What to do in Nairobi

Due to the train schedule, we found ourselves with about a day and a half in Nairobi at the end of our trip. Determined not to spend our last days sitting around playing crib we decided, reputation or not, we were heading out into the city! While the city doesn’t have the same attraction as say Buenos Aires, we still found it a pleasant enough place to be.

Our first afternoon we caught a cab from our hostel into the city centre and spent several hours in the City Market (a collection of curio shops). Realistically, you could see everything there in about a half hour, but if you want to seriously barter for things (as Jon does) then you might need the three hours to took us. First we had to visit every shop, and then after deciding on our purchases, Jon spent a very long time working out a price with the store owner. When the calculator comes out, you know things have gotten serious! Happy with our purchases, we celebrated by wandering into the area near City Hall and having an iced latte at the Nairobi Java House. The coffee was truly excellent, and the area felt a lot like downtown Toronto on a beautiful summer day.

On our second day we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at our hostel before heading out to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Open to the public only between 11 am and 12pm, the organisation raises orphaned baby elephants which are then re-released into the wild at Tsavo West National Park. During opening hours you can watch as first the very baby, and then the slightly bigger, elephants are fed and have their mud bath. It was a pretty popular event, and while nothing can compare to seeing elephants in the wild, the babies were pretty cute!

Our second stop was the Langata Giraffe Centre, where the main attraction is being able to feed Rothschild giraffes. That’s pretty much all there is, and its a lot touristy, but there is something cool getting that close to a giraffe. I did not try “kissing” the giraffes as many people did, but did feed lots of giraffe pellets to Daisy.

Our third and final stop on our mini-tour was the Kazuri Bead factory, which employs over 300 women, mostly single mothers. We got a tour of the bead manufacturing, which is all by hand, and then spent some time browsing in the attached shop. The finished product is quite impressive, and they also make pottery at the shop, so we indulged in a few purchases to remind us of our time in Kenya.

After an afternoon siesta, we finished up with some Indian take-out and a cold coke. A pretty good end to a pretty good trip!


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