HomeAfrican SafarisKenya SafarisKenya Guide

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Nairobi, Kenya

Ratings of Zicasso's Service
Buffalo in Nairobi National Park, Kenya

Buffalo in Nairobi National Park, Kenya

The top things to see and do in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, support the stunning beacon of multiculturalism revealed in the city’s history and contemporary charms.

Millions of people flock to Kenya to explore the Maasai Mara and other breathtaking parks and reserves, splashed with green hillsides and flamingo-filled lakes, but traveling in Nairobi’s wilderness promises incredible diversity.

From views of Africa’s iconic Big Five to vibrant cultural activities, tantalizing culinary opportunities, and insightful heritage highlights, you can experience the breadth of the cosmopolitan ambiance.

  1. 1. Nairobi National Museum
  2. 2. Maasai Market
  3. 3. Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
  4. 4. Bomas of Kenya
  5. 5. Giraffe Centre
  6. 6. Nairobi National Park
  7. 7. Kibera
  8. 8. Karura Forest
  9. 9. Karen Blixen Museum
  10. 10. Hell’s Gate National Park
  11. Experience the Top Things to See and Do in Nairobi, Kenya

1. Nairobi National Museum

Hominid Skull Room at the Nairobi National Museum in Kenya

Hominid Skull Room at the Nairobi National Museum in Kenya

In the Nairobi National Museum of the Kenya Museum Society, the marvels of nature shine in the Geology Gallery, where the impressive evolution of the landscape, formed by shifting tectonic plates and volcanic cycles, is on display.

The Hominid Skull Room has been described as the world’s most important collection of early human fossils and represents the extent and lineage of anthropomorphic history in East Africa, with the region referred to as the “Cradle of Mankind”. The second floor, with elaborate documentation, provides great insight into the history of Kenya and greater East Africa.

Best Exhibits of the National Museum: The Birds of East Africa Gallery • The Great Hall of Mammals • The Hall of Kenya • Ahmed the Elephant • The Joy Adamson Gallery • The Cycles of Life • The Cradle of Mankind • Historia ya Kenya

2. Maasai Market

Bracelets and beaded art at a Maasai Market

Bracelets and beaded art at a Maasai Market

Kenyan entrepreneurs, artists, and craftspeople gather in Nairobi's Maasai Market to share their creations with visitors and residents. Colorful clothing dangles outside shops in narrow aisles as merchants haggle over prices or promise passersby the best deals.

The open-air venue hosts an abundance of paintings, drawings, clothes, fabulous East African fabrics, unique jewelry, and distinctive wood carvings, all handmade. Visitors may bargain for traditional Maasai goods to commemorate their time on safari in Kenya.

Things to Shop For: Woven blankets • Beaded bowls • Leather shoes • Maasai jewelry • Wood carvings • East African prints • Colorful Kenyan clothing • Intricate wildlife paintings

3. Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Ranger feeding orphaned baby elephant in david sheldrick wildlife trust conservation cente

Ranger feeding orphaned baby elephant at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in the Nairobi National Park feels like a different world. The nonprofit dates back to the 1970s and is focused on protecting and rehabilitating elephants.

With one of the most successful orphan elephant rescue centers in the world, it has become a fascinating place for visitors to view baby elephants from a safe distance as they bathe and are fed by professional handlers.

You can learn the elephants’ stories, understand the broader mission of the trust, and gain insight into the beauty of nature and the importance of conservation.

Top Projects: Orphans’ Project • Aerial surveillance • Anit-poaching • Canine unit • Community outreach

4. Bomas of Kenya

traditional, tribal village of kenyan people, nairobi,

Traditional Kenyan cultural homestead

Nairobi’s tourist village is a microcosm of the greater country. It represents the 40 ethnic groups in Kenya by celebrating their traditional lifestyles and customs, and providing information on the settings of each tribe. The word “boma” is Swahili for homestead, enclosure, fortress, or stockade, and refers to the 23 replica communities in the complex.

Each reflects a different characteristic of a respective tribe. A massive auditorium fills with traditional music each day to share a diverse spectrum of sounds, movements, and themes that shape a Kalenjin warrior dance or a Swahili taarab song.

Top Performances and Experiences: Harambee dance show • Cultural artifact display • Bomas of Kenya library • Cultural homesteads • Swahili taarab song performance • Utamaduni restaurant • Live music concerts • Stroll in the open grounds

5. Giraffe Centre

Rothschild giraffes at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi

Rothschild giraffes at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi

The non-profit Giraffe Centre offers visitors unique experiences with the endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. The opulent grounds host the Giraffe Manor guesthouse, whose mission includes conserving the animals and educating children and adults.

Visitors can view the graceful giraffes from a lofty platform that puts them at eye level with the animals. It also serves as a spot from which tourists can feed the population with specially prepared pellets. You may also relish a stroll along the forest trails of the adjacent nature reserve to view more indigenous wildlife.

Highlights of the Giraffe Centre: Giraffe feeding • Conservation education • Ecology visits • Biomass fuel production • Tea house • Nature sanctuary • Compost manure production • Tree nursery

6. Nairobi National Park

Zebras in Nairobi National Park, Kenya

Zebras in Nairobi National Park, Kenya

Nairobi National Park is a surprising wildlife sanctuary in that it borders the bustling city center. Over 50 rhinos graze the lush grasses of the protected landscape, in addition to gazelles, Cape buffalo, cheetahs, zebras, and lions. The park also boasts 400 bird species. Animal lovers have a chance to explore the vibrant countryside on game drives or excursions, such as the Nairobi Safari Walk.

Fauna and Avifauna to Spot: Rhinos • Lions • Cheetahs • Cape buffalo • Blacksmith lapwing • Hartlaub’s bustard • African paradise flycatcher • Baglafecht weaver

7. Kibera

The Power of Women shop in Kibera

The Power of Women shop in Kibera. Photo by Ninaras / CC BY SA 4.0

Though an impoverished informal settlement, Kibera is a must-visit destination. Locals meet visitors from around the world daily to share their stories, heritage, and hopes for the future.

A guided tour of Kibera reflects the distinction between poverty-stricken African townships and bustling central business districts, with their glitzy skyscrapers, less than four miles away. Upliftment initiatives in the township include recycling, education, progressive causes, and art projects, such as the Uweza Gallery.

Informative Kibera Activities: Home-cooked Kenyan lunch • Non-profit initiatives • Township market tour • Cross-cultural exchange • Education-support activities • Environmental tours • Biogas plant tour • Soweto Village homestead visit

8. Karura Forest

Karura forest road

Karura Forest in Nairobi, Kenya

In the urban-cum-wild Karura Forest, honey badgers, Sykes’ monkeys, bushbuck, and butterflies are easily visible in the dense trees. Locals often use the forest as an escape from bustling Nairobi, where they run, walk, cycle, or horse ride beneath the lush canopy. The experience takes you far from the urban space, even though it’s within easy reach.

Fauna and Avifauna to Spot: Dik-dik • Bush pig • African civet • Genet • East African epauletted fruit bat

9. Karen Blixen Museum

Karen Blixen House

Karen Blixen House

The Karen Blixen Museum brings the beauty and interesting history of Nairobi to life. The colonial house and expansive gardens represent a different time and perspective of Kenya, while creating a movie set-like atmosphere. The grounds date back to the early 20th century and grew in popularity after the hit 1980s movie Out of Africa, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. The colonial homes and thriving gardens have become landmarks in their own right.

What to See: Posters • Postcards • Movie props • Historic artifacts • Gardens

10. Hell’s Gate National Park

Lammergeier Vulture

Lammergeier Vulture

Hell’s Gate National Park, approximately 72 miles from Nairobi, supports over 100 species of birds and once hosted a prehistoric freshwater lake among its obsidian caves and glinting black rocks. Towering formations, deep gorges, steep cliffs, and volcanic activity give credence to its name.

The absence of dangerous game makes it a unique setting in which visitors can walk or cycle across the heart of the national park for spectacular views of zebra, eland, giraffe, and gazelles. Beyond viewing rare-winged creatures such as the lammergeier vulture, visitors can enjoy rock climbing up the steep, jagged, volcanic surfaces.

Things to See and Do: Lammergeier vulture • African kestrel • Chinspot batis • Eastern imperial eagle • Rock climbing • Mountain trekking • Ol Njorowa Gorge • Olkaria hot spring

Experience the Top Things to See and Do in Nairobi, Kenya

Hells Gate National Park, Kenya, Africa

Hells Gate National Park, Kenya, Africa

Kenya’s bustling cosmopolitan city of Nairobi boasts a range of exciting travel destinations and experiences for visitors to sink their teeth into through tailored Zicasso tours featuring knowledgeable guides and expert insider information.

Explore the volcanic landscape of Hell’s Gate National Park, spot indigenous wildlife in Nairobi National Park, or relax on the banks of Lake Turkana on select tours available on our Kenya safari tours. Find more Kenya travel tips and inspiration with our Kenya safari guide.

Life-Enriching Travel Designed Just for You

  1. 1

    Trips curated by the world’s top destination experts

  2. 2

    Concierge-level service leading up to and during your trip

  3. 3

    Unique, exclusive experiences and insider access

Get Top Travel Specialists to Help Plan Your Trip