The capital city of Kenya offers compelling contrasts to the visitor. Nairobi thrives on principles of spontaneity and it is rare to see the same thing twice as you walk through the crowded city streets. Nairobi is the heartbeat of East Africa and is well worth exploring on a visit to Kenya. Pulsating through the veins of this city is the vibrancy that flows in Africa. There are many tourist options to explore such as The Giraffe Centre, Daphne Sheldrick’s orphanage for baby elephants and Nairobi National Park. With the surge of economic development that has taken place in Nairobi in recent years the city has so much more to offer than simply the traditional tourist options. With a population of around four million, Nairobi is home to a wave of educated young people who are exploring every entrepreneural enterprise imaginable. This has ignited cultural experiences including fashion, arts, music and food. Coffee shops abound selling freshly brewed Kenyan coffee and serving a combination of Western and African food. Java House is a popular coffee shop that is spread throughout Kenya and serves as an office space for many enterprising Kenyans who conduct meetings and develop business strategies from the shops. Matatus are a popular form of public transport in Nairobi. These brightly coloured mini busses pulsating from the beats blaring inside operate routes both in Nairobi and its surrounds. Uber has become a thriving business and is easily accessible throughout the city.
Founded in 1370, this Islamic island on the coast of Kenya Is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lamu is one of the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa. The fusion of Omani, Persian, European, Indian and Bantu influences make Lamu an exotic blend of cultures and the food is simply amazing. Buildings combine Islamic and traditional African architecture, many with open style Moroccan rooftops where tourists and locals love to gather and watch the sun set. There is only one official car on the island, so the mode of transportation is either on the back of a donkey or for longer coastal distances on a traditional Arab sailing dhow. Winding through the Old Town along cobblestone streets with their whitewashed walls and Zanzibar style wooden doors takes you back hundreds of years. A walk along the foreshore brings alive the sights and founds of the Swahili fishermen discussing their daily catch and local fruits promise a delicious glass of fresh juice at the end of the day. Flights leave Nairobi daily for Lamu and time permitting it is a must see place on a visit to Kenya.
Kenya is world famous as a safari destination. With an abundance of parks and experiences to choose from, a safari in Kenya is an absolute dream come true. Safaris range from budget to luxury camping and no matter what type of safari you choose, you are guaranteed to fill the pages of a book with the stories you will come away with.
Kenya offers a wide array of markets to delight the senses. Walking through any town or city, the familiar site of traditional fruit and vegetable markets with their strategically positioned tomatoes and potatoes balancing on top of each other is all too common. Handicraft markets that sell traditional fabrics, handcrafted wooden items, baskets, jewelry, masks, drums and anything that can be crafted is found all over the country.
Prices of items in markets are never written so one needs to ask the specific price. At this point, the seller may automatically expect you to buy that product and will take great delight in haggling with you for even hours. It is important to recognize that this is part of a market sale and not to be offended by any part of this interaction. In fact, as you engage your seller, you can ask lots of questions about them and Kenya and come out with a whole new knowledge.
Nairobi is developing itself as a cosmopolitan city and as such there are some tastefully designed pop up markets in clubs and malls offering elegant, cultural and unique handicrafts that are feeding the developing an entrepreneurial spirit. This creates income and provides the visitor with some amazing gifts and ideas to take home.