Nairobi has been voted the top city in Africa, and third best destination in the world for 2018, according to travel site TripAdvisor.
The capital came third after Ishigaki in Japan and Kapaa in Hawaii. Then came Halifax (Canada), Gdansk (Poland), San Jose (Costa Rica), Riga (Latvia), Rovinj (Croatia), Nerja (Spain) and Casablanca (Morocco).
“The winners were decided using an algorithm that measures the year-on-year increase in positive TripAdvisor ratings for restaurants, hotels and attractions, plus the number of destination bookings compared to previous years,” the company said on its website.
TripAdvisor describes Nairobi as an interesting place to visit for urban explorers due to the many holiday spots for globe-trotters seeking something different. “Nairobi is an energetic, modern city that serves as a fascinating introduction to both wildlife and nightlife,” the website states.
We decided to chat to our Amadeus team in Kenya to see what makes Nairobi unique:
Rocking the Nyama culture
“To get a proper feel of the Nairobi culture, you have to immerse yourself into our “Nyama” culture. Getting together at the “local” for some Maji maji, choma, fry or soup with friends, says Solutions Expert Elly Kwasi.
He warns that the local should not be mistaken for fast food and says: “At the local, you need to go through the whole pre-meat, during meat and post meat experience. It is not just a meal but an event, which is in most cases very reasonably priced.”
The beautiful outdoors
For Business Analyst Lorraine Obiero the outdoors is what sets Nairobi apart. She says: “Nairobi offers everything from hiking to camping, bushes, forests, beaches and scenery. Travellers can also enjoy a variety of adrenaline activities such as zip lining, water rafting, bungee jumping, sky diving and GP karting.”
The unique melting pot of cultures
Marketing Manager Kaine Sabiti explains Nairobi is a great melting pot of cultures, cuisines and tourist attractions. She says: “I love the diversity of activities available for almost every taste. It’s difficult to be bored in this city because there are just too many things to do, places to visit and discover. It’s also a major East African Regional hub for many multinational companies, including Amadeus!”
For Delivery Manager Ruheena Jiwa Shah, Nairobi National Park is a favourite attraction. She says: “Especially after a busy week in the office, this is the perfect place to go and just enjoy the day with wildlife.
Mary Mugo, in Finance, agrees and says her favourite attraction is also the Nairobi National Park. “I can have a sundowner whenever and the sunset view is spectacular,” she says, adding that she also enjoys the Snake Park. “I get to see all kinds of snakes. I’d like to have a pet snake but considering they are so dangerous I prefer to visit them in an enclosed space!” she laughs.
The fantastic restaurants and markets
Mary Mugo explains her favourite restaurant has to be Mambo Italia. “Mainly because they have good service, and they have a beautiful interior décor with wooden furniture, which has been locally sourced.”
“My all-time favourite place to eat at is Shamuras. This is an Indian restaurant that serves amazing chicken curries,” adds Ruheena Jiwa Shah.
The famous Masaai Market in Nairobi is also a favourite for Ruheena. She says: “From the colourful ornaments to the funky and very trendy slippers this is where I like to shop. It is the perfect place to shop for gifts as everything in the market is pure originality and we get to support our very own locals.”
When it comes to eating out, IT Manager Sheila Naomi says she is truly spoilt for choice. “I love my nyama choma (grilled meat). I love the outdoor garden setting at Bavaria Gardens where you will find me unwinding while eating nyama.”
“My favourite attraction is the authenticity of the people in Nairobi,” says Sheila Naomi. “It’s a city full of culture. Most especially in the fashion industry, we have so much creativity and this is evident in the variety of clothing you can see around town.”
A city that’s always on
“I love that there is ALWAYS something you can do or a place you can go,” says Delivery Manager Carolyne Kinuthia. “It does not matter what time it is there is a play, a movie, a party, a museum, a park, a concert – something is always going on! It’s a vibrant city with so many varied events and locations. If you have the courage to step out, you will never be bored in Nairobi.”