Karen Blixen Museum at the foot of the Ngong Hills outside Nairobi.
Once was the house of Karen Blixen (pen name Isak Dinesen) famous for her autobiography 'Out of Africa’ She lived here from 1917-1931.
Karen Blixen Museum
10kms from centre of Nairobi on the way to Ngong.
Google map: bit.ly/hoNUIZ
A green and pleasant oasis, acres of gardens, country house architecture, and good food. Family-run proves far better than the usual chain product. Just ignore the rotary club gatherings and remember it's the 21st century.
Just west of the city centre in colonial residential area,Fairview Hotel,Bishops Road,PO Box 40842,Nairobi
This is an organisation that saves orphaned elephants and rhinos, and rehabilitates them out into the wild. They also run community outreach programmes, a desnaring project and mobile veterinary unit.
You can visit the centre daily in Nairobi National Park. The visit will allow you to get up close to these magnificent animals and see them play.
Sponsoring an elephant or rhino costs $50 US per year. You can sponsor an elephant via: www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org
Near the Karen area of Nairobi.
Mailing address: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust P.O. Box 15555 Nairobi Kenya
If you need to spend a day or so in Nairobi in between safaris or are waiting for connecting flights, then you can make your stay in Nairobi an experience rather than a stop-off.
At Ngong House you can stay in one of five luxurious treehouses raised 15ft off the ground with views out over the Ngong Hills. They also have a driver on hand so you can visit some of Nairobi's attractions such as the giraffe sanctuary, elephant orphanage and
Karen Blixen Museum.
www.toescapeto.com Tel: 020 7060 6747
Outside of Nairobi it is almost impossible to use either a Maestro, Mastercard or travellers' cheques if you are not in a four or five-star lodge.
You really need US dollars in high ($50 or $100) new (post-2003) bills or a visa debit or credit card to use the ATMs. Even Barclays bank outside of Nairobi won't accept Mastercard.
This is a great introduction to one of Africa's most glamourous animals. They pose like supermodels and the wardens are extremely knowledgeable. On top of all that, you get to feed the giraffe at their head height which is a breathtaking experience.
Giraffe Centre, Karen, Nairobi
The overnight train from Nairobi to Mombasa is one of the world’s classic rail journeys as well as a rare colonial gem.
An old diesel pulls out of both stations simultaneously at 7pm and dinner is served immediately — the waiters trying not to spatter soup on their tunics, or you. The rattling of the carriage rocked me to sleep immediately, but make sure you wake early for sunset to see animals on the savannah if you’re coming up to Nairobi or the Manugu plains as you descend to the coast and Mombasa.
After the cool of Nairobi and the highlands, when you disembark in humid, tropical Mombasa it feels like you’ve arrived in a different country.
To stay for a couple of nights for a fairly cheap price, I don’t think you can do much better than the Heron Court Hotel. Anything cheaper seems to be a bit nasty, and there is quite a jump up in price to the Norfolk/Stanley etc.
The Serena's burgers are to die for - and you get to eat them sitting by their pool in their beautiful grounds. If anyone can work out the secret ingredient please, please post it on Been there.
Kenyatta Avenue/Processional Way - central Nairobi
Tel: +254 20 282 2000
Tented rooms with private pools and amazing views over the Rift valley. Walking with local guides, canoeing and night drives. Lots of game and no other vehicles around. And revenues are shared with the local villages.
A thirty-minute private charter flight from Nairobi
Persuade a taxi driver to take you up into the Ngong Hills. The view over the Rift Valley is exactly as it should be - stupendous. The land simply drops away and the sight of the vast valley made me feel as though I was on the edge of the world.
On the way you can take in the tranquil house of Karen Blixen (Out of Africa).
Finch Travels is an eco company that organises individual safaris and adventure trips to accommodate your requests and supports community projects. My daughter and I have just returned from the holiday of a lifetime. We specifically wanted to see elphants, visit a friend and some community projects. The groups are small, maximum 6/7. Our trip was just 2 and we were the envy of other tourists. We were accompanied all the time by a guide and driver, our vehicle being a Land Cruiser. Each day was planned but could be altered if we wished. Lodges and hotels were top of the range. I cannot recommend this experience enough, it was incredible.
Finch Travels Ltd
Off Ngong Rd
P.O. Box 177-00517 Nairobi
Tel +254 020 2725502
If you have a few hours to spare in Nairobi, step outside the tourist 'bubble' and see how over 1 million people live in Kibera, the world's second largest slum. Also the location for the film the Constant Gardener, Kibera is a thriving and dynamic community that the Kenyan government refuses to put on the map. This isn't an exercise in voyeurism; there are many charities that are keen for visitors to 'learn by seeing'.
Before I went to Kenya I couldn't find Kibera in the usual travel guides but did read that it is 'a dangerous place'. However, research also found some very positive reports and I was encouraged to visit.
My 15 year old son and I visited the Kibera Community Youth Programme (KCYP), in return for $25 contributions to the programme we were given a guided tour of Kibera. We were made to feel very welcome, learned a lot about the community, the challenges faced by young people and the great work that is going into skills development.
Kibera is to the south west of Nairobi, a taxi ride from the city centre. You should arrange your visit in advance. More info and contact details at www.kcyp.kabissa.org. If you plan on going, check in advance if there is anything useful you can take with you, such as books or sports equipment.
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