Whispers about realisation of Julius Nyerere’s East African integration dream into one borderless region, are making rounds in our country – Uganda. The concept of freely traveling through Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania the way you travel from Kampala into another district without a stopover for visa-checks and approvals is definitely tantalizing.
What best way to enjoy this freedom but by learning more about these East African countries? A lot of the region’s citizens have not gone past the borders of their home country, yet it is not expensive to.
A good example would be when traveling from Uganda to Kenya; a bus from Kampala to Nairobi is estimated at UGX 80,000/- and you pay the same pricing coming back depending on what bus you use.
If you are a first timer in Nairobi and want to enjoy the city as much as you can, what do you do?
First off, if you plan on having a busy day 1 in Nairobi, it is important that you book your accommodation prior. For a seamless experience, it is best to book online with platforms such as Jumia Travel or if you have family in the city, plan with them for accommodation, not forgetting to organize for bus station pickup. Catch the evening bus at 7pm which will reach Nairobi at an estimated time of 6am the following day.
After a few hours of well deserved rest, start off your itinerary, having planned on what you will be doing for your holiday in Nairobi.
It is always best to learn more about your new environment, to make it easy for you to access the city. Learn some of the best footpaths you can use back to your hotel or home. If you will be using public transport; note that buses are the best mode of transportation since boda bodas (motorcycles) are not allowed in the Central Business District, which has helped decongest the city though you might find them along the roads.
Look around to know the city streets and where they lead to, which is best done on foot with a guide. The city usually has citywalk tours conducted daily to help first time visitors get acquainted with Nairobi; join them and bring a camera along.
Nairobi National Park
Known as the ‘World’s Wildlife Capital’ Nairobi rules with the serene beauty bestowed by the Nairobi National Park, which lies in the backdrop of the city’s iconic scrapers; bringing a sense of wild beauty to Nairobi.
The Park is home to a variety of wildlife that include
; leopards, rhinos, giraffes, cheetahs among many others. There are buses that take the route leading to the park so it is not hard for you to access it. You can also have the hotel help find you a guide to ease your exploration.
Slum tourism has risen higher than anticipated around the world and there’s no better way to see it first hand than visiting one of Africa’s largest slums located in Kenya. Just right out of the city centre, you will find Kibera with so many shanty makeshift homes for thousands of people who call it home. Nairobi is a metropolis growing at a very fast rate and with that comes many cons to it, which will always include areas like slums no matter how much effort the concerned authorities make to create cheaper housing. It is best to have a guide with you and carry nothing that can be easily snatched off from you.
Why move all the way from Uganda and not pass by one of the largest open air restaurants in Kenya? The Carnivore, as its name states, would not be good for you if you are a vegetarian, since all you will find is meat and more meat. The most intriguing would be crocodile meat which most people are quite curious about, they serve game meats including ostrich and buffalo. These exotic delicacies might take a little by an estimate of 60, 000 UGX but then again, nothing worth experiencing comes easy.
Day five in Nairobi should be when you rest up and get ready for a wonderful night ahead, our neighbours next door are as hyped about their nightlife as Ugandans are, so expect an array of nightclubs to choose from or maybe head straight to a bar near you and sip a cold beer or two. The most common places include: Havana, Club Cubano, Klub House, K1, New Florida Club, Pavement among many others. You will find the clubs setting similar to those in Kampala, with DJs mixing music and drinks flowing through the night depending on how much money you have. You are advised to carry a copy of your passport just in case of any emergencies.
Shopping At The Maasai Market
If you are looking for unique statement pieces made by local artists, do not go further than the Maasai market and no, it is not run by the Maasai tribe. You will find different craft pieces and if you have a knack for languages; make sure to speak in Kiswahili or the prices will automatically hike up. Bargain as hard as you always do in Luganda and make sure to not easily part with your money before examining the merchandise properly.
Nairobi is a buzzing city that you will need to visit more than twice to get the full feel of it. It grows by the day and you cannot exhaust it in a week; there are restaurants to visit, parks to walk through and people to meet.