Nairobi

The Kenyan capital of Nairobi is a relatively new city filled with a population that are seeped in the history and culture of their forefathers.

Lively and bright this city is about as cosmopolitan as Kenya gets with a mix of international restaurants, vibrant nightlife and emerging café culture. With its reputation for wild untamed beauty Nairobi may not be for the faint hearted but those that dare truly win.

Nairobi is unique in its location, the beauty of the city is the location that it enjoys, huge swathes of land are designated as National Park with dramatic cliffs, sweeping plains and lush forest – this amazing natural landscape does not surround the city, it is the city and it just adds to the appeal of this truly unusual destination.

Although officially outside the city centre the place to stay for the best Nairobi experience has to be the Safari Park Hotel and Casino, set in almost 70 acres of gardens with its own private beach this hotel is filled with luxurious touches that set it apart from others in its class; the rooms with their hand carved furniture, cool marble bathrooms and glorious balconies are an oasis in this chaotic city – the location is perfect and a shuttle bus ensures that there is no inconvenience to those that want to spend more time in the city itself.

There is a fair representation of the worlds cuisines to be found in Nairobi but most are to be found in the high end hotels, the restaurants of the city are more likely to be either South African chains or small independent restaurants serving regional foods tinged with global influences; as with any large city there are also recognisable global fast food brands dotted around the streets serving the usual fare.

If you want to eat like the Masai then head to Carnivore, the location close to Uhuru Memorial Gardens is far more tranquil than the atmosphere and the menu, a menu which is a meat eaters delight, huge chunks of various animals are pit barbecued and then carried around on sticks until a diner requests that they are carved at their table – almost bordering on theatre this is an excellent place to eat.

Carnivore isn’t a cheap option though and if you want something with unbelievable value then Beneve Coffee House is the place to be, you will have to queue with lots of the locals, but the great food served at bargain prices makes it worth the wait; the menu often changes to reflect the available produce but the stews and curries are always excellent.

Nairobi is the place to visit to get close to nature, whether it is a Safari Walk through the National Park with its element of education or feeding the giraffes by hand at the Giraffe Centre there is no disputing the closeness to nature that Nairobi offers; no trip however is complete without visiting the elephant orphanage, seeing baby elephants from all over Kenya is a humbling experience and serves as a poignant reminder of our responsibilities as custodians of the earth.

On a more upbeat note Nairobi is great for the nightlife with many clubs and bars having live music during the evenings, the ex-pat  community is huge and favours bars such as Black Diamond, Havana and Annie Oakley’s – check with your hotel for the latest must visit nightspots.

Set on elevated land well above sea level Nairobi has a subtropical climate that can quickly become cool in the evenings; there are no great extremes in the seasons as Nairobi lies in close proximity to the equator but June/July and August are marginally cooler.

Two rainy seasons occur during the year but neither is particularly problematic and travel is not particularly affected.

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