THE INSIDERS I NAIROBI
STAY: Nairobi Serena Hotel Nairobi’s premier hotel, with a unique pan-African flavour, is built in parklands and overlooks the CBD. It has grown into a magnificent property over the years but retains its warmth and charm — and the personal touch of its staff, some of whom I’ve known for more than 35 years; serenahotels.com. EAT: The Tamarind An institution, still in its original location close to Nairobi Railway Station, and with many of its original staff. Despite being more than 480km from the Indian Ocean, The Tamarind is the best seafood spot in the region, with fresh catch flown from the coast in dry ice every morning. I recommend the lobster Swahili, an infusion of coconut and spices; tamarind.co.ke. SHOP: Banana Box A few doors from WWWShop& Bar is Banana Box, where I buy gifts — anything from salad servers to carved bowls — for friends and family. While it’s a small store, the items are unique and handcrafted; The Junction Mall, Ngong Road, Lavington. EXPERIENCE: Elephants and giraffe Nairobi is the safari capital of Africa, so no visit is complete without a wildlife experience. In the outer suburbs, there is an elephant orphanage run by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where abandoned baby elephants are cared for. You can pay a fee and watch their keepers feed and frolic with them daily at about noon. You can also get face to face with the rare Rothschild giraffe at the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife’s Giraffe Centre nearby. Get the photo of a lifetime as you hand-feed these beautiful creatures; sheldrickwild lifetrust.org; giraffecenter. org.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, WILDLIFE SAFARI WWWShop & Bar For an informal lunch, seek out this wine shop and bar in The Junction shopping centre in suburban Nairobi, where my good friend Philippe serves more than 50 international wines by the glass. His mini-burgers are outstanding, too; wineshop.co.ke. Kazuri Beads Established as a community workshop for single mothers with HIV/AIDS, Kazuri now has hundreds of women making jewellery and other items from volcanic mud sourced in the Mount Kenya area; kazuri.com.