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Kenya Popular Places to Visit

Nairobi Arboretum

Nairobi Arboretum

Category: Tourist Attractions in Nairobi County

The Arboretum, a 30-hectare green paradise in the city was established in 1907 by Mr. Batiscombe, then Deputy Conservator of Forests, to try out introduced forestry trees for Kenya.

A Guide To Nairobi Arboretum Park

Nairobi Arboretum is a 30.4 hectares of wooded landscape, an oasis close to the heart of the city situated in the Kilimani area, about 3 km from city centre and adjacent to the State House. It is bounded by the Kirichwa Kubwa River, Arboretum Drive and Kenya Girl Guide Headquarters. It is one of Nairobi’s few remaining green spaces, It has shaded walkways, picnic lawns and jogging trails.

 

The Nairobi Arboretum was established in 1907 by Mr. Batiscombe, then Deputy Conservator of Forests, to try out introduced forestry trees for Kenya. It was gazetted as a national reserve in 1932 and in 1996 a title deed issued by Commissioner of land designating it as a public owned reserve. It was a trial plot for fast growing exotic tree species, to meet the high demand of fuel wood required for the newly constructed Kenya- Uganda railway line and thus help save Kenya’s indigenous forests.

What to see in Nairobi Arboretum Park

Nairobi Arboretum is holding over 350 species of indigenous and exotic plants, most of which are labelled, home to over 100 species of birds, and a significant population of Sykes and Vervet monkeys.

Nairobi Arboretum – Trees

is a dry forest type of vegetation. It holds a large collection (over 350 species) of indigenous and exotic of trees, shrubs and grasses from tropics and throughout the world. Its diverse vegetation includes a variety of mature trees and woody shrubs. The tree inventory identified and recorded trees with trunks over a diameter of 15 cm, but many small saplings and woody shrubs were not included. The collection includes a mix of both indigenous and exotic plant species originating from all parts of the world.

The trees have, however, been randomly planted to no obvious plan: mixtures of exotics of different genus and origin being interspersed with indigenous species. The creation of thematic planting exhibits in any chosen location will, therefore, be problematic and it is suggested that further study is undertaken to survey the smaller trees and shrubs, to analyze the tree collection and to expand the data collected in the tree inventory study.

Much of the existing vegetation is overgrown and in need of pruning, thinning and removal (in the case of dangerous hanging trees and branches). Little maintenance work has been carried out in recent years and weed species (for example Lantana and Furcraea) have, in some areas, taken over the under storey layer, suffocating more fragile species. Considerable selective clearance and pruning work is therefore urgently required to prevent further loss of species. After clearing, consideration should be given to planting unrepresented species to be led by FONA, KFS and NMK.

Local people have many uses for selected plants which grow in their area, including the trees. Tree uses include timber, medicine, poison, food flavouring, edible fruit, leaves, seeds, oil, soap, carving, fodder, walking sticks, hedges, stuffing for bedding and many other uses. In addition, almost every tree can provide firewood, still the most commonly uses fuel in most Kenyan households. Many trees are multipurpose, for example, the yellow flowered Markhamia lutea, “Muu” in Kikuyu, seen easily in the Central Lawn. The tiny winged seeds disperse easily and germinate easily so have been planted to provide mulch, fodder, firewood and a windbreak. It grows fast and coppices well but, if left to maturity, it provides a good general purpose timber.

Nairobi Arboretum – Birds

There are many birds seen in the Arboretum where over 100 bird species have been recorded. Some of the most notable ones are the most common birds to be seen in the Arboretum with relative ease in different habitats.

Other birds include the African black duck, Variable sunbird, Olive thrush, Baglafecht weaver, Speckled mouse bird, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Bronze manikin, White-eyed slaty flycatcher, Hadada ibis, Red-eyed dove, African goshawk, Little sparrow hawk, African harrier hawk, Bronze sunbird, Silvery-cheeked hornbill, Grey-olive greenbul, Narina trogon and African goshawk, various types of weaver birds, etc.
Some of the rare forest-dependent birds recorded include the Grey wagtail migrants from Europe and the Eurasian cuckoo and the Willow warbler from Asia.

Bird ringing is regularly carried out in the Nairobi Arboretum by the Ornithology Section of the National Museums of Kenya. This involves capture of birds in mist nets, then tagging and then releasing them. This exercise, over time, has provided valuable scientific data.

Nairobi Arboretum – Butterflies

Among the harder to -see, forest-dwelling species the arboretum is particularly rich in butterflies. Butterflies are the adult stage of an insect, and feed solely on nectar provided by flowers, or on rotting materials. The Golden Piper, Green-banded swallowtail (Papilio phorcas), and Green-veined charaxes (Charaxes candiope) are common. Many butterflies live in open, sunny areas exhibiting a variety of colours. One of these you may see in the Arboretum is the African migrant (Catopsilia florella).

Nairobi Arboretum – Reptiles

Jackson’s three-horned chameleon (Chamaeleo jacksonii) may be seen in the arboretum, and only occurs naturally in Kenya and Tanzania. Another common Nairobi chameleon is the High-casqued chameleon (Chamaeleo hoehne). Another group of lizards that may be seen in the arboretum is the skink family.

Nairobi Arboretum – Mammals

Two monkey species may be seen in the arboretum, the Vervet monkey or Black-faced guenon (Cercopithecus aethiops) and the Sykes’ monkey (Cercopithecus mitis).There are fewer Sykes’ monkeys in the arboretum than vervet. The vervet has a black face, with greyish-white fur around the face and on the chest and underside. The upper side is yellowish­-grey, with grey legs and a long, black-tipped tail. By contrast, the Sykes’ monkey is generally dark grey with a distinct white throat, chest patch and a reddish back.

Other mammals, including the Greater galago, fruit bats, mongooses and squirrels, may also be seen in the arboretum. These are mostly nocturnal animals unlikely to be seen during the day.

Nairobi Arboretum now hosts over 300 species of exotic and indigenous tree species. The arboretum also has over 100 species of migrant and resident bird species in addition to Sykes and Vervet monkeys.

What to do at  Nairobi Arboretum Park

Nairobi Arboretum is also a popular recreational park for city residents, who come looking for tranquillity, to take long walks, hold picnics or to commune with their God. Large groups often come on weekends for team-building activities and games in the central lawn at the park, while love-birds enjoy spending romantic moments in its secluded spots. Runners also love to jog around the Arboretum’s forest trails.

Activities available

 
  1. Learning about trees
  2. Resting
  3. Bird Watching
  4. Butterfly watching
  5. Running
  6. Picnicking
  7. Corporate events
  8. Concerts
  9. Team Building
  10. Weddings
  11. Religious activities

There are special areas available for hire for special events and group activities

How to get to Nairobi Arboretum Park

The Nairobi Arboretum is situated 3km from the city centre. Its close proximity to the city centre makes it easily accessible on foot. To get to its main entrance, get onto State House Road near St Andrew’s Church, go past St Paul’s Cathedral, YMCA Nairobi Central, University of Nairobi Halls of residence, and past the Arboretum Drive junction. At the point where State House road makes a sharp left turn, take the little road that goes straight ahead. The Nairobi Arboretum main entrance is about 300m ahead. There’s also a car park at the main entrance for vehicles.
Another entrance to the Nairobi Arboretum is on Arboretum Drive in Kileleshwa.

Getting there and around

Public Transport: board matatu no.48 Kileleshwa route from Odeon matatu terminus and alight at Shell. Walk to the pedestrian gate which is about 100 metres from shell.

From CBD, one can chose to walk via Nairobi university way then to state house road up to the Arboretum main entry. It’s approximately 3 kilometres.

By private transport: Take the arboretum drive or University way and use the road next to Compuera academy, next to state house Gate C. Follow the road then take the next right turn to Arboretum main enrty.

Taxi hire from town would be approximately 500 Kenyan shillings.

There is a guidebook available for purchase at 600 Kenyan shillings to help one get around the forest citing key areas too.

Visiting hours
Entry tickets can be purchased at the point of entry between 6:00 am and 6:30 pm.

 

Nairobi Arboretum Park Entry Requirements

What to wear and carry

Comfortable walking shoes or trainers, drinking water, binoculars, camera and wildlife books especially for birds and butterflies.
Important things to remember when visiting Arboretum forest:

  • Enjoy yourself; in addition to seeing, pause and listen regularly.
  • Stop to allow wildlife to move off the tracks before you pass.
  • Do not feed wild animals.
  • Do not start fires in the forest.
  • Do not take away animals, animal products, plants or plant parts.
  • Do not mark or deface tree stems, stones and other features.
  •  Avoid unnecessary noise as it disturbs both wildlife and other visitors.
  • Take all the litter that you brought away with you.
  • Keep to the designated tracks and paths when walking and always be sure of where you are headed to or coming from as orientation in forests can be difficult.
Nairobi, Kenya

Uhuru Park

Uhuru Park

Uhuru Park is a recreational park adjacent to the central business district of Nairobi, Kenya. It was opened to the general public by the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta on 23 May 1969. It contains an artificial lake for people to go boat riding, several national monuments, and an assembly ground which has become a popular skateboarding spot on weekends, catering to Nairobi’s growing skate scene.
Apart from skateboarding, the assembly ground is used for occasional political and religious gatherings.
For Picnic Lovers, Uhuru Park provides the ideal setting, with the option of buying snacks from food vendors dotting various corners of the park’s walkways.
In 1989, Wangari Maathai and many of her followers held a protest at the park, attempting to stop the construction of the 60-storey Kenya Times Media Trust business complex. She was forced by the government to vacate her office and was vilified in parliament, but her protests and the government’s response led foreign investors to cancel the project.

In August 1996, a group led by a Catholic cardinal and Archbishop Maurice Michael Otunga burned a heap of condoms in Uhuru Park.
Uhuru Park was the scene of a bomb blast in June 2010, which killed six people and left over 100 people injured. The attack targeted a “NO” campaign rally for the forthcoming constitutional referendum.

Nairobi, Kenya

National Archives

Housed in the old Bank of India building, the National Archives spotlights Kenyan tribal culture as well as the country's art, history, and politics. The main floor gallery displays historical documents and a collection of photographs. Paintings and artifacts from the collection of Joseph Murumbi, one of Africa's most famous collectors, dominate the exhibits. The second floor houses more art, a display of postage stamps, and the National Archives reading room, which is used for personal and professional projects.

Address: Moi Avenue, Nairobi

Nairobi, Kenya

Ngong Hills Forest

Ngong Hills Forest

"Ngong" means "knuckles" in Maasai, a fitting name since these beautiful pointed green hills resemble the back of a fist facing the sky. They are a popular place to visit close to Nairobi and provide a welcome respite from the city heat. The hills are the peaks of a ridge overlooking the Great Rift Valley, and many white settlers established their farms here in the early colonial days. Half-timbered houses and flowering gardens remain, but seem more suited to southern England than Africa.

Several walking trails traverse the hills offering beautiful views of the valleys below. Wildlife is also visible in the area. Buffalo, gazelles, giraffes, bushbuck, the occasional klipspringer, and troupes of baboons are often glimpsed grazing along the roadside. For Out of Africa fans, the grave of Denys Finch Hatton, the lover of famous Danish author, Karen Blixen, lies on the eastern slopes, graced by an obelisk and garden.

Ngong hills forest is located in the northern tip of Kajiado County and it’s about 25Km from Nairobi city. The forest covers an area of 3077.6 ha. It is managed by Kenya Forest Service (KFS). 

 

Flora

The vegetation of Ngong hills forest includes exotic and indigenous tress for example pine, cypress(Exotic)sandal wood, Acacia, croton (Indigenous) mainly determined by altitude, soils type and human utilization of the land. Grazing, forest fires also determine the spatial variation in vegetation cover. 

 

Fauna

The forest is known to host a variety of animals which includes: buffaloes, wild pigs, porcupine, and dik-diks.These animals are residents of the forest and their movement is usually determined by factors such as drought, water availability and forage availability. 

 

Areas of special interest

•High points for installation of communication masts.

•30 wind energy generation power sites.

•Tourism attraction sites due to its vantage point and associated scenic beauty.

•High altitude sports training and hiking areas.

•Religious retreat sites.

•Panoramic views of the Great Rift Valley and Nairobi city from the summit.

•Beautiful grounds for hire

 

Activities

•Hiking

•Picnics

•Camping

•Viewing

•Religious activities i.e. prayers

•Team building

•Weddings  

 

Getting there and around

Public Transport: board matatu no.111 from railways matatu terminus and alight at Ngong town which  is about two kilometers to Ngong entry point, so one can chose to either walk, or take a bodaboda that will cost ksh.100  

For Corner Baridi entry point board matatu no.112 from railways matatu terminus and alight at Kiserian town which is about two kilometers to Corner Baridi entry point. One can chose to either walk, or take a bodaboda.

 

Private Transport:

Taxi from Nairobi city centre to Ngong entry point is approximately -Ksh 2000

Taxi from Nairobi city centre to Corner to Baridi entry point is approximately - Ksh 2500                                                                      

Taxi from Ngong town to Ngong entry point is approximately Ksh -500 

Taxi from Kiserian town to Corner Baridi entry point is approximately Ksh-500

                

Visiting hours

Visiting time is from 8.00am to 5.00pm and entry tickets are found at entry points. Those wanting to make visits earlier than this time can make arrangements to obtain tickets a day before.

 

NB: Those hiking up to the peaks require to be accompanied by KFS Rangers for security.

 

What to wear and carry

Comfortable shoes or trainers and loose fitting clothing for hikes and mountain climbing

Warm clothing for those visiting the energy generating power site.

Cary a camera, binoculars and drinking water

 

Climate

The short rains fall between October and December, and the long rains fall between March and May. The annual rains are strongly influenced by altitude with the mean annual rainfall varying between 400mm and 1200mm per annum

 

Important things to remember when visiting Ngong Hills Forest

 •Enjoy yourself; in addition to seeing, pause and listen regularly. 

• Stop to allow wildlife to move off the tracks before you pass. 

• Do not feed wild animals.

• Do not start fires in the forest. 

• Do not take away animals, animal products, plants or plant parts. 

• Do not mark or deface tree stems, stones and other features. 

• Avoid noise as it disturbs both wildlife and other visitors. 

• Be careful as animals here are wild and can be dangerous. 

• Take all the litter that you brought away with you. 

• Keep to the designated tracks and paths when walking and always be sure of where you are headed to

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi Railway Museum

Nairobi Railway Museum

The Railway Museum in Nairobi celebrates the rich history of the railroad in Kenya and its impact on the nation's development. Among the museum's fascinating collections are train and ship models, photographs from the original construction of the Uganda Railway, railway magazines, maps and drawings, and a silver service set used on overnight trains to Mombasa. A collection of steam locomotives and rolling stock are also on display, including a model of the MV Liemba, built by the Germans and still in use along Lake Tanganyika. A favorite exhibit is the carriage used during the hunt for the Maneater of Kima in 1900. Captain Charles Ryall, a colonial officer, positioned himself in the carriage to shoot a man-eating lion; unfortunately he fell asleep and was dragged out the window by the lion.

The railway museum is situated at the north-west end of Nairobi station and can be seen from the Uhuru Highway where it crosses the main line. The museum was established in 1971 by the then East African Railways and Harbours Corporation to preserve and display relics and records of the railways of East Africa from their inception to the present day. In addition to the collection of steam locomotives and rolling stock, there is a large display of smaller exhibits and models.

The Museum is still rail-connected, allowing restored locos access to the main line for working steam excursions.

With the privatisation of Kenya Railways, the Museum and exhibits have been transferred to the guardianship of the National Museum of Kenya. The curator of the museum is now Maurice Barasa, an anthropologist by training and who brings expertise in museum management. His father was a stationmaster on Kenya Railways, so he has a family connection with his new duty. He is keen to see more steam tourist trains and will have meetings with Rift Valley Railways in due course, about making formal arrangements for steam operation and promotion.

 

Opening Times: 0845-1645

Normally 7 days a week, including most Public Holidays

Nairobi, Kenya

Kenyatta International Conference Centre

Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC)

Named for the Republic's First President, Jomo Kenyatta, the distinctive cylindrical Kenya International Conference Centre (KICC) is an internationally acclaimed venue for conferences, meetings, and exhibitions. Though not the tallest building in Kenya, it dominates the skyline with a 28-story tower overlooking a large amphitheater. Its pale terracotta façade recalls the color of traditional African huts, and the central plenary hall resembles the ancient Roman Senate. You can zoom up to the rooftop viewing platform and admire panoramic views over Nairobi, or enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants.

Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) is a State Corporation established under the Tourism Act 2011 whose objective and purpose is to promote the business of Meetings, Incentives travel, Conferences and Exhibitions also known as MICE. KICC is the largest Convention centre in Eastern Africa with the capacity to hold a large number of delegates. Our largest room, The Tsavo ballroom has the capacity to host over 4000 delegates. KICC boasts of state of the art all round facilities such as simultaneous interpretation Equipment (SIE) with the capability of translating upto 7 languages, a modern business center, banking facility, Expansive grounds, ample and secure parking. The center has been revamped and refurbished over the years. The renovations at the center have seen the rebranding of meeting rooms and a large percentage of the facility to reflect the great diversity of Kenya’s tourist attractions. The center is PAD friendly with ramps that go throughout the center making it accessible to all our guests. The Kenyatta International Convention Centre has well trained and professional employees who are happy to help and give you a world class experience. We look forward to serving you soon!

Nairobi, Kenya

Kazuri Beads Factory

If you are looking for some unique souvenirs and gifts for family and friends, the Kazuri Beads Factory is a great place to shop and help out disadvantaged local women at the same time. Kazuri means "small and beautiful" in Swahili, and these shiny, brightly-colored beads surely fit the bill. Join a free factory tour and see how local women, including many single mothers, make the beads and other pottery items from scratch. After the tour, you can purchase some to take with you, knowing you are purchasing from a World Fair Trade Organization member. Prices are relatively reasonable. This is a great tour to combine with a visit to the Karen Blixen Museum, as the factory lies right nearby.

Who they are

CERAMIC BEADS JEWELLERY & POTTERY HAND CRAFTED IN KENYA.

Kazuri, which means “small and beautiful” in Swahili, began in 1975 as a tiny workshop experimenting in hand crafted ceramic beads.

Its founder started with two single motherhood women and soon discovered that there were many others in the villages around Nairobi, most of who were disadvantaged and were in great need of regular employment.

Today Kazuri has grown tremendously and now has a large workforce of over 340 women skilled in the crafting of ceramic beads, strung into beautifully and artistically jewelry.

The flair has taken us to a different dimension of making our own unique range of pottery which reflects the culture and wildlife of Kenya. Each piece, like our beads, is handmade and hand painted in rich colors.

Their Mission

Is to provide and sustain employment opportunities for disadvantaged members of Kenyan society, especially Single Motherhood women and in order to achieve this, we must produce top quality Ceramic Jewelery and Pottery. This will also ensure that we are well equipped to compete and be recognized in both the local and international market.

Their Vision

Is to be recognized in both the local and International market as a top Brand of Hand crafted ceramic producer.

Our Brand is well established worldwide as we export over 60% through a network of distributors all over the world.

They are a member of World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)

 

Nairobi, Kenya

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.

Bomas of Kenya was started by the Government of Kenya in 1971 as wholly owned subsidiary of the Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC) the Company was established to Preserve, Maintain and Promote the Rich Diverse cultural values of various ethnic groups of Kenya and to act as a tourist attraction centre thus Bomas of Kenya is expected to preserve the authenticity of the Kenya’s Cultural values and to portray them in the pure form.

With the current growing interest in cultural heritage, growth in cultural tourism has increased a positive worldview of the importance of cultural resources as a tool for creating economic development while preserving cultural resources. As the premier institution in cultural resources preservation and management, Bomas of Kenya is bound to play a bigger role in the development and promotion of cultural tourism in Kenya.

Performances

Experience the rich diversity of Kenyan traditional music and dance in our daily cultural performances. Our repertoire consists of over 50 dances from different ethnic communities. With live percussion, string and wind instruments, and diverse, authentic and energetic dancing, BomasHarambee Dancers will take you on a journey through Kenya’s past and present.

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi National Museum

The National Museum in Nairobi is an educational way to spend a few hours on a city stopover. The museum displays diverse cultural and natural history exhibits including more than 900 stuffed birds and mammals, fossils from Lake Turkana, ethnic displays from various Kenyan tribal groups, and exhibits of local art. In the Geology Gallery, you can explore an impressive collection of rocks and minerals and learn about tectonic plates and the life cycle of a volcano. The Hominid Vault contains a collection of prehistoric bones and fossils, including the preserved fossil of an elephant. At the museum, visitors can purchase combination tickets, which include entrance to the adjacent Snake Park with live specimens of Kenya's most common reptiles.

Nairobi, Kenya

Karen Blixen Museum

One of Nairobi's top tourist attractions, the Karen Blixen Museum, at the foot of the Ngong Hills, is the former home of the famous namesake Out of Africa author. Karen Blixen, also known by her pen name, Isak Dinesen, lived in the house from 1917 to 1931, where she ran a coffee plantation. Today, you can tour the well-preserved colonial farmhouse, a kitchen in a separate building, a coffee-drying plant in the woodland, and an agricultural college on the grounds. Furniture that belonged to Karen Blixen and her husband is on display, as well as photographs and books owned by Karen and her lover, Denys Finch Hatton. Enthusiastic guides bring the story of Karen Blixen and colonial Kenya to life.

Nairobi, Kenya