The Best Day Trips In and Around Nairobi

Discover the Best Day Trips in and Around Nairobi

Welcome to Nairobi, a city with culture, history, and natural wonders. Whether you’re a resident looking for a quick getaway or a visitor eager to explore beyond the city’s hustle and bustle, Nairobi offers a variety of day trip options that promise adventure, relaxation, and a deep connection with nature and culture.

Why Choose Nairobi for Day Trips?

  • Proximity to Wildlife: Nairobi is uniquely positioned near wildlife reserves like Nairobi National Park, where animals roam free just a stone’s throw from urban life.
  • Rich Cultural Experiences: From the Karen Blixen Museum to local Maasai markets, the city’s surroundings offer a deep dive into the region’s heritage and traditions.
  • Diverse Landscapes: Within a few hours’ drive, you can experience everything from the open savannahs of the Masai Mara to the serene waters of Lake Naivasha.

Let’s explore the best day trips from Nairobi, each promising memorable adventure and new perspectives, all within a day’s reach from Nairobi’s bustling city centre.

1. Nairobi National Park: A Wildlife Haven at Your Doorstep

Why Visit Nairobi National Park?

Close to the City: Just a short drive from Nairobi’s bustling city centre, this park offers a quick escape into nature.

Rich Biodiversity: Home to a diverse range of wildlife, including lions, giraffes, and the endangered black rhino.

Bird Watching Paradise: Over 400 bird species have been recorded, making it a haven for bird enthusiasts.

What to Do and See:

Safari Drives: Venture into the park early in the morning or late afternoon for the best wildlife viewing experiences.

Walking Trails: Follow the designated trails with a guide to discover the park’s flora and fauna up close.

Picnic Sites: Enjoy a meal at one of the park’s scenic picnic areas, ideal for families and groups.

Conservation Efforts:

Rhino Sanctuary: Learn about conservation efforts at the park’s rhino sanctuary which focuses on protecting this critically endangered species.

Educational Programs: Participate in educational tours that teach about wildlife conservation and the ecosystem.

Plan Your Visit:

Best Time to Visit: The dry seasons, from June to September and January to February, offer the best wildlife viewing opportunities.

Entry Fees: Reasonable fees for both locals and foreigners, which contribute to the conservation and maintenance of the park.

2. Lake Naivasha and Crescent Island: Serene Beauty and Walking Safaris

Why Visit Lake Naivasha and Crescent Island?

Stunning Scenery: Lake Naivasha is renowned for its beautiful calm waters, surrounded by thick papyrus plants.

Rich Wildlife: The area is a sanctuary for hippos, exotic birds, and other wildlife, providing excellent photo opportunities.

What to Do and See:

Boat Tours: Take a guided boat ride to view hippos up close and explore the scenic shores of the lake.

Walking Safari on Crescent Island: Walk among gentle wildlife like giraffes, zebras, and impalas on Crescent Island, which is free of predators and safe for visitors of all ages.

Bird Watching: With over 400 bird species, the area is a paradise for birdwatchers. Spot everything from African fish eagles to kingfishers.

Conservation and Community:

Eco-friendly Practices: Learn about conservation practices aimed at preserving the lake’s natural beauty and supporting local wildlife.

Support Local: Visits help support the local economy, including community-owned lodges and guides.

Plan Your Visit:

Travel Tips: The best time to visit is during the cooler months, from June to August, when the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities.

Accessibility: Easily accessible from Nairobi, with a drive taking approximately two hours, making it an ideal day trip.

3. Hell’s Gate National Park: Adventure Amidst Dramatic Landscapes

Why Visit Hell’s Gate National Park?

Unique Landscape: Known for its breathtaking scenery, Hell’s Gate features stark rock towers, a deep gorge, and geothermal steam vents.

Adventure Activities: Ideal for thrill-seekers with activities like rock climbing, hiking, and mountain biking through the park.

What to Do and See:

Cycling Safari: Bike through the park and get up close with zebras, giraffes, and other wildlife. Bicycles can be rented at the park entrance.

Hike the Gorges: Explore the deep gorges carved by ancient rivers, featuring small hot springs and geological formations.

Rock Climbing: Tackle Fisher’s Tower, a prominent volcanic plug, which is a popular spot for both novice and experienced climbers.

Conservation Efforts:

Geothermal Energy: Discover how the park utilizes its natural geothermal energy responsibly, contributing to Kenya’s power supply without harming its landscapes.

Wildlife Protection: Efforts to protect and monitor wildlife within the park ensure that natural habitats are preserved for future generations.

Plan Your Visit:

Best Time to Visit: Early morning or late afternoon is ideal for cooler temperatures and active wildlife.

Entry Fees: Reasonable fees apply for entry, activities, and rentals, all supporting park maintenance and conservation.

4. Kiambethu Tea Farm: A Refreshing Escape into Kenya’s Tea Heritage

Why Visit Kiambethu Tea Farm?

Historic Roots: Located just outside Nairobi, this farm offers a glimpse into the history of tea in Kenya, being one of the first tea farms in the country.

Scenic Beauty: Set in the lush countryside, the farm provides a peaceful setting with views of the Ngong Hills.

What to Do and See:

Guided Tour: Learn about the tea-making process from cultivation to cup. The tour includes walking through the tea fields and visiting the onsite factory.

Lunch and Tea Tasting: Enjoy a homemade farm-to-table lunch followed by a tea-tasting session of different varieties produced on the farm.

Nature Walks: Explore the indigenous forest on the property with a guide who will point out the diverse flora and fauna, including resident colobus monkeys.

Cultural and Environmental Impact:

Educational Experience: The farm offers insights into sustainable farming practices and the impact of tea on local communities.

Supporting Local Economy: Visits help support the local economy and the farm’s educational programs.

Plan Your Visit:

Best Time to Visit: The farm is open year-round, but the best time for a visit is during the dry seasons when the paths are more accessible.

Getting There: Kiambethu is located about an hour’s drive from Nairobi, making it an easy day trip.

5. Ol Pejeta Conservancy: A Sanctuary for Conservation and Adventure

Why Visit Ol Pejeta Conservancy?

Conservation Leader: Known for its pioneering work in wildlife conservation, including the protection of rhinos and rehabilitation of chimpanzees.

Rich Wildlife: Home to the ‘Big Five’ (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, and leopard) and the largest population of black rhinos in East Africa.

What to Do and See:

Safari Tours: Explore extensive savannahs with guided tours in 4×4 vehicles, ideal for spotting a wide range of wildlife.

Chimpanzee Sanctuary: Visit the only place in Kenya where chimpanzees can be seen. Learn about the efforts to provide care for these rescued primates.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy
© Renee /

Rhino Encounters: Participate in guided walks that offer a chance to see rhinos up close and learn about the conservancy’s efforts in rhino conservation.

Conservation Efforts:

Innovative Practices: Engage with conservation initiatives such as the use of tracking technology for animal monitoring and anti-poaching efforts.

Community Engagement: Discover how Ol Pejeta integrates community development and wildlife conservation, benefiting local populations.

Plan Your Visit:

Best Time to Visit: Visit during the dry seasons from June to September and December to February for the best wildlife viewing.

Accessibility: Located approximately three hours’ drive from Nairobi, making it suitable for a full-day trip or an overnight stay.

6. Swara Plains Conservancy: A Family-Friendly Wildlife Cycling Adventure

Why Visit Swara Plains Conservancy?

Accessible Wilderness: Just a short drive from Nairobi, this conservancy offers a quick escape into nature without the need to travel far.

Unique Biking Experience: With over 100 kilometers of cycling paths, visitors can ride through savannah landscapes, viewing wildlife like giraffes and zebras up close.

What to Do and See:

Cycling Safaris: Bring your bike or rent one at the conservancy and explore the vast tracks. You might even spot buffaloes or lions, with a ranger available for those who prefer a guided experience.

Bird Watching: The area is teeming with birdlife, making it a great spot for bird enthusiasts to observe a variety of species in their natural habitat.

Picnic Spots: Numerous scenic spots are available for families to enjoy a picnic amidst the beauty of the African plains.

Conservation and Community Impact:

Wildlife Protection: Learn about the conservancy’s role in protecting the wildlife corridor that links Nairobi National Park to other major parks like Amboseli and Tsavo.

Support Local: Visits contribute to the local community, supporting conservation efforts and providing employment opportunities.

Plan Your Visit:

Best Time to Visit: Enjoyable throughout the year, with cooler months (June to August) being ideal for cycling.

Getting There: Located about 40 minutes from Nairobi, making it an easy day trip for those based in the city.

7. Oloolua Nature Trail: A Tranquil Retreat in the Heart of Karen

Why Visit Oloolua Nature Trail?

Natural Sanctuary: Located in the Karen suburb, this hidden gem offers a serene environment, perfect for those looking to escape the city’s hustle.

Rich Biodiversity: Home to an array of flora and fauna, including the indigenous forest and wildlife such as monkeys and various bird species.

What to Do and See:

Forest Walks: Explore the well-marked trails that wind through lush vegetation and scenic landscapes. Ideal for both leisurely walks and more vigorous hikes.

The Waterfall and Cave: Visit the small but beautiful waterfall and explore the cave that was historically used as a hideout by the Mau Mau fighters.

Picnic Areas: Enjoy a peaceful picnic in designated areas, where you can relax and soak in the natural beauty of the trail.

Educational Opportunities:

Conservation Efforts: Learn about local conservation efforts to preserve the area’s natural environment.

Botanical Diversity: Discover the variety of plant species within the forest, with informational signs providing insights into their ecological roles.

Plan Your Visit:

Accessibility: Easily accessible from Nairobi, making it a perfect spot for a half-day or full-day excursion.

Entry Fees: A small entrance fee contributes to the maintenance and preservation of the trail.

8. Karen Blixen Museum and Kazuri Beads: Cultural Heritage and Craftsmanship

Why Visit Karen Blixen Museum and Kazuri Beads?

Historical Insight: The museum, once the home of the famed author Karen Blixen, offers a glimpse into her life and the colonial history of Kenya.

Local Craftsmanship: Kazuri Beads showcases the unique talents of local women, who hand-make ceramic beads and pottery, providing them with sustainable income.

What to Do and See:

Tour the Museum: Explore the well-preserved house where Karen Blixen lived and wrote ‘Out of Africa’. The house features her personal belongings and furnishings from the early 20th century.

Kazuri Beads Factory Tour: See first-hand how the beautiful beads and pottery are made. The tour allows visitors to interact with the artisans and purchase handmade items directly.

Gardens and Grounds: Walk around the expansive gardens of the museum, which offer peaceful views and a variety of flora.

Cultural and Social Impact:

Support for Local Women: Kazuri Beads provides employment opportunities to single mothers and women from underprivileged backgrounds, empowering them through skills training and fair wages.

Preservation of History: The museum plays a crucial role in preserving and educating about Kenya’s colonial past and the impact of its figures like Karen Blixen.

Plan Your Visit:

Best Time to Visit: Open year-round, the museum and bead factory are less crowded during weekday mornings.

Location and Accessibility: Located in the suburb of Karen, just outside Nairobi, easily accessible by road and close to other tourist attractions.

9. The Forest Adventure Centre: Thrills and Nature in Kereita Forest

Why Visit The Forest Adventure Centre?

Adventure Hub: Situated in the scenic Kereita Forest, part of the Aberdare Ranges, this centre is perfect for those seeking excitement close to nature.

Variety of Activities: Offers several outdoor activities including East Africa’s longest zipline, mountain biking, archery, and more.

What to Do and See:

Zipline Adventure: Glide over 2.2 kilometers of forest canopy on six different lines, experiencing breathtaking views and thrilling speeds.

Mountain Biking and Hiking: Tackle trails of varying difficulty on a bike or foot to explore the forest’s natural beauty.

Archery and Paintball: Test your precision with archery or engage in an exhilarating paintball session.

Horse Riding: Enjoy serene horseback rides through designated trails, perfect for all experience levels.

Nature Walks: Guided walks reveal the rich flora and fauna of the area, including rare bird sightings.

Community and Conservation:

Eco-Friendly Practices: The centre emphasizes sustainability and minimal environmental impact in all activities.

Support Local Economy: It provides employment opportunities to the local community and promotes regional tourism.

Plan Your Visit:

Best Time to Visit: Open year-round, the centre offers different experiences each season, with cooler months ideal for physical activities.

Getting There: Approximately an hour’s drive from Nairobi, easily accessible by road for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Conclusion: Discover the Wonders of Nairobi and Beyond

Exploring Nairobi and its surroundings offers a unique opportunity to experience the vibrant culture, rich history, and breathtaking wildlife that define this region of Kenya. Each trip not only promises unforgettable memories but also supports the preservation of Kenya’s natural and cultural heritage. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Nairobi’s day trips are sure to inspire and excite you, each offering a unique story and adventure.

Get Planning: Check out our links to book tours and learn more about each location. Start your adventure today and see what Nairobi and its environs have to offer!

The information provided in this article was accurate at the time of publication. However, it's important to note that dates, times, fees, and other related details are subject to change without prior notice. We will always make every effort to update the information whenever possible.

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