The capital of Kenya is often visited by tourists seeking an unforgettable African experience. It always lives up to its reputation for leaving an indelible mark on people. Also known as ‘Green City in the Sun’ because of its thriving central business district, amazing wildlife, and welcoming locals. But planning the ideal trip here can be a difficult task.
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Tourists spend up to three months planning a vacation and getting to know about the places to visit in Nairobi and the native people. For that reason, this post aims to make wandering around here more exciting. Let’s look at the things you need to be aware of before visiting Nairobi city and where to stay.
Some Interesting Facts about Nairobi City
- The city was founded in 1899 and became the capital in 1902
- Nairobi is derived from the Maasai phrase ‘Enkare Nairobi’ which means cool water
- Established in 1946 by the British, it is the only city in the world with a National Park – Nairobi National Park
- The city lies 5,889 ft (1,795 m) above sea level
- Nairobi is among the Top 10 destinations in Africa
Things They Don’t Tell You Before Visiting Nairobi City
1. Nairobi City is a Business Hub
Multinationals and Africa’s biggest companies have offices in Nairobi like Kenya Airways, Asus, Pfizer, Coca-Cola, and more.
Nairobi city is also a part of the global FinTech phenomenon. It has given rise to a number of tech companies that have led the way in terms of tech innovation and cloud services. These products have a huge market presence both inside and outside of Kenya. Clothing, textiles, building materials, foods, and beverages are among the goods produced in Nairobi. There are many factories in and around the city owned by foreign companies.
2. Nairobians are Multilingual
Most people speak English in Nairobi. However, Nairobians naturally assume that you are familiar with some local terms because they are so integral to their daily life. Learn some basic words like Sawa (okay), Kesho (tomorrow), and Habari (hello) to avoid miscommunication. No one uses “Jambo” as a greeting here, despite what you may have read or seen in a travel guide or movie.
Although Nairobians aren’t overly sensitive to people asking about their tribe, it can get tiresome to bring it up constantly. This idea fascinates many visitors, who quite often have questions. It is strange but not entirely offensive. Avoid doing this, if there are lots of Kenyans present. Save it for your friends or when you meet one-on-one.
3. Nairobi People are innovative & Creative
You will often spot young people expressing themselves on the streets, like musicians and dancers, photographers, and college students.
Benga is the national music of Kenya, and Nairobi is the center of that scene. Also, Mugithi is a Jazz and Luo musical fusion that is also popular. The epicenter of Kenyan hip-hop is Nairobi. Local musicians have become some of the most prominent in the area, and the genre is popular among young people in the area. Nairobi city also has a renowned and thriving nightlife.
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Lupita Nyong’o is one of the most recent and famous Kenyan actresses in Hollywood who has ties to Nairobi. She made her acting debut in 2008 with the short film East River, and as a result, she returned to Kenya to star in the TV show Shuga (2009–2012). Now she is an Academy Award winner and has worked in Hollywood movies like the Black Panther and Star Wars.
4. Markets Are Everywhere in Nairobi
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Are you looking for places to visit in Nairobi on a budget? Nairobi provides a unique shopping experience and the chance to discover beautiful goods made both locally and globally. Nairobi has a large number of flea markets like the Maasai market, Toi market, Sunbeam market, etc.
You will find many types of beaded jewelry, wooden crafts, leather sandals, African home décor, and souvenirs in Nairobi. All locally produced goods are regularly exported as well. It is true that some items are overpriced by local shops for tourists. Despite the fact that this might make you unhappy but don’t bargain so much. Nairobi people, like all others, are passionate about their work and its worth.
5. Nairobians Love Good Food & Meat
Searching for good restaurants in Nairobi? Nairobi city has many cafes and restaurants. Nairobians enjoy eating meat. You might face some problems if you’re a vegetarian. Besides being home to Choma or roasted meat, it has fast-food places like KFC, Subway, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, etc.
There are many cafes and eateries, like Kosewe’s, Nairobi Java House, and Dormans that serve African cuisine. Many 5 star hotels in Nairobi offer cuisines like Italian and French. Nairobi Restaurant Week starts in January and ends in February and the cafés offer heavy discounts on food.
6. Nairobians are Traditional and Stylish
Image credit: National Museums of Kenya
Nairobians take great pride in their appearance and are never casual in public. So that you don’t always feel like the person in the room who is the least dressed, keep this in mind. They aren’t expecting high fashion, of course, so just pack aptly. Within Nairobi and Kenya, the kanga is a thread that connects cultures, men and women of all ages, rich and poor, and locals and foreigners.
7. Tourists Need a Visa & Vaccination
You may find data that certain passport holders can obtain a Kenyan visa upon arrival. It is true, but there are also cases of visas being refused at the airport. It is advised to consult a visa specialist. Also, you should apply for travel and medical insurance.
Kenya is located in the lap of nature and wildlife, despite Nairobi being a city center. As a result, certain vaccines are required to enter Kenya. Travelers older than one year should get a vaccine certificate for Yellow Fever. Most medical experts advise getting vaccinated for Malaria, Polio, and Tetanus.
8. Nairobians are Well Educated & Religious
Most schools follow The Kenyan or the British system. There are global schools that offer the North American system as well. The city has more schools for students who speak French, German, etc. The University of Nairobi, and United States International University are just a few colleges.
The people of Nairobi are very religious. All Saints Cathedral is the most famous church. Mosques are there in Nairobi like the Jamia Mosque.
9. Dollar and the Shilling Are Accepted in Nairobi
Shillings (KSH) is the currency used in Kenya, so it makes sense to keep some in hand and some major credit cards as well. The US dollar is accepted by global hotels and safari camps and is required for some activities. Nairobi has ATMs, but they only provide Kenya Shillings. Wherever you are, Visa cards are the safest bet.
We advise you to exchange some money at the airport because the banks there offer a better conversion rate than the hotels. The International Airport has a bank that is open until late and an ATM so you can get cash when you arrive.
10. Nairobi People Love Good Health & Fitness
There are many things to do in Nairobi! The sporting hub of the African Great Lake region is Nairobi. The Moi International Sports Center serves as Kenya’s main games office and is one of the best sports clubs in Nairobi. It was built in 1987 and hosted the All Africa Games.
Given the number of football clubs in the city like Kenyan Premier League teams Gor Mahia, and AFC Panthers, it is clear that football is the most popular sport. Golf is also popular. Nairobi is the location for the European Tour’s Kenya Open Golf Tournament. Rugby, basketball, and horse racing are also played in Nairobi.
Ole Sereni Hotel in Nairobi – The Best Hotel in Nairobi Kenya
Ole-Sereni Hotel is the best hotel in Nairobi for business and leisure travelers, events, conferences, and weddings. Where is Ole Sereni Hotel located? It is one of the finest hotels near Nairobi airport. It is one of the best hotels near JKIA airport, 6 km from Wilson Airport Nairobi and just 10 km from the city center.
It is one of the top Nairobi national park hotels in the region. With stunning views of the Nairobi National Park and its nature and wildlife, Ole Sereni is a one-of-a-kind hotel that features an outdoor pool with a bar, 2 fine dining restaurants, and a snack bar. The best massage spa in Nairobi & wellness services includes aerobics, steam, sauna, massage facilities, and a salon.
Accommodation in Nairobi CBD
Ole Sereni Hotel provides 148 exquisitely furnished and air-conditioned rooms that perfectly blend a relaxed vibe with modern comfort. There are three room categories – Standard Rooms, Club Rooms, and Suites.
The standard rooms are decorated like a Safari lodge for the authentic Nairobi experience with bright colors, wooden accents, and artwork made of natural materials. The modern rooms include a small coffee table, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. The club rooms have private balconies with incredible views of Kenya’s rich heritage. Being the epitome of luxury and comfort, the suites have a large living room area and a private Jacuzzi.
Bars & Restaurants
Are you looking for the best places to eat in Nairobi? Each one of Ole Sereni restaurants is uniquely located to capture the breathtaking views of the Nairobi National Park. Whether it’s Eagle’s Steakhouse or Big Five Restaurant, Waterhole Snack Bar, or Ngong Pool Bar, you can enjoy mouthwatering cuisines and fresh seafood flown in from Kenya’s coast.
There is a large deck outside the main restaurant where you can see wildlife. Grills, Italian, Indian, and Oriental food are available. Eagle’s serves up evening meals and steaks while providing views of the National Park and Nairobi’s skyline. Light meals and snacks are available at the Waterhole Snack Bar.
Weddings & Conference Facilities in Nairobi
Ole Sereni Hotel is a leading venue for unforgettable meetings and events. With the latest technology and facilities and stunning views of the Nairobi skyline, the hotel is equipped to accommodate large as well as small groups. Can’t find good wedding venues in Nairobi? Choose from state-of-the-art meeting rooms and boardrooms to the impressive Pride Ballroom and tranquil gardens.
Our team of highly experienced event specialists and our concierge will attend to every detail to make sure nothing is missed. Whether it’s a small VIP event or a wedding with 300 people, you and your guests will enjoy a memorable gathering only a few steps away from Nairobi’s business district.
Besides airport transfers, you can book a wide range of tours and activities online or at the travel desk of Ole Sereni Hotel. The unique experiences include:
- Bomas of Kenya
- Nairobi Safari Park
- Giraffe Center Nairobi Tour
- Karen Blixen Museum
- Kazuri Beads Factory
Spa & Wellness
Even a getaway can be stressful sometimes and navigating the traffic and chaos of the Kenyan capital can get you down. So take out some time to pamper your mind and body at the Duma Spa in Nairobi, relax and unwind at the poolside, enjoy a hair styling session at the salon or pump it up at one of the best gyms in Nairobi.
The hotel has one of the most beautiful heated swimming pools in Nairobi. The health club has locker rooms and steam and sauna rooms. Local residents can enjoy the facilities by taking membership on monthly basis.
You can book directly on the official website to get better than OTA offers. Our special offers extend beyond room bookings like happy hours, big discounts in the best restaurants in Nairobi, and exciting offers on tourist activities.
You Can Get Most Things Here in Nairobi City!
Don’t worry about your trip, Nairobi city is pretty advanced. So, don’t overpack because there’s no need to take an oversized suitcase halfway around the world. There are luxurious hotels like Ole Sereni with modern facilities, major banks, popular fast-food restaurants, and almost everything you can buy back at home.