Nairobi Travel Guide

Flights, Train & Cruise

For general information about visas and vaccinations, etc, see the Kenya article.

By plane

Regular flights to Nairobi are operated by Kenya Airways, Air Kenya, Air France, KLM, British Airways, Turkish Airlines,Emirates, Egypt Air, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa and Swiss. Kenya Airways is the national airline and travels throughout Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Nairobi’s main airport is JKIA Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, which is 15km (9 mi) south-east from the centre of the city. If taking a taxi from JKIA, use a reputable taxi, many are waiting outside to give you conveyance, and the cost should be very near KES1,500 to the city centre; Westlands or such places more west or north will be more. When taking a taxi to your accommodation, do not be inveigled into taking their recommendation for accommodation although this is very at your own risk. There is also Wilson Airport, 11km (7 mi) south from the city's centre, that is for domestic flights, more lighter, Cessna-type aircraft can be seen there. The military/ government airport is in Eastleigh district (pronounced "East-Lee"), a very large residential area of housing in the east/north-east of Nairobi, but the government airport is fenced around and does not handle civilian traffic. From the centre, you can take Bus #34 for KES50, to the international airport, from in front of the Ambassador Hotel.

By train

Nairobi is also accessible by rail, with daily arrivals and departures at the Nairobi Railway station. The trains go east to Mombasa and west to Kisumu. Trains are often a more comfortable and safe way to travel than bus, because of bad roads, bus mechanical issues, and bus hijackings.

There are 3 classes: First, Second and General. General class gets very overcrowded and not all participants always have seats, it is the least expensive and comfortable mode of travel. First and Second are sleepers. First have 2 seats in a cabin, Second have 4. In Second Class, genders are separated unless you purchase the entire compartment of 4 seats. First-class costs vary depending on location and are USD55 to Mombasa but are all inclusive: bedding, breakfast, dinner; Second class costs vary depending on destination but are USD32 to Mombasa all inclusive. Both can be purchased without bedding or food. Tickets have to be booked through the office on Station Road in south-central Nairobi, or on-line. On-line may be more expensive than in person.

By bus

Kenya’s bus system is mostly reliable. There are many bus companies that have routes going to and from the country’s different cities, including Nairobi, which is the centre of the bus network.

from/to Mombasa (KES1,100-1,200) 8-10h by Akamba, Easy Coach, Modern Coast (Oxygen)
from/to Arusha in Tanzania (USD25-30) 5.5h by Riverside Shuttle, Akamba
By matatu

Matatus (14-18 seater minibuses) and shuttles (6 seater cars) are convenient, inexpensive (and often the only) modes of public transport for connecting Nairobi with towns and tourist destinations in the Rift Valley and Central Highlands such as Naivasha, Nyeri, Nanyuki, Isiolo, and Thika. Matatus can be obtained from the River Road area. Extreme caution should be exercised in this area because petty theft is a major concern and valuables such as mobile phones and wallets should not be prominently displayed here, particularly after dark and even while in the matatu (see safety section below). The best method of connecting to a matatu is to arrange for a taxi to drop you off and pick you up directly at the location of the matatu that you are boarding or alighting from. If you're boarding a matatu from Nairobi, tell the taxi driver your destination and they will drop you off at the correct location. If you are being picked up, then tell the taxi driver the location you're coming from as well as the matatu company that you are using (your ticket should have the operator's name). It is best to arrange for a taxi from the hotel you're staying at. The price is dependent on the distance of travel.

from/to Naivasha (KES200-300) 1.5h
from/to Nanyuki (KES450) 3h
By boat

Entry into Nairobi by boat is of course not possible, however one could certainly arrive in Kenya by boat via Mombasa or Lamu, proceeding by road, air or rail to Nairobi. Immigration should be processed at the port facility.

source: Wikivoyage

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