Eating Out

Nairobi is not among one of the world's best-known gastro-tourism destinations, but its flourishing food scene punches well above its weight. Colourful, boldly flavoured and modestly priced, the city's cuisine will be a highlight of any visit.

Nyama Choma is perhaps the city's (and indeed Kenya's) most famous dish, and it translates simply as 'barbecued meats.' Though the tradition of eating this barbecued meat goes back many generations, Nairobi's place on the global stage has led to the dish being infused with flavours from Europe, Asia and other parts of Africa.

Nairobi's cultural history has also influenced its cuisine, which among other things features cucumbers and tomatoes from Europe, and spicy dishes brought over from India during the age of the British Empire. Visitors should make a point of trying local staples such as ugali, a doughy cornmeal porridge that's served with goat stew.


Nairobi is possibly the best place in Africa to stock up on crafts and curios. The quality and prices of goods is unmatched so visitors should make the most of a stay here to stock up. Local vendors will test travellers' bargaining skills so visitors should be prepared to haggle over typical souvenirs such as Kamba woodcarvings, African masks and Kisii soapstone carvings, as well as Maasai beadwork, colourful fabrics and the distinctive square cloth known as kanga and kikoi.

The best place to go on a shopping excursion is the fascinating and always lively City Market on Muindi Mbingu Street. For a more local experience, travellers should visit Kariokor Market, where everything from vegetables to clothes is on sale. More local crafts can be found at the Maasai Markets. Biashara Street in central Nairobi is lined with interesting stores and boutiques, and there are plenty of cafes in which to recuperate from the rigors of shopping.

Taxi drivers and local touts will pressure new arrivals to go to certain stores. They earn large commissions for doing so, and the prices tourists are expected to pay will be much higher.


Nairobi is one of the premier nightlife cities in Africa, where visitors will find a bustling scene full of enticing options. Most people begin their evening at a bar or restaurant before heading to one of the top nightclubs in the posh suburbs of Westlands, Kilimani, Lavington, Thika Road and Mombasa Road.

Many of the dance venues have a distinctly international flavour as there are many foreigners and expats in Nairobi. However, there are also several opportunities to get a taste of local dance music genres such as gengetone, a high-energy, dance-ready sound that blends rap with reggaeton and dancehall infusions.

Travellers who'd prefer a slower pace should try one of the city's jazz venues, or Kenya National Theatre, which offers a mix of plays, talks and exhibitions.