Nairobi is one of the largest cities in Africa and is continuing to grow at a rapid rate. The mix of old and new buildings can be quite a stunning contrast. As one of the main flight entry points to East Africa, it’s worth considering a few days in the city to visit some of the attractions and experience Nairobi’s culture. However, it’s important to note that Nairobi is significantly more expensive than other East African cities.
There are a range of hotels available and it’s smart to check out a few before deciding when possible as the quality can vary greatly within the same price range.
Safety must be considered in Nairobi. Don’t walk or take public buses after dusk. Don’t flash your valuables in plain sight. And don’t fall for the scam artists standing on street corners who offer you a city tour for an extremely low price. As long as you practice normal safety measures, you should be able to enjoy all that Nairobi has to offer.
|Airports||Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO)|
Nairobi has every conceivable food option available. With a large Ethiopian population, some of the tastiest and cheapest eats you can get are Ethiopian in origin. There are also many street stalls, small restaurants and bars that will serve up local dishes for reasonable prices. Most won’t have menus so just ask what they are serving today.
|Budget breakfast||There are street vendors and small local cafes that cater to both local residents and tourists||$2.24 - $4.33|
|Budget lunch||There are street vendors and small local cafes that cater to both local residents and tourists||$3.46 - $6.49|
|Budget dinner||Smaller, local restaurants and bars are great options for a sit down dinner||$5.19 - $8.65|
|Beer .5L||Most East African beer is sold in .5L bottles. Imported beer costs significantly more when available||$1.30 - $2.52|
|Soda and water||Tap water isn’t safe to drink, but you can easily buy water and sodas at any small shop||$0.43 - $0.58|
|Month||High F||Low F||PRECIP (inches)|
The best time to visit Nairobi is normally June through to September. During this period, there is little, if any, rain and temperatures are comfortably warm. Avoiding the long rains which run from March to May will help you to steer clear of flooding in the city and difficulties traveling away from Nairobi. The short rains run from October to December and aren’t the ideal time to visit, but are much easier to travel in than the long rains.
Hotel prices in Nairobi don’t change with the seasons regardless of the tourist industry. The city is full of hotels of all budget ranges, and comfort levels though, so it isn’t hard to find a hotel once you arrive. Taxi drivers aren’t always very helpful and want to at least know which area of the city you would like to stay in before suggesting accommodation options. It’s best to have some general ideas before arriving in the city.
|17.31 - 36.06|
|29.06 - 52.90|
|37.25 - 52.15|
|46.19 - 79.72|
|104.31 - 172.85|
|Hostel Bed||10.28 - 13.22|
Transport options are limited to local buses (called matatus), taxis or car hires. Matatus are overcrowded and have some of the worst safety ratings in the world. Many embassies in the city advise their people to avoid them at all costs. If you do decide to use matatus, keep your belongings on your lap or you will likely be missing some items quite quickly. Taxis don’t have meters so be sure to arrange the cost before beginning your trip. Many hotels will arrange a “reliable” taxi for you, but guaranteed, the price they give you will be higher than if you find your own taxi on the street. Traffic within Nairobi can be atrocious at certain times of day so be sure to give yourself lots of time to travel between destinations.
|Taxi from airport to city center||10.82 - 14.42|
|Public bus from airport to city center||0.36|
|3 km taxi ride in Nairobi||5.05 - 7.21|
|Matatu/bus ride in Nairobi||0.07 - 0.29|