Like I mentioned in my Finch Hattons camp post, we flew from the U.S. into Nairobi and stayed there for one night before heading out to Finch Hattons and Mahali Mzuri. On the back end of our trip, we got to spend a full day in Nairobi, exploring the city and surrounding area, before heading back to the States. Today I’m sharing all of our Nairobi adventures – where we stayed, what we did, where we ate and what pretty souvenirs we picked up to bring home 🙂 If you’re planning a trip to Nairobi or are interested in a little virtual vacation, today’s post is for you!
How To Spend 24 Hours In Nairobi, Kenya
Where we stayed: Hemingways Nairobi
We love, love, loved our stay at Hemingways Nairobi and after some seriously long-haul flights, it was well worth it to drop our bags for the night here on our way in. Each room is named after a prominent figure in Nairobi’s history and we happened to be in the Beryl Markham Suite. I loved this, because Beryl was a British-born Kenyan aviator, adventurer, racehorse trainer and author. She was the first person to fly solo, non-stop across the Atlantic from east to west. She wrote about her adventures in her memoir, West with the Night.
The Tin Roof Cafe was a recommendation by our driver after finding out my love of health food and holy moly – it was SO TASTY! It seems like Nairobi’s version of a Starbuck’s, because there were quite a few people there working and it seemed like a place ex-pats like to hang out. The food was reasonably priced and delicious.
The Talisman came as a recommendation from a woman we met who works for the U.S Embassy in Kenya and she stressed that we order the DAWA drink. Okay so, it was freaking amazing! We ended up getting there early (about 5:30PM) and the place was already filling up. It’s a very, very popular spot in Nairobi. Each table comes with its own mini-fireplace heater and has a very unique vibe. We loved it. The Dawa drink, a mixture of vodka, lime juice and honey garnished with a lime wheel and a ‘Dawa Stick’ to stir the honey, means medicine in Swahili. Supposedly it is the alcoholic beverage that cures all. I’m still dreaming of a way to make it myself at home! We also shared a few appetizers and they were full of flavor and filled us up. Highly recommend ordering multiple pieces of the feta and coriander samosas!
Visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust came highly recommended to us and we had adopted an elephant ahead of time – Dololo! Because of this, we were able to go to a private feeding of them around 4PM and learn more about what the trust is doing to preserve wildlife in Kenya. It’s absolutely incredible what they are doing. I left feeling so inspired, and of course, grateful to see our little guy 🙂
Here is Dololo, still quite young and skittish around the other babies.
Where we shopped: Utamaduni Artisans of Africa, Kazuri Beads, and a few roadside stands right outside the Karen neighborhood. Shopping in Nairobi was definitely a highlight for me, because everything is just so beautiful and thoughtfully crafted.
The artists that call Kenya home are absolutely incredible. The basket weavers, wood craftsman, bead painters, sculptors..I could go on and on. It never stopped amazing me seeing the talent that goes into every single piece of work that is produced. I loved so many different things, but wound up bring home several baskets and a beaded Christmas ornament. We are not big souvenir buyers, but adding a couple thoughtfully selected pieces for home decor is a priority on our trips. If you’ve ever been to our house, you know that our biggest souvenirs are the photos we take framed nearly everywhere you turn! But to be honest – I couldn’t say no to the baskets!
It felt like our time in Nairobi zoomed by at the speed of light and it’s definitely a city we would like to return to sooner rather than later! Have you visited Nairobi? If not, do you have any desire to go there one day?