If Kenya conjures up images of the endless dry plains of the savannah, you're in for a shock when you land in sprawling Nairobi. This is a city that dances to the beat of its own drum, twenty-four hours a day, and seven days a week. The streets are crowded, haphazard, and utterly enchanting. Here, you can visit a wildlife sanctuary during the day, enjoy the chic coffee culture in the afternoon, and then dance all night long. It's surely everything you could want in a city – and so much more. Since it can be a bit overwhelming, here are 5 things you just can't miss.
1. Ride in a matatu
There aren't too many cities in the world where the public transport system would make the 'must do' lists, but Nairobi is a notable exception. The local buses, known as matatus, are an absolute sight to behold. Many are decorated to the point where they're almost discos on wheels, while others take a more spiritual or philosophical theme. It's the luck of the draw and part of the fun of catching one to your destination!
2. Eat Nyama Choma
Just the thought of it is enough to get your mouth watering! Sold everywhere from tiny little street stalls to upmarket garden restaurants, nyama choma is a kind of marinated then barbecued meat that is absolutely delicious. Best accompanied by a liberal serving of hot sauce and/or salt, prepare to get hooked quickly on this tasty snack!
3. Masaai Market
Hang out in Nairobi for a while and you'll notice the gorgeous jewelry and other accessories worn by stylish locals. Many of these pieces are handmade by local sellers and designers, and luckily visitors can also pick up some unique accessories! The best place to shop is the Masaai Market, where you will also find plenty of other things to delight, including quirky homewares and absolutely gorgeous, bright fabrics (don't blame us if you end up bursting a suitcase trying to fit it all in!)
4. Visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
This is Africa, so you have to check out some of the wildlife, right? Well, Nairobi might be a bit of a hike from the huge wildlife parks where you safari, but there are a few great options for animal lovers. One of the best is the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which has nursed over 150 injured elephants back to health before returning them to the wild. When visiting the Trust, you can expect to see many gorgeous baby elephants – try not to squeal from the cuteness! A good idea is to call ahead and find out when the babies will be bottle fed, as that's quite the sight to see!
5. Visit the Giraffe Center
Once you've visited the adorable baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, your next stop should definitely be the somewhat taller but just as cute mammals over at the Giraffe Center. As the name suggests, this is the place to get to know more about the giraffe species, and even give these long-necked creatures a cuddle and a feed. You're sure to leave with a deeper appreciation for these funny animals, and some fabulous pictures!