Best Places to Visit In Nairobi on Budget This Holiday Season

By Kimani Kuria

Nairobi is Kenya’s capital city and an economic powerhouse in the region whose hustle and bustle seems endless. With the economic situation, it is proving to be a challenge to visit some places one would like to explore but is financially constrained. Getting some time away from the busy city life, computer screens, and noise is incredibly important. We all need to recharge, get some thrill, and add some fun to the monotony of life. Below are some great spots you can go to by yourself or with a tour company on a budget this holiday!

Giraffe Center

Located in Lang’ata, Giraffe Center is one place you have to visit on your own, with family or friends. The center was created in 1979 by a non-profit organization called the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife which sought to preserve and promote the wellbeing of the Rothschild Giraffe only found in East Africa. The founders – Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville wanted to create a safe home for the giraffes, educate and transform society’s mindsets in their relations with wildlife. For entry, resident children pay Ksh 200, resident adults Ksh 400, and Ksh 750 for non-resident adults.

Kenya Railway Museum

The Kenya Railway Museum is another great spot for anyone in search of a thrill on budget. Located along Workshop Road off Haile Selassie Avenue, the museum was opened by Harbors Corporation and East African Railways in 1971. The museum houses some of the earliest locomotives in the country, both diesel and steam-powered. It is maintained and equipped by the Friends of the Railway Museum East Africa who promote understanding the past ways of life. Some of the fun activities you can take part in at the museum include a thrilling mini train ride, climbing into an actual old steam engine, and watching a wide array of historic displays. What’s even better is that the facility is open daily charging non-residents Ksh 600, non-resident students Ksh 300, non-resident child Ksh 100, resident Ksh 500, citizen Ksh 200, and citizen student/pupil Ksh 100.

Joseph Murumbi Gallery

The Joseph Murumbi Gallery is a portal into the artistic wealth of the past. Kenya’s former vice president the late Joseph Zuzarte Murumbi and his wife Sheila Murumbi were private collectors who used their travels around the continent as means to capture stories in collectibles and souvenirs. The gallery, which charges an entry fee of Ksh 150 is filled with artifacts from around the continent, documents, postage stamps, art, and books. The late Alan Donovan opened Africa’s first Pan African Gallery, African Heritage with Joseph and Sheila Murumbi to preserve these collections. After Murumbi’s death, Alan Donovan ensured that his legacy and love for Africa were well preserved. 

Also Read: Best Places To Visit In Mombasa On A Budget This Holiday Season

National Archives 

The Kenya National Archives is one of Nairobi’s most popular meeting spots as it is a pronounced landmark. Many Kenyans however, have never been inside the building despite its popularity. Founded in 1965, the Kenya National Archives contains 40000 volumes of public records, documents on Kenyan history, pictures of freedom fighters, and stamp collections. All this information on Kenya’s past is accessible at an entry fee of Ksh 50 for citizens and Ksh 200 for non-residents. It is open for visitation on weekdays between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, and on Saturday between 8:00 AM and 12:00 Noon. You can also skim through the online exhibits such as African Weapons, Paramount Chiefs, and Mashujaa Wetu: Heroes of the Kenyan Nation.

Maasai Market

The Maasai Market is an open-air market set up in different locations on different days of the week across Nairobi. The market trades in jewelry, soapstone carvings, wood-carvings, shoes, beaded ornaments, batik wall hangings, and handmade crafts. The market runs between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM in the following schedule:

  • Saturday: The High Court parking lot in the city center 
  • Sunday: Yaya Center in Hurlingham
  • Tuesday: Kijabe Street opposite the Norfolk Hotel
  • Wednesday: Capital Center on Mombasa Road near the airport
  • Thursday: Nakumatt Junction Shopping Mall on Ngong Road
  • Friday: Village Market in Gigiri

Accessing the markets is free and can be a great art-appreciation activity for the holiday.

Karura Forest

The Karura Forest is a favorite getaway for Nairobi residents offering a tranquil and natural oasis in the heart of the city. The urban forest was gazetted in 1932 to protect the resources it holds including 200 bird species, monkeys, bushbucks, bushpigs, hares, butterflies, reptiles, bush babies, and honey badgers. Being in the city, the forest has always been eyed by developers who have in the past tried to grab the land and put it into commercial use. This raised protests and strikes, with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai at the forefront. This was a battle that cost her physically and emotionally but bore fruit as the forest was kept safe from the hands of selfish developers. Adults can enjoy hiking the nature trails with an entry fee of Ksh 100, and children at Ksh 50. Additionally, you can enjoy biking after renting one out at Ksh 500 for two hours.

The Peace Memorial Museum

The museum was set up to honor the lives that were lost during the terrorist attack of 7th August 1998 and for survivors to tell tier stories. The museum has displays and collections including remains from the bombing and images taken at the former American Embassy. It is a museum that sets forth to inspire people to choose and embrace peace, reconciliation, and tolerance. It also sensitizes the dire consequences of terrorism. The gate charge is Ksh 30 and touring charges are set at Ksh 50, Ksh 100, and Ksh 150 for students, residents, and non-residents.