Nairobi is the capital and the largest city of Kenya. It is situated near the Nairobi River, and is considered as one of the biggest and busiest city centers in Africa. The name of the city was taken from the Eastern Nilotic “Enkare Nyirobi,” which means “cool waters.” The city is populated by more than three million people, and the official language is English and Kiswahili.
What to see & do
Nairobi National Park – set on the city's southern outskirts, the Nairobi National Park (one of Africa's smallest) is Kenya's most accessible safari available. It is the only national park on earth that borders a capital city, and has unperturbed wildlife (e.g. rhinoceros) that just doesn't care about living near the hustle and the bustle of Kenya's Nairobi. The park is also called “Kifaru Ark,” a testament to holding and successfully tending to the densest concentration of black rhinoceros in the world. Along with the rhinos, lions, hyenas, gazelles, warthogs, zebras, giraffes, ostriches, and buffaloes may also be seen here, along with approximately 400 species of birds. We can't blame Kenyans from being very close to nature and caring for their wildlife, so let us just enjoy the convenience (being so near to Nairobi!) when visiting the place.
Giraffe Centre – the Giraffe Center (Centre) is one of Kenya's good news conservation stories. In 1979, Jock Leslie-Melville (Kenyan grandson of a Scottish earl) and his wife Betty began raising a baby giraffe in their Langata home. At the time, there are no more than 120 of the same species, which is quite alarming and is very near the extinction stage. The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife was just recently set-up then, but through efforts, the baby giraffe and its 120 other family members came to and has now doubled (number stands at 300) its population. Some even were successfully released into the Lake Nakuru National Park, the Mwea National Reserve, the Ruma National Park, and the Nasalot National Reserve. The giraffe center and its facilities remain and is now a popular destination for those who want to encounter the lovely animals up close. Visitors can observe, hand-feed, or even kiss one of the giraffes from a raised wooden structure – a novel experience to be tried out here.
National Museum of Kenya – the national museum of Kenya is housed in an imposing building amid lush, leafy grounds just outside the city center. It houses a good range of cultural and natural history exhibits, along with life-size fiberglass model of pachyderm celebrity Ahmed, the massive elephant who became a symbol of Kenya at the height of the 1980s poaching crisis.
How to get around
Nairobi has notoriously bad traffic during rush hours, and much of the city grinds to a halt. Every bad driving habit too, is practiced, so if planning on renting cars, be sure to pack some patience and prudence. If not up for some stress-induced heart attack, you may just utilize the public transport system in the city, which includes taxis and buses (locally called matatu). Walking during the day is fairly easy, but not advised during the night due to the increasing number of thugs.
How to get there
The Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta International Airport serves as the main airport of the city and of the country. It is located south-east of the Nairobi central business district, and is served by various commercial airlines, including Ethiopian, Air France, Air Kenya, British Airways, Egypt Air, Etihad Airways, Fly Emirates, Kenya Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Swiss International Airlines, and Turkish Airlines. Kenya Airways dominates the airport here, serving regualr direct flights throughout Europe, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region.
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