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Where to stay in Nairobi and what to do? (for 2 full days)

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Seattle, Washington
posts: 744
reviews: 34
Where to stay in Nairobi and what to do? (for 2 full days)


I (30 yr old, asian female) will begin my safari trip to Kenya/Tanzania from Nairobi and am thinking of doing the Nairobi portion myself (DIY) to save cost, instead of combining it with the safari package offered by tour operator.

Like a typical first-time tourist, I plan to go to the following places:

- KWS Animal Orphanage

- Nairobi National Park (is this still worth going considering I am going to Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru etc?)

- Karen Blixen Museum and Giraffe center

- The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

- KICC for Nairobi views

- US Embassy Memorial site

- Maasai market

- Uhuru Park

- Etc,


1) Are these sights all doable in 2 full days? assuming I will have hire a driver that drives me everywhere, or join a day trip (eg. to Nairobi NP)

2) Where is a safe place to stay? Is it really necessary to stay at or near Nairobi town center? What's the advantage of basing yourself in town center or near it?

The reason I ask is because hotel prices (4 stars and above) seem quite expensive ($220usd and above), while I noticed that are some cozy guest houses further out that are cheaper. Some of the ones I have seen so far are located in the area between Ngong Road and Waiyaki Way (ie. west of Nairobi town center). is this area alright to stay?

3) Where exactly is Westlands or Upper Hills area in Nairobi? are these places recommended for staying?

4) I am likely going to be by myself at Nairobi while waiting for a friend to join me for the safari portion of the trip, so will ideally look for a tour operator or company that will let me join their trip as a single person (with other folks), instead of me renting a whole van by myself and breaking the bank. Any suggestion on how to go about doing that? Also, should I choose to spend one of the 2 full days outside Nairobi instead eg. to Amboseli to see Mt Kili? At the moment, my Kenyan safari portion only visits Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru; Tanzania portion (Serengeti, N-Crater, Tarangire, Manyara, Arusha)

The most important criteria for choosing a place to stay will be cleanliness and safety. The cheaper the better ($50-$60 or less), but of course not to compromise quality as well. Any suggestion is welcomed.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 744
reviews: 34
1. Re: Where to stay in Nairobi and what to do? (for 2 full days)

sorry, please ignore the previous accidental post prior to this.

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 2,821
reviews: 3
2. Re: Where to stay in Nairobi and what to do? (for 2 full days)

Look for hotel in Karen/Langata area where most of sight seeing places are. There's shops & restaurants as well. You can certainly do all those things in 2 days. Don't miss the Giraffe Centre in Karen.

In my opinion it's not worth coming to town centre. On that note, you can also skip the Uhuru Park.

Last point - theres heavy traffic these days, so try not venture too far form Karen/Langata.

Edited: 8:19 am, March 28, 2013
Nairobi, Kenya
posts: 3
3. Re: Where to stay in Nairobi and what to do? (for 2 full days)

All the sights on your list are all doable in 2 days

In my opinion staying near or in the city center is more convinient especially if you do decide to join another group for the Amboseli safari, its more convinient when they pick you up in the morning, but if you prefer a more serene environment, i would recommend away from the city.

Westlands is about 10 minutes drive west of the city center depending on the time of day

Upperhill is about 15 minutes drive south East of the city center also depending on time of day

Amboseli is a spectacular park with great attractions. There are tour operators who will let you join their groups but be careful when choosing them.

There are some good hotels around upperhill area that can accommodate your budget.

posts: 116
reviews: 1
4. Re: Where to stay in Nairobi and what to do? (for 2 full days)

i stay in cheap enough mid town hotels , the kenya comfort or parkside hotel in janvee gardens is ok for the price,.and go to mall nearby for breakfasts,.have lots of loose change as kenyans seem to never have change or 1000 sh notes,.swimming pool on top of meridian hotel is fine for 300 ksh,.,.askk seuciry guards in hotels and give him a tip and he usually will be good to advise you,.be careful of too many taxi hanging about hawking for business, they say the know every place but usuallly they do not,.,.enjoy but be careful,.u can shop in tuskys and nakumatt for most thing at little less european prices,.

posts: 13,745
5. Re: Where to stay in Nairobi and what to do? (for 2 full days)

I can understand wanting to 'save' a few dollars, but often the difference is rather small and for whatever savings is made up with unexpected difficulty. Can be penny-wise, pound-foolish.

Have you asked the NBO outfitter what they'd charge for 2/nts hotel, sightseeing, day-trip to Amboseli, etc.

If you'd rather not stay at NBO hotel as the group is scheduled for on their arrival, ask for something less expensive.

Even at the Fairview which rate for single is about $225/ppnt, they have their adjacent Country Lodge, a bit more basic (contemporary furnishing), but rooms are lovely with same amenities and you still have full use of all Fairview services - restaurants, pool, gardens, other. If this still too expensive, ask for hotel options to meet your needs.

Your tour operator will in their price for sightseeing include the entry fees to Karen Blixen, Giraffe Center, Sheldrick Ellees and always waiting for you (that's part of the deal)... where if you arrange for a taxi (most are very honest), price will have to be negotiated for day use of their time, but entry fees will have to be paid for in Kenyan Shillings (KSh), by you direct.

Regarding a day-trip to Amboseli, know first that there is no guarantee you will get a clear view of Kili as it's often covered in clouds. The drive to is about 4/hrs and the same on the return and on the way back you'll for sure get stuck in rush-hour traffic. You can depart NBO 8am and be at AMB by noon, and though the park closes by 6pm, I sure wouldn't want to be driving back to NBO on those dark roads. Maybe you'll have 3/hrs game viewing and sure hope they'd provide lunch somewhere (a lodge to sit-down) unless they send you with a lunch box... ugh. There's also no guarantee outfitter can hook you up with a group and you'll have to pay as a solo. And do be sure this does include the daily park fee which I believe is $80.

If you don't want to use the outfitter that is providing the safari, I can recommend Waymark Safaris (Kennedy), who gets very good reviews. You can locate them at: www.waymarksafari.com/

Good luck!

posts: 116
reviews: 1
6. Re: Where to stay in Nairobi and what to do? (for 2 full days)

i jjust think its cheaper to say in a hotel in central park newyork than nairobi $225 is not attractive nowdays,..

posts: 13,745
7. Re: Where to stay in Nairobi and what to do? (for 2 full days)

... besides the fact there are NO hotels in NYCs Central Park, you won't find a hotel at that price anywhere near that area.

posts: 116
reviews: 1
8. Re: Where to stay in Nairobi and what to do? (for 2 full days)

oh hyde park london so ,..nairobi is in lesser income country but not their hotels prices,.

stil most people in europe now go south to spain or turkey or moroccco or cape verde flights for 100 euros and hotel for week averaging 300 euros , 80 euors is enough for general decent hotel most places in the world per night,.my friends jsut back from califrnia and nothign liek kenya prices ,.,check if you like,..,

Seattle, Washington
posts: 744
reviews: 34
9. Re: Where to stay in Nairobi and what to do? (for 2 full days)

thank you all.

actually after doing further research on this, i have decided to only spend 1 day in Nairobi (it probably will be a saturday), and only visiting the below places, because i felt the rest of the previously mentioned places can be skipped since i am doing a full-blown safari in the popular parks in kenya and tanzania. plus it's not cheap to visit everything on the plate.

the places i am interested in now, by order of priority of interest, are

Bomas of Kenya: Dance and Song M-F 2:30-4 pm, S-S 3:30-5:15 pm ($7)

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – Elephant Orphanage. Open 11 am – 12 pm ($5)

Masaai Market open 8 to 6 pm

Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) elevator/roof top viewing 9 am to 6 pm ($15)

Karen Blixen Museum – open 9:30 am to 6 pm ($10)

American Embassy Memorial Garden (Moi Avenue)


Main question: any idea how i should structure my trip? by considering the following factors: cost of hiring taxi per day or half-day ($60 usd per day?), journey time between karen/langata<->downtown, accommodation pick that's a better choice for me, and opening times of each place of interest?


i decided to save in accomodoation in Nairobi bc i am already spending quite a lot for safari portion. currently deciding between the following 2 budget places that seem to have good reveiws on tripadvsor.com. they are roughly the same price, but i need ideas on which one is a better pick based on the places i want to go and the need to hire taxi for half-day or full-day (need to factor in the cost)?

- Jupiter Guest House Langata --- walkable to some of the places of interest eg. Bomos of Kenya, Elephant Orphanage above. but is it really safe to walk because i know Langata is near Kibera slums or should i totally forget abt it??

- Khweza Bed and Breakfast --- nearer to downtown, this means i definitely need taxi to access Bomos of Kenya etc.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 744
reviews: 34
10. Re: Where to stay in Nairobi and what to do? (for 2 full days)

another thing: where is a good restaurant to dine at in Nairobi? i have heard Carnivore has become too touristy/not so tasty, while Nyama Choma Ranch seem too far out (and probably expensive too since it comes with safari cat performance), so which leave Fogo Gaucho Churrascaria as the remaining choice.

definitely would like to try the Nyama Choma famous Kenyan dish, but also look forward to restaurant ideas on where is a good place to eat kenyan food in general in Nairobi.

thank you.