1. Nairobi National Park is right there.


Photo: Wendy Seltzer/Flickr Commons

It’s in the middle of the city, it’s 34 times bigger than New York’s Central Park, and it has lions.

2. There’s a hotel where giraffes stick their heads in through the upstairs window at breakfast.


Photo: Valery Hachie/AFP Getty Images

It’s called the Giraffe Manor, and you can book a trip right this very second here.

3. You can bottle-feed an orphaned baby elephant or even adopt one.


Photo: AFP/Getty Images

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is the most successful orphaned-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. Check it out.


Photo: Courtesy/Blankets & Wine

5. Tusker lager is always there to quench your thirst.


Photo: MarcProudfoot/Flickr Commons

It’s the quintessentially Kenyan tipple and the only way to cool down after (or during) a hot day.

6. Nyama choma, or roast meat, is best served with a cold Tusker (see above) and eaten with your hands, and some friends.

Photo: Xiaojun Deng/Flickr Commons

7. Brew Bistro, East Africa’s only microbrewery, makes and serves homemade craft beers.


Photo: Tugela Ridley/GlobalPost

The food’s not too shabby, either.

8. Rugby 7s: Kenya is a world-leader in this miniaturized version of one of the toughest team sports on the planet.


Photo: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Think American football, except you can’t throw the ball forward and there are no helmets or shoulder pads. The annual Safaricom 7s tournament is held every September.

9. ‘Kwani? Open Mic’ nights are held on the first Tuesday of every month.

Club Sound in downtown Nairobi is the place to hear poets and spoken word artists showing off their lyrical chops.

10. Hear stories from around the world at the Storymoja Hay Festival.


Photo: Courtesy/Storymoja Hay Festival

The festival, held every September, is an impressive showcase for contemporary writing, poetry, and storytelling from around the world. It’s set in an equally impressive location.

11. Don your cowboy hat and go listen to Sir Elvis, Kenya’s country music king.


Photo: Courtesy/Sir Elvis

12. Kenya’s coffee is among the best on the planet.


Photo: tonx/Flickr Commons

Thanks to local café chains Nairobi Java House and Dormans, you can drink Kenyan coffee without ever having to set foot in a Starbucks (which hasn’t yet cracked Kenya).

13. Cook your own curry at one of the city’s many ‘koroga’ bars.

A photo posted by Cece Sagini (@cecesagini) on

14. See how the elite live with a visit to the Norfolk Hotel and its Lord Delamere Terrace.


Photo: Greg Marshall/Flickr Commons

It harks effortlessly back to the days of Britain’s colonial empire. It is advisable to carry a copy of Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa or James Fox’s White Mischief.

15. The Nairobi National Museum has a world-beating collection of hominid skulls.

nairobi national museum

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Not one for the creationists.

16. Bask in the nearby Ngong Hills.


Photo: Micah MacAllen/Flickr Commons

They sit on the landscape just west of Nairobi like a giant’s clenched fist, marking, in breathtakingly dramatic fashion, the edge of the Great Rift Valley from where humankind began its two-legged journey out of Africa.

17. Ride the wonderfully old-school Nairobi Railway Station, on the infamous Lunatic Line.


Photo: Global Voices Online/Flickr Commons)

Conceived by British colonialists more than a century ago, this will all soon be replaced by a new Chinese railway. Visit while you still can.

By Tristan McConnell, GlobalPost
This article is syndicated from GlobalPost.