Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is easily overlooked as a mere jumping-off point for safaris or trips to climb Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro, both of which are visible from the city on a clear day. However, while your flight to Nairobi might be just the beginning of an epic adventure in Kenya, the capital itself it well worth exploring.
Nairobi National Park's location, just 4 miles from downtown, means you can hand-feed giraffes in the morning, meet orphaned elephants in the afternoon, and retire to Nairobi hotels at night. The only game reserve in the world within a major city, the park's setting makes for such memorable images as zebras grazing with Nairobi's skyscrapers as a backdrop. The park is also notable as one of few places in the world where you can see black rhinoceroses in their natural habitat. Nairobi Safari Walk, a raised boardwalk offering views over 27 acres of savanna, forest, and wetlands, gives you the chance to see some of the park's 100 mammal species. Visit the Giraffe Centre to hand-feed giraffes from a special platform. At the David Sheldrick Trust, see orphaned baby elephants and rhinos as they prepare for release back into the wild. Hotels in Nairobi give you access to other local attractions, including the Nairobi National Museum, dedicated to the history and culture of Kenya; and the Karen Blixen Museum, the historic home of the "Out of Africa" author.
Nairobi is a multicultural city with restaurants representing many international cuisines. Indian and Chinese restaurants are particularly plentiful. A Colonial holdover found at some of the city's fancier establishments is an English-style high tea. For a true taste of Kenya, find vendors at the Kenyatta Market offering nyama choma. This fire-roasted meat – generally beef, chicken, or goat – is served family style with simple sides. A cold, locally brewed Tusker beer is the perfect accompaniment.
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