Cheap Flights to Nairobi, Kenya
- Area City : 696 km² (269 sq mi)
- Area Codes : 020
- Currency : Kenyan Shilling (KES)
- Population City (2009) : 3,138,369
- Official Language : Swahili, English
- Time Zone : EAT (UTC+3)
- Airports : Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Tourists going on African safaris to Nairobi in Kenya can fly with numerous airlines to the ‘safari capital’ of Africa, touching down in Nairobi at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Planning months ahead afford cheap flights to Nairobi and receiving regular travel newsletters often affords one-day specials and many others that you might’ve otherwise missed. Airlines flying direct from South Africa to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport are:
• South African Airways
• Kenya Airways, and
• FastJet flights.
Other airlines flying to ‘Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’ include:
• Ethiopian Airlines
• Qatar Airways
• LAM flights
• Air Mauritius
• Turkish Airlines
• RwandAir flights, and
In addition to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi Wilson Airport has flights landing from carriers:
• Airkenya Aviation
• Safarilink Aviation
Reasons to Visit Nairobi
- Capital of Kenya and its largest city, Nairobi is deemed the safari capital of Africa, often used as the starting point by tourists going on safari. Its metropolis, sprawled across the African plains, is a bustling, modern city pulsating with life, day and night.
- Situated on the River Athi in southern Kenya, it has the Ngong Hills to its west, Mt. Kenya north and Mt. Kilimanjaro south-east, (visible on a clear day) with its infamous Nairobi National Park, the only game reserve located within a major city.
- Nairobi is the heart of the country’s business industry with Nairobi Securities Exchange being one of the largest in Africa and the second oldest in Africa. The city comprises thousands of Kenyan businesses and over a hundred principal international companies.
- The city was initially founded in 1899 as a rail depot for the Uganda Railway but with rapid growth, soon replaced the capital Machakos in 1907. During the country’s colonial period, Nairobi was the hub for sisal, tea and coffee.
- The city has affordable and fine dining restaurants, bars and nightclubs and a range of super hotels including basic hostels like the Nairobi Youth Hostel with dorms and private rooms. The Wildebeest Eco Camp and Bush House provide dorms, private rooms and camping facilities, perfect for students or families. There are also fully furnished apartments located in secure locations but may cost more than you anticipate.
Places to Visit in Nairobi
- On its doorstep, the Nairobi National Park known for breeding black rhinos is home to tall, graceful giraffe with zebras, lions and plenty more.
- Adjacent to the Nairobi National Park is the Giraffe Centre, a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing conservation education to school children and Kenya’s youth with all programmes offered free of charge. The centre obtains most of its funding from entrance fees, the tea house and gift shop sales so tourists are contributing to this worthwhile cause while enjoying their visit. The giraffe breeding platform gives a wonderful close encounter with these stunning animals and the Nature Sanctuary provides visitors with a variety of trees, birds and butterflies in natural tranquillity with lovely views.
- A worthwhile day trip from the city is to Hell’s Gate National Park situated north-west of Nairobi and south of Lake Naivasha. The park has breathtaking scenery with gorges, towering cliffs, volcanoes and trails of geothermal steam. Its home to a variety of wildlife and flora with more than 100 species of birds. Wonderful walking or biking safaris can be taken to view zebra, gazelle, giraffe, eland, African buffalos, hartebeests, baboons including augur buzzards, swifts, Verreauxs eagles and vultures while the rare lammergeyer vultures, the Chandlers mountain reedbuck and klipspringer antelope have also made home here. With facilities for campers, visitors have a unique experience under an African night sky with unusual animal sounds from all directions.
- The Nairobi Arboretum founded in 1907 is a 30.4ha wooded landscape close to Nairobi that’s beautifully lush with rocky pathways but very popular so it can get crowded.
- A must see is the Jamia Mosque, spectacular with stunning architecture in typical Arabic Muslim style, its located in Banda Street and is the country’s largest and most important mosque. It held an historic event of Christians joining Muslims for Friday prayers on the 18th September 2015.
- The Roman Catholic Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family was built in 1904 with a capacity for 300 to 400 people and was the first stone building in Nairobi. The current building was designed by Dorothy Hughes in 1960 with features of abstract stained glass and seating for 3,000 to 4,000.
- A visit to the Bomas of Kenya affords a wonderful cultural experience, displaying wonderful huts made from mud, traditional Kenyan homesteads and a rich culture experience of 42 different Kenyan ethnic groups that live their everyday lives. Visitors are treated to traditional dances, song, music and folklore with acrobatic shows performed in a splendid arena.
- The Ngong Hills that overlook the Great Rift Valley is perfect for outdoor activities such as walking and hiking trails with some easy and hard climbing. Visitors have wonderful vistas of Masai land from the tops of the hills and over weekends there are plenty of people traversing the area.
- The national Karen Blixen Museum located at the foot of the Ngong Hills is the former residence of Danish author, Karen Blixen who lived there from 1917 to 1931. Well known for her book Out of Africa that gives an account of life on the farming estate, it was later made into a movie.
- Men and boys will thoroughly enjoy visiting the Nairobi Railway Museum located in City Square with exhibits from the obsolete East African Railways and answers to questions regarding Kenya’s history of rail transport. The museum comprises the Main Gallery, the Resource Centre, the auditorium and a wonderful collection of locomotives, coaches and wagons in an outdoor collection.
- The Jambo Kenya Delux train to Mombasa is a wonderful relaxing journey that affords travellers marvellous vistas of sunrises, sunsets, vast open land and wildlife.
- The Elephant Orphanage just a 30-minute drive is a must for any wildlife lover and especially those who value elephants. Managed by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, rescued baby elephants are taken care of 24/7, quite an endeavour. Between 11h00 to midday the elephants are brought out by the keeper to a cordoned off area and it’s during this period that visitors are left in awe with much laughter as the elephants play, roll about in mud and water and send up clouds of red sand. And for a living memory, visitors can adopt and name their elephant for an annual donation with an adoption certificate, information on their elephant and updates on their elephants well being.
- Paradise for travelling golfers is Muthaiga Golf Club, one of the country’s top golf courses set in beautiful verdant surroundings. After your game, work out in the gym, enjoy a soothing massage, relax in the lounge or bar or enjoy a fabulous meal in the restaurant.
Getting Around Nairobi
Traffic in the city is hectic and congested, especially during peak periods and its sometimes quicker to walk than drive.
The country’s bus system is reliable with a service to and from the airport but has no official terminus. Buses are found in the River Road area.
Matatus are brightly coloured painted 14 to 18 seater minibuses and shuttles, 6-seater cars. They’re the most popular and cheapest means of transport that travel between suburbs, the city and tourist destinations in the Rift Valley and Central Highlands. They’re generally safe to use although often overcrowded but don’t display your wallet or cell phone. Located in the River Road area, its best to hire a taxi to get you there.
Normally marked with a yellow line on each side of the vehicle, taxis are not cheap or well maintained and used mainly for getting around the city at night. They don’t cruise for passengers but are easily found on street corners and at night, outside nightclubs, bars and restaurants. Always agree on a set price before departing which is payable afterwards. Recommended companies are Jatco Radio Call or Kenatco Taxis.
Costing a lot less is a boda boda, a motorcycle taxi, convenient to get somewhere fast. Also found on street corners, many people prefer finding one through an app for safety reasons.
Tourists driving themselves can hire or collect their pre-booked vehicles or 4x4s at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or in the city from Avis, Europcar, Budget, Sixt and others
Tourists have two main routes by train, from Nairobi to Mombasa or Kisumu.
The Jambo Kenya Delux train departs from Nairobi Railway Station three times a week travelling east to Mombasa. 1st, 2nd and 3rd (general) classes are available with 1st class having two seats per cabin, 2nd class four seats with gender separation unless the entire compartment is booked. 1st and 2nd class tickets include bedding, breakfast and dinner but tickets can be purchased excluding bedding and food. These classes cost more than the bus, but 3rd class is less.
The Kenya-Uganda operator Rift Valley Railways affords long-distance rail services to the Greater Nairobi area and primary cities transporting around 500,000 passengers each month.
Travellers wanting to see the whole country on limited time benefit from flying domestically with one of many domestic airlines like Air Kenya or African Express Air that fly to Mombasa, Kisumu, Malindi and Eldoret and also charter smaller aircraft for minor towns.