Nairobi is Kenya’s capital city. In addition to its urban core, the city has Nairobi National Park, a large game reserve known for breeding endangered black rhinos and home to giraffes, zebras and lions. Next to it is a well-regarded elephant orphanage operated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Nairobi is also often used as a jumping-off point for safari trips elsewhere in Kenya.
Kibera Slum Tour
Located on the outskirts of the city center, Kibera is the largest urban slum in Africa. It is home to more than a million Kenyans from every national tribe. The ethics of slum tourism tend to divide opinion, but generally tours are meant to benefit the local community and fund social projects designed to better the lives of those living in Kibera. It is also an eye-opening experience for visitors, who may otherwise only see the side of the country presented by a luxury safari itinerary.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
At the main gates of Nairobi National Park, this orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program is a must-see for animal lovers. Daphne Sheldrick founded the project in 1977 in memory of her late husband David, a former warden at Tsavo East National Park. The center cares for young abandoned elephants and rhinos and works to release the animals back into the wild. You can commune with these lovable creatures as they frolic in the mud and drink from giant baby bottles.
Bomas of Kenya
About 10 kilometers from Nairobi, Bomas of Kenya is a living museum celebrating the colorful tribes of Kenya. This is a great place to learn about the lifestyle, art, music, crafts, and culture of each tribe. The complex encompasses a recreated traditional village with homesteads or bomas, each one reflecting the culture of a major ethnic group. Every afternoon, a team performs traditional dances and songs in the large theater.
Kazuri Bead Factory
The Kazuri Bead Factory and Pottery Center is a good stop for those interested in local crafts. The ceramic beads, pottery and leather goods are all handmade by disadvantaged women. “Kazuri” means “small and beautiful” in Swahili and was chosen by the founder when she started the company with just two Kenyan employees in 1975. The factory now employs more than 400 women, most of them single mothers. Factory tours show the process of firing and glazing the beads, and take about an hour in total.