The 7 Day Nairobi Travel Itinerary and Guide
The Best of Nairobi in One Week – A Travel Itinerary
This 7 Day Nairobi and Surrounding travel itinerary is designed keeping the following factors in mind:
- Fly in and Fly Out from Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Airport
- Hire a car or book a car and driver (Nairobi roads can be hazardous)
- Have 8 days in your hand
Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya. It is a buzzing, hustling, vibrant, gritty and chaotic place. It sits in the Kenyan highlands on top of the Great Rift Valley. Populated by colonists in the 18th for its cooler climate, the rains and fertile highlands made it a prime spot for European settlers who suffered under the scorching African sun.
Nowadays Nairobi is no longer a sleepy village, it is the third-largest economy in Africa and the city is expanding at a huge rate. Everywhere you will see tower blocks emerging, restaurants and bars being opened, and swarms of tourists heading to world-famous sights. But Nairobi isn’t a city of ancient architecture and pristine plazas. Nairobi is famous for its animals. And it is the only city in the world with a National Park in the city bounds. Nairobi is also one of the destinations that is perfect for both – a family vacation as there are lots of things to do with kids in Nairobi, most of which are mentioned in this Nairobi Travel Guide as well ; or a budget backpacking holiday ! For some really amazing budget travel hacks for Nairobi and Kenya, do check out this Kenya Budget Travel Guide !
Nairobi National Park is 100 sq km right in the city where wild animals are free to roam and to come and go as they please. 4 of the big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo) are in the park, elephants had to be relocated due to human-wildlife conflict. In Nairobi, animals aren’t just confined to the park, you see giraffes on the way to work, warthogs on the school playing fields and monkeys in your garden.
Animals and humans coexist in a way that is special and unique to this vibrant African city.
Day 1 – Nairobi
Land at Jomo Kenyatta International airport, make your way to your accommodation in the leafy suburb of Karen. Karen is on the outskirts of Nairobi, close to the wildlife points and filled with many fabulous shops and restaurants.
Relax by the pool, take a walk in Ololua Forest and have dinner at the unbeatable Talisman restaurants. If it’s a Friday you’ll find locals dancing to the local DJ until the early hours of the morning. The best way to kick off your epic trip to Kenya and Nairobi.
Day 2 – David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Giraffe Manor
Start the Day 2 of your epic 7 day trip to Nairobi, by visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. This charitable organisation rescues orphaned elephants from all over Kenya and Tanzania and rehabilitates them before returning them to the wild. Visit DSWT to meet the most adorable baby elephants, spend time getting to know them and meet their keepers and trust owners who will happily share information on the work that the trust does.
Stop for lunch at craft centre Utamaduni.
Visit the Giraffe Centre and Sanctuary. This charity rescues the endangered Rothschild Giraffe and provides them with a place of safety in the sanctuary. Visit the Giraffe Centre, meet the giraffe and feed them by hand. Get up close and personal to these gentle giants on raised platforms. Although these are wild giraffes they are used to visitors.
Day 3 – Safari at Nairobi National Park
The third day of this 7 day Nairobi Travel Itinerary is reserved for a full day safari at Nairobi National Park.
The park may be small but it packs a punch; lion, leopard, hyena, cheetah, rhino, hippo, crocodiles, jackals and many more live in the park. As traditional corridors are open and animals are free to come and go, you have the opportunity to see most Kenyan wildlife here, except for elephants. There are various habitats across the park, from savannah to marsh, rivers and lakes to dense woodland. Stop for lunch at the KWS clubhouse and stay in the park for the full day.
Day 4 – Drive to Naivasha & visit Crescent Island
Naivasha is a thrilling 90-minute drive from Nairobi. The view as you drive down the Great Rift Valley is awe-inspiring; volcanoes rise from the bottom of the rift and eagles soar across its expanse.
Spend the afternoon on a walking safari at Crescent Island. This crescent-shaped peninsula sticks out into Lake Naivasha. The lake hosts vast numbers of hippos, which frequently come onshore at Crescent Island. The sanctuary allows animals free access and you will get the opportunity to walk alongside giraffe, zebra, oryx, kudu, eland, Thompson gazelle, wildebeest, impala as well as buffalo and possibly hyena. Be wary of the hippos, hyena and buffalo.
Day 5 – Naivasha – Hells Gate
Hells Gate National Park is the park on which the Lion King movie was based. A dramatic volcanic landscape of peaks and valleys, caves, rivers and its infamous gorge. Essentially a wildlife sanctuary – the park is largely filled with Kenya’s more friendly animals; Zebra, Hartebeest Thomson’s Gazelle, Klipspringer, Antelope and Reedbuck, although there are buffalo too and the odd Leopard and Lion may haunt the mountains. Hell’s Gate is named for its geothermal activity; hot springs and plumes of scalding steam are a common site and huffing, puffing, belching park that is an experience not to be missed.
Day 6 – Naivasha – take a boat tour and visit Crater Lake
Spend the day on the lake. Take a boat tour and get up close and personal with the hippos. You can tour the entire lake where experienced guides will navigate your stomach clenchingly close to huge hippo families. The lake has amazing birdlife, eagles and herons in huge numbers as well as the fiercely ugly marabou stork.
In the afternoon visit the dormant crater lake volcano. A jade-green lake fills the pit on the extinct volcano. Visit the sanctuary with its many trails up and around the volcano, the park is filled with game and has views all over the rift and Naivasha surrounds.
Day 7 – Return to Nairobi & visit Spinners Web
Return to the top of the rift and back to Nairobi.
Spend your last afternoon shopping for souvenirs at the wonderful Spinners Web. A huge house filled with treasures from all over Africa. Pick up Maasai beads, wooden carvings, woven rugs, reed bowls and vibrant clothing and jewellery. Enjoy lunch in the greenhouse before returning to your hotel.
Where to Stay in Nairobi?
Tourists may prefer to stay in the outer suburbs of Karen and Langata where the Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Centre are situated and there is easy access to Nairobi National Park.
This Cape Dutch-inspired boutique hotel is situated down a quiet lane at one of the most prestigious addresses in Nairobi. Once inside you are spirited away from city life into a world of tinkling streams and nature-filled gardens.
Part of a collection of elite hotels it’s hard to imagine that this grand plantation hotel has only 45 rooms. Its elegance and serenity are unmatched in Nairobi. It houses an excellent restaurant, a sundowner bar with views over the Ngong Hills and an onsite spa and pool.
When to visit Nairobi ?
Nairobi is in the highlands and the weather is considerably cooler than the rest of Kenya. In the long rains – April to June it can become quite cold and the rains can be long and frequent. In the short rains- October to November the rains are more sporadic, often sunny days with rainy evenings and nights. For the rest of the year, the weather is mostly hot and sunny. It can get very warm during the summer months of Dec-March.
Things to Shop in Nairobi to remind you of your trip to Kenya
# Maasai beaded products- animals, bags and jewellery
# Maasai Shukas
# Kanga clothing
# Kikoy wraps
# Aberdares tea
# Carved wooden animals
Summary of the 7 Day Nairobi Travel Itinerary
Day 1 – Land in Nairobi
Day 2 – Explore David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Giraffe Centre
Day 3 – Safari at Nairobi National park
Day 4 – Naivasha and Crescent Island
Day 5 – Visit Hell’s Gate Park, Gorge and Hot springs
Day 6 – Boat tour on Lake Naivasha and trip to Crater Lake
Day 7 – Return to Nairobi + Visit Spinners Web
Day 8 – Departure from Nairobi
We hope you found this 7 Day Nairobi and surrounding Travel Itinerary, to be of help to you, as a reliable Travel Resource for planning your Trip to Nairobi and Kenya. Don’t forget to Pin these images, and save this One Week Nairobi Travel Itinerary, for future travel planning.
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