9 Best Things to do around Jomo Kenyatta Airport
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is East Africa’s busiest airport. The airport serves about 8 million passengers every year.
This airport has 2 terminals, with direct local flights and connections to countries across Africa, Europe, Asia, and America.
More than 40 passenger airlines have daily flights scheduled from this airport to more than 60 destinations all over the world.
Formerly known as Nairobi International Airport, it was renamed after the first president of the country, Jomo Kenyatta, in 1978.
During your travel, you may have a layover at JKIA, as you wait on your connecting flight, you may want to go for a quick adventure close to the airport.
There are several activities that you can do and be back in time for your flight. Here are the 10 best things to do around Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
1.Visit the Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is located a short drive from Jomo Kenyatta airport.
It is one of a kind and is known for being home to black rhinos, zebras, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, ostriches, baboons, vultures, crocodiles and various species of antelope.
This will be one of the most memorable animal sightings while in Nairobi. While at the park, you will enjoy stretching your sight beyond the open grasslands.
The park is set against the backdrop of Nairobi’s skyline. You can be driven through the park by an open van or a rental car.
Some spots to look out for is the ivory burning site. This is an important conservation landmark.
It was here that two Kenyan presidents, the late Daniel Arap Moi and Uhuru Kenyatta, burnt tons of seized ivory in 1989 and 2016 respectively.
2. Sample some Kenyan delicacies at the famous Carnivore restaurant
With time to spare during your stopover in Nairobi, dropping by a local restaurant for a sample of the local cuisine is a great idea.
The Carnivore restaurant lives true to its name. It is a popular restaurant and night club that serves mouth-watering meat cuts.
They have vegetarian options as well. While here, try Kenya’s most famous selection of nyama choma (grilled meat).
It is all you can eat here as you choose from beef, goat, mutton, chicken, ostrich and even crocodile meat. They are served alongside chips, greens and the famous kachumbari.
3. Take a guided tour of the city in the sun
Nairobi is fondly referred to as the green city in the sun. there is a lot to see and explore in this city. Depending on the time you have, you can explore the best sites and historical landmarks.
For a 360-view of the city, The Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) is the building to go to. The roof that doubles as the helipad at the top is open to the public.
Its strategic position offers citizens and visitors an exceptional, spectacular and amazing panoramic view of Nairobi’s Central business district and its environs.
Next to it is the monument of the first president of the country, Jomo Kenyatta.
Do you love art? visit the Nairobi Gallery at the heart of the city. This national monument is famous for its Murumbi African heritage collection.
The art gallery hosts temporary art exhibitions by artists from different African countries.
If you happen to have a layover on a Saturday or a Wednesday, then head over to the famous Maasai Market.
This open-air market has several handcrafted souvenirs such as ornaments, sandals, jewellery, colourful African fabrics and so much more.
4. A tour of the Nairobi National Museum
Another fun thing to do when you are on transit in Nairobi is visiting the National Museum. It is a 30 minutes’ drive from the airport.
The Museum showcases Kenya’s rich heritage and is a one-stop place for both education and leisure. It is open every day of the week.
Other than soaking in the culture, contemporary art and heritage of this beautiful country, you can also spend some time at the botanical gardens. There is a snake park at the same location.
Other attractions at the museum are the art gallery, temporary exhibitions, and a nature trail.
5. Nairobi Safari Walk
A quick way to get to see some of the great animals in Kenya is by visiting the Safari Walk located in Langata, Nairobi.
This is part of the Nairobi National Park and is at the headquarters of the Kenya Wildlife Services.
Safari Walk is a raised wooden boardwalk that allows visitors to have uninterrupted views of the animals in their natural habitat.
One can see some of the country’s rich animal life such as the rare bongo, white rhino and albino zebra as well as big cats, antelopes and baboons.
The safari walk is best for bird watching, game viewing, photography.
6. The animal orphanage
Still in the same vicinity as the Safari Walk, is the animal orphanage, here you will get to see lions, cheetahs, monkeys, and different bird species.
As per its name, it is a home for rescued animals that are ‘rehabilitated’ before being released back to the wild.
The keepers are incredibly knowledgeable and have great relationships with the animals they care for is clear.
7. Go for a game drive
Nairobi City boasts of the only National Park in the world. You can get a pick up straight from the airport to the park.
There are park gates close to Jomo Kenyatta International airport for easy access to nature and its animals.
The game drives are available at any time of the day. Night game drives are allowed to but one has to make reservations with the park management for that.
It will take you about 4-6 hours therefore ensure you have enough time to take it all in.
Bird watchers are also in for a treat with over 300 bird species in the park. They include the secretary bird, crowned cranes, vultures, peckers and many others.
8. Kiss the Giraffes at the Giraffe centre
The centre was established to protect the endangered Rothschild’s Giraffe.
At the centre, you can hand-feed and interact with these curious and gentle creatures. What’s more, you can lean in for a kiss by placing a pellet in your mouth and feed them.
This sanctuary was started in 1979. The Giraffe Centre is also home to several warthogs which freely roam the area along with the giraffes.
9. Ice skating at Panari Sky Centre
The Solar Ice Rink is 20 minutes away from the airport. It is located along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway on your way to the city. It provides a good get away from the airport.
The Solar Ice Rink at Panari is the only one of its kind in East and Central Africa. It is totally enclosed with ice temperature at -25oC and the air temperature inside the hall is 12oC.
The rink can take 200 skaters at any time and is open seven days a week from 11.00 am until 10.00 pm.
After skating, you can enjoy great food and a beautiful view of the National Park at their rooftop restaurant.