Nairobi Layover Guide (NBO)

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) is the major international and domestic airport serving the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. It is located 18 km (11 mi) from Nairobi’s central business district. The airport has had international commercial flights since it was opened in 1958 when it was initially called Embakasi Airport. Nairobi is a modern metropolis located in southern Kenya, it serves as a historical, economic and tourism hub in Africa. It is known for its amazing culture, vibrant nightlife, stunning geography, national parks, and wildlife.

Can you leave Nairobi Airport (NBO) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
It's possible for certain travelers to visit Nairobi during a layover but depending on nationality others will need an e-visa. (more info).

Tours/To do | Relax/Sleep | Internet/SIM | Transport | Storage | Money

Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing

Organized Tours

Nairobi National Park Full or Half-Day Tour with Guide

Tour Nairobi National Park on a 4-hour game viewing drive on this full or half-day tour. Being Kenya’s first national park, the Nairobi National Park is a haven for wildlife and is a short distance from the skyscrapers of Nairobi’s busy city center. The park is also a rhino sanctuary, that protects more than 50 of these endangered creatures. You can also see lions, buffaloes, gazelles, warthogs, cheetahs, warthogs zebras, and ostriches, and over 400 species of birds that have been recorded in the wetlands. Nairobi National Park is also a well-known ivory burning site. In 1989, President Moi ignited 12 tons of elephant tusks and rhino horns here, hence boosting the country’s conservation image on the world stage. A monument marks this historic site today. » book this tour

Nairobi Storytelling Tour with Former Street Kids

Discover a different side to Nairobi with this extraordinary guided tour where you get to former street children brought up in the heart of the city. You get to embark on a 3-hour walking tour exploring the Downtown region in the city’s center. You also get to create social impact by giving disadvantaged youths a job opportunity. This tour gives real insights into the lives of local youth and street children, as they share their captivating life stories connected to the places you visit. Hear how they ended up in the streets as well as how they survived as they teach you some of their street skills » book this tour

Nairobi: Maasai Small-Group Day Tour

The Maasai are the one of the most well known tribes in Kenya. This tour lets you get close to their culture and their people as you learn their ways and experience it firsthand. Get to know the Maasai traditions when you head beyond Nairobi to the stunning Ngong Hills, where you’ll learn to make Maasai jewelry, and discover the song and dance traditions of the local. Nothing defines the Maasai so perfectly as the intricate and ornate jewelry that symbolizes their cultural heritage. This Nairobi tour is run in partnership with One Horizon Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating poverty in Kenya and South Africa that holds no religious or political affiliations. » book this tour

Things to do / Sightseeing

Nairobi National Museum

The Museum is an educational way to spend a few hours on a city stopover. It displays diverse cultural and natural history exhibits of over 900 stuffed birds and mammals, fossils from Lake Turkana, ethnic displays from various Kenyan tribal groups, and local art exhibits. You can explore a very impressive collection of rocks and minerals and also learn about tectonic plates and the life cycle of a volcano in the Geology gallery. At the Nairobi National Museum, visitors can buy combination tickets, which include entrance to the adjacent Snake Park to continue with their tour as an extra.

Time required: 3 hours.

Airport to here: It takes about 10 minutes to reach here by taxi or 50 minutes by bus.

Kenyatta International Conference Center

Named after the Republic’s First President, Jomo Kenyatta, the unique cylindrical Kenya International Conference Centre (KICC) is an internationally acclaimed venue for conferences,exhibitions and meetings. It dominates the skyline with a 28-story tower overlooking a large amphitheater even though it is not the tallest building in Kenya. The pale terracotta façade here recalls the color of traditional African huts, and the central plenary hall is in absolute resemblance to the ancient Roman Senate.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: It takes an average of 10 minutes to get here by bus.

Ngong Hills

“Ngong” meaning “knuckles” in Maasai is a name that fits these beautiful pointed green hills that resemble the back of a fist facing the sky. The hills are the peaks of a ridge overlooking the Great Rift Valley, and in the early colonial days,most white settlers had their farms here.

Time required: 1 hour.

Airport to here: You can get here by taxi in 35 minutes or in 1 hour by bus.

Giraffe Center

Located on the edge of Nairobi National Park, the Giraffe Center is where visitors can come face to face with endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. The Center is a non-profit one and lies on the grounds of the plush guesthouse, Giraffe Manor. Its main mission is to provide conservation education for children and anyone willing to learn. The visitor center displays well-compiled information about these graceful creatures, and a raised platform gives you the chance to feed them at eye level with their specially prepared pellets. This is one of the best places to be in Nairobi when you’re with the family especially with children. After communing with these long-lashed beauties, you get to enjoy a 1.5-kilometer self-guided forest walk in the adjacent nature reserve here.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: It takes about 15 minutes to reach here by taxi or almost 1 hour by bus.

National Archives

The National Archives spotlights Kenyan tribal culture , art, history, and politics. Historical documents and a collection of photographs are displayed on the main floor gallery. Paintings and artifacts from the collection of Joseph Murumbi, one of Africa’s most popular collectors, dominate the exhibits here. Then the second-floor houses more art, a display of postage stamps, and the National Archives reading room, which can be used for personal and professional projects.

Time required: 1 hour.

Airport to here: You can get here in less than 10 minutes by taxi or 40 minutes by bus.

Karen Blixen Museum

Being one of Nairobi’s top tourist attractions, the Karen Blixen Museum, located at the foot of the Ngong Hills, is the former home of the famous Out of Africa author from when the museum got its name.known by her pen name, Isak Dinesen, Karen Blixen lived here from 1917 to 1931, where she ran a coffee plantation. It is a well-preserved colonial farmhouse today where you can tour a kitchen in a separate building, a coffee-drying plant in the woodland, and an agricultural college on the grounds. The Furniture that belonged to Karen Blixen and her husband is on display to this very day, as well as photographs and books owned by Karen and her lover, Denys Finch Hatton.

Time required: 1 hour.

Airport to here: It usually takes about 20 minutes to get here here by taxi or private transfer, or 50 minutes by bus.

Bomas of Kenya

Approximately 10 kilometers from Nairobi, celebrating the colorful tribes of the natives is the Bomas of Kenya museum . This is no doubt the best place to learn about the lifestyle, art, crafts, music, and culture of each tribe. Over here, there’s a recreated traditional village with homesteads or bomas, each one reflecting the culture of a major ethnic group. Each afternoon, a team performs traditional dances and songs in the large theater for the viewing pleasure of visitors.

Time required: 1 hour.

Airport to here: It takes less than 10 minutes to get here by taxi or almost 5 minutes by the line 15 bus.

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

This orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program is most definitely a suitable attraction for animal lovers. Located at the gates of the National Park, it is a project founded by Daphne Sheldrick in 1977 in memory of her late husband David, who happened to be a former warden at Tsavo East National Park. The center’s purpose is to care for young abandoned elephants and rhinos then release the animals back into the wild when they are ready enough. While you can commune with these lovable creatures as they frolic in the mud, it will soothe your heat to see them drink from giant baby bottles. Your entrance fee aids the project’s conservation efforts.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: It takes almost 1 hour to get here by taxi or 45 minutes by the line 125 bus.

Relaxing and Sleeping

Airport Lounges and Relaxing
There are numerous lounges in each terminal airport usually on the airside. » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online

Hotel and Sleeping
There are many hotel options a few minutes away from the airport. » view all or book an airport hotel online

Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
There are no designated rest areas within the airport.

WIFI/Internet and SIM Card

WIFI/Internet: Free WiFi is available at the airport.

SIM Card: Many shops within the airport sell SIM cards.

Transportation to/from airport

Taxi: Official taxis are allowed to wait at designated taxi ranks and are available 24 hours a day at Arrival halls.

Train: There are no trains from this airport.

Bus: Bus networks connect the airport with destinations within the city or neighbouring areas. (more info).

Shuttle: There are hotel shuttle buses that carry you safely to your destination hotel.

Car rentals: Car rentals are available onsite from desks found at each terminal in the airport. » view available cars or rent a car now online

Parking: There are parking lots found close to each terminal.

Luggage Storage & Lockers

Luggage storage is available but you have to ask at the information desks found throughout the airport.

Money Exchange and Withdrawal

- Nairobi Airport (NBO) ATMs, currency exchanges and banks
- Order your foreign currency ONLINE and PICK IT UP at the airport!