Nairobi Introduction Walking Tour, Nairobi

Nairobi Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Nairobi

Other than safari and wildlife – staple attractions of today's Kenya – Nairobi, the country's capital, is also home to a number of historic sites and other places of interest. The Nairobi National Museum, largest in the city, showcases Kenya's rich through historic, natural, cultural, and artistic heritage. Another prominent museum is the Nairobi Railway Museum. For a more detailed encounter with some of Nairobi's top attractions and landmarks, follow this orientation walk.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Nairobi Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Nairobi Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Kenya » Nairobi (See other walking tours in Nairobi)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 Km or 3.2 Miles
Author: julia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • City Market
  • Jomo Kenyatta Mausoleum
  • Parliament
  • Railway Museum
  • Kenyatta International Conference Center
  • National Archives
  • Khoja Mosque
  • Biashara Street
  • Maasai Market
  • Nairobi National Museum
  • Snake Park
City Market

1) City Market

City Market is a covered market located in the Central Business District. This place is a favorite both with local people and tourists. Here, you will find everything you need - fresh fruit, vegetables and verdure, beautiful flowers, newspapers, clothes, accessories, and fascinating local handicraft such as pretty Masai jewelry, woodcarving, national musical instruments, colored wraps and bright fabrics. And all this at bargain prices.

What to buy here: Tribal Masks.

A warrior mask is usually large in size and painted in bright colors. Or you can go for something smaller, such as an animal-inspired mask. Masks make a great addition to any décor, especially as wall hangings or table pieces. The most common material (and the cheapest) is wood, but if you’re willing to spend more you can get metal, light stone or clay pottery masks. Keep in mind that the more intricate the design gets, the more you’ll paid for it. Painted masks are cheaper than those with added decoration, which can be anything from seeds to horns to sea shells. Masks made especially to be sold as souvenirs can be found for less than U$15, but masks that were used in actual ceremonies are more costly. To tell the difference, look at the inside of the mask and search for signs of wear and discoloration, which indicates the mask was worn before. Try the City Market on Muindi Mbingu Street for the best prices and variety. The Zanzibar Curio Shop on Tom Mboya Street offers more variety, though prices might be a bit higher and you won’t be able to bargain.
Jomo Kenyatta Mausoleum

2) Jomo Kenyatta Mausoleum (must see)

Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was the first president of Kenya. He died in August 22, 1978, of a heart attack and the Mausoleum is the place where his body lies. The mausoleum is situated near the Parliament building. It is guarded night and day and photography is forbidden.

3) Parliament (must see)

Parliament is a very attractive building both for local people and for tourists. There is a clock tower adjoining it. It was built in the 1940s, when Kenya was still a British colony. Here you can learn about Kenya’s political life. You can take a tour of its archives and look through the official documents, agreements and orders. If you want to see how Parliament works, you can be present during one of its open sessions and watch from the visitors' gallery. But bear in mind that applause is forbidden.
Railway Museum

4) Railway Museum (must see)

The Railway Museum is just next to the Nairobi Rail Station and showcases the golden age of rail travel from the now defunct East African Railways. There are plenty of displays of steam and diesel locomotives that all date from the late 19th century to before World War II. The various passenger cars, trucks and rolling stock make for fascinating viewing as they take you back into the past, when travel was a true adventure. At the museum you can also learn about the laying of the railway, as laborers had to overcome extreme conditions and people-eating lions that attacked the camps and put a stop to construction. The museum was opened in 1971 and is today maintained by Kenya Railways. A miniature railway has recently been added to the Railway Museum.

The museum is still connected to the railways and there are often restored locomotives that head out on sightseeing excursions. The current curator of the museum has plans to substantially increase this side of the museum’s operations to bring the locomotive past to life for visitors. The pride of the museum is the Class EB3 2409 locomotive, which has been fully restored to its former splendor and is now fully functional. The Railway Museum is open seven days a week, including most public holidays.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Kenyatta International Conference Center

5) Kenyatta International Conference Center (must see)

The Kenyatta International Conference center is one of Nairobi’s tallest buildings and its 30 stories look out over the central business district. The building was designed to reflect Kenya’s tribal past, while also looking towards the future, and it is the only building in the city with a helipad. It is one of the city’s favored venues for exhibitions, seminars, conferences and events, thanks to its excellent facilities and proximity to high quality hotels. The conference center was built between 1966 and 1973 and was funded by the Kenyan Government it was passed into the hands of the KANU political party, the only legal political party at the time, in 1989, but was returned to the Kenyan people when they were voted out of office in 2003.

There are several venues within the center, the largest being The Plenary, which has a capacity of 5000 people. The Plenary is the largest conference space of its kind in East Africa and it is used for large conferences and balls and features high ceilings and high quality sound equipment, including wireless simultaneous interpretation equipment. The Auditorium has seating for 800 guests over three balconies. The Courtyard features a statue of Jomo Kenyatta along with fountains and a large paved space for relaxation or to host outdoor stalls.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
National Archives

6) National Archives (must see)

The National Archives are kept in a large building along the prestigious Moi Avenue in Nairobi. Although its main task is to preserve all public archives and records, it is also venue for many art and photographic exhibitions in the city center. All exhibitions that are held there are open to the public and attract a nominal entry fee. Visitors to Nairobi will find the permanent exhibition of photographs of different tribes from around Kenya fascinating and well worth a look. There is also an extensive range of paintings from all over the African continent on display. Another exhibition within the archives showcases tribal weaponry, jewellery, masks and other artifacts, providing insight into life within the Kenyan interior.

The struggle for Kenyan independence from Britain is also well documented through photographic and archival documentation on display. The exhibits provide a well-rounded introduction to the people, culture and history of Kenya from antiquity through colonialism, the fight for independence to contemporary times. Exhibitions are held on the ground floor of the archives and the archival reading room is on the second floor. It is housed in a historic Bank of India building.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 5 pm.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Khoja Mosque

7) Khoja Mosque

This amazing building is situated near the main city market. This area is very busy, but that does not prevent you from admiring its grandeur. The beautifully decorated minarets contrast with the Mosque’s interior which is rather plain without any bright decorations or luxurious details.
Biashara Street

8) Biashara Street

What to buy here: Kikois and Khangas | Maasai blankets.

-Traditional Maasai blankets (also known as “Shukkas”) are made of either cotton or wool and are perfect for cozying up on the couch back home or as bed covers or even picnic blankets. To the Maasai, the blankets constitute a very important piece of clothing, worn draped across the shoulders. Buying a blanket at a local Maasai market is probably the best idea, as you’ll get something more authentic and probably not mass produced. A traditional Maasai blanket is red blended with one other color, usually blue or black. Biashara Street is the place to go to for shukkas at bargain prices. A basic blanket should not cost more than U$4, but prices can go up if you’re buying a blanket with a special design, batik applications or an extra-large size. The Karina Emporium Limited on the first floor of the Yaya Centre also has blankets, but these are machine-produced, which means better quality and softer materials, but also less authenticity.
Maasai Market

9) Maasai Market

A wonderful place that impresses mainly with its brightness and colors. Every Tuesday art works of the Maasai tribe are sold here. Charming bead work, colored Maasai wraps, jewelry, African statuettes made of black wood and many other fascinating things you can buy as a gift or souvenir. But you should remember that Maasai goods are usually overpriced and that you should bargain with the sellers.

What to buy here: Spears.

A Maasai spear has a major role in the social and religious standing of a warrior. They are handcrafted using wood and adorned with colorful charms, leather thongs and carved wood accessories. The traditional Maasai spear is made up of three sections: the grip, the spear head and the metal butt of the head. All three pieces are held together by hardened wax. If you’re checking yours into your luggage, you can get a spear that comes without the added wax, so it can broken down into 2-3 pieces for easy carrying. Depending on the material, quality and whether the spear was made for a warrior (which makes it more expensive) or directly to sell to tourists, spears can go for anywhere between U$30 and over U$500. Traditional spears made by the Maasai people are sold at a number of markets, including the large Maasai Market on Slip Road. Smaller Maasai markets are mobile, which means they can be found in different areas of the city depending on the day you go shopping. On Saturdays and Sundays, there’s a market on the High Court Parking at the City Square Down Town. On Sundays there’s also a market at the car park outside the Yaya Shopping Centre. The upper car park at the Village Market in Gigiri hosts a market on Fridays.
Nairobi National Museum

10) Nairobi National Museum (must see)

The Nairobi National Museum is approximately 10 minutes from the city center on Museum Hill. It has been the leading museum in Kenya since it began life in 1910 and officially opened in 1929. The Nairobi National Museum was originally called the Coryndon Museum and was renamed after Kenyan independence in 1963. The large museum boasts an extensive collection of natural history, cultural artifacts and modern art. In 2005 the museum was extensively remodeled and extended, and the result is a world class venue that showcases the diversity of Kenya’s ethnology, history and rich heritage. The gallery of Kenyan Ethnic Communities has many pieces by acclaimed artist Joy Adamson.

As well as the fascinating permanent displays, there is a dynamic calendar of events that features temporary installations, seminars and workshops open to the public. Next to the museum there are beautiful botanical gardens, featuring a large range of locally created statues, which can be explored alongside your visit. You can also find a wing of the museum with shops, restaurant and cafe facilities to add to the experience.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Snake Park

11) Snake Park (must see)

The Nairobi Snake Park is one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations – since 1961 the park has been a leading animal attraction as well as research centre for reptiles and snake breeding. The centre now also acts as a rescue centre for all kinds of reptiles and amphibians. In 2008, the park underwent a major refurbishment and extension, and now features an impressive range of exhibits, talks and interactive displays with harmless animals. Some of the most popular attractions at the park are the crocodile feeding sessions and octopus exhibit. There are now audio-visual exhibits included at the park to ensure that you leave knowing a whole lot more about these often feared and misunderstood African animals.

Some of the creatures that you can expect to see at the Snake Park include: giant snails, baboon spiders, crocodiles, Mombasa train millipedes and plenty of snakes, frogs and birds, too. At the rescue and rehabilitation centre you can see animals that have been abandoned or confiscated as part of illegal collections, as well as those that have been found injured. The Nairobi Snake Park is open every day of the year from 9am to 5pm.

Walking Tours in Nairobi, Kenya

Create Your Own Walk in Nairobi

Create Your Own Walk in Nairobi

Creating your own self-guided walk in Nairobi is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Souvenir Shopping Walk

Souvenir Shopping Walk

It would be a pity to leave Nairobi without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Nairobi, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Nairobi Center Walking Tour

Nairobi Center Walking Tour

Nairobi is Kenya’s capital, the largest of the country and the fastest developing city on the continent. The life of Nairobi is mostly concentrated in the Central Business District. Here are situated the highest skyscrapers of the country with hundreds of offices. This is a busy place; nonetheless you can find many spots where you can unwind and relax. Here are some very beautiful parks. Check...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 Km or 3.4 Miles
Nairobi Skyscrapers and Modern Buildings

Nairobi Skyscrapers and Modern Buildings

Nairobi is quite a new and developing city and it has a lot of places of interest. One thing that is worth seeing is the Nairobi skyline with its skyscrapers. These high glass glittering buildings are really fascinating. Most of them are located in the Central Business District of the city which is where you can find the highest buildings in eastern and central Africa. Check out the highest...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

16 Uniquely Kenyan Things to Buy in Nairobi

16 Uniquely Kenyan Things to Buy in Nairobi

Be it a quality read or a quality watch that you fancy most, either way you probably heard of the "Out of Africa" book (by Danish author Isak Dinesen) or the same title Oscar-winning movie, starring Meryl Streep & Robert Redford, shot in Kenya. And if you have, chances are that one day...