Founded in 1899 as a simple rail depot on the railway linking Mombasa to Uganda, the town quickly grew to become the capital of British East Africa in 1907 and eventually the capital of a free Kenyan republic in 1963. It is the capital city of Kenya. The name Nairobi, comes from a Maasai word meaning ‘Enkare Nyirobi’, to mean ‘the palce of cool waters. However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is surrounded by several expanding villa suburbs.
The city lies on the Nairobi River, in the south of the nation, and has an elevation of 1795 m above sea-level.
Nairobi is currently the 12th largest city in Africa, including the population of its suburbs.
Many visitors to Kenya spend as little time as possible in Nairobi, partially because of the city's reputation for danger and clogging. This is a dishonor because Nairobi is a convivial and absorbing place with a range of valuable things to see and do. Before departing for the parks, reserves and islands in the rest of the country it is well worth spending a day or two exploring Nairobi. It is a good idea to hire a taxi driver, based on a recommendation at your Nairobi hotel, and to allow him to navigate you between the sights.
Nairobi National Park and Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
Nairobi National Park was established in 1945 and is Kenya’s first national park. Uniquely situated on the capital’s doorstep it is a well-kept, compact and beautiful area of plains and wild bush containing a large number of Africa’s best-known animals. Large herds of zebra, wildebeest,... buffalo and giraffe roam the plains and black rhino, ostrich, baboons, cheetah and lions are some of the other photogenic inhabitants. In the park is the Animal Orphanage where sick, wounded and abandoned animals are cared for and rehabilitated into the park, as well as an Educational Centre featuring a Safari Walk. Close by is the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, where infant elephant and rhino (orphaned because of poaching activities) are cared for and eventually returned to the wild in Tsavo National Park. The centre is open every morning and visitors can watch the calves bathing in the mud hole and being bottle fed by their human surrogate mothers.
The Giraffe Centre
Experience giraffes up close and personal at this wonderful centre dedicated to the preservation of the endangered Rothschild giraffe. Visitors can experience the rare pleasure of hand-feeding these graceful and gentle creatures, and also enjoy the nature walk with 160 species of bird. This is the single best attraction for children in Nairobi. Betty and Jock Leslie Melville founded the Giraffe Centre in 1979 to preserve the Rothschild giraffe of which only 120 remained in existence.
Nairobi National Museum
This hugely diverse museum contains some world-class attractions among its dusty relics and stuffed animals. The facility is home to the great pre-historic finds from the Leakey family including relics from mankind's earliest ancestors. There are also fascinating sections on art, geology, wildlife and local history. Look out for fossils from Lake Turkana and an attached snake park where some of the world largest and also most venomous snakes are displayed.
Karen Blixen Museum
Karen Blixen was a notable Kenyan personality who lived and farmed on the outskirts of Nairobi from 1917 to 1931 when she returned to Denmark bankrupt and heartbroken at being forced to leave Africa. Writing under the name Isak Dinesen she authored acclaimed books including Out of Africa which inspired an Oscar winning film of the same name. The main building of the original house, M'Bogani House, now houses the Karen Blixen Museum and retains much of its original furniture and other photographs and items of interest. The museum is situated in the suburb of Karen, a short drive from the city centre.
You can book Nairobi city tours and excursions by contacting Fountain Safaris.