Part I: Avoid Nairobbery
Nairobi is sometimes regarded as one of the most dangerous cities in Africa. Carjackings, snatchings, muggings and violent robberies seem to be happening on a daily basis. Based on several sources, your favorite blog Rafiki Kenya has now identified some of the most dangerous spots in Nairobi where organized crime (especially mugging and robbery) is rampant. Most criminals target unsuspecting pedestrians. Please fasten your wallets and enjoy your flight:
- Haile Selassie Avenue - Moi Avenue roundabout: mostly from 6 pm.
- Globe Cinema roundabout (especially near Kirinyaga Road junction): anytime of the day/night.
- River Road junction with Accra and Ronald Ngala street: anytime of the day/night.
- Area around Latema Road and River Road: mainly petty theft during the day, no-go area at night.
- Tom Mboya Street at Ambassador Hotel and junction of Accra and Ronald Ngala Street: mostly from 4.30 pm.
- Most parts of Mfangano Street: anytime of the day/night.
- Area between Serena Hotel to Kenyatta Avenue roundabout: Mostly early in the morning and from 5 pm.
- Uhuru park: to be avoided after 5 pm (on working days), tends to accumulate all kinds of dodgy characters.
- Mbagathi Way footbridge: from 6 pm.
- Museum Hill and Casino: don't walk there at night.
In general, the Central Business District (CBD) is trouble-free as long as you use a bit of common sense.
Part II: Enjoy the Green City in the Sun
Get out, catch the breeze or the sun, read a book, grab a coffee or a beer, or even a meal, at these nice places to eat and drink with outside terraces or gardens (in random order):
- Pic-nics are nice in Uhuru Park, City Park (watch out for the monkeys though!), Nairobi Arboretum , Jeevanjee Gardens, Paradise Lost, Nairobi National Park , or on one of these nice new benches anyware in the city.
Nyama choma (roast meat)
- There are several good places to have nyama choma including Kariakor Market, Dagoretti Corner, City Hawkers Market, and Olepolos Country Club on Magadi Rd with excellent views.
- Savanna: The one @ Nairobi Museum has a very nice terrace overlooking the lush green trees. The one in Upper Hill is also not bad at all.
- Artcaffe: Great sandwiches; terrace overlooking the street; wireless Internet access available. Full review by JustDes here.
- Nairobi Java House: Most of them (including Java ABC, Java Adams, Java Gigiri, Java Junction, and Java Upper Hill) have nice outdoor seating. Java Adams and Java Gigiri have small play areas. Added advantage is free wireless Internet access.
Nairobi CBD (Central Business District)
- Thorn Tree Cafe (Stanley): Great outdoor terrace; very pleasant place to sit; nice fruit juices; food not extraordinary. A complete review by Biche is available here.
- Pool Deck (Stanley): Varied buffets; rooftop restaurant.
- Simmers: Lively open air bar; good meat; live music.
Gigiri, Muthaiga, Runda
- Food court (Village Market): Outdoor food court; average food, but excellent ice-cream at Arlecchino.
- Epic (Tribe, Village Market): Innovative continental cuisine with African fusion; paved outdoor area.
- La Dolce Vita (Muthaiga Mini Market): Quiet terrace; good selection of Italian wines; excellent pizza oven.
- Cafe des Arts (UN Avenue): Includes a green garden with three banda's and a few tables on the lawn for a sunny afternoon lunch or a romantic outside dinner.
- Tamambo Tapas Bar (Village Market): Delicious and original cocktails and bitings; nice outdoor terrace; good live performances.
Parklands / Westlands / Spring Valley / Loresho
- Oasis Restaurant (Holiday Inn): By the pool; snacks and international and African buffet.
- Gazebo Banda (Jacaranda): Always good for a bite or a drink; beautiful gardens around.
- Pizza Garden (Jacaranda): Better-than-average pizzas; small playground.
- Pool Bar (Jacaranda): Snacks and drinks in the open air.
- Amani Garden Café: Lovely café offering light lunches and cakes, outside seating, play area for the kids. The garden offers customers a haven of peace where they can enjoy a calm and tranquil setting. Added advantage of supporting a good cause.
- Le Rustique: Outdoor tables under large umbrellas; beautiful garden; open air creperie; mediterranean cuisine; playground.
- Gypsy's: Bar with good burgers; always popular; paved terrace with streetview.
- Zen Garden (Lower Kabete Rd): Asian restaurant with Chinese, Thai and Japanese food.
- About Thyme: Excellent menu which changes weekly; plenty of tables outside.
- Jolly Roger Theme Park and Restaurant: Adults can relax outside in the shady comfort of the Jolly Roger Restaurant while the kids have a great time in the playground.
- Simba Saloon: Nice coffees; big playground for the kids; Carnivore food.
- Rusty Nail: Beautiful terrace/garden; huge steaks; charming, romantic ambience according to some.
- Karen Blixen Coffee Garden: Lovely setting; spacious outdoor garden full of birds; international menu.
- Talisman: Lovely garden and patio to sit outside, with heaters when cold; varied menu; food is great. Full review by Biche here.
- Rangers (Nairobi National Park main gate): Nice Twiga and Oryx terraces; wooden viewing deck; international cuisine.
Lavington / Hurlingham
- Mediterraneo (Junction): Italian cuisine; cozy ambience; nice terrace upstairs. Full review by Biche available here and a more recent review by pourkygourmand here.
- For You: Excellent Chinese restaurant with nice Chinese lanterns on the outside; huge garden.
- Osteria del Chianto: Excellent Italian food served in a lovely garden with bonfires and small lamps everywhere.
- Hong's Bakery (next to Yaya): Outside terrace, grass; swing for kids; cake, bread and goodies for sale; nice snacks. The Chicken Teriyaki comes recommended by Peperuka.
- Chez l'Ami: Odd combination of French and Japanese cuisine; good sushi; garden.
- Sippers (Argwings Kodek Rd): Nice outdoor patio and tables; good music; nightlife venue; the roast goat comes highly recommended.
Milimani / Upper Hill
- Flame Tree (Panafric): Has an outdoor section; decent coffee and juices.
- Pool Garden (Panafric): Mainly barbeque and buffet lunches.
- Mandhari (Serena): Al-fresco dining on the terrace; excellent international and fusion cuisine.
- Pool Bar (Serena): Good snacks; relaxed atmosphere.
- Cafe Maghreb (Serena): Original moroccan cuisine; possibility of al-fresco dining.
- Mukutan Garden Café (Fairview): good coffees and cakes as well as light meals such as gourmet sandwiches, pizzas and quesadillas; tranquil green setting; wireless Internet available.
- Pwani Pool Restaurant (Fairview): International cuisine in a casual environment by the pool.
A bit out of town
- Cafe Kigwa (Safari Park): Mostly buffet-style; always busy on Sundays for brunch/lunch.
- Olepolos Country Club (Magadi Rd): good nyama choma; excellent views.
The above list is by no means complete or exhaustive. But these places have all been checked out by your dear Rafiki and can be recommended (although some more than others). Most of them have websites nowadays, so please click through for more info. Please feel free to add you own and comment, and I'll update the list. Let's enjoy the Green City in the Sun!