After my We’re Home post, we had another week and a half in our Airbnb in Nairobi. It was fairly uneventful but we managed a couple of fun adventures. The first was a staycation to a hotel in an adjacent neighborhood called Kilimani. Early in our stay I thought it might be fun to find a swimming pool since every afternoon was sunny and 80 degrees. Woodmere Serviced Apartments came up in my search with rooms starting at $25 a night.
I booked our stay for a Friday night because it was the only night in our second to last week that I had free from work calls. They had a very early check in time but we had some work to do that day so it was 2 p.m. before we packed a bag and took an Uber down. When we checked in we were instantly upgraded to a one-bedroom suite overlooking the pool. The property is older, which is probably the reason for the low prices, but the suite was clean and spacious. We immediately changed and joined the crowd at the pool.
An interesting thing about the pool is that it was providing a location for swimming lessons. We were actually the only guests at the pool that afternoon, but we were joined by numerous little Kenyan kids being instructed. They were very cute and fun to watch. Very creative money maker for a hotel pool without a lot of guests! We really enjoyed the sun and the water, then got cleaned up for a date night.
Being in Kilimani put us a bit closer to an art gallery Chad had read about called Ardhi Gallery so we took an Uber down there to check it out. It was definitely worth the trip! The theme of the exhibition was art from recycled materials and much of it was produced by young artists from the slums (Nairobi’s Kibera slum is the largest in Africa; we drove past it a couple of times and it is enormous). After enjoying the art, we got an Uber back to a restaurant walking distance from the hotel.
Our Nairobi staycation was a lot of fun and something I think we’ll try again in future cities during long stays.
Our final adventure in Nairobi (before our move to the suburbs for a week) was to tour the UN African Headquarters. The UN has four headquarters around the world and one happens to be in Nairobi between Karura Forest and the US Embassy. I noticed signs advertising tours the two times we walked past it for our Gigiri date nights so I booked it for our final Wednesday afternoon (advanced booking is required and there’s a small fee of about $15 for foreigners).
The tour was well worth it! It was just us and an American woman on the tour with our guide George and we learned a lot about the UN and some of its programs. We also got to admire the architecture and see the main assembly room, which can hold about 1000 delegates. Apparently all four UN headquarters offer tours so we hope to visit the one in New York someday.
After the tour we walked about 20 minutes to the Village Market mall so I could print our visas for Egypt. This is one of the nicest malls in Nairobi and one of the nicest malls we’ve been to worldwide. After our errands, we stopped into a café for cocktails, then visited a small outpost of a local craft brewery, then went to a Ghanaian restaurant for dinner. Village Market provided a fantastic date night and is another thing to love about the neighborhood of Gigiri.
In addition to those excursions, we maintained our near-daily trips to the Arboretum for Chad’s runs, where we had many more monkey encounters with both sikes and vervet monkeys. We also had a couple more nights out at our local favorite cocktail bar, Charlie’s, to watch the matatus in the traffic circle followed by vegetarian food at Impresario Cafe. And of course we got plenty of work done.
It was a bit strange to wrap up our time in Nairobi proper with just an Uber ride out to another neighborhood. We’ve never tried that before but are already planning to do it again in Buenos Aires, capping a long stay in the recommended neighborhood of Palermo with 10 days in the older Santelmo neighborhood. I think it’s a great way to see more of a sprawling city if you’ve got time to spare.
I admit I was a bit sad to leave our apartment in Kileleshwa (review below) like I always am but we were looking forward to the next phase of our Kenyan adventure in the suburb of Karen Hardy.
Airbnb Review – My husband and I had a wonderful four-week stay in this apartment. The rooms are spacious, everything was clean, and all the furniture is comfortable. The wifi worked well generally after an initial issue they took care of efficiently and was fast enough for a video call or streaming, though perhaps not both at the same time. The location is great – a short walk to the arboretum side entrance and also to Kasuku Center, which has groceries, fresh produce, a cafe, and a restaurant. The best part of our stay, however, was the kind attention we received from the staff of the management company. They answered every communication promptly and were always friendly and professional. I highly recommend the chef service they can arrange. It was one of our best meals of the trip and a really fun and educational evening. We would definitely choose this apartment again in the future.