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In Nairobi, you will find a city that is lively, cosmopolitan and full of contrasts. It's a place of smart office workers, mansions and expensive suburban shopping centers as well as slums crowded with people struggling on as best they can. Displaying enormous vitality and buzz, Nairobi is one of Africa's major cities and is East Africa's hub for commerce, aid and increasingly, technology. It hard to imagine that this city of almost 5 million people celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1999 and that where it now stands, only Maasai manyattas stood barely a century ago!

Nairobi has two main airports: Jomo Kenyatta International, for all international travel, and Wilson Airport, which handles the domestic and safari circuit flights. While they are not very far apart, traffic can mean that the transfer between the two takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

As is obvious from the above, one of the main concerns with Nairobi is the traffic, and this affects where our clients tend to stay. For guests using a day room or just staying overnight to facilitate catching a flight, we often use hotels along the route to the airport such as the Ole Sereni to minimize the time you spend in traffic.

For clients spending more than a night or who want a full day of activities in Nairobi, we tend to use the quiet leafy suburb of Karen. Staying in Karen provides easy access to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, the AFEW Giraffe Center, Kazuri Beads and the Karen Blixen Museum. Find more ideas of things to do in Nairobi here and here.

In Karen some of our favorite properties are House of Waine, Hemingways Nairobi, Karen Blixen Cottages and the ultimate, Giraffe Manor, where you can feed giraffes from your bedroom window!

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Elizabeth Gordon