Staying in Nairobi

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Staying in Nairobi

Post  erin.n on Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:28 pm

Hi,
My name is Erin and my husband works for a non-profit based out of Nairobi. He travels back and forth often, but this is his first time bringing us (our three year old, two year old, and myself) with him for an extended time. We will be arriving at the end of March and staying through the end of May. We really want to experience life there (we are from the US, but our son is adopted from Ethiopia, and about 4 years ago I traveled there.) I have been reading your blog and would love some input on a few questions...
- Do you have any suggestions of must-see or must-do things for during our stay?
- It will often be just the kids and myself exploring do you have any suggestions for good places to go or activities to do with little ones? (We will be in an apartment near the Yaya Centre)
- Do you have any book recommends to help prepare (I LOVE reading)?
- Any other advice or tips for expats with kids?
Thanks so much for your help! We are very excited...
Sincerely,
Erin
erin.narducci@gmail.com

erin.n
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Staying in Nairobi

Post  Admin on Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:44 am

Wow - how exciting!!

1) Activities to do with your little ones.

As you have only one month, I guess you should start in and around Nairobi - once you get on the subject of safaris or beach trips, the list becomes endless. For kid friendly stuff while you are here (which you could do just with the kids or with your husband too), I would recommend the following,

The National Museum - newly renovated, beautifully laid out, not too crowded or taxing for young ones. There's a great Savanna cafe there too that serves lattes and lunch! Get a taxi, it's around the Westlands area of Nairobi

The Giraffe Centre - It's out in Langata but worth a visit. You get a chance to feed the giraffes and pop pellets on their long, sticky tongues! Open all day. It might take you around 40mins to get there from Yaya - and once there, half an hour to one hour is enough.

The Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage - Visit between 11am-12pm (only) to watch the baby elephants (&sometimes rhinos) get bottle fed by their keepers. You can get very close and It's very sweet, but take a sunhat and water for the little ones as you are standing in the heat. It's another 20mins further out from the Giraffe Centre, on the edge of the national park.

The Safari Walk - this is located at the Nairobi National Park main gate. Bring a pushchair. It's a nicely laid out short walk, with animals in a sympathetic/landscaped setting, lots of space. You can see buffalo, ostrich, pygmy hippo, lion, leopard, colobus monkeys, white rhino etc etc. close up. There is also the animal orphanage here - which is also interesting, but more animals in smaller cages/behind chicken wire - not quite so nice.

The Nairobi National Park - take a picnic on a weekend with your husband and drive around. Early mornings or afternoons/sunset is best for game viewing. It's usual to see a surprising amount considering the park's proximity to the city - plus you get the real feeling that you are in a game park. There are 3 allocated picnic sites. Perhaps buy a map and ask rangers before entering where the latest lion were spotted.

The Jolly Roger - in Karen. (next to Mamba Village - crocodile centre) For whiling an afternoon after seeing the crocs. There's a restaurant here, Little Tikes cars, bouncy castle, climbing wall, a small swimming pool in a large, green garden - perfect for little ones & v. relaxed for parents as there are loads of helpers there.

Adams Arcade on Ngong rd (near yaya) has a huge indoor playcentre called 'Children's World'. You pay by the hour. There are loads of dedicated helpers there, giving you a chance to grab a cup of coffee at Java, browse around the funny antiques centre or if you are feeling brave - a chance to look at Nairobi's famous mitumba market that spreads out behind the Adams Shopping Centre.

Yaya shopping centre itself has a small kids play area, plus a place to do painting and crafts, but it is pricey.

Westgate and Junction shopping malls are also 2 new/big ones with cinemas - worth checking out.

2) Must see/Do

A trip to the coast. Turtle Bay Hotel in Watamu (with a kids club) or Voyager in Mombasa are both all inclusive, kid friendly hotels - all inclusive. The beaches here are stunning and it might be a shame to miss them.

Find Misono! - my favourite Japanese restaurant on Lenana Road, near Yaya.
Osteria is also good.

For a weekend safari with small kids I would recommend Sweetwaters tented camp run by the Serena group. 3 hours from Nairobi, on a private ranch near Nanyuki.

3) Tips for expats with kids -
The Gertrudes Garden satellite clinic on Othaya Road is especially for children with doctor's on rotation from the main pediatric hospital. They have long opening hours, on bank holidays too and they will do testing, diagnosis and pharmacy in a one-stop-shop.
(Nairobi Hospital will be on your doorstep too - a private hospital with lots of good consultants).

Remember suncream and water 4 the kids when you go out anywhere.

4) Books

There are loads and loads of books as you know, I don't really know where to start on this one. I would recommend the Access@home website, which has lots of information on doctors, hospitals, restaurant reviews - you name it - all in Nairobi.

Wow - hope this info is helpful!! Very Happy

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Thank you!

Post  erin.n on Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:54 am

So, I just cannot thank you enough! Your post back to me was full of so many helpful pieces of advice that I feel so much more relaxed about our arrival! I have really been nervous about how to keep two preschoolers busy in a city I am unfamiliar with, but now I am so excited to check out the great places you recommended! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! I have been following your blog, so I feel like I know you (such a strange phenomenon of the internet!) We will be arriving in Nairobi in about a day, so after we have gotten settled I may have some more questions for you if you don't mind.
Thank you again for sharing your advice (as well as your gift for writing on your blog!)
Sincerely,
Erin

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