Whether you’re visiting to see the megafauna or to immerse yourself in Kenyan culture, you’ll find plenty to do in Nairobi, Kenya. Unfortunately, the Green City in the Sun can be a bit pricey by African standards. Budget travelers will quickly break the bank if they’re not careful. I’ve put on my thinking cap and discovered some cool things you can do for just $50 a day in Nairobi, Kenya.
A Visit with the Wildlife at Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park offers visitors a convenient way to get a glimpse of Kenya’s incredible wildlife without shelling out a ton of money for an expensive safari. Your admission fee includes a chance to get up-close and personal with over 500 different species, including:
- Migrating herbivores, such as water-buffaloes, zebra, elands, giraffes, and wildebeests
- Leopards, lions, hyaenas, cheetahs, and other large predators
- Pools full of hippos
- Hundreds of bird species
- A once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Africa’s endangered black rhinos
The park lies just outside the city center in the Langata suburb, so you can see the animals juxtaposed against a backdrop of modern skyscrapers. Nairobi National Park is also the location of Kenya’s legendary Ivory Burning Site.
Adult, non-resident admission costs $43, and the matatu fare from the Nairobi railway station is around $2.50. Add a picnic lunch, and you’ll end up right around your $50 budget.
Dinner for Two at Carnivore
Meat-lovers should not miss the dinner banquet at Carnivore. If you’ve never eaten crocodile or ostrich, now’s your chance to try them prepared in several delicious ways. The dinner festivities take place from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. and start with a potent house cocktail served by the restaurant’s own medicine man, Dr. Dawa.
The feast that follows features an almost unending array of dishes from a grilled leg of lamb to crocodile cooked and served on traditional Maasai swords. Dinner ends when guests raise the white flag of surrender at the center of the table. Coffee, dessert, and dancing top off the night.
Your dinner at Carnivore will set you back $12.50 per person plus drinks. Matatu fare is $5 for two people, each way. If you skip the extra cocktails, you can spring for a $20 cab ride home and finish the evening at almost exactly $50.
Souvenir Shopping at the Maasai Market
The mobile Maasai Market is not just a great place to buy souvenirs. The market offers an authentic cultural experience. Spend the afternoon strolling through the stalls, and you’ll be dazzled by a limitless selection of colorful dashikis, beaded jewelry, and hand-carved wooden sculptures.
For under $50, you can enjoy mouth-watering street food, practice your Swahili, and bring home enough handcrafted keepsakes to make your whole workplace happy.
A Day at the Nairobi National Museum
The Kenya Museum Society runs one of the best national museums in Africa. The museum houses carefully curated historical exhibits, lush botanical gardens, and a Snake Park. A monthly visitor’s membership costs just 800 Kenyan shillings, which is about 8 dollars.
If you’re planning to be in Kenya for a while, you might want to purchase a yearly membership at, you guessed it, 50 bucks! You’ll get unlimited access to most regional museums, monuments, and prehistoric sites around the country. You’ll also receive discounts on bird walks, hiking trails, and sponsored events.
An Active Afternoon at Uhuru Park for under $50 Day Budget
Budget travelers will find plenty to do at Uhuru Park. The park houses several national monuments, kid’s play areas, and an artificial lake on 12.9 hectares of landscaped gardens. Skateboarding has become a major scene in Nairobi. Uhuru Park offers skaters an ideal place to practice and gives visitors a chance to see some world-class skateboarding competitions.
Runners will find several excellent jogging paths. You can also rent paddleboats or bicycles, and kids can ride the carousel. When you need a break, you’ll find plenty of shade trees to sit under and a host of local street food to sample. And you can enjoy everything for under $50.
The Chance to Adopt a Baby Elephant
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, located just outside of Nairobi, dedicates its resources to rescuing orphaned baby elephants and rhinos. You’ll be able to visit the facility during your day at the National Park. Starting with a $50 donation, you can adopt one of those adorable animals for an entire year. Sponsors get a range of thank-you gifts, such as:
- A personalized adoption certificate
- A monthly watercolor and an email update
- Access to VIP content on the foundation’s website
A History Lesson at the Karen Blixen House
Literary fans and movie-buffs won’t want to miss a trip to the Ngong Hills and the Karen Blixen House. The museum is the site of the author’s famous memoir, Out of Africa, written in 1937. A 1985 film brought the story to a whole new generation, and museum visitors can check out original props and memorabilia from the movie.
A guided tour plus tip runs around $15 per person. You’ll need to take the line 24 bus from Nairobi to get to the Ngong Hills, which lie about 10 miles outside of town. One person can easily make a day trip for under $50, including transportation and meals.
Fun and Games at the Ozone Trampoline Park
Nairobi’s Village Market hosts a gigantic, 15,000-square-foot indoor park that will get you jumping for joy. Besides having more trampolines than you’ve ever seen in your life, the park offers pool tables, an adult-sized foam pit, a professional climbing wall, a dodgeball court, and a ninja course. Ozone keeps the atmosphere lively with hip, graffiti decor, and DJs.
It costs around $8 for each hour of your visit, plus another $2 for special jumping socks. For under $50, you and a friend can bounce yourselves silly for three hours and still have a bit left over for a snack and a beer.
So, there you have it, 8 awesome things you can do on your next trip to Nairobi, Kenya– for only $50 a day.