EXCURSIONS IN NAIROBI
Nairobi City Tour (Half Day)
Discover the vibrant diversity of this historic city, which is the uncontested ‘Safari Capital of the World’ and self-styled ‘Green City in the Sun’. Travel straight to the heart of Kenyan culture by visiting art galleries, handicraft centers and bustling markets. Gain a unique insight into both Kenya’s past and present by seeing the Parliament Building, Jomo Kenyatta’s mausoleum, the Kenyatta International Conference Center, the Railway Museum (background to the ‘Lunatic Line’ and man-eaters of Tsavo), the stunningly renovated National Museum of Kenya as well as its Arboretum and Snake Park – to name but a few of the ‘sights’ on offer.
The Karen Blixen Museum and the Giraffe Centre (Half Day)
This tour takes you north of the city to the foot of the Ngong Hills, which featured in Karen Blixen’s famous book ‘Out of Africa’, which was later made into the film starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Stroll around the gardens and rooms of Karen’s charming old house, which is now a national museum, before moving on to the nearby Jock Leslie-Melville Nature Education Centre, which is a sanctuary for the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe. Here you can not only feed the giraffes from the central information centre, which features a giraffe-height feeding platform, but you can also learn more about their way of life.
The Carnivore Experience (Lunch from 12.30 or dinner from 7pm)
No trip to Nairobi is complete without a visit to the world-famous Carnivore Restaurant (frequently listed as one of the best restaurants in the world) where, in entirely unique surroundings, you can get your safari off to a really intrepid start (or a truly carnivorous end) with a famous ‘dawa’ cocktail followed by such hunter’s delights as: ostrich, eland and crocodile steaks seared over red-hot furnaces and served on skewers at your table. For the more faint-hearted there are plenty of fish and vegetarian choices too.
Nairobi National Park, The Safari Walk and The Animal Orphanage (Half Day)
This unique national park, the ONLY national park in the world to be located in a major city is just 10 minute’s drive from the city centre. A typical savannah habitat, it is one of the best places in Kenya to see black rhinos whilst also featuring lions, giraffes, hippos, cheetahs, leopards, buffalos, crocodiles, plentiful plains game and 400 species of birds. The park also offers the superb Safari Walk Animal Sanctuary and the charming Animal Orphanage as well as a complex of restaurants and shops.
EXCURSIONS IN NAIROBI'S SURBURBS
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park - The Mountain of the Buffalo
A rugged, hump-backed outcrop of ancient rock jutting high above the Athi Plains and hazily visible from Nairobi, Ol Donyo Sabuk is a densely forested mountain known to the local Kikuyu as 'The Mountain of the Buffalo', and to the Maasai as 'The Big Mountain'. Just one track leads to its summit, which offers magnificent 360-degree panoramas over the Athi River, the pineapple fields of Thika and the snow-capped peaks of both Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. Within easy reach of Nairobi the lush vegetation and cool air of this compact and scenic National Park make for an ideal day trip or camping weekend.
Fourteen Falls, Thika, Kenya - full day
Fourteen Falls is a popular picnic spot, just outside the town of Thika, which lies 65kms north-east of Nairobi. The falls themselves are a series of waterfalls on the Athi River, which broadens at this point to flow through pleasant green pastures. Characterized by large boulders, the falls drop some 27 meters through a series of cascades, from which intrepid visitors like to jump, or ‘dive’ into the churning pools below.
Typically, on arrival, the guests are met by a local guide, who takes them in a boat across the river to a rocky bank on the far side. Using a long pole, the guide then navigates the boat down the river, which is clouded in fine spray from the falls. Visitors can then spend a couple of hours strolling around the rocks and along the banks of the river where the bird life is prolific.
Depart in the morning from Nairobi and drive north on the main highway until arriving at the famous Blue Posts Hotel, Thika, which was established in 1908 as a stopover for the colonial settlers who came to farm this region. The hotel was immortalized in Elspeth Huxley’s famous book The Flame Trees of Thika. Thika itself is a small farming town, surrounded by endless fields of pineapples. After a brief stop, the tour continues on to the falls and, depending on timing, lunch can also be enjoyed at The Blue Posts Hotel on the way back.
Other highlights in the area include the Thika war graves, which date back to the First World War in East Africa.