24 hours in Nairobi, at Fairmont The Norfolk
In February 2018, I had the opportunity to go for a once in a lifetime experience: a safari in Kenya. The first step was a stay in the country’s capital city, Nairobi. There, as a launch point for my safari – just like most of those going for the adventure – I stayed at Fairmont The Norfolk. A hotel full of history, which has been playing a dominant role in the development of the city since it was built in 1904.
Fairmont The Norfolk, a historic hotel
With its signature Tudor style of architecture that has been maintained since its original construction, the first thing I noticed about Fairmont The Norfolk is its popularity among the locals – especially the Lord Delamere Terrace; which boasts breakfast buffet in town, and the Tatu restaurant; an award-winning signature steak house. In total, the hotel offers 4 dining venues.
What I really liked about the hotel and makes it stand out are the grounds where it is located: a green, lush and calm oasis of private tropical gardens in the heart of the city. Being green and classic doesn’t have to mean old-fashioned: Fairmont The Norfolk‘s 170 luxuriously furnished rooms and suites offer all possible modern amenities, and last but not least, guests can enjoy a lovely outdoor heated swimming pool as well as a health club, sauna and steam room, and spa.
What to do in Nairobi
Adjacent to the Central Business District, Fairmont The Norfolk is also just steps away from artisanal craft shops and modern shopping centers of Nairobi, the most modern and vibrant city of East Africa.
If you like vegetables and meat, you will love eating out in Nairobi. Especially at one of the city’s houses turned restaurants beloved by the locals, such as Tulips: there, you will be able to fully enjoy the taste of local food, such as Kachumbari (a typical Kenyan fresh tomato and onion salad), or Mukimo (a staple food of the Kikuyu community in Kenya, it comprises mainly of potatoes, pumpkin leaves, green peas, soft and fresh maize). Add some fried and roasted meat, as well as Tusker – the local beer, and you have the perfect night out.
Shopping and eating in the Karen neighborhood
The beautiful leafy suburbs of Karen in Nairobi are home to some fine experiences, in shopping and food: while places such as The Hub shopping center hosts both local and international retailers all while supporting small businesses, I was happy to discover the White Elephant Trading Company, a shop offering hand picked vintage and antique furniture from countryside auction rooms and antique fairs across Europe, imported and restored in Kenya.
While in the Karen area, one has to go and eat at The Talisman, and one of the reasons could be simply because it has been described as “The best place in town” by New York Times Spirited Traveler. And indoor / outdoor space, featuring carved wooden pillars from Pakistan, elegant Afghan rugs, charming fireplaces, sprawling terraces and idyllic gardens, The Talisman blends fine dining with unbridled eclecticism. On the menu, there is something for everyone. My suggestions: the Talisman Thai Prawns and the Feta and Coriander samosas.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Giraffe Centre
Before heading for my safari adventure in Africa’s most popular reserves, the Maasai Mara, I got a first glimpse of African wildlife at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which raises orphaned elephants and black rhinos, with the purpose of introducing them back into the wild. Between eleven and noon, visitors can watch the parade of baby elephants being fed and rolling around in mud baths. A must-do experience !
Another must-do is the Giraffe Centre, which protects the highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, a subspecies of the giraffe found only in the grasslands of East Africa.