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Old 04-18-2015, 12:35 AM
 
Location: Macao
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Beautiful photos here: Cities in Africa you've been, and your impression of them.

I was recently thinking of dismissing Nairobi as a city to visit, as it just seems like it's been the target of Islamic terrorists threads just a bit too frequently these days, coupled with a lot of issues I read about with crime problems.

But, seeing the photos, is making me re-think that. Maybe any visitor who goes to East Africa, probably shouldn't miss seeing this city.

What do you think? Ye or Nay?
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Old 04-18-2015, 12:39 PM
 
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Hi I usually live in Nairobi.
Nairobi has some nice parcs and districts, and quite some interesting architecture.
It's also by far the biggest city in Kenya, and just seeing how the city is awake and bustling with life 24 hours a day is interesting. Moreover Nairobi has the best restaurants, hotels and nightclubs in Kenya, interesting nightlife, and plenty of supermarkets and malls to stock up before leaving for the bush...

Of course it has disadvantages too, lots of traffic jams, chaotic traffic, shantytowns, safety issues (altough me personally never experienced anything like it), taxi's are not that cheap, it's also not the cleanest city around...

I would advise visiting central district ("downtown") with plenty of interesting buildings, the chaotic River road area to see the heart of Nairobi and Kenya and drink a few beers in one of the many interesting bars in this area, eat in trattoria, Kenya's best Italian restaurant, or in haandi's (Westland) choosen as the best Indian restaurant in the world. Or the Carnivore, a huge restaurant and nightclub where you can taste huge quantities of game meat and then party with the crowd. At night go to "black diamond" or gypsies in Westlands and enjoy one of Africa's best nighlife.

Nairobi is also the only major city in the world with a national parc just next to it. You can visit for one day with your own car, or you can join a tour and there's even a bus on sunday's going trough the national parc for a small fee. There are plenty of reputable travel agencies in Nairobi, or car rental agencies, and usually much cheaper than the one's they offer in the resorts in Mombasa or back home. (usually the European or American travel agencies book them trough the local agencies, and than ask double or triple what they are charging them)

Another advantage of Nairobi is it's very pleasant climate (that's why the English colonisers choose it as the capital of Kenya), except for july or august, when it's a bit cold, or april, when it's raining a lot. The nights are pleasantly cool at 13 degrees while the days are usually sunny and warm, around 26 degrees year round. For me, that's just perfect.
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Old 04-22-2015, 01:58 AM
 
Location: Macao
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Originally Posted by takeo3 View Post
hotels and nightclubs in Kenya, interesting nightlife,
How much are hotels that can be found in the more lively (and safer) nightlife areas?
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Old 04-22-2015, 02:04 AM
 
Location: Macao
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Originally Posted by takeo3 View Post
Nairobi is also the only major city in the world with a national parc just next to it. You can visit for one day with your own car, or you can join a tour and there's even a bus on sunday's going trough the national parc for a small fee. There are plenty of reputable travel agencies in Nairobi, or car rental agencies, and usually much cheaper than the one's they offer in the resorts in Mombasa or back home. (usually the European or American travel agencies book them trough the local agencies, and than ask double or triple what they are charging them)
Any tips on taxis at the airport? Or is it highly advisable to organize your taxi prior to arrival?

(I'm a regular Manila visitor, where the airport is always an adventure dealing with taxi drivers, so I'm wondering if Nairobi is more or less the same way, and what are ways people deal with it)?

For Manila, for example, expats have a large array of 'airport survival skills', such as pretending to yell into your cellphone the license plate # to your 'police chief uncle-in-law' or who knows what. It goes on and on with that.

Just wondering if someone trying to do those strategies would come off as a complete idiot, or if those skills are very transferable to Nairobi as well. (As another aside, I went to Addis Ababa last year, and people were great, nothing weird whatsoever, and very straight-forward - just as it should be).
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Old 04-22-2015, 02:34 AM
 
503 posts, read 946,012 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
How much are hotels that can be found in the more lively (and safer) nightlife areas?
Depends what kind of hotel you want. I usually look for local hotels, which are cheap (20$ a night), clean and safe, have television and comfortable bed, but you can also pay 60$ if you want the same standards as in the West. The difference is that in local hotels maybe the mirror will be broken, or the elevator and wifi not funtioning properly, but to me these are not important details. If you want perfection anyway, Africa is not for you, better stay in Asia. Of course you can also find hotels for 5$, but these honestly I would not recommend (safety and hygiene problems, mostly double as brothels).
I usually stay in River road area, or tom Mboya street near Kenya cinema, and take a taxi from there to other places. Never walk at night for long distances, if you see people it is safe, empty streets are not safe. Nightlife is in downtown (Florida, tribeka, Batis, envy, etc.) or in Westlands (black diamond, gypsies, etc.). If you want a cultural experience go to one of the many local bars in River road. People will say it is not save, nothing ever happened to me. Also a lot of new places opened, Nairobi nightlife is very vibrant, Kenyans are fun-loving people, love to drink and dance, especially during the weekends. And as a foreigner, plenty of people will want to talk to you, usually with good intentions. Of course bring your girlfriend or wife with you, if you go alone chances are you might not leave alone...

Last edited by takeo3; 04-22-2015 at 03:01 AM..
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Old 04-22-2015, 02:47 AM
 
503 posts, read 946,012 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Any tips on taxis at the airport? Or is it highly advisable to organize your taxi prior to arrival?

(I'm a regular Manila visitor, where the airport is always an adventure dealing with taxi drivers, so I'm wondering if Nairobi is more or less the same way, and what are ways people deal with it)?

For Manila, for example, expats have a large array of 'airport survival skills', such as pretending to yell into your cellphone the license plate # to your 'police chief uncle-in-law' or who knows what. It goes on and on with that.

Just wondering if someone trying to do those strategies would come off as a complete idiot, or if those skills are very transferable to Nairobi as well. (As another aside, I went to Addis Ababa last year, and people were great, nothing weird whatsoever, and very straight-forward - just as it should be).
in the airport, before leaving you'll see an office to the right of the exit where you can order a taxi. Just ask the price and they'll arrange a taxi for you. Don't ever say this is the first time you've been to Kenya. (taxi's in Nairobi are not that cheap, to downtown from the airport you'll pay 1500 ksh which is about 16$)
You can also negotiate with people who will approach you in the airport or at the exit, if you are a good negotiator you can get one for 1000$. If you only want official taxi's, just say no to people approaching you, same as in Manila. In town best to keep a number of a taxi driver which was ok, he'll come to pick you at any time of the day. Most taxi's are not registered, but I've never experienced any problem, besides overcharging which occasionally happens if you don't ask the fee before entering. A ride in town will cost 300 (3$50), to Westlands from town they'll charge 600 (7$). If they ask more tell them you know the price and refuse, be firm. You can also take a mototaxi as in Asia, but I don't trust them, they drive recklessly. Tuktuks are only in Mombasa, in Nairobi they're rare. You can also take the local matatu's (minibusses) for longer distances, just ask any local where to take the matatu, and where to get out. These are kind of experiences on themselves, with loud music, and the drivers are mad.
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Old 04-22-2015, 03:17 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,159,509 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takeo3 View Post
Depends what kind of hotel you want. I usually look for local hotels, which are cheap (20$ a night), clean and safe, have television and comfortable bed, but you can also pay 60$ if you want the same standards as in the West. The difference is that in local hotels maybe the mirror will be broken, or the elevator and wifi not funtioning properly, but to me these are not important details. If you want perfection anyway, Africa is not for you, better stay in Asia. Of course you can also find hotels for 5$, but these honestly I would not recommend (safety and hygiene problems, mostly double as brothels).
I usually stay in River road area, or tom Mboya street near Kenya cinema, and take a taxi from there to other places. Never walk at night for long distances, if you see people it is safe, empty streets are not safe. Nightlife is in downtown (Florida, tribeka, Batis, envy, etc.) or in Westlands (black diamond, gypsies, etc.). If you want a cultural experience go to one of the many local bars in River road. People will say it is not save, nothing ever happened to me. Also a lot of new places opened, Nairobi nightlife is very vibrant, Kenyans are fun-loving people, love to drink and dance, especially during the weekends. And as a foreigner, plenty of people will want to talk to you, usually with good intentions. Of course bring your girlfriend or wife with you, if you go alone chances are you might not leave alone...
Locals hotels at $20/night...yep, that sounds ideal! That's usually what I do in Asia. Tons of budget hotels absolutely everywhere here. My impression from Addis Ababa, was that hotels at those rates were not so common - everything seemed quite high-priced in Addis, for mediocre quality.

Taxis...are you usually WITH people when you go out in the evening? I'll probably be solo, at least during my Nairobi part of the trip. River Road and Mboya Street...those are in close proximity to 'downtown' or part of downtown?

Or is Nairobi one of those places, that regardless of where your hotel is at, you'll have some nightlife going on somewhere in close proximity, and just go there?

Westlands (Black Diamond, Gypsies), are those near hotels? Or very suburban in nature with required cars/taxis to get from A to B?
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Old 04-22-2015, 03:58 AM
 
503 posts, read 946,012 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Locals hotels at $20/night...yep, that sounds ideal! That's usually what I do in Asia. Tons of budget hotels absolutely everywhere here. My impression from Addis Ababa, was that hotels at those rates were not so common - everything seemed quite high-priced in Addis, for mediocre quality.

Taxis...are you usually WITH people when you go out in the evening? I'll probably be solo, at least during my Nairobi part of the trip. River Road and Mboya Street...those are in close proximity to 'downtown' or part of downtown?

Or is Nairobi one of those places, that regardless of where your hotel is at, you'll have some nightlife going on somewhere in close proximity, and just go there?

Westlands (Black Diamond, Gypsies), are those near hotels? Or very suburban in nature with required cars/taxis to get from A to B?
Westlands is quite expensive if you want to stay there, you'll save money by staying in downtown and taking a taxi to go there. It's not that far, let's say 10 minutes at night (during the day, due to traffic jams, a lot more, my record was 2 hours at rush hour... general advice, avoid travelling during rush hours, and leave well in advance if your flight is in the morning or the early evening ). My favorite is Arkland palace hotel, interfina house, Tom Mboya street ("wallit club"), but there are similar hotels nearby.
Nairobi can be epensive if you don't know where to stay, the hotels you'll find on booking.com are usually the more expensive ones.

Yes these are very near to downtown, but still better to take a taxi if you don't know your way around. The matatu system is confusing if you are not familiar, and there's no metro or public transport in Nairobi. (you see what I mean by "bad governance") Noone cares for traffic rules, the few red lights are for decoration, and Kenyans think they drive better when drunk and chewing khat... (maybe I exaggerate a bit but you got my point I think...)


You'll always find something near (or in) your hotel, but to go to the best places you better take a cap. However from Tom Mboya street all the clubs in downtown are just a few minutes walking away.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,159,509 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takeo3 View Post
Westlands is quite expensive if you want to stay there, you'll save money by staying in downtown and taking a taxi to go there. It's not that far, let's say 10 minutes at night (during the day, due to traffic jams, a lot more, my record was 2 hours at rush hour... general advice, avoid travelling during rush hours, and leave well in advance if your flight is in the morning or the early evening ). My favorite is Arkland palace hotel, interfina house, Tom Mboya street ("wallit club"), but there are similar hotels nearby.
Nairobi can be epensive if you don't know where to stay, the hotels you'll find on booking.com are usually the more expensive ones.

Yes these are very near to downtown, but still better to take a taxi if you don't know your way around. The matatu system is confusing if you are not familiar, and there's no metro or public transport in Nairobi. (you see what I mean by "bad governance") Noone cares for traffic rules, the few red lights are for decoration, and Kenyans think they drive better when drunk and chewing khat... (maybe I exaggerate a bit but you got my point I think...)


You'll always find something near (or in) your hotel, but to go to the best places you better take a cap. However from Tom Mboya street all the clubs in downtown are just a few minutes walking away.
Yep, I did get a sense of how the traffic works:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-jqmOb6GrI
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,159,509 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takeo3 View Post
You'll always find something near (or in) your hotel, but to go to the best places you better take a cap. However from Tom Mboya street all the clubs in downtown are just a few minutes walking away.
Even in the $20/hotels?

Although most likely I'll later be looking at Booking.com for Tom Mboya street, and probably will end up paying something like $40/night, which I really hope is my upper end for being on that street and booking on booking.com.
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