If for some reason you have an 8 hours of unplanned free time in Nairobi, don’t use your time cursing and grudging. After you take care of all the practical things (like new boarding card, or meal voucher, or any care vouchers), then you may leave the airport and head to the city.
Nairobi National Park
The Nairobi National Park would be my first choice to spend the time with. It is only about 7-8 kilometers from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Look for the tourist information desk who can help you rent out a safari vehicle that will take you to the park. At the park, you can visit one or all three campsites. If you feel more like walking, there is also a trail ready for tourists.
There are over 100 mammal species and over 400 species of birds so make sure you have enough battery on your camera or your mobile phone. They even have the black rhinoceros, which is an endangered species. For more information and prices, check out their website here.
Capital Centre Nairobi
If you have just been to a safari, then the national park will probably not appeal as your first choice. Why not hang-out at the city’s huge shopping center, The Capital Centre. If you happen to be there on a Wednesday, the shopping center hosts a market featuring Masai hand-made goods from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The shopping mall is only 13 kilometer from Nairobi airport. You can arrange for taxi also at the tourist information desk. Depending on what time of day, you can get there in no time, or you may have to be patient with the traffic.
Karen Blixen Museum
About 10 kilometers from the city center, you can visit the Karen Blixen Park. If you saw the movie Out of Africa, then you have seen this place. Danish Baroness Karen was married to a Swede, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke. The original size of this property was 4500 acres. The museum takes you back to the life of this couple when they lived in Kenya.
Not too far from the Karen Blixen Museum is the Giraffe Center. If you are like me, and could not get enough of giraffes, then this place is recommended. Unlike on safari where you don’t know if you’ll see one or not, here, you can see them everywhere.
The center has a goal to educate everyone on conservation efforts of the giraffe. The bulk of their operating funds come from entrance tickets of guests like you and me. Because of this, they are able to educate the Kenyan youth for free. And you get to see the giraffes up close and personal.
I don’t want to give too many choices because you might end up using more than 8 hours and then you won’t be able to catch your flight. Do enjoy your lay-over and hope that this post will help you decide what to do in Nairobi if you have hours extra time at the airport.