Nairobi: Nairobi is a place of enormous energy, a tireless and thriving bustle of people, and a city of differences. Assorted races, tribes and origins are all a part of its make-up. Rural immigrants and refugees are drawn by the hope of wealth and opportunity, international businessmen are attracted by profitable business prospects, and tourists are promised the makings of the perfect safari. Kenyatta Avenue is the city's favourite tourist image, a broad avenue fringed by trees and flowers that was originally designed to allow a twelve-oxen team to make a full turn. There are several museums and places of interest in the centre, including the National Museum and Snake Park. There are numerous markets selling traditional crafts, especially the appealing Masai market. Just outside of the centre is the Nairobi National Park, and the nearby Bomas of Kenya host performances of traditional dancing and singing. The Langata Giraffe Centre offers visitors the chance to hand-feed the Rothschild giraffes that inhabit the area.Nairobi is also the safari capital of Africa and a good base for travel in Kenya. From here excursions and safaris can be arranged to any of the national parks or reserves in the country.
Karen Blixen Museum: Karen Blixen was a notable Kenyan personality who lived and farmed on the outskirts of Nairobi from 1917 to 1931. Writing under the name Isak Dinesen she authored acclaimed books including Out of Africa which inspired an Oscar winning film of the same name. The main building of the original farmhouse, M'Bogani House, now houses the Karen Blixen Museum and retains much of its original furniture and other photographs and items of interest. The museum is situated in the suburb of Karen, a short drive from the city centre. Those who have seen the much-loved movie, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, may also be curious about the Muthaiga Country Club featured in the film: tourists can visit the original clubhouse, which is still active.
Nairobi National Museum: This hugely diverse museum contains some world-class attractions among its dusty relics and stuffed animals. The facility is home to the great pre-historic finds from the Leakey family, including relics from mankind's earliest ancestors. The most famous fossil in the museum is the skeleton of Turkana Boy, the most complete early human skeleton ever found, at 1.5 million years old (Turkana Boy is officially classified as either homo erectus or homo ergaster). There are also fascinating sections on art, geology, wildlife and local history. The Nairobi National Museum is a nice looking building with lots to offer visitors. It is a great place to learn about Kenya's culture and history and a worthwhile attraction for visitors to the city. Local guides are available at the museum and hiring one is a good idea because their knowledge enriches the exhibits and fills in any gaps there may be in information. Apart from the wealth of artefacts and information in the museum, there are some wonderful sculptures and a herb garden in the grounds, and there is an attached snake park where some of the world's largest and also most venomous snakes are displayed, in addition to other animals like tortoises and crocodiles.
Nairobi National Park and Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage: Nairobi National Park was established in 1945 and is Kenya's first national park. Uniquely situated on the capital's doorstep it is a well-kept, compact and beautiful area of plains and wild bush containing a large number of Africa's best-known animals. Large herds of zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and giraffe roam the plains and black rhino, ostrich, baboons, cheetah, leopard and lions are some of the other photogenic inhabitants. In the park is the Animal Orphanage where sick, wounded and abandoned animals are cared for and rehabilitated into the park, as well as an Educational Centre featuring a Safari Walk. Other attractions include the Ivory burning site Monument and some wonderful picnic areas popular for corporate functions, weddings and the like. Close by is the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, where infant elephant and rhino (orphaned because of poaching activities) are cared for and eventually returned to the wild in Tsavo National Park. The centre is open every morning and visitors can watch the calves bathing in the mud hole and being bottle fed by their human surrogate mothers. Seeing these baby animals playing and interacting with them is a special experience and the Elephant Orphanage is one of the top attractions in Kenya for many visitors.
The Giraffe Centre: Experience giraffes up close and personal at this wonderful centre dedicated to the preservation of the endangered Rothschild giraffe. Not only can you watch them from very close but visitors can experience the rare pleasure of hand-feeding these graceful and gentle creatures from a platform at eye-level with the animals: you can touch them, have them take food out of your hands, or even put a pellet in your mouth and enjoy a sloppy giraffe kiss! The photo opportunities are simply superb. You can also enjoy the nature walk in a lovely area with 160 species of bird and some amazing trees. There are warthogs and giant tortoises to meet as well. This is the single best attraction for children in Nairobi and there are often groups of school kids that come for tours. Guides at the centre give educational talks and answer any questions you may have. Betty and Jock Leslie Melville founded the Giraffe Centre in 1979 to preserve the Rothschild giraffe of which only 120 remained in existence; it is a non-profit organisation and all fees go towards the conservation of these wonderful animals. The manor house on the estate is very charming and a popular venue for weddings and other events.