1. Nairobi National Park: it’s in the middle of the city, it’s 34 times bigger than New York's Central Park, and it has lions
(Wendy Seltzer/Flickr Commons)
2. There's a hotel where giraffes stick their heads in through the upstairs window at breakfast
(Valery Hachie/AFP Getty Images)
It's called the Giraffe Manor, and you can book a trip right this very second here.
3. You can bottle-feed an orphaned baby elephant or even adopt one
Elephants graze on Oct. 8, 2013 at Amboseli National Park, southeast of Nairobi. (AFP/Getty Images)
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is the most successful orphaned-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. Check it out.
4. Hang out with the mixed crowd of cool kids while catching the best in East African music at the monthly ‘Blankets and Wine’ festival
A couple at Nairobi's Blankets & Wine festival on June 2, 2013. (Courtesy/Blankets & Wine)
5. Drink Tusker lager: the quintessentially Kenyan tipple and the only way to cool down after (or during) a hot day
6. ‘Nyama choma’ or roast meat, best served with a cold Tusker (see above) and eaten with your hands, and some friends
(Xiaojun Deng/Flickr Commons)
7. Brew Bistro, East Africa's only microbrewery, makes and serves homemade craft beers
The food’s not too shabby, either.
8. Rugby 7s: Kenya is a world-leader in this miniaturized version of one of the toughest team sports on the planet
(Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Think American football, except you can’t throw the ball forward and there are no helmets or shoulder pads. The annual Safaricom 7s tournament is held every September.
9. ‘Kwani? Open Mic’ nights on the first Tuesday of every month
Club Sound in downtown Nairobi is the place to hear poets and spoken word artists showing off their lyrical chops.
10. The Storymoja Hay Festival
The site of the 2012 Storymoja Hay Festival in Nairobi, Kenya. (Courtesy/Storymoja Hay Festival)
The festival, held every September, is an impressive showcase for contemporary writing, poetry and storytelling from around the world. It's set in an equally impressive location.
11. Don your cowboy hat and go listen to Sir Elvis, Kenya’s country music king
12. Kenya’s coffee is among the best on the planet
Thanks to local café chains Nairobi Java House and Dormans, you can drink Kenyan coffee without ever having to set foot in a Starbucks (which hasn't yet cracked Kenya).
13. Cook your own curry at one of the city’s many ‘koroga’ bars
14. See how the elite live with a visit to the Norfolk Hotel and its Lord Delamere Terrace
(Greg Marshall/Flickr Commons)
It harks effortlessly back to the days of Britain’s colonial empire. It is advisable to carry a copy of Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa or James Fox’s White Mischief.
15. The Nairobi National Museum and its world-beating collection of hominid skulls
Not one for the creationists.
16. The Ngong Hills
(Micah MacAllen/Flickr Commons)
They sit on the landscape just west of Nairobi like a giant’s clenched fist, marking, in breathtakingly dramatic fashion, the edge of the Great Rift Valley from where humankind began its two-legged journey out of Africa.
17. The wonderfully old school Nairobi Railway Station, on the infamous Lunatic Line
(Global Voices Online/Flickr Commons)
Conceived by British colonialists more than a century ago, this will all soon be replaced by a new Chinese railway. Visit while you still can.