nook, Uhuru Park and loved A standard Kenyan Lunch.

If you’re considering of going to Kenya please please get involved with him, he’s a certified information and gives journeys far and wide the rustic or even into Uganda. The preferred ones come with excursions to the Masai Mara, assembly tribes and looking at the good migration.

One of the vital highest issues about Charles is that he’s simple to paintings with, he’ll utterly tailor a excursion to fit your needs.

He too can prepare trekking journeys to climb Mount Kenya. If you want to determine extra, head to his web page Trekking Kenya or to find him on Fb Proper Time Safaris.

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