There are many interesting attractions within one hour's drive of Nairobi.
Karen Blixen Museum
The Karen Blixen Museum was set up in 1985 in M'Bogani House, the main building of the Blixen's coffee farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills. There is the well-preserved colonial farmhouse, a kitchen in a separate building, a coffee-drying plant in the woodland and an agricultural college on the grounds. Furniture that belonged to Karen Blixen and her husband is on display, as well as photographs and other items.Karen Blixen is the author of 'Out of Africa', she lived in M'Bogani House from 1913 to 1931. Karen was also known by her pen name Isak Dinesen The house was built by a Swedish settler in 1911 and taken over by Karen Coffee Company in 1913 when Bror Blixen bought the Coffee Company for Karen.On the road to the Karen Blixen Museum is the Swedo House, built in 1912 as the residence for the Swedish manager of the coffee plantation. Within Swedo House is colonial memorabilia, while the exterior represents the first generation of colonial residential architecture.
Lake Magadi is a soda lake completely surrounded by vast natural salt flats. The thick encrustation of soda supports the thousands of flamingoes that descend on the lake each year to nest. The freshwater springs at the shore of Lake Magadi attract many other birds.A casueway leads across Lake Magadi to a viewpoint on the western shore. South of the lake are hot springs, many of the fish have adapted to the hot water.The town of Magadi, on the eastern shore, is home to the Magadi Soda factory. The factory harvests the layer of soda crust for common salt and soda.North of Magadi is Olorgasailie, one of East Africa's most important early hominid archaeological sites. Louis and Mary Leakey originally excavated the site in the 1940's. Some of the hand axes and stone tools are thought to be as much as half a million years old.
Langata Giraffe Center
Langata Giraffe Center is located on the edge of the Nairobi National Park and the residential area known as Karen. Visitors can observe and hand-feed Rothschild's giraffes, which are endangered species. The Langata Giraffe Centre is on the grounds of Giraffe Manor, formerly the private home of Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville.The visitor's center has a building with a walkway at just below the full height of an adult giraffe. Visitors can feed them with specially prepared pellets provided by the staff. A display of information about the giraffes is available and across from the center is a self-guided forest walk.
Thika is a small market town, north east of Nairobi. The main attractions are Chania Falls and Thika Falls, north of the center of town. Thika Falls was the background for many of the Tarzan movies. There are wooden walkways across the lower Chania Falls and pools of rainbow trout downstream.The market on the eastern edge of Thika is worth a visit for the patterned sarongs and Maasai blankets.Ol Donyo Sabuk is one of Kenya's smaller national parks. This mountain park has forested slopes, ravines and a summit with breathtaking views of Mount Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro and the surrounding lowlands including Nairobi.
Bomas of Kenya
Located just outside Nairobi, Bomas of Kenya is a cultural complex with a recreated traditional village belonging to the several Kenyan tribes. The complex also contains the biggest theatre in Africa with 3,500 seats.Each day a dance team performs traditional dances and songs from the country's 16 ethnic groups.Bomas of Kenya has numerous homesteads (bomas) that reflect the culture of the various tribes and this has created a living museum. Each bomas has been built to the original traditional architecture of an African home, similar to that of their ancestors.
The hills of Ngong are where the white settlers set up their farms in the early colonial days. Half-timbered houses and flowering gardens still remain but seem more suited to southern England than Africa.Wildlife can still be seen in Ngong Hills, antelope and buffalo are the most common. Gazelles, giraffes, bushbucka, the occasional klipspringer and troupes of baboons are visible as they graze along the roadside."Ngong" means "knuckles" in Swahili and a view of the hills explains the name. Ngong Hills looks like the back of a fist held up to the sky.