NAIROBI, KENYA - TRAVEL DIARY ✈️ 🇰🇪
It's been a few months since I traveled to Nairobi, Kenya and I simply cannot forget the experience! It was my first semi-solo vacation and I say semi because I accompanied my sister on her work trip. While she was busy working for the majority of the time I took the time to explore the city solo.
As usual, after I visit a new country I like to share a bit about my trip in case you ever consider visiting. I wrote about my trip to Panama, Aruba, Cartagena (1 & 2) and today, I'm excited to share my experience in Nairobi. I also plan to share the Safari details in Part 2 of this diary so be on the lookout for that. Now, before I jump into all the details about my trip I wanted to share a few Kenya travel tips with you below.
KENYA TRAVEL TIPS
Check the weather for the period you’ll be in the country. Upon booking my first trip to Africa, I imagined it was going to be hot but when I checked the temps, I realized the days were warm/cool and the nights were much cooler so light outerwear was necessary.
You don’t need the yellow-fever vaccine if you’re traveling from the United States to Nairobi only. Be sure to double check this as rules always change. Check with your doctor as well as CDC’s guidelines for more information.
You will need a visa to enter Kenya. If you’re traveling from the U.S you’ll need a visa and can acquire one online. Rules vary by country so check to see if your country is on the requirement list. It can take a few days (mine took 2, praise baby Jesus) so be sure to apply well in advance to avoid last minute cold sweats like me! 😅
Expect heightened security everywhere in Nairobi. The country experienced a terror attack a few years ago and one recently (after we left) so the security screening is very high. Usually when you arrive at any public place such as a shopping mall, hotel, restaurant etc your car/taxi/uber gets checked before being allowed to enter and you also go through a metal detector screen as well. It’s like a mini version of airport screening.
Uber is readily available. I used it to get around for my entire trip with the average cost being about $2 -$6 per ride. The most expensive ride I took was a 45 min drive and it cost me around $13. Coming from NYC l just have to say Uber was a super affordable option that took away the headache of me getting lost in a foreign country.
You can pay by credit card or with local currency. The local currency is called the Kenyan shilling and you can exchange for a good rate at the airport or local approved cambio
“Jambo” is a form of saying hello/greeting others.
WHERE WE STAYED
This hotel boasted beautiful contemporary decor with restaurant and bar options as well as views of the gorgeous manicured grounds and my favorite part, an outdoor heated pool. Buffet-style breakfast was included and I spent any moment I could lounging poolside (as you can tell from my many swim posts) and floating around. In the evenings when the temperatures drops, the hotel has outdoor fire-pits that keep you nice and cozy while you dine or enjoy a cocktail.
Trademark is fairly new, located in Village Market and is sister to the stunning and popular Tribe hotel. This luxury accommodation boasts innovative and culturally-inspired design, offers delicious dining options and grants easy access to over 150 shops in the market. I really enjoyed staying here and even got to check out the stunning rooftop pool and bar area which wasn’t officially open. I’ll share more pictures of the pool in an upcoming style post.
WHAT We DID
On our first night in Nairobi we decided to have a girls night out and check out the party scene. We didn’t plan that activity in advance and decided to ask our waiter at the hotel for a recommendation. He suggested B-Club and we were not disappointed. The vibe was fun and the tunes and drinks were pretty good. Uber and taxis are not allowed to enter the compound so you’ll have to get out at the gate and take a short walk towards the building. I forgot to take pictures of the club so my grainy screenshots from a couple IG video stories will have to suffice.
The National Museum is located in the heart of the city and showcases Kenya's rich Heritage highlighting the country’s culture, nature, history and contemporary art. There is a restaurant within the compound, Snake Park, Botantical Gardens and small gift shops.
After my Museum tour, I ate lunch and spent some time in the garden taking in all the natural beauty around.
On our second day in Nairobi we headed out to visit the Masai Market at The Junction Mall. We were in search of local accessories and souvenirs and figured it would be the perfect place to find those items. The market occurs daily but in different locations so be sure to check the schedule here.
The experience can be a bit overwhelming because the vendors tend to bombard you as soon as you enter the market, I mean the surround you type of selling strategy which can be draining at times but all part of the experience. Stay confident and be prepared to haggle, really haggle. If you’re not comfortable or satisfied with the prices say no and walk away. When haggling be sure you’re being respectful and reasonable in what you’re willing to pay because at the end of the day they’re running a business catered to tourists. If you have any local acquaintances/friends, let them shop for you. We were quoted $30 for a necklace and a local acquaintance was able to get it for $4.
The beaded accessories are really pretty and we ended up getting a few items for ourselves as well as family members and friends. One more tip, do not accept any “gifts” from any of the vendors.
If you’re on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen the swoon-worthy photos of people eating breakfast in their hotel while a giraffe casually peeks it’s head inside. Well, that hotel is called Giraffe Manor and just beyond it’s courtyard is Giraffe Center. The same giraffes reside there and the best part is you can visit the center for a fraction of the cost of staying at the manor with the same opportunity to come into contact and feed the elegant giraffes.
A special thank you to Vanessa, a lovely young woman who was our guide for the day. She was kind enough to take pictures and a video of me feeding the giraffes. I’ll be sure to share those on Instagram as well.
We spent our last day in Nairobi exploring all the shops & restaurants in the Village Market. There are over 150 shops with something for everyone. I especially liked the specialty food shops, retro-style bowling alley and boutiques.
Fabric Shopping - downtown Nairobi
Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures from that day but I want to say a special thank you to Joyce for meeting up & taking me to the local market to purchase wax prints. She’s a friend of a friend of a friend (lol) of my big sister. Thanks for the hook up Timmy!
As promised, I’ll share more about our Safari experience in Part 2 of my travel diary so be sure to come back to the blog next week for more!
WHEre WE ATE
In many ways, Nairobi reminded me of a much larger scale Guyana (which as many of you know is home for me) especially with all the plants and even some of the infrastructure. I thoroughly enjoyed my semi-solo trip and want to thank my sister for the amazing opportunity to visit Nairobi.
Please feel free to drop me a note in the comments with any questions you have and be sure to come back next week for part 2 where I delve into our spectacular Safari experience.