Nairobi - gateway to Kenya
Vibrant Nairobi sits in the middle of Kenya and is not only a famous city for starting off a Safari to the beautiful countryside, but has a wonderful reputation for animal conservation and care.
Best time for Nairobi
The dry season between mid-December till end of February and from mid-June till end of September is warm and pleasant. At other times the rainy seasons makes getting about tricky. 1st June is Madaraka Day, an independence day with parades, and 20th October is Mashujaa Day (Heroes' day) October also hosts the Nairobi Marathon and in December there's Kenya Music Week.
Kenya travel requirements
A visa is needed and this will cost £30 or so. It is available at the airport or before you travel from the Kenya High Commission in London, e-visas can also be purchased online.
NB: Passports should be valid for 6 months or more.
Get jabs for Cholera, malaria and check usual routine vaccines are up to date: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Rabies and Meningitis. Anti-malarial medication (prophylaxis) should be used if travelling outside Nairobi. Tourists need to avoid Eastleigh, Pangani, slum areas and the inner city at night. Stay alert, there are high crime and terrorism rates. There's no smoking in public spaces and visitors should avoid drinking the tap water, boil water or drink from bottles. Peel or cook fruit and vegetables. Use a mosquito repellent, wear long clothing and sleep under a mosquito net.
Living costs are very low here and restaurant meals are from 500 KES, Beer is about 200 KES, soft drinks around 100 KES and bottled water from supermarkets about 100 KES. Shopping is fun, try Biashara Street or Massai Market and make sure you haggle. One local dish is Nyama Choma (grilled meat).
Airport into Nairobi and local transport
Nairobi's airport, 'Jomo Kenyatta International Airport', is 15km from the business district. A Taxi costs roughly 1,500Kes to city centre takes around 30 mins (agree on price beforehand).
The Bus is 34 Kes approx, and it's 50 Kes from Ambassador Hotel to airport. Takes 40 mins. A Hostel bed in shared rooms or single rooms start from about Ksh800. Luxury hotels are about 10,000 ksh. Nairobi has bad traffic, especially during rush hours: 7-9am, 4.30-6.30pm. Taxis have a yellow line on the side, and are about 500 KES start rate, then about 200 KES/km, but agree upfront.
Buses are called 'Matatu' and tickets are between 10 and 40ksh. The city is quite small and walking is often faster than car due to heavy traffic.