48 Hours in Nairobi, Kenya

Discover Nairobi's best kept secrets...

Nairobi's best Secrets in 48 Hours

48 Hours in Nairobi – Kenya’s capital Nairobi is most known for its popular game drives and safari destinations such as the Maasai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru National and the northern rangelands of Laikipia and Mount Kenya.

It’s also a popular layover spot for guests headed elsewhere on the continent. Beyond the already mentioned, Nairobi offers so much to do and see in Kenya’s capital city than giraffes and rhinos frolicking out in the game reserves.

Nairobi as a good number of fancy restaurants, national history museums, excellent shopping centers, and live music establishments. For you to make the most of a weekend in Nairobi, we’ve put together our top spots for you to check out during your visit in Kenya. From the best in fine dining to shopping malls, here’s how you can spend your ultimate 48 hours in Nairobi.

Explore Nairobi City Activities

Nairobi is Kenya’s capital city. In addition to its urban core, the city has Nairobi National Park making Kenya to be the only country in the world to have a national park just 15 minutes’ drive away. This is a large protected area known for breeding the endangered black rhinos and home to giraffes, zebras, lions and much more alongside alluring bird species.

Next to Nairobi National Park, is a well-regarded elephant orphanage operated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Nairobi is often used as a jumping-off point for safari that take tourists to other touristic places in Kenya. We advise you to take one of these day trips from Nairobi and you can find yourself on top of a volcano, at the bottom of the longest rift on earth, on a Big 5 safari or cruising across a lake full of hippos.

Nairobi City Tours

Friday

#1 NAIROBI CITY TOUR, 7:00 A.M.

Nairobi City Tours
About the Nairobi City Tour

Our Nairobi informative city tour with our local guides includes the best of the city.  Embark on a journey through the diverse neighborhoods of Nairobi’s central business district, where you’ll have the opportunity to discover and visit key attractions.

You will have ample time for close photography, interactions with the locals, get some best bargains and diversified shopping while visiting the stately Parliament buildings, Kenyatta International Conference Centre and the colorful Nairobi city market. You also stand an opportunity to stand on the top of KICC to look at Nairobi skyline can be arranged) also are Visits to Kenya National archives and the Watatu Art Gallery

#2 NAIROBI MUSEUM, 9:00 A.M.

48 Hours in Nairobi
About the Nairobi Museum

This is where you can enjoy the best and most amazing Kenya’s rich natural and cultural heritage. Situated only 10 minutes away from the city center along the Museum Hill Road off Uhuru Highway and is in the Westland’s area of the city.

The museum holds a wide variety of most reputed collections relating to culture, history, and art hailing from East Africa and Kenya at large. This museum interprets Kenyan heritage for stimulating learning and appreciation. The museum is a huge facility with many educating sections, which is the best educational center and one can easily spend all day here.

#3 UTAMADUNI ART GALLERY, 11:00 A.M.

Utamaduni Art Gallery
About the Utamaduni Art Gallery

Utamaduni is the best African artisan market in Nairobi. Perfectly located in the leafy suburb of Langata the shop is easy to drop into on you way to some of the exciting venues in Nairobi such as the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust or the Giraffe Centre. You can sit in the beautiful garden with refreshments and then wind your way through a treasure trove of shops, with friendly staff to assist and help pack or ship if needed. Make sure you make Utamaduni a part of your Kenya holiday itinerary.

#4 GALLERIA MALL, 1:00 P.M.

Galleria Mall, Nairobi
About the Galleria Mall

The Galleria Shopping Mall is a stunning edifice with 3 floors of shopping, dining and other lifestyle services that stands on 12 acres of land, 550 parking spaces, a large sized dining area for around 250 people and a vibrant play area for kids, designed To give you stress-free comfort, fun, entertainment and more

#5 LANGATA LINK SHOPS, 2:00 PM

Langata Links Shops
About the Langata Link Shops

No trip to Kenya is complete without picking up some of the beautiful handicrafts available here. Once of the best places to find these is at Langata Link – a house in the leafy suburb of Karen where every room has been turned into a different shop. They have everything here from bags made out of colourful Kenyan kanga material to delicate jewellery, rustic khaki luggage and pretty pottery. In the centre of the shop there’s also a lovely café, great for a pit stop after all that tiring spending you’ll be doing.

#6 CURIO SHOP CURIOSITY, 3:00 P.M.

Nairobi Curio Shops
About the Maasai Market

Plunge in. Enjoy the bargains and if you’re lucky thump your chest that you made it without being ripped off, something that is almost inevitable. Every Friday, it’s a Maasai Market day at the Village Market Mall in northern Nairobi, and this is the best place to load up on East African souvenirs, from toy airplanes made of bottle caps to Jambo Bwana T-shirts and kanga cloth. The vendors are pushy but friendly and not averse to talking about life as you bargain. Few things have a marked price. Come and enjoy the fun.

#7 INDIANS IN AFRICA, 6:00 P.M.

Indian Dishes in Kenya
About Indians in Africa

Indians arrived more than a century ago to help build the railway across East Africa known as the Lunatic Express. Thankfully, the Indian community flourished, and there is no better way to get a taste of it than at the Diamond Plaza food court in Nairobi’s Indian quarter. Diamond Plaza is an old mall where everything is two-thirds scale: The streets are two-thirds as wide, the buildings two-thirds tall; it has the feel of a toy town. The food is served from a dozen booths arranged around outdoor tables. A favorite is Anil’s chicken tikka on the bone with gooey naan bread slathered in butter, costing together 600 Kenyan shillings. Wash this down with fresh ginger sugar cane juice for 150 shillings.

#8. AFRICA’S BEST COUNTRY MUSIC, 8:00 P.M.

Country Music in Kenya
About Africa's Country Music

Kenyans adore country music. You hear it on the radio all the time. The leader is a man whose name joins these two seemingly incongruous cultures: Elvis Otieno (Sir Elvis, as he is known, whose parents named him after The King). You can catch Sir Elvis at the Gallileo Lounge in the Westlands neighborhood, among other venues. Close your eyes and let his purring baritone sink in and you might think Don Williams had wandered into Kenya.

Saturday

#9. THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY, 6:00 A.M.

The Great Rift Valley
About the Great Rift Valley

Wildlife safaris are wonderful, but they tend to be sedentary, full of long drives and big menus. About an hour and a half outside Nairobi lies Mount Longonot National Park, a beautiful emerald green dormant volcano mountain. It’s a rigorous hour long hike to the top, where you can scan the Great Rift Valley, cradle of mankind. You’ll see Maasai Giraffes, Cape Buffaloes, Common Zebras, Warthogs and, Olive Baboons, many birds. You can hike around the crater rim, which takes about four hours. You don’t need a guide but if you would like to hire one, several are at the park gates.

#10. THE KARURA FOREST, 10:00 A.M.

Karura Forest
About the Karura Forest and the Mau Mau Fighters

Karura Forest, in the middle of the city, offers more than 2,500 acres of trails, bicycles to rent and a little history. Mau Mau rebels who fought for Kenya’s independence in the 1950s hid out here, and you can peek into their caves. You can also take in waterfalls, butterfly-filled meadows and many species of tall trees. Listen for the eerie bark of the Sykes monkeys; you might see a gang of them swinging through the trees, a blur in the leaves. Admission 600 shillings.

#11. THE HIGH ALTITUDE AT TIGONI, 12:30 P.M.

Brown's Cheese
About Cheese, Ice Cream, Lunch and the Farm Tour

In Tigoni, a beautiful high-altitude tea-growing area, the hillsides are carpeted with verdant green tea fields picked to a uniform height a giant green couch begging someone to stretch out. Here you will find Brown’s Cheese, an all-natural cheese company run by two Cornell grads who make award-winning cheeses and awesome ice cream, especially the salted caramel, which, if slightly melted, is addictive. From Thursdays to Saturdays, Brown’s puts on a cheese-tasting lunch. For 4,000 shillings, sit in their garden and indulge in fresh cheeses, organic salads, the ice cream and wine. You can also tour the cheese factory and milk cows. All lunches by appointment.

#12. CROCODILES AT THE MAMBA VILLAGE, 4:00 P.M.

Mamba Village Nairobi
About Nairobi and the Crocodiles

On the outskirts of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, lies Mamba Village Nairobi, a well-liked Kenya safari attraction. It is one of the few locations on Earth where guests can interact closely with crocodiles and discover more about their habits and environment. Here you can watch crocodiles slither into ponds and crunch on lamb femurs. There is also an amusement park ideal for young children with a small lake shaped like Africa, paddleboats, a Ferris wheel and other spinning rides powered not by electricity but by men pushing them. It’s relatively safe, and the people couldn’t be friendlier.

#13. NAIROBI’S LUXURY, 6:30 PM.

Sarova Stanley Hotel
About Nairobi's Luxury at the Stanley''s

The Sarova Stanley Hotel in bustling downtown Nairobi opened in 1902 as a luxury hotel. Upstairs is the Exchange Bar, rumored to be the site of Nairobi’s first stock exchange during colonial times, decked out with leather couches and heavy dark wood. Unique fans are bolted into the ceiling; they don’t rotate but beckon back and forth like giant hands. This is a nice place to enjoy Kenya’s popular cocktail, the dawa (medicine in Swahili), a refreshing mix of vodka, lime, ice and honey. Let’s meet at the Sarova Stanley Hotel.

#14. SUSHI EXPERIENCE IN AFRICA, 8:00 P.M.

Sushi Restaurants in Kenya
Experience some Japanese Sushi

Kenya is an increasingly multiethnic place where Asian food plays a big role. Furusato is a local favorite. It’s a boisterous, crowded place where you’ll see all types — safari goers, aid workers, out-of-town executives and Kenyans with their families. The menu is Japanese and Korean and meals can be built around the Dynamite Roll (shrimp and chile inside) from Ksh. 1,600 upwards.

#15. NAIROBI’S DANCE EXPERIENCE, 11:00 P.M.

Nairobi Dance Life
About the Dancing in Nairobi at night

The most famous or infamous — of Nairobi’s party spots is Black Diamond. The club is crawling with young people in tight clothes, and the smells of perfume, deodorant, sweat and beer hang freely in the air. The speakers thump out reggae rap and the latest Afro pop and Amapiano mixes. Note that your safety remains paramount at night. Observe caution at night and avoid using any A.T.M. Know your surrounding very well and don’t stroll around without any obvious reasons, and if you have to, ensure that you use Uber or other well-known taxi apps.

Sunday

#16. A MOMENT WITH GIRAFFES AT THE GIRAFFE CENTER, 9:00 A.M.

Kiss a Girrafe in Nairobi
Kiss or Feed a Giraffe

Where else in the world can you do this? It’s only at the Nairobi’s Giraffe Center, you can feed Rothschild’s Giraffes food pellets from your palm, and stick a pellet between your lips and get the wettest, stickiest kiss you’ve received since the day of your birth. Of course, you do this for the greater good. The Giraffe Center uses proceeds to help breed and resettle endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. Fun facts: Giraffes sleep a maximum of two hours each day, they walk while moving two legs on the same side at the same time, and their coats are just like snowflakes, no two have the same pattern. 

#17. NAIROBI’S SHEDRICK ELEPHANTS ORPHANAGE, 11:00 A.M.

Nairobi’s Sheldrick Elephants Orphanage
About the Nairobi’s Sheldrick Elephants Orphanage

China’s insatiable demand for ivory has driven up the price of elephant tusks to $500 a pound. African poachers are now colluding with Asian gangsters, and in recent years more than 100,000 of some of the most intelligent life forms on earth have been slaughtered to make combs, bookmarks and other ivory trinkets popular in Beijing.

Nestled on the border of Nairobi National Park is a haven for young orphaned elephants, victims of the illegal ivory trade. Known as the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, this facility rescues and rehabilitates elephants from various regions of Kenya.

Started by the late Dame Daphne Sheldrick in memory of her late husband, David, a legendary ranger at Tsavo National Park. The elephants are cared for and reintroduced into the wild when they are old enough to fend for themselves.

Each day at 11 am, the baby elephants eagerly emerge from the acacia forest and gather around a muddy watering hole to be fed by their caretakers. After filling their bellies, the young calves enjoy rolling in the mud, splashing murky water into the air, and engaging in playful interactions with one another.

This heartwarming spectacle can be observed for a precious hour from the sidelines, after which the elephants return to the nearby woodlands. The knowledgeable keepers on site are available to educate visitors about the orphanage’s mission and the significance of their conservation efforts.

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, established 45 years ago by a family deeply passionate about Kenya and its natural beauty, is dedicated to a variety of initiatives that support the conservation, protection, and preservation of wildlife and their native habitats. Their activities extend across Kenya and encompass anti-poaching measures, environmental preservation, community awareness campaigns, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary care for distressed animals, and rescuing and nurturing orphaned elephants, rhinos, and other species to ensure their eventual successful reintegration into the wild.

#18. NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK, 12:00 P.M.

Nairobi National Park
Kenya's Conservation Towering Pillar

This is Kenya’s oldest national park and well dubbed us “The World’s only Wildlife Capital” Situated only a short drive out of Nairobi’s central business district is the Nairobi National Park. With its wide open grass plains and backdrop of the city scrapers, scattered acacia bush play host to a wide variety of wildlife including the endangered black rhino, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes and diverse birdlife with over 400 species recorded. Visitors can enjoy the park’s picnic sites, three campsites and the walking trails for hikers.

#19. DINE AT THE CARNIVORE RESTAURANT, 6:30 P.M.

Carnivore Restaurant
Nairobi's Finest Safari Culinary

The Carnivore opens up into a vegetarian’s fiery nightmare or a meat eaters Shangri-La, depending on your culinary leanings. Twice making the world’s 50 best restaurants by Restaurant Magazine, Carnivore opened in 1980 to immediate popularity. Borrowing aesthetic from medieval banquet halls, the decor is indoor/outdoor with tropical plants and streams weaving around tables. A giant roasting pit resides near the entrance of the building, covered in traditional Maasai swords ladened with hunks of meaty goodness from just about every animal you can think of that’s not on the endangered species list.  

Monday

#20. KAZURI BEADS, 7:00 A.M.

Kazuri Beads
A Visit for the Social Good

Although popularly known as Kazuri Bead Factory, it’s really an artisan workshop where the beads for necklaces and bracelets as well as other pottery are created. Everything created by the artisans for Kazuri are handmade and hand-painted based on a preset pattern that each of the workers follow. In addition to creating beautiful jewelry and pottery, Kazuri provides work for mostly single mothers and provides free medical care for their employees and their immediate family. Buying items from Kazuri, which are sold worldwide, is really an opportunity to get some something beautiful and help the people as well.

#21. OCEAN SOLE, AT MARULA STUDIOS, 9:00 A.M.

Ocean Sole, Nairobi
Creativity for the Conservation of Nature

Ocean Sole is an incredible Kenyan organization, which recycles flip-flops found on the beaches and in the waterways of Kenya and turns them into incredible works of art. Worth doing some shopping at when you’re next in the city, each Ocean Sole product (everything from life-sized zebras to fridge-magnet turtles) is handcrafted to protect the oceans and teach the world about the threats of marine debris.

It turns out that thousands and thousands of flip-flops are washed up onto the East African coastline every year. Unused, they cause huge environmental damage, spoiling the natural beauty of the Kenyan tropical beaches and also harming marine life – the rubber soles are swallowed by fish and other animals, suffocating them to death.

#22. KITENGELA HOT GLASS, 11:30 A.M.

Kitengela Hot Glass
Creativity for the Social Good

Kitengela Glass’s purpose is to improve the community. Its most obvious contribution is aesthetic beauty, but it also gives back in ways that are more tangible. The Croze’s have partnered with hospitals and charities, giving away their own work.

The materials used in Kitengela’s sculptures is all found and recycled, and they are as likely to be built by creative locals as by professional artists. They also host workshops and apprenticeships at Kitengela.

Kitengela Hot Glass is a 40-minute day trip from Nairobi. Kitengela crafts glass that is in demand all over the world. You can buy Kitengela glass online, or in one of their shops in Nairobi, but nothing beats a trip out to Kitengela itself.

Kitengela is a psychedelic bombardment of the senses that starts when you see a car ploughed into the earth and apparently ripped in two by lightning. A series of artworks and frankly bizarre instalments that are dropped seemingly at random in a countryside filled with camels, cows and pigs.

Kitengela glass looks over Nairobi National Park and it is entirely possible to game view from there but the fun is in witnessing the glass blowing and marveling at the art and architecture. There is an onsite shop and a place where you can buy imperfect glass for a fraction of the price.

#23. EMARA OLE SERENI, 6:00 P.M.

Emara Ole Sereni Hotel
By the side of the Wilderness

Situated at the heart of the vibrant city life and next to the majestic Nairobi National Park, Emara Ole Sereni hotel allows you to discover the only urban escape surrounded by exquisite wildlife on one side and the hustle-bustle of the city center and the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on the other. Capturing the authentic essence of Kenya, Emara hotel’s opulent rooms and suites in Nairobi are transformed to the highest possible standards.

#24. DINNER AT THE TALISMAN RESTAURANT, 7:30 P.M.

The Talisman Restaurant
Among Nairobi's Finests Dining Exp

From its humble beginnings back in the 90’s, the Talisman started as a small old house in Karen originally occupied by the famous wildlife photographer and author Alan Root in their youth. The Talisman has since grown into a household name with one of the best cuisines in the country.

The Talisman restaurant is in Karen, the neighborhood of Nairobi where Karen Blixen once lived, is a meeting ground for Kenya’s who’s who. Come experience fine dining in a completely different setting. An environmental friendly place with an organic garden and highly rated and awarded on International restaurant platforms. Both sprawling and cozy with shaded outdoor tables, a playground and nooks next to the fireplace for cooler days — it offers excellent food.

Tuesday

#25. OLOOLUA FOREST, 7:00 A.M.

Oloolua Forest
The Lungs of Nairobi City

Oloolua Forest is an important wildlife refuge and biodiversity hotspot. Considered as a lung for Nairobi, the forest covers 618 hectares and is home to significant acreage of indigenous trees. The forest is part of the larger Ngong Forest block which also comprises Ngong Hills and Kibiko Forest blocks.

It provides a habitat to a variety of wildlife.  Like most forest coverage areas, the Oloolua Forest is under threat from human activities. Quarrying, encroachment as well as development of major roads and the SGR through the heart of the forest put it at the brink of deforestation. This has sparked the need to have the forest conserved in a bid to prevent further fragmentation and loss of green space.

#26. NAIROBI RAILWAYS MUSEUM, 9:00 A.M.

The Railways Museum
The Story of the Lunatic Express

Uganda Railway began in 1896 from Mombasa on the Kenyan coast and finally reached Kisumu on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria in 1901, costing an estimated four lives for every mile of track laid along the way—including some deaths infamously caused by a pair of man-eating lions on the Tsavo plains.

Located adjacent to the Nairobi Rail Station in Kenya, the Railway Museum offers a captivating journey through the golden age of rail travel in Africa. As you step into the museum, you are transported back in time to the era of the East African Railways, which is now defunct. The museum showcases a remarkable collection of steam and diesel locomotives that date from the late 19th century to before World War II.

Immerse yourself in the history of rail transportation as you explore the displays of various passenger cars, trucks, and rolling stock. These meticulously preserved artifacts provide a fascinating glimpse into the past, evoking the sense of adventure that accompanied travel during those times. The Railway Museum offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the artisanship and engineering marvels of these vintage locomotives and their associated equipment.

In addition to the locomotives and rolling stock, the museum also offers insights into the remarkable story of the railway’s construction. Learn about the incredible challenges faced by the laborers, who persevered through extreme conditions and encounters with man-eating lions that posed a threat to the construction camps. Through informative exhibits and displays, the museum sheds light on the extraordinary human endeavor behind the laying of the railway.

Since its opening in 1971, the Railway Museum has been maintained by Kenya Railways, ensuring the preservation and presentation of Kenya’s rich railway heritage. To enhance the visitor experience, a miniature railway has recently been added, providing an interactive and engaging way to learn about the railway’s history.

#27. LUNCH AT THE THYME RESTAURANT, 12:30 P.M.

About Thyme Restaurant
Dine With Elegance

Situated in the leafy green atmosphere, with a cool breeze, excellent food, and a relaxed ambience About Thyme stands out as one of the rare restaurants that allows guests to immerse themselves in the best experience of al fresco dining within the city in a lush, sunken, multi-level garden setting with secret nooks and hidden crannies.

In the evenings, fairy lights, candles, and charcoal braziers set the tone for a warm and romantic atmosphere with a cozy indoor dining option complete with a wood-burning fireplace for the Nairobi’s colder months. About Thyme restaurant has retained its tranquil setting in the heart of Westlands since 2005, About Thyme has become known for quality and consistency, offering imaginative and creative dishes inspired from around the world.

Top Nairobi, Kenya Luxury Tours

Africa Custom Luxury Safaris | Best Custom Private Safaris
Africa Custom Luxury Safaris | Best Custom Private Safaris
Africa Custom Luxury Safaris | Best Custom Private Safaris
Africa Custom Luxury Safaris | Best Custom Private Safaris
Africa Custom Luxury Safaris | Best Custom Private Safaris
Africa Custom Luxury Safaris | Best Custom Private Safaris
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