Volunteer in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi and experience modern urban life in one of Africa’s mega-cities. The economic and cultural hub of East Africa, Nairobi is a mix of the new and the old, of traditional African culture and modern life filled with skyscrapers and smart phones. Nairobi has had a bad reputation for street crime for sure. But with some basic precautions, you can have a wonderful time volunteering and living in Nairobi.
Volunteer Programs in Nairobi
Location of Nairobi
Nairobi (pop. 3.3 mil) is the largest city between Cairo and Johannesburg and one of the largest cities in Africa. Most foreign visitors, including our volunteers, arrive in Kenya at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Nairobi’s sits at an elevation of 1,660 meters (giving the city a pleasant climate year-round).
Getting Around Nairobi
Our local Kenyan Coordinators will accompany you by private car from the airport to your host family in Nairobi.
Then during your stay in Nairobi, you will mostly use public transportation for commuting to your volunteer job and weekend travel. The public transport options include “matatus” (shared minibus taxis), buses, and regular taxis. Mutatus fares and routes often fluctuate and the drivers can be erratic.
You can also buy an inexpensive bicycle. However for safety reasons we would only recommend the bicycle option to volunteers staying at least a couple of months — so you can better understand traffic patterns and flows.
Climate in Nairobi
The climate in Nairobi is warm, windy, and mostly cloudy. Throughout the year, the temperature typically varies from 54°F to 81°F. The most rainfall you would see takes place from November to April each year.
Free time in Nairobi
Most visitors start out their stay in Nairobi visiting the The Bomas — a cultural center that has replicas of traditional villages showcasing each tribe’s crafts, music, and dancing.
On weekday evenings, you will spend time at your host family. Nairobi does have its share of western-style cafes, restaurants, night clubs, and shopping malls. (After sundown, it is best to take taxis to get around for safety reasons.)
On weekends there are cheap day trip safaris (less then $75) to places like Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate National Park, Olkaria Geothermal Spa, and Lake Nakuru. You can also visit Nairobi National Park which sits right next to Nairobi and has four of the “big five” animals: leopard, lion, buffalo and rhino (there are no elephants).
You can also go to the beach in Mombasa (5 hours by bus from Nairobi). Also consider a 3-4 day trip to Tanzania.