Are you planning to spend Christmas in Nairobi?
Christmas is time of the year when most Nairobians pack up their bags and travel to their hometowns or someplace far away from Nairobi for merry-making.
This can make celebrating Christmas in Nairobi overwhelming. But do not fret. Whether you are new to the city or you have been living here for years there are so many beautiful and fun places you can visit in Nairobi during Christmas and on a low budget.
Read on to discover the best ways to spend Christmas in Nairobi.
Things to do in Nairobi during Christmas
Christmas is the day that Christians celebrate the birth of Christ.
If you want to honor this day in the Christian style you can attend a Christmas Carols Service or the Watchnight Service on the Eve of Christmas (24th of December) and celebrate the day with people of the same faith.
Various churches in Nairobi offer Watchnight Service including All Saints Cathedral, Hillsong Church Nairobi, Nairobi Lighthouse Church, and Anglican and Methodists churches.
A watch night service provides Christians with an opportunity to reflect over the ending year, repent and prepare for the next year.
This service was initiated by John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church.
If you want to enjoy the holiday through the lenses of outdoor and fresh air, here are 13 places you can visit in Nairobi.
The Giraffe Centre in Nairobi is a non-profit organization that offers visitors an opportunity to hang out with giraffes and learn about them.
The facility serves as a home to Rothchild giraffes and several warthogs that roam around freely.
Even though giraffes are wild over time they have learned that visitors at the facility mean food and fun. Thus admirers can easily feed a giraffe, take a selfie and even kiss one. There is a raised platform that allows admirers to interact with giraffes at eye level. You will be given pallets, molasses, and grass which the giraffe will gracefully eat from your hand. It is even more exciting when you drop some feeds on the ground and the giraffes gobble them up greedily.
Another fun experience at Giraffe Centre is viewing Ngong Hills and the Gogo River.
Giraffe Centre in Nairobi Entrance Fee
Non-Residents Adults: Ksh 1,500
Non-resident Child: (Age 3yrs-12yrs) Kshs. 750
Resident Adults: Ksh. 400
Resident Children: (Age 3yrs- 12yrs) Ksh. 200. Free for Children below 3yrs of Age
School Groups : Free if booked at least one week in advance.
Where is Giraffe Centre located in Nairobi
The Giraffe Centre is located in Langata, approximately 40 minutes' drive from Nairobi City. If you are using public means the bus or matatu will stop at Galleria Mall. From Galleria mall, it is a short drive by taxi or matatu.
The Oloolua Nature Trail is a fun nature gateway in the middle of Karen. It is part of the indigenous Oloolua forest and hosts the Institute of Primate Research (IPR).
The 5km trail features beautiful scenery of bamboo and other indigenous trees. Oloolua Nature Trail is a perfect budget-friendly destination for hikers and campers.
Things to do at Oloolua forest:
Oloolua Nature Trail Entry Charges
Citizens: Adults Ksh. 200, Children Ksh 100
Non-resident: Adult Ksh. 600, Children Ksh 300
Residents: Adults Ksh. 400, Children Ksh. 200
NB: One of the downsides of this site is that the signs are not plentiful, and you can easily miss the turn for the longer trail. However, there is a map on the wall at the entrance, you can take a photo of it so as to have it as you walk.
Formerly known as Mazingira Park, John Michuki Memorial Park is a green space located along the Nairobi River from the Globe Roundabout.
The park is home to over 88 assorted tree species. There is also a 500-sitter amphitheater that is made of natural glass as the cushion for the seating area.
John Michuki National Park offers a great environment for a nature walk, relaxing, and reading a book as well as a picnic.
The best part is the park sits at the heart of Nairobi CBD which makes it easily accessible. Additionally, it is located near National Museum Walk, Nairobi Botanical Garden, and Arboretum. If you are looking to make a whole day at the park you can combine your visit with these parks.
John Michuki Memorial Park entry fee
Entrance is free for all
The arboretum is another perfect place to visit this season. This giant forest is located 3 km from Nairobi city and is adjacent to the State House.
It has over 350 species of exotic and indigenous trees, most of which are well-labeled. It is also home to over 100 species of birds, and various populations of Vervet Monkeys, Skyes, and butterflies.
The recreational park is popular among city dwellers for long walks, picnics, birdwatching, photography, videography, and communing with their God. You can also walk your dog as long as you have a leash. Large groups often go to the park on weekends for team-building activities, while couples enjoy spending romantic moments at secluded spots.
Nairobi Arboretum entrance fees
Adults Ksh 65 and Ksh 20 per child.
NB: Entry tickets can only be bought by Credit/Debit card or otherwise electronically like M-Pesa; cash payments are not accepted.
Paradise Lost is a magnificent tourist attraction located 14 km from Nairobi in the middle of a coffee farm. The main show of the 54-acre farm is the caves that date back to 2.5 million years ago. These caves are eroded by the Gichi River with the entrance graced by the breathtaking Paradise Lost Waterfall which offers a calm scenic view.
Some of the most popular activities at Paradise Lost include:
To get to Paradise Lost from Nairobi city take matatu number 100 at the bus station. If using private means you can easily use Google Map.
Paradise Lost Charges
Tickets cost Ksh 400 for adults and Ksh. 300 for children (citizens and residents). For non-residents, the entrance fee is Ksh 1000. There is also a school package of Ksh 250 per child.
NB: Apart from this fee you will be required to pay for other activities and sights you are interested in.
Another incredible way to enjoy yourself during the Christmas season is to visit the Nairobi Safari Walk. Located inside the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) headquarters at Langata road, Nairobi Safari Walk is a raised wooden boardwalk that enables visitors to get a view of endangered (white and black) rhinos, rare bongo, zebras, antelopes, giraffes, and the big cats that are leopards, cheetahs, and lions.
It also hosts over 150 species of trees making it ideal for nature lovers. You can choose to do a safari in a car or walk.
You will be happy to know that The Nairobi Animal Orphanage and Nairobi National Park are also located inside the KWS headquarters.
How to get to Nairobi Safari Walk
You can access Nairobi Safari Walk with public or private means. If you are using public means, board a matatu or a bus going to Lang’ata or Ongata Rongai (mostly at the bus station). Alternatively, you can use a taxi from the comfort of your home.
Entrance fees for Nairobi Safari Walk
Citizen fee: Adult Ksh 200 and Ksh 100 per Child
Resident fee: Adult Ksh 200 and Ksh 100 per Child
Non-Resident Fee: Adult $20 and $10 per Child
Tip: Carry your National ID, passport, or residency permit to avoid delays. Also, note that the mode of payment is debit/credit card or electronic form (Cash is not accepted).
If you want to put your adrenaline to the test this season, Diguna High Ropes Challenge is one of the best places to help you do just that. The challenge comprises a series of obstacle courses which are like walking through hallways made of ropes. The ropes are strong enough to support your weight and there are strict safety measures taken to make sure that no injuries occur. The challenge is also not taken on a rainy day to reduce the risk of falling.
Some of the challenges that you can enjoy at Diguna High Ropes Challenge include:
NB: You have to meet several physical requirements to participate in the challenges. For example, you have to be 10 years of age and not weigh more than 110 kilograms.
Diguna High Ropes Challenge Location: It is situated at Ongata Rongai at Maasai Lodge Road (near African Nazarene University).
Entrance fee: Ksh. 150 per person
Chances are that if you google outdoor places to hang out in Nairobi Karura Forest will be on almost all results. It is a beautiful green space for walking, bike riding, jogging, or birdwatching.
The forest is quite large with a diverse range of animals, including about 200 bird species, monkeys, bush pigs, dragonflies, squirrels, butterflies, lizards, and dik-dik.
There is also a waterfall and Mau Mau caves to explore. Note that no plastics are allowed in the facility, including plastic water bottles.
Where is Karura Forest located?
You can access Karura Forest through multiple gates in the City. However, the most popular gate is the one on Limuru road, just after the Belgian Embassy. The other entrances are- the KFS main gate (Gate C also known as sharks) and the Old Kiambu Gate (Gate D).
Karura Forest Nairobi Entrance Fee
Citizens Ksh 100; Residents Ksh 200; Non-residents Ksh 600; Kids half price
Located in the southern outskirts of Nairobi is Nairobi National Park which is the only park in the world that sits so close to a nation’s city. Here you can explore a wide range of wildlife including lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, buffaloes, ostriches, giraffes, zebras, and warthogs.
The park’s wetland regions host about 400 bird species.
To get to the park take matatu numbers 125 and 126 from the train station which passes by the park entrance.
Citizen Fee: Ksh. 400 per adult | Child Ksh. 200
Resident Fee: Ksh. 400 per adult | Child Ksh. 200
Non-resident Fee: $ 35 per adult | Child $20
The Ngong Hills make a very popular destination for hiking. Some people go for walks, biking, picnics, or worship on the hills. According to Kenya Forest Service (KFS) visitors are also permitted to camp on the site.
There is also a place known as “Kompass” where visitors can do ziplining.
The whole Ngong Hills range covers 21 000 sq km.
If this will be your gateway choice during the holiday remember the following:
Citizen Fee: Ksh. 232 per adult | Child- Ksh. 58
Resident Fee: Ksh. 464 per adult | Child Ksh. 174
Non-Resident Fee: $ 6.96 | Child $1.74
The August 7 Memorial Park is a beautiful park in the heart of Nairobi that shows a brief history of what happened during the August 7th, 1998 bomb blast in Nairobi. It displays the names of over 200 victims on the wall and a sculpture made from the debris of the bomb blast.
Despite its sad past, August 7 Memorial Park is an ideal place to rest, reflect and meditate.
The park is open from 6.00 a.m to 6.00 p.m and the entrance fee is Ksh.30
Located at Museum Hill the Nairobi National Museum is an old-school complete collection of Kenya’s history, culture, and artwork. Here you can explore lovely galleries about Kenya’s wildlife, the people, as well as pre and post-colonialism.
Some of the most popular galleries in the Nairobi National Museum include:
You can tour the Museum solo or request an organized group of 10-night tours.
Snake park, the Botanical garden, and the State of the Art Auditorium which often hosts film shows and concerts are also in the same location.
Citizen Fee: Adult Ksh 200 | Child Ksh 100
Resident: EA Fee Adult Ksh 600 | Child Ksh 400
Non-Resident: Non-EA Adult Ksh 1200 | Child Ksh 600
For book lovers and history buffs who want to feel connected to Kenya’s history this season Kenya National Archives is the perfect destination for you. You would think you know almost everything about Kenya’s history until you take a trip here.
Located at the heart of Nairobi, Kenya National Archives is a home for public records, weapons, stamps, traditional arts, and photography. Here you will experience the ancient culture, and traditional and ritual practices through art.
You can also see the fascinating artifacts, and learn about their origins and symbolization in different Kenyan communities.
Besides, this place is quite affordable. Citizens and residents pay Ksh 50 to access the Archives, while non-residents pay Ksh 200.
If you would rather take your Christmas indoor fun outdoors, we also have you covered.
Does bowling and good food sound like a good way to spend Christmas? If yes, be sure to visit Village Bowl at Village Market. Village bowl is one of the best places for bowling in Nairobi. It boasts a friendly environment for leisure, sport, and entertainment.
Besides bowling, you can also have fun playing other board games including air hockey, pool tables, and foosball.
For a memorable experience, bring a competitive spirit with your person, family, or a group of friends.
NB: You are required to carry a pair of socks since bowling shoes are provided.
After bowling, you can relax at the bowling sitting area, or enjoy a meal at The Ball Point Social Club.
Village market bowling charges
Monday to Wednesday
Friday to Sunday
10 am to 10 pm: Ksh. 500 per person per game
Another great adventure you can explore this season is indoor rock climbing at Diamond plaza. Whether you are a newbie or a professional rock climber you will find something unique to do here.
If it is your first time, remember that this activity is meant for everyone, not just for fit people. Even children participate.
The charges for a day of Indoor rock climbing at Diamond Plaza are Ksh. 1,000 without shoes and Ksh. 1,400 with shoes.
With this festive season, if you are not traveling outside Nairobi and you do not have a plan, you have the best activities that can make your Christmas merry as I shared above.
Keep safe and enjoy your holiday!