City Guide: Nairobi, Kenya

City Guide: Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi has lots to shout about, from a thriving music scene to wildlife in the city. This is our guide to discovering the vibrant African metropolis.



Nairobi
sprouted into life back in the late 1800s as the site of
a railway depot. The British colonial rule had decided to build a
railway from Mombasa on the Kenyan coast to Uganda to gain control
of trade on the
Nile
. As the railway developed, Nairobi became the
administrative capital and grew wealthy from an influx of game
hunting tourism. By the 1960s, Kenya had gained independence and
was establishing itself as one of the safari capitals of the world.
Nairobi continued to grow into East Africa’s fastest developing
city, but has been somewhat overlooked as a tourist attraction in
itself – until now.

Today, the change taking place is visible. Restaurants,
skyscrapers, rooftop
bars
, modern apartment blocks and roads are being built at an
extraordinary rate. In July 2015, President Obama visited the
capital and put Nairobi’s entrepreneurial genius on the map. This
is the home of the Silicon Savannah, with tech innovation hubs and
funky co-working spaces sprouting from every run-down building
block. Visit 10 years from now, and this city will look very
different from how it does today.

Cattle wandering nonchalantly across dual carriageways and women
strutting down rubbly pavements in colourful patterned dresses set
the tone for this charismatic place. In the traffic, street vendors
stand in the road selling water, bananas and the odd elaborate
painting of a Maasai Warrior to passing drivers. It is a city that
is never dull, constantly changing and trying to figuring itself
out.

Nairobi has a lot to shout about, from boutique shopping to a
thriving music scene, gourmet foodie spots and wildlife in the city
(sundowners in the National Park surrounded by zebra, lions and
giraffes, anyone?). As news of Nairobi hasn’t been pretty in recent
years, this is a guide to changing your perception of it by
exploring what is wonderful, positive and exciting about this
place. So before you screech away on safari, step away from the
beige 4×4 and step into the urban hub of Kenya. Welcome to
Nairobi.


hotel

Dusit D2

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi’s newest boutique hotel, Dusit D2 is shiny but chic, with a glamorous bar, Thai restaurant and red swimming pool with sunken lounge seating. The rooms are nothing to sniff at either – we’re obsessed with their tropical rain showers, hanging lights and gorgeous teal and aztec-print cushions.

Address

14 Riverside Drive


hotel

Giraffe Manor

Nairobi, Kenya

Set in 12 acres of land with rare Rothschild’s giraffes wandering majestically through the grounds (and occasionally sticking their head through the restaurant window), Giraffe Manor is as charismatic a crash pad as you can find. Rates include airport transfers, transport around the Karen & Langata area and entry into the Giraffe Centre.

Address

Gogo Falls Road
Karen Hardy


hotel

Sankara

Nairobi, Kenya

Sankara is an elegant business hotel in Westlands, central Nairobi. Its rooms are comfortable, if a little lacking in personality, and the staff are attentive and accommodating. Its key selling point, however, is the shimmering rooftop bar and pool, which has a see-through glass bottom at one end.

Address

Woodvale Grove
Westlands


hotel

Tribe

Nairobi, Kenya

Set in the leafy suburb of Gigiri, Tribe is another of Nairobi’s boutique hotel offerings, with individually themed rooms decorated with elegant blends of African fabrics, art and sculptures. Outside, there’s an opulent pool with a swim-up dining table. Stay for Sunday brunch at Jiko, the hotel’s on-site restaurant for giant, beautifully presented food platters and non-stop mimosas.

Address

Limuru Road
The Village Market
Gigiri
Nairobi


hotel

Hemingways

Nairobi, Kenya

The crème de la crème of Nairobi accommodation, Hemingways combines colonial elegance with modern luxuries to create something truly special. Rooms are individually themed and expansive, with wooden drinks cabinets, travel trunks and terraces overlooking the Ngong Hills. The bathroom is the highlight though: you’ll have your very own walk-in wardrobe, deep bathtub with a drinks holder and rainfall shower. There’s a pool, spa, bar and restaurant on site.

Address

Mbagathi Ridge, off Marula Lane
Karen