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Founded in the late 1890s as a British railroad camp, Nairobi became the capital of Kenya in 1963 and now serves as the major cosmopolitan center of East Africa. As the largest city in Kenya, it offers a myriad of things to do from relaxing shopping trips to visiting an elephant orphanage. This absolute gem of a metropolis has something for everyone and, after providing world-class safari experiences in Africa for the last 50 years, we know it incredibly well.
Not only that but our founders, Felix and Jane Pinto, have made Nairobi their home and raised their children, including Micato’s Managing Director, Dennis Pinto, in the city. Throughout your time with us in this vibrant, bustling city you’ll be guided throughout every experience with a Safari Director and Safari Driver who both know the city inside and out. They’ll know the best spots and secret ways to experience all the innovation, arts, and culture this African city has to offer. So, without further delay, let’s dive into some activities that are perfect for your time in Nairobi.
One of the biggest draws for people travelling to Africa is the possibility of interacting with animals they’ve only ever glimpsed in a zoo, in a magazine, or on their televisions in the form of a movie or nature documentary. At the Giraffe Centre, you’ll get up close and personal with endangered Rothschild Giraffes. The centre, started by the Africa Fund for Endangered Wildlife in 1979, is devoted to the preservation of these beautiful, lanky creatures. Additionally, the Giraffe Centre has become famous as a Nature Education Centre, where they educate thousands of Kenyan children every year.
While here, you’ll interact with the giraffes up close, learn about their habitat, and get educated on their daily rituals. Aside from spending time with the giraffes themselves, the gorgeous setting lends itself to a rather peaceful afternoon.
As we mentioned earlier, journeying to Nairobi with Micato gives you the chance to hang out with elephants at the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Founded in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the orphanage has evolved into an innovative elephant rescue and rehabilitation program. In our opinion, it’s a major highlight of our guests’ time in Nairobi.
Since its inception, the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage has raised more than 150 infant elephants and has extended its nurturing hand to protecting Black Rhinos and numerous other endangered mammals. When we bring travellers here, there are smiles everywhere. Getting to interact face to trunk with baby elephants isn’t only an utter joy but also a once in a lifetime experience. You’ll get the opportunity to observe feeding time, watch the gargantuan babies play around with soccer balls, and see how sweetly the elephants interact with their keepers.
We’re admirers of Out of Africa here at Micato, so paying a visit to the Karen Blixen Museum is a must, and an absolute treat, especially with its stunning views of the Ngong Hills. The prolific author’s personal home, which sits on a coffee plantation, has been turned into a public museum where visitors can tour the property and see the rooms decorated almost precisely how Karen herself had them. The coffee plantation was lovingly managed by Blixen and it was in this very house where she penned Out of Africa. It’s incredibly charming and gives you a lens into what her daily surroundings were like when she resided in Kenya, not to mention what colonial life was like in the early 20th century.
Made increasingly more famous by the Oscar-winning film, Karen’s relationship with the big game hunter, Denys Finch-Hatton, is highlighted in several areas throughout the home. You’ll be able to spot books once owned by Finch-Hatton as well as various other odds and ends of Karen and Finch-Hatton’s time together. Apart from the home itself, guests can also explore the garden and learn more about coffee farming in Kenya while enjoying the tranquil surroundings.
You can’t talk about a trip to Nairobi without suggesting a visit to the Nairobi National Museum. Opened in 1930, this stellar museum blends the best aspects of Nairobi’s heritage including nature, culture, and history. This isn’t just a simple walkthrough museum either. The grounds include an art gallery, botanical gardens, a snake park, and multiple eateries and places to shop in addition to the museum itself.
Exhibitions of note include a large gallery of roughly 900 stuffed birds, a hall filled with artifacts from various peoples of Kenya including a map of Kenya made from the country’s butterflies, and an immensely popular collection of skulls that are noted as being some of the earliest human fossils in the world. Learning about Kenya’s cultural history while getting the chance to marvel at contemporary art lets you glimpse into the past, further cherish your present in Nairobi, and get a sense of the country you are about to explore.
While we aim to offer the best luxury safari experience in Africa, we also strive to improve the lives of the people and the communities we are involved with. At the Micato-AmericaShare Harambee Community Centre, we do just that. The centre serves as a bastion of hope for those in the area and gives locals the opportunity to attend lectures, academic sessions, and meetings. There are a number of other resources available to locals at the Harambee Centre too such as a state of the art library complete with a learning resource centre, educational programmes, the Goretti Nursery School, and the operating base of Huru International.
Giving travellers time to explore the centre and understand the impact of their safari on residents of Mukuru is one of the best experiences we provide here at Micato. In our opinion, allowing travellers to see how they are contributing to the enrichment of locals makes the entire trip much more wholesome and satisfying. After all, for every safari sold Micato sends a child to school.
On the outskirts of Nairobi, Micato founders, Jane and Felix Pinto, reside in a beautiful home in Lavington. It’s here they welcome Micato guests for a splendid, delectable meal. You’ll be received by the Pintos as if you’re long lost friends and their charming home is the perfect setting for getting prepped for the rest of your journey.
Everything from the food to the libations to the lively conversations is simply a preview to what you’ll experience out on safari. While here, you’ll connect with fellow travellers, hear fascinating stories about the Pintos’ worldly exploits, and settle into the homey atmosphere. Eating with the Pinto’s is much akin to settling down for a good time with family, so please come join us.
As travel experts in East Africa, we believe Nairobi is a city every Micato guest should experience. After all, it’s one of Joy Phelan-Pinto’s, Micato’s Executive Director, favourite places to visit! Come enjoy Kenya’s capital city with us and book your East African adventure with one of our Safari Specialists today!