Backpacking Africa

Where to Stay in Nairobi Before Going on Safari

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Wondering where to stay in Nairobi before your safari? As an overland tour leader, I have collected hundreds of passengers at various hotels in Nairobi. At the same time, the same can be said for guest houses and even campsites in Nairobi. In short, some of them are fantastic, some of them downright awful. Either way, here are my picks for the best place to stay in Nairobi before a safari.

Where to Stay in Nairobi before Going on Safari

Quick Answer – Where to Stay Before Going on Safari

Best Campsite in Nairobi – Wildebeest Camp

Best Hotel in Nairobi – Heron Portico

Runner up for Best Hotel in Nairobi – Silversprings Hotel

Best Cheap Hotel in Nairobi – Decasa Hotel

Best Hostel in Nairobi – Millimani Guest House

When trying to choose the best place to stay before your safari, your options will depend entirely on budget. Needless to say, the hotels are a lot more pricey so if you want to save money, the hostel, campsites and guest houses are an obvious choice. With this in mind, here are my picks for each of the above:

Overall Best Hotel in Nairobi 

Best place to stay in Nairobi

Heron Portico Hotel

Location – Nairobi City, Kenya

Features – Excellent pool, central location, luxury, professional staff.

What I like about the Heron Portico – SUPER comfortable, classy, great food, nice cafe…the list goes on. I love this hotel!

Without doubt this is the most comfortable hotel and a very safe place to stay in Nairobi before an overland tour in Africa. Modern, secure, spacious and with super friendly staff, the Heron Portico Hotel has always received the best feedback from my previous passengers and I have stayed in this hotel on more than a few occasions. Located a short distance from the city centre, you are a short taxi ride from most of the main shopping malls but this hotel is also nicely located to travel to the starting point of your overland tour. In fact, some operators will even collect you at the Heron.

Check Best Price for Heron Portico

Runner-Up for Best Hotel in Nairobi

Safe place to stay in Nairobi

Silversprings Hotel

Location – Nairobi City, Kenya

Features – Nice pool, decent rooms and great breakfast.

What I like about Silversprings – There is something more primitive and endearing about the slightly outdated interior.

Running a close second for where to stay in Nairobi is the nearby Silversprings Hotel. This was once my only “go to” recommendation, aswell as being the starting point, and best hotel to stay in Nairobi before my overland tours in Africa. However, the hotel seems a little outdated in places even if the rooms are extremely nice. That being said, I would still highly recommend staying here if the price or availability suits you better. You won’t be disappointed and this another very safe place to stay in Nairobi before an Overland tour in Africa.

Check Best Price for Silversprings Hotel

Best Cheap Hotel in NairobiBest Cheap hotel in Nairobi

Decasa Hotel

Location – Very centre of Nairobi City, Kenya

Features – Nice staff, reasonably comfortable for the price.

What I like about Decasa Hotel – Honestly, the price!

Choosing the best cheap hotel in Nairobi is super tricky. Why? Because almost every cheap hotel has a flaw which is likely to ruin your stay. For example, you don’t want to stay in the roughest part of town and you don’t want a hotel that has zero security. I have stayed in many cheap hotels in Nairobi and Decasa Hotel is probably the only hotel that I found enjoyable. That being said, you need to manage your expectations – the hotel is cheap for a reason! Either way, I can stretch myself to recommending this cheap hotel as one of my picks for where to stay in Nairobi.

Check Best Price for Decasa Hotel

Best Campsite in Nairobi 

Wildbeest camp in Nairobi

Wildebeest Eco Camp

Location – Karen, Nairobi

Features – Beautiful gardens, secure location and nice set up for tourists.

What I like about Wildebeest – Excellent security and a great place for visitors to stay on their first trip to Africa.

Located on the outskirts of Nairobi, Wildebeest is by far and away the nicest campsite in Nairobi. Featuring large gardens, helpful staff and a swimming pool, the campsite is a favourite for budget travel. Some overland tours in Africa will collect you from Wildebeest but even if they don’t, the campsite is located close to many of the local activities such as the Giraffe Sanctuary and Karen Blixen Museum. You can bring your own tent, but I recommend upgrading to a fixed tent in which you can sort out all your gear before starting your overland tour in Africa.

Check Best Price for Wildebeest Eco Camp

Best Hostel in Nairobi

Best Hostel in Nairobi

Milimani Backpackers

Location – Karen, Nairobi

Features – Dorms, friendly staff and nice location.

What I like about Milimani – Secure property with friendly staff.

To be honest, there is not a single hostel in Nairobi that I can recommend. I have stayed in several that were filthy and then the rest are not really hostels at all. With that being said, Milimani Backpackers is not your typical hostel either but it does tick some boxes. The staff at Milimani are super friendly. The hostel is located in Karen, just a short distance from two shopping malls. There are many restaurants and western style bars to frequent in the area should you fancy a night out. And there are in fact dorm beds in this hostel for a reasonable price.

Check Best Price for Milimani Backpackers

Be Safe and Have a Fantastic Stay in Nairobi

That’s it – my picks for where to stay in Nairobi before a safari! Did I miss anywhere? Are you headed to Nairobi soon? Let me know in the comments!

Please note this post includes affiliate links which allow me a small kickback if you click through to the property and make a booking. However, please feel assured that I seek to offer honest advice always and greatly appreciate your support.

Derek Cullen is an experienced overland tour leader in Africa. He is best known for cycling across Africa and writing about travel in Africa for many online media publications. If you would like advice or information for your trip to Africa, you can speak with him directly through the LiveChat box!

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