A visit to the Kenyan capital provides a chance to see some of Africa's finest wildlife, learn about the country's tribal people and splash some cash at the City Market.

1. Foster an elephant

Visit the orphaned baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. At 11am each day (for one hour only) members of the public are allowed into the elephant enclosure to watch the cute baby pachyderms guzzling milk from a bottle (below, bottom centre). Keepers provide informative and entertaining talks about the animals' behaviour, while the curious baby elephants entertain the crowd with their antics. The trust is a not-for-profit organisation established in 1977 after the death of David Sheldrick, a naturalist and warden at Kenya's Tsavo East National Park. In the past 30 years David's wife, Daphne, has built a reputation as a wildlife authority. Her persistence led to the discovery of an elephant milk formula that has saved hundreds of orphaned elephants. Entry is free but donations of 300 Kenyan shillings (HK$35) are encouraged. The trust also runs an animal fostering programme. See

2. Kiss a giraffe

At the Giraffe Centre ( a platform allows visitors to stand at eye level with the centre's resident Rothschild giraffes. The giraffes are used to human contact and will eat peanut pellets out of your hand or mouth (below). Inside the centre is an educational display about the various subspecies of African giraffes and the areas where each group is most commonly found. The Rothschild Giraffe is an endangered species threatened by hybridisation (or interbreeding) with other giraffe subspecies. Next to the giraffe centre, Giraffe Manor ( offers English country-house style accommodation with giraffes peering through the bedroom windows.

3. Carnivorous pursuits

Kenya's most famous nyama choma (barbecued meat) restaurant, Carnivore, is consistantly voted one of Africa's top eateries. At the entrance is a huge barbecue pit stacked with beef, pork, lamb and chicken on swords. Waiters in animal-print uniforms bring them to the tables, carving chunks onto diners' plates (below right). The restaurant also serves exotic meat, such as camel, ostrich and crocodile, but new laws have taken zebra, hartebeest, kudu and other wildlife off the menu. With your bloody feast, enjoy a glass or two of dawa, a classic Kenyan cocktail made at the table by the dawa man, who carries a wooden tray with the required vodka, sugar, lime and honey. See

4. City views

Gaze over the city and suburbs from the viewing platform at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, named after Kenya's founder and first president, Jomo Kenyatta. The facility, with its cone-shaped dome and 30-storey tower, stands out on the Nairobi skyline and is a fusion of contemporary and traditional African architectural styles. See

5. Culture and history

For a dose of learning wander through the National Museum, with its galleries of Kenyan artefacts and stuffed animals. The gardens are dotted with a variety of sculptures, including a life-sized model of Ahmed, the elephant that became an icon at the height of the 1980s poaching crisis. Ahmed was a bull elephant with enormous tusks, each weighing about 67kg. In 1970, to protect Ahmed from poachers, Kenyatta placed him under 24-hour guard, under which Ahmed remained for the rest of his life. The poaching crisis led to an international ban on the ivory trade in 1989 and the elephant became a fully protected species. Volunteer guides offer museum tours in English. See

6. City safari

Pull on your khakis and head off on safari. Nairobi is the only place in the world with a wildlife park that has a backdrop of skyscrapers. Accommodated on the southern outskirts of the city, the animals in Nairobi National Park are unperturbed by speeding matatus (public minibuses) and landing jets. There is a good chance of spotting gazelles, warthogs, zebras, giraffes, buffalos, lions, cheetahs and leopards. The landscape is a mixture of savannah and swamp and the park delights in a number of black rhinoceroses. For a guided safari, contact Abercrombie & Kent (

7. Out of Africa

The Karen Blixen Museum conjures images of the movie Out of Africa, which starred Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. The museum is located in the farmhouse where Karen von Blixen-Finecke, the Danish baroness and coffee planter who wrote Out of Africa, the book, lived from 1914 to 1931. It is surrounded by splendid gardens and is located in the suburb of Karen, which was named after its most famous resident. Blixen wrote under the alias Isak Dinesen. A short drive down the road from the museum is the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden Restaurant and Cottages, with cottage-style accommodation and five indoor and outdoor dining areas. See

8. Tribal culture

Shake your hips and move your lips to the rhythmic music of the tribes. The Bomas of Kenya is a cultural centre that illustrates life in the bomas, or villages, of several Kenyan tribes and is the place to go to meet representatives of those tribes (below, top centre), who come from across the country. Musical, cultural and colourful dance performances are held every day.

9. City Market

Load up with souvenirs at the City Market on Muindi Mbingu Street (open from Monday to Friday, from 9am until 5pm, Sundays from 9am until 1pm). The market is packed with carvings, scarves, masks and bags. You'll find yourself pestered by vendors and are likely to come out draped in beads.

10. Flock to the flamingos

A day trip from Nairobi can take you to Lake Magadi, a mineral-rich soda lake to which pink flamingos flock in their thousands. The flamingos are able to nest in safety because the lake is surrounded by extensive salt flats, on which predators cannot survive. Lake Magadi provided a spectacular backdrop for scenes in the movie The Constant Gardener.