Attractions in Nairobi County
13. Bomas of Kenya
From Uhuru Gardens it’s a 4.5 kms drive to Galleria Mall Roundabout, going past the Langata Cemetery on the right. Exit 1 (left) takes you to Magadi Road which goes past David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage through Magadi Town to Lake Magadi. Exit 2 (on straight) proceeds Langata Road to Karen which sits on the western frontier of Nairobi bordering Kiambu and Kajiado Counties. Exit 3 (right) takes to Forest Edge Road and to the Bomas of Kenya set at the edge of a narrow patch of forest which connects Nairobi National Park to Ngong Forest Sanctuary. This was established in 1971 with the overall mandate to preserve, maintain and promote the rich and diverse mosaic of ethnic groups in Kenya. Bomas of Kenya has been the go-to cultural passage for people of all ages and from all walks of life. The popular cultural centre is an exhibition of abounding traditional culture. Visitors get to enjoy guided walks through their elaborate cultural village, with representation, in the traditional homesteads, of Kikuyu, Luhya, Kalenjin, Taita, Maasai, Luo, Kuria, Kisii, Kamba, Mijikenda, Embu, Meru, Meru, Samburu, Turkana, Ilchamus, Teso, Borana, Rendile, Sakuye, Gabbra, Somali, Sengwer, and the Pokot. The tour culminates in enjoying the traditional dances and a medley of local cuisine at their Utamaduni Restaurant.
Our repertoire consists of over 50 dances from different ethnic communities. With live percussion, string and wind instruments, and diverse, authentic and energetic dancing, that takes you on a journey of Kenya’s past and present.
14. Utamaduni Craft Centre
3 kms from Galleria Mall off Exit 1 at Galleria Roundabout along Magadi Road there is a choice of two roads that run westerly into Karen. If you follow the first, Bogani East Road, and the main road to Catholic University, you will find yourself in the quiet suburbia of Karen. One kilometre from Catholic University, there is a unique touring attraction. On a lush property in the middle of the do-well developed upmarket area, there is a craft outlet with a leisurely garden that attracts art collectors, souvenir-buyers and artisans from across Kenya. Widely lauded as one of the best craft outlet in Nairobi, Utamaduni Craft Centre offers an outstanding variety of crafts, and since 1995 has provided a unique shopping experience. “The shop, a converted Kikuyu house with 18 shops, is a treasure trove of African crafts, fabrics, books, African fashion, leather and sisal items, jewelry, antiques and art; with friendly staff to assist and help pack or ship if needed”. Other highlights include an onsite restaurant, gardens and a play area.
15. Langata Botanical Gardens
Not too far from Utamuduni along Bogani East Road and Langata South Roads sits the Langata Botanical Gardens. The poikilo-planted private park popular as a wedding reception venue, is on most other days a restful and commendably preserved garden to be at leisure. It incorporates both man-made and natural elements to complete a prepossessing park. Its Botanical Garden Restaurant is open daily from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. Into the bargain of its restful grounds is a beautiful lake surrounded by graceful ancient trees, trim hedges, and walkways.
16. Matbronze Art Gallery & Foundry
Matbronze exists as a wildlife art gallery alongside serving a simple, wholesome menu in the suburbia area of Karen just 1 km south of Utamaduni Craft Centre along Langata South Road and Kifaru Lane. The gallery space displays one of the largest exposition of wildlife bronzes in Africa. Over of six hundred pieces, ranging from cuff-links to life size crocodiles, all of superior workmanship, offer the visitor the thrill of discovery, what is new and what is in process, with most of the pieces on the easel on sale. No show entry fee, and once in the attracting display room meticulously arranged for display to a rather excellent standard of housekeeping, it is a moving experience admist the muted but ornate wildlife sculptures. And yes, their peaceful garden is a sculpture garden too. It is right outside the central gallery display, and it is a pleasant place to show the visitors how the bronze sculptures can look outside. Matbronze Art Gallery & Foundry is open daily: Monday to Thursday: 0800 to 1700; Friday 0800 to 2000; Saturday 0800 to 1730; and Sunday 0930 to 1700. It also hosts ‘private’ events.
17. Raptor Rehabilitation Trust Kenya
Located down the road from Langata Botanical Garden, along Ushirika Road, is the Raptor Rehabilitation Trust Kenya (RRK) established in 2011 to rehabilitate harmed raptors and orphaned birds of prey, and raise awareness on importance of birds of prey. They also teamed up with Peregrine Fund, National Museums of Kenya and Nature Kenya to start the Bearded Vulture Conservation Project under the aegis of Kenya Wildlife Service. Youngies and school-kids are a key platform for RRKs raptor conservation programs. By raising awareness and mastery of birds especially among young and avid birdies, it’s hoped a positive attitude in the future of birds of prey will be fostered. “There was a time when Kenya was a haven for many bird species, attracting ornithologists from around the world. Now multiple species, especially birds of prey, are on a decline and campaigns are on to conserve them” – The Society for Conservation of Biology.
18. Nairobi Giraffe Center
Shortly before arriving at David Sheldrick Orphanage, along Magadi Road, one reaches the second route west into Karen along Mukoma Road, that terminates at the acclaimed Nairobi Giraffe Center. Established in 1979, as the Africa Fund for Endangered Wildlife (A.F.E.W), this is primarily a centre for promotion and conservation of the Rothschild Giraffe – a subspecies of the giraffe found only in the grasslands of East Africa and confined to small pocket areas in Kenya and Uganda. Initially listed as ‘critically endangered’ and thanks to such salvation projects, their status has now moved to ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN Red List. Giraffe Center, at the heart of its 58 hectare land, offers a lofty encounter with giraffes in a memorably kooky safari setting that includes feeding these graceful giants. This is, undoubtedly, one of the most intimate experiences with giraffes anywhere in the world and one of the most interesting things-to-do in Nairobi. It is open from 9 am to 5 pm seven days of the week, and feeding and tours go one throughout the day. The Giraffe Centre has also become world-famous as a Nature Education Centre, educating thousands of Kenyan school children every year. Then, there’s a 2 kms walking trail going down to the snaking Gogo River which offers an exciting birding experience with stellar views of Ngong Hills. An alternate route back to the main centre will pass you by the Warthog Den. The renowned Giraffe Manor, famed for its giraffe encounters, is set at the north tip.