Nairobi Hotels and Activities

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Nov 3rd, 2005, 08:04 PM
  #1
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Nairobi Hotels and Activities

Is anyone familiar with the Palacina, in Nairobi? Also, have two days in Nairobi en route to Tanzania. Any ideas for how to spend the time? Cultural, shopping, etc? Thanks.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 11:40 PM
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There is enough to do around Nairobi to keep you busy for two days. Apart from shopping you could visit the Karen Blixen Museum, Bomas of Kenya, National Museum, Giraffe Center, etc. You can arrange a tour from the hotel if you don't want to find your own way around the city.

There is also Nairobi National Park, but if you are doing a safari in Tanzania you might want to give it a miss. For the evening, a popular restaurant is Carnivore. I have been twice on different trips, and enjoyed it very much.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 11:47 PM
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Hi Marcus, we were in Nairobi in June and visited the Karen Blixen home, originally a coffee planation and now a museum. The movie Out of Africa is one of my favorites and parts of it were filmed in the home. Close to the museum is the Giraffe Station, and though a little zooish, yet was fun as we were able to get up close and personal with giraffes. My wife got real close and I snapped the camera at just the right moment to catch her and a giraffe smooching! Also located close to the museum and giraffe station is the Utamaduni Center, a very nice collection of small shops having a good selection of arts and crafts. Have fun! Jack
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 11:54 PM
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I second the motion on the Carnivore, but if you're a vegetarian, you'll definitely want to go elsewhere. They grill all kinds of meat and serve it on skewers at your table. It's all you can eat, so when they come around to your table, you just tell them how much to slide off each skewer and have at it. Unique!
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Nov 4th, 2005, 09:02 AM
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Aside from what has already been mentioned, there's the Sheldrick elephant & rhino orphanage located adjacent to Nairobi NP and open to the public from 11:00am to noon. Nearby is Kazuri Beads & Pottery which is a local women's cooperative. They make beautiful beaded jewelry.

These 2 places plus the Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre, Utamaduni are all located very close to each other in the southern suburbs of Karen/Langata so can easily be visited in a single day (though you may need a little more time if you include Nairoibi NP).

Just on the southern border of the downtown area, there's the Railway Museum which has memorabilia and old steam engines and rail cars if that interests you.

I don't know much about Palacina. I did look into it briefly earlier this year. The place looks very nice. Looks like they've added some suites and the rates have gone up quite a bit since I last checked. The House of Waine is a similar residential style boutique property that you may also want to check out.
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Nov 4th, 2005, 10:59 AM
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I sure wish some of these places would stay open longer! I won't get into Nairobi enroute back to the states until about 5 p.m.

I don't leave again until midnight....I'll feel like a caged animal, knowing I'm in Kenya but stuck in the airport for 7 hours!!
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Nov 4th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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Carnivore fits your hours and sounds like your kinda place, coonCAT!
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Nov 4th, 2005, 11:23 AM
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Isn't the Sheldrick sanctuary open to adoptive mommas and poppas at 5-6pm? Or is it earlier?

cooncat, if you have adopted an ele, I think it would be wonderful to go visit and then have a nice dinner at the Carnivore (touristy but you only live once, right?).
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Nov 4th, 2005, 11:37 AM
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Sharon,
I believe adoptive parents can visit Sheldrick in the late afternoon from 5-6pm, but you should probably confirm with them in advance if you plan to go. It would be a rush though if your flight actually arrives at 5pm as you would need to get a transit visa on arrival and it's probably about a half hour taxi ride away.
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Nov 4th, 2005, 11:46 AM
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Not to hijack this thread, and maybe I should start anew, but has anyone eaten at any other restaurant that they would recommend in Nairobi aside from the Carnivore?
Just curious if there is any group think on other worthy recs for those staying beyond one night.
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Nov 4th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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Thanks for the replies to my "hijacked" query! And thanks for asking Amy - Because cooncat is a VEGETARIAN!! LOL! So the Carnivore is most certainly not on my short list!
;-)

I don't think I could possibly make it to the Sheldrick Trust as much as I would love to, and in full disclosure I have yet to adopt an ellie. (I've supported plenty of Jane's chimp orphans, however!)

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Nov 4th, 2005, 12:02 PM
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The Tamarind is (so I hear, though haven't eaten here) great for fish (I'm allergic). There are some excellent Italian and Continental restaurants. Your hotel has a brochure at their concierge or tour desk with all of these listed. As to the Carnivore - they do have a vegetarian menu, though tends to be more Indian cuisine - so there's more than "just meat."

Cooncat - with 7-hrs you have enough time for a transit visa $20 to hop a taxi to the Carnivore or to The Norfolk hotel for sundowners. The Norfolk also has a diverse menu at their Delamere Terrace for dinner with very reasonable prices. The Carnivore runs about $20 and the Norfolk cost us less than $30 for dinner with 3-rounds of drinks!

Just give yourself sufficient time to return to the airport (2-hrs before departure) and check-in as passengers have to line up for security check entry into the terminal. And be sure to have your boarding pass for your homebound flight.
 
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Nov 4th, 2005, 12:08 PM
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I've seen the following restaurants recommended on this board though I have no personal experience -

Tamarind - seafood
Tamambo - I think best described as contemporary African?
Trattoria - Italian
Haandi - Indian

Tamarind and Trattoria are both located downtown. Tamambo and Haandi are north of the city in the Westlands suburb.

Menus for Tamarind and Tamambo can be found at www.tamarind.co.ke - same ownership as Carnivore. Menu for Haandi at www.haandi-restaurants.com. I don't think Trattoria has a website.

The only meal we had in Nairobi other than a lunch at our hotel was lunch at the Veranda(?) at Utamaduni. Pleasant atmosphere, inexpensive menu, convenient if you're sightseeing in the area (Blixen Museum, Sheldrick, etc.). The soup I had was pretty good but I can't remember what it was called. It was some kind of mildly spicy, creamy seafood soup. We never went out to dinner as we were both either too tired or not hungry and just stayed in.
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Nov 4th, 2005, 12:15 PM
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Sharon,
I think you're flying Lusaka-Nairobi-London all on Kenya Airways right? If so, you should already have your boarding pass in hand for your connection. Just make sure you allow some time as sandi mentions for security checks, etc. at the airport. There's a security screening upon entering the terminal, an exit immigration procedure before proceeding to the gate and another security screening at the gate. The terminal screening and exit immigration had little or no line when we were there but that could vary depending on time of day. The gate screening had the longest line, but you're already at the gate so they know you're there.
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Nov 4th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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Thanks you all - and sorry to have taken over, Marcus. The Carnivore does not appeal, sorry. Maybe I'm missing something but I don't want to sit amid people chowing down on all manner of skewered animals, and, possibly more important I don't want to smell like a pig roast all the home! Also - keeping in mind that god only knows what I'll be looking like after 16 nights in the bush, any casual, yet "atmospheric" places to hang out for a bit? I like Sandi's idea of the Norfolk Hotel, actually. Is there a casual area for folks who are looking a bit "rough around the edges?"
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Nov 4th, 2005, 12:20 PM
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Patty - yes, that's correct on the flights. Dang, you're good!
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Nov 4th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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cooncart - "how ruff?"

Sure, even at the Norfolk, people show up right off their safaris. I certainly wasn't looking like the queen, when I showed up there. Just remember to pack the baby wipes and you'll be safe to sit next to!
 
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Nov 4th, 2005, 12:27 PM
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Thanks Patty-
I'll keep that list. Haandi looks interesting for Indian, I can even try the one in Knightsbridge while I am in London before we head over to Nairobi. Some good veg. options for you cooncat.
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Nov 4th, 2005, 12:34 PM
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Sharon,
The Carnivore doesn't appeal to me either and I'm not a vegetarian. I think any of the hotel restaurants are quite used to 'rough around the edges' safari goers.
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Nov 4th, 2005, 12:35 PM
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Sandi - Remember the scene from Out of Africa when "Karen" arrived with provisions at "Delamere's" camp after a few days of travel? Well, probably not that rough, but coming from three nights at Tafika, who knows! ;-)
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