With direct flights from Amsterdam, London, Paris and even New York, Nairobi is the logical arrival and departure point for many East African safaris in Kenya and beyond. While Nairobi is more famous for its congested traffic than its tourist attractions, there’s plenty here to keep you occupied — and even delighted — for a night or two before or after your safari.
If you’re in the city for 24 hours or less, it’s a good idea to focus your energy on the Karen neighborhood, a leafy suburb around 40 minutes from the airport.
STAY: Our two recommended hotels in Nairobi are both in Karen. Giraffe Manor, which has exploded in popularity in recent years due to social media, is famous for its resident Rothschild’s giraffes that join visitors for breakfast, poking their heads inside the hotel. You may need to book a year in advance or more to guarantee a room at this 12-room hotel that consists of a historic mansion and a newer wing, but fortunately the nearby Hemingways Nairobi, our other recommended hotel, has beautiful suites and an internationally inspired restaurant serving European, African and South Asian cuisine. (Plus, the gift shop at Hemingways is a great place to buy chic safari gear.) The 45-room property delivers top-notch hospitality with a boutique sensibility.