Getting Here and Around in Nairobi

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Getting Here and Around

Nairobi National Park is to the south of the city, with Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Wilson Airport on the park periphery. Karen and Langata, suburbs of Nairobi, are southwest of the city center, and the Ngong Hills, on the edge the Great Rift Valley, are beyond them. Muthaiga, Gigiri, and Limuru are to the north.

Most major European airlines fly into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Kenya's major airport, which is 15 km (9 miles) from the city. The airport has several ATM-equipped banks and Bureaux de Change. Barclays Bank, National Bank of Kenya, and Transnational Bank have branches and 24-hour money changing daily. You can also use the ATMs, although some accept only Visa. It usually takes about 40 minutes to drive from the airport to the city center by taxi (about US$20; always negotiate first) or regular shuttle bus, although protracted road works mean that it can take about two hours in rush hour. Many hotels have shuttle services; be sure to organize this when you book your room.

Wilson Airport 6 km (4 miles) south of the city on the Langata Road is Nairobi's second airport. It's used for domestic, charter, and some international flights. A taxi into the center of town is about $12.

There are plenty of cheap and efficient domestic flights available, including daily flights on Air Kenya between Nairobi and Mombasa, Malindi, and Lamu. Air Kenya also flies daily to Amboseli, Kiwayu, Lamu, Malindi, Masai Mara, and Meru. Fly540 flies from Nairobi JKIA to Lamu, Malindi, Masai Mara, and Mombasa, and Safarilink flies from Nairobi Wilson to Diani Beach, Lamu, Amboseli, Samburu, Tsavo, and Masai Mara. When you book a local flight, make sure to note which airport it departs from.

You're probably only in Nairobi overnight or for a few hours, so you definitely won't need a car. Take a taxi. There's an 80 km (50 miles) per hour speed limit, and it's compulsory to buckle up. Always negotiate the price before setting out. Locals travel around on matatus (passenger minivans carrying up to 15 passengers), but the drivers are notoriously reckless and the vehicles not always road worthy.

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