THE DYNAMIC EAST AFRICAN CAPITAL With a bustling, modern centre, Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, is far more than just a springboard bouncing adventurers into East Africa’s safari heartlands. It’s a multifaceted city, strong on culture, commerce and even wildlife-watching. Its streets can be frenetic, with hawkers dodging traffic jams and matatus (minibuses) hurtling along and stereos blaring, but its ample green spaces ensure there’s tranquility to be found. Unusually for a fast-growing capital, wilderness is on the doorstep: land at Jomo Kenyatta International or Wilson Airport in the morning and you can be in lion country for lunch. Nairobi National Park, a generous stretch of greenbelt with genuine conservation clout, lies immediately south of the city — there are several hotels and lodges on the periphery of the national park. The park protects four of the Big Five, including rhinos, lions, leopards and buff aloes; for the fifth, head to the adjoining Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which cares for orphaned elephants. Nairobi’s other leading wildlife sanctuary, The Giraffe Centre in Langata, has Rothschild giraffes, who famously like to pop their heads in for breakfast at Giraff e Manor, the upmarket hotel next door.
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