Nairobi in Kenya
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Prior to entering Kenya, citizens of some countries have to have a visa before entry. These countries are Afghanistan, Jordan, Senegal, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Somalia, Armenia, Mali, Syria, Cameroon, North Korea, Tajikistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Australia and Stateless Persons. If one does not have a visa prior to arrival it can be purchased at the airport. A single Entry Visa costs US $50 valid for three months and a transit visa will cost US $20. If you are only traveling through the country via a connecting flight and will not leave the secure area of the airport you will not need a visa.
Regular flights are operated by Air Kenya and Kenya Airways. Kenya Airways offers a broad range of destinations in Africa and the world. Kenya Airways is the national airline for Kenya, and travels throughout Europe, America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Nairobi’s main airport is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (), which is 15kms from the center of the city. There is also Wilson airport, 11kms from the city’s center, that is for domestic flights throughout Kenya.
The city is also accessible by trains, with daily arrivals and departures at the Nairobi Railway station.
Visitors can also enter Nairobi by road if they are coming from Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia. Immigration should be processed at the land border stations upon entering the country/city.
Kenya’s bus system is also reliable. There are many bus companies that have routes going to and from the country’s different cities, including Nairobi, which is the centre of the bus network.
Entry into Nairobi by boat is of course not possible, however one could certainly arrive in Kenya by boat via Mombasa or Lamu, proceeding by road, air or rail to Nairobi. Immigration should be processed at the port facility.
Be careful getting around Nairobi. Traffic is very bad like any other major city, but if you use common sense and a tour guide preferably you should be able to get where you want.
Taxis are not very cheap, but will make city life easier, and safer, at least at night. Prices should always be set before the trip, and paid afterwards. They can be found parked around hotels and tourist areas. The taxis tend to be marked with a yellow line on each side. Your best bet is to ask a local or at your hotel. Matatus (public minibuses/ commuter buses) are all right for traveling to the suburbs, but the best choice is probably the City Hoppa bus service and of late the revived Kenya Bus Service. Beware of traffic jams on the large motorways, not only in the rush hours.
Walking around Nairobi is fairly easy since the city is small and places are easy to get too. However, there are some areas within the city, that tourists are not recommended to walk around.
Nairobi in recent past has had a severe car-jacking problem, but because of increased police check-points it is marginally safer these days.
When to go
Nairobi has a reputation for thievery. Beware of snatch and grab, con artists, or groups of people following you. The best advice for a tourist is to stay in city centre, know where you are at all times, and pretend you know where you're going (even if you don't). Don't carry large quantities of money or passports on the street, and the general rule is that anyone trying to talk to you (there will be many) is up to no good. Scams abound. In recent years, crime has significantly reduced, though one should still be wary. Apart from the inner city centre, Nairobi dies out at night. Streets are mostly empty, and walking might be scary, but as long as one knows where one's going, things should be all right. The areas north and east of River Road should be avoided, especially if you're not a local!
It is recommended that before tourists come to Nairobi, that they should be vaccinated well in advance (6 weeks) of their trip. The most common recommended vaccines for people traveling to Africa are Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Rabies and Meningitis.
Be careful with the food that you eat. Before eating, make sure that the food is freshly and thoroughly cooked and served hot. Do not eat buffet, re-heated or food that has been exposed to flies. Also avoid seafood, and make sure that your fruits and vegetables have been properly sterilized in clean water. The safest fruits to eat are bananas and papayas. Do not drink tap water or brush your teeth with it. Only use bottled or canned drinks (especially popular brands). Also, do not use ice as it may also be contaminated water, and remember that alcohol does not sterilize a drink.
In Africa you are going to be exposed to yellow fever, dengue fever, other viral diseases, sleeping sickness, filariasis and malaria. When insects are biting you should cover up and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers, socks and pajamas especially when night falls. It is best to use an insect repellent that contains DEET on your exposed skin and clothing. As for mosquito nets, it is best to use a permethrin-impregnated net along with an insecticide such a pyrethrum coils or an electric mosquito killer during the night. And remember to spray your hotel room every evening.
Make sure to drink plenty of fluids (not coffee, alcohol or strong tea) to avoid dehydration. To know if you well hydrated, you body would always produce plenty of clear urine. For most people it takes them three weeks to become accustomed to the heat. Try to avoid plenty of physical exertion and try to stay in the shade and keep cool as much as possible. Increase the amount of salt intake in your food and water. Also, apply a lot of high factor sunscreen, avoid direct sunlight, and try to wear a hat and shady clothing.
The word Nairobi (pronounced /naɪˈrəʊbɪ/) derives from a water hole known in Maasai phrasebook|Maasai (an Eastern Nilotic language) as Ewaso Nyirobi, which means “cool waters“. Nairobi, which was a swamp area, was founded in 1899 and was first a railway camp for the Uganda Railway. The city became Kenya’s capital, which Mombasa was initially, and it also became the capital of the British East Africa Protectorate in 1905. With the spread of plagues in the early 1900s, the town was burnt down and had to be rebuilt. Having a railroad system in the system helped it to have drastic growth, becoming the second largest city in Kenya behind Mombasa. The city of Nairobi also grew due to administration and tourism businesses (mostly big game hunting). The British, who were one of Kenya’s colonizers, set up a port in Nairobi leading to the creation of big hotels primarily for the British hunters. Also, Nairobi has an East Indian community, who are the descendents of original colonial railway labourers and merchants.