When I came to Nairobi everybody told me how dangerous it was to walk in the streets of the downtown at night. But I did it without problems. In downtown you find banks, shops and different offices. And all of them has a security guard sitting on a chair in front of the place. They are just sitting there to watch over the property. Just talk to them and say hi. Most of them like that and are polite against you. They can tell you where to go, where to eat and what to do in the night. They are your security and will see if somebody try to harm you.
You will probably hear some locals call you "Mzungo" and will try to speak to you. Some tips: Don't walk around with flashy jewelery, cameras or watches on show. Don't flash your cash when paying for a drink. Keep out of dark and deserted streets and alleys. Stay in the man streets where there are people on the move.
Some areas outside the dowtown are not recommended for a white guy to walk alone at night, and a taxi is recommended for even short trips.
A stroll in the Karura forest around in the Northern part of the Nairobi is maybe not the first that comes to mind for a tourist, but given its size and recent effort to revive it as a recreational space it could be tempting for the adventurous. Better avoid it though. Muggings of people walking and jogging in the forest has risen since the beginning of 2009 - including in the middle of the day. Joggers with no valuables have been beaten up when the thugs realized there was nothing to take.
if you must travel by car, travel around nairobi during the day. Take a Cab or a Matatu if you must be out at night. I preferred matatu's for longer cross-town ventures because I sometimes felt vulnerable traveling alone at night. Lenana Rd, Raptha Rd, and areas outside of the Westlands area have had increased carjacking rates,as has the city overall from 2007 on.
Basically, If you don't need to drive, take a bus or a taxi.
If you have dinner at the Carnivore restaurant - which seems on the agenda of most Nairobi visitors - you might be introduced to Dawa, a cocktail also popular at the coast. Made of vodka, honey and lime juice it tastes rather sweet, the strength of it hits you afterwards, especially on a hot day. so I´d recommend to handle with care, unless you want to risk a rather painful hangover
Do pronounce the name of the country KEHN-yah (KEEN-yah, which is the old British colonial pronunciation, may offend residents).
Don't photograph the people or their homes and livestock without asking permission first (don't be offended if you're asked to pay for the privilege—it's customary in some areas).
Don't change money on the black market. The illegal money changers are often quick-change artists, and the police will arrest you if they even suspect you're changing money illicitly (to be safe, don't even hand money to a friend in public). Also, it's illegal to export Kenyan currency, which, in any case, is difficult to exchange upon departure. We recommend only changing small amounts of money at a time.
Buying phones from the street is a Scammer's delight in Nairobi. Many times you will find a Nokia phone at a great rate that looks and feels real. Take it home without testing it and suffer the consequences! That phone you just bought is a shell filled with lead or mud to make it feel like the real thing. To avoid being scammed, ONLY buy your phone at a retail outlet such as Celtel or Safaricom stores all around the downtown.
If in doubt, ask the clerk to turn the phone on and dial a number for you.
We were warned about pickpockets and robbers, and told to go nowhere downtown Nairobi without our guides. I had some errands to run, and managed without problems. But at the main post office we experienced the following: One of the guys in our group was helping me wrapping up the things I was going to send, while my son sat on the floor beside us. My helper put his rumptask on the floor as well. All of a sudden my son saw the rumptask moving, he yelled out, and there was this nice looking lady trying to "fish" it from behind a pole with her ubrella!
We had the unfortunate experience of having to visit a Nairobi hospital. My 18 month old son had a seizure while we were visiting. Thank goodness we were staying with relatives and they drove us to the main hospital, Nairobi Hospital. My sister in law recommended going to the main hospital because they would have more experience and be more knowledgeable than the smaller hospitals. Be advised to take cash as they don't accept insurance cards. I'm from the States and found the nurses as well as the Dr's work at a slow pace which is frustrating. They are also a bit behind the times as far as equipment and procedures. Don't be afraid to be assertive and ask a lot of questions. My son came out of everything ok. If you request your chart or copy of testing done they will be accommodating. If you have the time or the option take mosquito repellent. I hadn't seen so many mosquitoes in Africa as I did in the hospital. However they do have nets. Also if you are not born in Kenya be prepared to pay an exorbitant admission fee. We filled out the admission forms and said he was born in Kenya or else we would have had to pay $1000 U.S dollars. Plus they do not ask for birth certificates or identification.
Pay attention at all times when you are in Nairobi as it is a place with much crime and not nearly enough police.
Use particualr caution after dark. We found taxis very reliable and though more expensive in particular, the old English Style cabs should provide a higher level of security and comfort.
nairobi is not as dangerous as its made out to be. I lived there for 6 years and have gone back every year since i left.
follow this guide
1. Please dont wear cameras or other electronic equipment on the street theres nothing to photograph in town anyway so leave it in the hotel. Before you leave the hotel ask for directions. This way you wont be wandering around the place. If you get lost jump in a taxi. At night never go out alone or in 2s go in a group. Also dont be afraid to go to river road its a great place but dress casually and take little money
Hi there , well me and my sister were on our way to malawi after being in zanzibar, our flights didnt connect up as planned so we had to spend a night in nairobi, wed been there already on this trip so approached the idea of staying here another night with confidence, booked into a hotel and i found my window wouldnt lock , normally i put my valuables in my pacj and then lock that , but this time i kept all my cash on me in my day pack, i walked around for a few hours called home etc , on my way back to the hotel i was approached by a neatly dressed little man claiming he was a proffesor at the university there, he asked me if id give him some time i refused and kept walking he kept talking after awhile i said ok by this stage we were discussing the origins of man and continental drift skull comparisons etc, i agreed to give him 15 minutes of my time.We went to a cafe and i bought him a coke and after awhile the converstaion changed from anthropoligy to getting his family out of sudan, he drew a map dividing sudan into christians and muslims, then asked me my name and address for correspondence and wrote those details on the back of the bit of paper. He then asked me for money i gave him a few dollars saying that was all i had etc ,next thing 6 big burly guys in suits tromp in the guy i was talking to vanished these guys produced plastic ids stating they were kenyan police and one guy was interpol, i know they werent fake . Anyway these guys started giving me the third degree about my business thereand what i was doing talking to that man you know the proffesor dude,they said hes very bad and started reffering to that piece of paper with sudan on it and saying i was spying , basically the next thing they all my stuff out on the table, also said they found counterfiett money on the proffesor and that i gave it to him after alot of threats of jail and shooting me they took 3000$u.s.and left couldve been worse alot worse ..
Kibera is the largest slum area in Kenya. Tourists should be very careful here according to my taxi driver. Don't take photo's if you are in slum areas in Kenya.