As the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi isn’t so much a tourist destination, but more the starting or finishing destination for your safari. The international airport – Jomo Kenyatta International Airport – is one of the largest international hubs in Africa and, with direct flights from London and New York, it makes Nairobi and a Kenya safari very desirable.

That said, if you are spending a night or two in Nairobi, there are some really beautiful hotels and properties to stay in. If you’re looking for a comfortable overnight stay in a hotel close to the airport, then somewhere like Ole Sereni or the Four Points Hotel are good options. With a rooftop bar overlooking Nairobi National Park, it’s certainly a nice place to enjoy your first cold local beer in Kenya! If you’re looking for something more luxurious and private, then head to the area of Karen. This is further from the airport and city center, but offers a quaint and quiet feel, with beautifully-manicured gardens. This is where one of our personal favorite hotels is found – Hemingways.

Of course, if you’re looking for a ‘wow’ experience, then you will have properly seen or heard about Giraffe Manor. Featured in many ‘top hotels across the world’ documentaries or articles, this hotel really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The manor house itself, built in 1932, has only six rooms, and you get the opportunity to be up-close-and-personal with the Rothschild giraffes. This is a pretty special hotel and with that comes popularity, so please bear in mind you need to book at least 12-18 months in advance (maybe longer for peak seasons).

If you have a day in Nairobi, there is plenty of interesting things to do and visit. The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage being one of them. This is a charity whose sole purpose is to rescue orphaned and injured elephants from across Kenya, and use the sanctuary as a rehabilitation center. You can pre-book entry here, but fees must be paid on arrival. It is also possible to sponsor and ‘adopt’ an elephant, and your donation will be used to maintain the safety and wellbeing of the elephants.

Other things to do include visiting the Karen Blixen Museum, and the giraffe center (if you are not already staying at Giraffe Manor). There are also lots of nice places to eat in Nairobi, so we can organize a private day, or half-day trip sightseeing the capital city, as well as recommend local spots to eat and drink. We will also arrange all of your private transfers to and from the airport, so whether you are arriving late at night or first thing in the morning, you’ll be greeted with a friendly smile and your name on a board.

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With a Kenyan father, Indian grandparents, and a Portuguese surname, travel is in my blood. I am enthralled by Africa and would happily talk about this diverse continent’s wildlife, cultures and experiences all day, every day.


Africa Specialist

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Our luxury tours and safaris to Nairobi

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Best hotels in Nairobi

For those who are just spending one night in Nairobi, using it more as a ‘rest and recovery’ after your long-haul flight, we’d recommend staying in a comfortable airport hotel. These hotels are around a 10-15-minute drive from the international airport, so you will arrive and be able to relax very soon after. If you are staying longer in Nairobi, and looking for something more luxurious and quiet, then the district of Karen is a good option. There are lots of boutique hotels here, like House of Waine, Giraffe Manor, and Hemingways (although a bigger property).

Nairobi david sheldrick_when to go

When to visit Nairobi

Nairobi can be visited year-round but there are months we would recommend avoiding. April and May is the rainy season in Kenya, so this period will be very wet, often with dramatic thunderstorms in the late afternoon. Most of the hotels, however, will stay open because it is a central hub for a lot of businesses and international clients. November is also a rainy month. Nairobi will always be a destination that’s included with a safari trip – either as the starting point, the finishing point, or a hub that you fly from to the next destination. With that in mind, it’s important to check the best time of the year to visit your safari destination as a priority. Your travel specialist will recommend the best times for you, and work around your flexibility.

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Gemma our African Specialist

How do I get from Nairobi to safari?

Nairobi will often be a starting or finishing point when it comes to your luxury Kenya safari. Although you will fly into the international airport (JKIA), you will be flying from the domestic airport (Nairobi Wilson) to fly to your safari destination. We will organize all of your logistics when it comes to your safari trip, so your private transfer from your hotel to the domestic airport, your internal fight, and your meet and greet service when on safari, will all be organized by us. It will be a seamless and enjoyable journey! It’s important to note that the small aircraft planes have a weight limit – often 15 or 20kg per person – but we will inform you of this when we put together your travel documents and packs. We will also send be sending you eTickets and any other documentation you require.

What is there to do in Nairobi?

For a city mainly used as an international hub and business center, there is actually quite a lot to do in Nairobi for tourists. Some of the best things to do include visiting the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, the giraffe center, and the Karen Blixen museum. If you are going on to do a safari, the elephant orphanage and the giraffe center will be a nice insight into the conservation and rehabilitation of animals – in which you’ll see plenty of in the wild on safari. The Karen Blixen museum is a hub of history and culture.

Can I stay in Giraffe Manor?

Because of its appearance on so many luxury hotel documentaries and general media coverage, this is one of the most popular hotels in all of Kenya, if not Africa! While it is an exceptional hotel and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it is extremely popular, often filled up years in advance. To avoid disappointment, we’d highly recommend booking your stay at Giraffe Manor at least 18 months in advance. For the peak months of July, August and December, we’d advise booking two years in advance! If you are not ready to commit to your full safari itinerary so far in advance, we can take a deposit payment to confirm the night at Giraffe Manor, and then add on to your luxury Kenya safari further down the line.


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