Last updated on September 13th, 2022; Published on May 17th, 2022
Someone once told me that the number of weekend getaways close to Nairobi was one of the best things about living in the city. I quite agree and find it astonishing that only a few hours away from the busy city, you will find mountains, gorgeous beaches, lakes, wild plains and so much more. Even within the city, you’ll find some of these. But if you live here, you’ve probably checked those out already and are looking to explore more places close by.
In this list, I am focussing on road trips you can take on a weekend from Nairobi. Five of the seven listed road trips fall within a 2 to 3-hour drive from the city. The last three are about 4-5 hours away and are perfect for long weekends. So, let’s jump right in!
Weekend Getaways Close to Nairobi (Under 3 Hours)
Naivasha tops this list as the overall best place for a weekend getaway from Nairobi. The drive takes only about 2 hours and here, you’ll find activities such as hiking, camping, boat rides on the lake and a unique safari. I have visited Naivasha twice on a short weekend and haven’t done all there is to do yet.
So far, I have gone on a hike to Mount Longonot, taken a boat ride on Lake Naivasha, cycled in Hell’s Gate National Park, camped at Camp Carnelly’s, and spent a weekend on Crescent Island. I would love to visit Sanctuary Farm and other places the next time we head down there.
While you can visit Naivasha on a day trip, I would recommend spending at least one night in the area to maximize your time there.
2. Champagne Ridge
Depending on where you stay in the city, this small slice of paradise could be less than an hour away. Travelling from Westlands, it took us a little under 2 hours to arrive and if you leave from Karen, the time is even shorter.
This getaway is perfect for those looking to escape city life for a short while. There aren’t many activities to do but once you visit, you’ll realize that in itself is one of the advantages of being there. Nevertheless, if you are interested in hiking, you can do so within the valleys.
3. Aberdare Cottages and Fishing Lodge
This getaway is also located about 2 hours away from Nairobi. The lodge has several accommodation options for guests that look quite good, but during our visit, we made use of the campsite by the river.
Surrounded by tea plantations and a gorgeous river, this is the most beautiful campsite I have been to date. Short and long hikes are also possible in the area, and it is a delightful place to relax and reconnect with nature.
4. Castle Forest Lodge
This is an experience quite like the one above. Getting here from Nairobi takes about two and a half hours and it is also a beautiful place to be in nature and camp out.
If you love chasing waterfalls, you will also love it here as there are a few in the area. 10 minutes from the lodge, you will find two gorgeous waterfalls and if you do the 3-hour hike (there and back), you will find the larger Kamweti Waterfall.
Weekend Getaways Close to Nairobi (4-5 Hours)
These next three weekend getaways close to Nairobi are perfect for long weekends. I have seen a few tours offering all of them as weekend or even day trips, but I would not necessarily recommend that short a time to visit. I would say you need at least 2 days to visit but if you can afford 3 or more days, then that’s even better. Let’s get right into it!
5. Ol Pejeta, Nanyuki
This conservation centre currently houses the last two surviving Northern White Rhinos on the planet and is certainly worth making the 3.5 hours long drive down from Nairobi.
In addition to the experience with the rhinos, visitors can also embark on a safari within the grounds for a chance to spot all members of ‘The Big 5’. You can read all about our experience at Ol Pejeta here and here.
6. Amboseli National Park
The Amboseli National Park is another getaway worth visiting from Nairobi. The drive takes about 5 hours to get there but there’s also a considerable amount of driving involved within the park itself. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend a day trip or a short 2-weekend trip there.
Amboseli is a wonderful safari destination, hosting the largest number of elephants in the wild. This is also where you can spot wildlife against the stunning backdrop of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro.
During our visit, we stayed at the Amboseli Bush Camp, a self-catering lodge situated just outside the park. This is the best safari lodge I have stayed in to date, and I can highly recommend it for your visit. I would also recommend a visit during the dry seasons to get incredible sightings of animals converging at the watering holes right in front of the lodge.
Visiting during the rainy seasons also has its advantages as animal sightings are still possible and there are higher chances of viewing Mount Kilimanjaro.
7. Ngare Ndare Forest
Last, but not least, is the magical Ngare Ndare Forest, also located in Nanyuki. This forest is famous for its gorgeous azure waterfalls and pools, as well as a canopy walkway over the forest and elephant sightings.
It takes about 4.5 hours to travel down here from Nairobi and you can easily combine this trip with a visit to Ol Pejeta conservancy.
Have you been to any of these places? I would love to hear about your experiences! I would also love to read recommendations of your favourite weekend getaways close to Nairobi. Please share them with me in the comment section below!