What to do with a couple free days in Kenya?
September 13, 2007 5:37 AM   Subscribe

Africa filter: What to do in / near Nairobi for a couple of days?

Will be flying into Nairobi for work for a Wednesday through a Friday a couple of weeks from now. May have some time on Friday to tour about, will have all day Saturday and the morning on Sunday. I've read about a little and I'm hoping to safari in Nairobi National Park, and perhaps try hiking Mt. Kenya, but that's about all I have planned at this point. I've heard there's good rafting but I have no idea where that is.

Kilimanjaro: is it worth going there just to see it? I'm a fairly adept hiker / climber, and would be interested in any do-able day hikes around the base, but I'd almost rather wait to go there until I know I'm going to have the time to climb it, though.

I'm particularly interested in first-hand accounts and/or good online resources to figure out the best way to fill our (myself and a consultant working for me) free time there. Also, any general advice (security, health, money, eat here, etc.) is welcome.
posted by allkindsoftime to Travel & Transportation around Kenya (8 answers total)
You should definitely go to the Carnivore - it's kind of like a Fogo de Chao, except they've got game meat! Crocodile! Ostrich! Zebra! It's definitely worth trying.
posted by mckenney at 7:09 AM on September 13, 2007

I was there once and was taken on a tour of Lake Nakuru National Park - it was amazing! It's about a 2 (harrowing) hour drive from Nairobi.
posted by tristeza at 7:16 AM on September 13, 2007

I highly reccomend both the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a park for orphaned elephants/rhinos, and the Giraffe Center! (I had my first Giraffe kiss there, so it holds a special place in my heart)

Both are located in/around Nairobi, and together can be done in a half day. Make sure you check the schedule at Sheldrick, as they only bring out the elephants for one hour a day, to limit their exposure to humans.

Oh, and seconding Lake Nakuru if you can find the time, its well worth the drive! Have a great time!
posted by 777 at 8:43 AM on September 13, 2007

recommend* ugh.
posted by 777 at 8:44 AM on September 13, 2007

Seconding Carnivore, and leave yourself some (day)time to just walk around the city.

Skip the rafting; you can do that anywhere.
posted by Camofrog at 8:45 AM on September 13, 2007

Best answer: Hell's Gate is about 55 miles away. It's a nature preserve that you can walk or ride (bike or horse) through. Worth a thought, or a google, if it sounds like what you're looking for.

Kilimanjaro would be a bit much for a day trip. While you could easily hike up to the rain forest area, and there's plenty there to see, I think it would be frustrating not to be able to do the full 4-5 day trek. Also, getting there and back on your two half-days might be a bit tricky. Similarly, with just a single full day, you probably wouldn't be able to do any of the peaks on Mt. Kenya.

Now that I've typed that, though, I have to admit that if I was in your shoes and I could arrange it, I would try to get to Kilimanjaro. The time is just so tight --any way to squeeze another day or five out of the trip?

It sounds like your first trip there, though, so maybe just soak up the Nairobi experience on your half days and check out Hell's Gate on your Saturday. Then promise yourself you'll get back as soon as you can.

Have a great trip.
posted by zueod at 1:01 PM on September 13, 2007

Definately go to the Carnivore. Amazingly tasty, all you can eat meat, brought to you skewered on a sword.

Go when you are hungry.
posted by jpdoane at 1:21 PM on September 13, 2007

Best answer: I was just in Nairobi for work a few weeks ago and had similar amounts of time to kill. I decided not to do Nairobi National Park as fees are US$40 for any national park in Kenya (for foreigners). I went out to Lake Nakuru which was fantastic - the lake is tinged pink along the edges by thousands of flamingos. We also saw zebras, antelopes, rhinos, lions, water buffalo, ostriches, baboons and other animals and birds. You can do it in a day (we did and it is doable), but you could also organise to stay overnight at a lodge in the park. The road there is appallingly bad as it is currently being rebuilt and so expect a rather bumpy ride.

I went to the Wildlife Trust with the baby elephants- I think it is 11am each day, and that was very enjoyable. The Giraffes was ok, but I wasn't so taken by it, although it is a good opportunity to get very close to a giraffe.

I used Muthaiga Travel to organise the trip to Lake Nakuru, with Rinu Kalsi at the Fairview Hotel branch being very useful (email is rinu at muthaiga-fv.com, replace at with @). If you haven't picked somewhere to stay yet, the Fairview is nice, but we stayed at their sister business property called the Country Lodge. Very good value and comfortable. It is probably coming out of peak season now, but if you want to go stay outside Nairobi in a tourist spot, start organising it now as we couldn't do much as everything was very heavily booked.

If you just want to relax on Sunday, the Village Market has lots of restaurants in the open air and live music. If you know anybody who is a member of the Muthaiga Country Club, do get them to take you for lunch. It is a nice setting, very nice food, though I found it hysterically colonial.

Keep your doors locked when driving, wear your seatbelt (for safety and because the police will fine you), don't walk about at night alone. I used taxis by myself (alone during the day, and with colleague at night) with no problems - would just ask the hotel what the going rate was (they aren't really cheap though). If you are going to do much driving around, hire by the day (I think it was something like 4000-5000 shillings a day, but an individual ride often costs about 1000).
posted by AnnaRat at 4:38 PM on September 13, 2007

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