Destinations Eastern Africa

5 Fantastic Hidden Gems in Nairobi

Nairobi Gallery
Written by Abraham Odhiambo

Travellers say Nairobi is beautiful, fast paced and pleasant. With wildlife centers, museums and cultural markets, the capital is perhaps the best to visit in East Africa. But touring Nairobi wouldn’t be complete without exploring the hidden gems there.

The green city is known as the Safari capital of the world due to the fact that you can plan a full-blown wild safari there. But this is just the tip of the iceberg as there are many things to do in this city that makes it quite hard to advise where to start.

Some of the common attractions in Nairobi include Uhuru Park, The Carnivore and The Nairobi National Park. Here, we will take you through five fantastic hidden gems in Nairobi that you should explore. If you’re travelling solo or with a group, be assured you’ll create memorable experiences in the capital.

1. Nairobi Gallery

Nairobi Gallery

Nairobi Gallery. Photo/ Art Galore Africa.

Located at the intersection of Kenyatta Avenue and Uhuru Highway, Nairobi Gallery is one of the hidden gems in Nairobi. The old antique-like building came to being in 1913. It was then known as ‘Hatches, Matches and Dispatches’ because of the births, marriages and deaths that were recorded here.

Today, Nairobi Gallery has become the home of Joseph and Sheila Murumbi’s collections. The Gallery is also dedicated to promoting local artists through displaying of their artwork. It has two safes that the colonial government used and have never been opened since they left.

The gallery holds various interactive programs such as holiday children activities, youth art programs, guided tours, gift shop and school programs.

2. Nairobi Snake Park 

Are you interested in snakes and other reptiles from East Africa?  Well, Nairobi Snake Park should be your ideal destination in the capital. The park, which is located adjacent to the popular Nairobi National Museum, was created with the aim of creating a unique attraction and at the same time providing a research facility focusing on breeding of snakes and other reptiles.

Nairobi Snake Park

Nairobi Snake Park is home to different species of snakes and reptiles. Photo/ African Spice Safaris.

Some of the snakes at Nairobi Snake Park include the puff adder, African rock python, the black mamba, Gaboon viper and Egyptian cobra. You’ll also find local fish species, crocodiles, turtles and lizards here.

3. Nairobi Arboretum 

Nairobi Arboretum, one of the hidden gems in the Kenya’s capital, is an area set aside as a forest reserve. Despite not being famous like Karura Forest, it is breathtaking due to the beautiful plant life and scenery. The 30-hectare forest reserve holds more than 350 species of indigenous and exotic plants.

Mr. Battiscombe founded Nairobi Arboretum in 1907 in a bid to try out new forestry trees. The colonial government would later gazette it as a national reserve in 1932. It has paved walkways and park benches where you can relax and enjoy watching a significant population of bird species. Nairobi Arboretum is home to over 100 bird species.

Nairobi Arboretum

Nairobi Arboretum. Photo/ Living in Nairobi.

4. Oloolua Nature Trail 

If you’re looking for some quiet place where you can relax your mind, Oloolua Nature Trail should be your destination. Located in the up-market suburb of Karen along Karen Road, Oloolua Nature Trail is one of the hidden gems in Nairobi.

This gem sits on 250 hectares of indigenous forest and is the host of the Institute of Primate Research (IPR). It also has a 5-kilometre trail that leads to a glorious waterfall. The difference between Oloolua Nature Trail and Karura Forest is that the latter is less populated and a lot quieter.

5. The Brandy Bus 

The Brandy Bus is one of the hidden gems in Nairobi where you can just relax while enjoying some alone time. What was once a double-decker bus has now turned into a peaceful gateaway. It has two double beds upstairs and small beds downstairs. On the outside is a stunning fireplace where you can chill with your partner while enjoying some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Brandy Bus

The Brandy Bus. Photo/ Host Unusual.

What’s unique about Nairobi? 

Nairobi is the only city in the world that has a national park. The park, Nairobi National Park, is located in the city’s southern suburbs. It is made of wide-open grasslands and is home to several wild animals such as zebras, rhinos, giraffes, lions and buffaloes.

How can I spend 2 days in Nairobi? 

Day 1 

  • Take morning drive at the Nairobi National Park
  • Visit the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
  • Spend time with giraffes at the Giraffe Center
  • Go to Bomas of Kenya
  • Hike at the Ollolua Nature Trail

Day 2

  • Have a shopping experience at the Maasai Market
  • Go to Railway Museum
  • Get lost at Nairobi Gallery
  • Visit the August 7 Memorial Park
  • How about the city’s nightlife?
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About the author

Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo is a writer with interests in nature, travel, African safari and sports. I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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