Airlines -- Contact details for the main international airlines servicing Nairobi: Kenya Airways (tel. 020/320-7474), South African Airways (tel. 020/22-7486), British Airways (tel. 020/698-000 airport, or 020/327-7400 sales), Brussels Airlines (tel. 022/444-3070 Nairobi, or 020/82-2329 airport), KLM (tel. 020/327-4210, or 020/622-3509 or -3527 airport), Turkish Airlines (tel. 020/221-8720), Emirates (tel. 020/329-000 or -0404), Qatar (tel. 020/280-0000), Swiss (tel. 020/374-4045 or -4535), and Virgin Atlantic (tel. 020/278-9000). Domestic airlines include Safarilink (tel. 020/60-0777), AirKenya (tel. 020/60-5745), TropicAir (tel. 020/203-3032, -3033, 020/214-4405, 072/220-7300, or 071/131-1477), and Fly540 (tel. 072/254-0540, 073/354-0540, or 073/754-0540).
Ambulance -- Dial tel. 999, or contact any of the private hospitals listed below. You can also call AAR Emergency Ambulance (tel. 020/271-7374 or -7375), or the St John Ambulance (tel. 020/21-0000).
American Express -- Hilton Hotel, Mama Ngina Street (tel. 020/22-2906).
Area Code -- The dialing code for Nairobi is tel. 020.
ATMs -- Automated bank tellers are ubiquitous; besides the myriad machines throughout the city center, you'll find ATMs in all shopping malls (where you'll undoubtedly feel safer drawing money); those belonging to Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered are usually reliable. If you're nervous about using a bank machine, look for one manned by a security guard. Most machines accept Visa or MasterCard credit cards, but fewer also accept American Express cards.
Banks -- You'll have little trouble locating a bank in this city; Barclays and Standard Chartered are well represented.
Bookstores -- Text Book Centre, Sarit Centre, Parklands Road, Westlands (www.textbookcentre.com/index.htm), stocks a wide selection of all kinds of books, including African literature and photographic studies; plenty of magazines and newspapers, too. Simply Books, ABC Place, Waiyaki Way (tel. 020/444-9312), sells a good range of fiction and nonfiction, including books on Africa and Kenya; they also sells gifts and greetings cards. Bookstop, 2nd floor, Yaya Centre, Argwings Kodhek Road, Hurlingham (tel. 020/271-4533), has a good selection of second-hand books, as well as books on Africa, natural history, and gardening, and maps and guidebooks. There is also a large choice of local and international magazines. Westland Sundries, in the Village Market shopping center, carries wonderful novels from Africa, Africana-themed photographic tomes, and a wide range of magazines, nonfiction, and stationery.
Car Hires -- If you're here on vacation, I don't think it's a good idea to even consider driving a vehicle in Kenya; stick to the chauffeured options offered by your tour agency.
Currency Exchange -- The best way to get local currency is to withdraw money from an ATM; alternatively, step inside any bank with your money and your passport. In Karen, you change currency at Karen Connection Forex, Lower Plains Road, off Karen Road (tel. 020/88-3535), and Karen Bureau de Change, Karen Shopping Centre (tel. 020/88-4674).
Doctors, Dentists & Drugstores -- Ask your host or concierge for trusted choices close to where you're staying.
Embassies & Consulates -- Many foreign missions tend to be located north of the city in the vicinity of the UN Headquarters: Australian High Commission, ICIPE House, Riverside Drive (tel. 020/444-5034 or 020/272-6958); British High Commission, Upper Hill Road (tel. 020/284-4000); Canadian High Commission, Limuru Road, Gigiri (tel. 020/366-3000); Irish Consulate, Owashika Road (tel. 020/387-8043 or 020/235-7242); U.S. Embassy, United Nations Avenue (tel. 020/363-6000 or 020/712-3304).
Emergencies -- Flying Doctors (tel. 020/60-0090 or -0602), police (tel. 122, 112, or 999), ambulance (tel. 999 or 020/271-7374), fire (tel. 112 or 999).
Hospitals -- Opened in 2006, Karen Hospital, Langata Road, Karen (tel. 020/661-3000, 073/620-0001 or -0003, 072/622-2001 or -0003; www.karenhospital.org), is a private general hospital serving the Karen and Langata communities. The Aga Khan University Hospital, 3rd Parklands Ave., off Limuru Road, about 4km (2 1/2 miles) from downtown (tel. 020/366-2000; www.agakhanhospitals.org), is the second-largest private hospital in Nairobi and is owned by the Aga Khan Foundation. The Nairobi Hospital, Argwings Kodhek Road, about 3km (1 3/4 miles) from downtown (tel. 020/272-2160; www.nairobihospital.org), is the largest private hospital in the city.
Internet Access -- You'll inevitably have Internet (often Wi-Fi) access at your hotel or guesthouse (all those reviewed here have some kind of connectivity); alternatively, there are a good number of cybercafes in the city center, and you can usually track one down in any of the city's upmarket shopping centers.
Mobile Phones -- You should be able to use your own mobile phone; simply purchase a SIM card from one of the local service providers (such as Safaricom or Zain); air time can topped up by purchasing scratch cards from vendors and shops just about anywhere.
Newspapers & Magazines The Daily Nation -- is arguably the best Kenyan newspaper; The EastAfrican, with stories from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, is a better read. These and other daily, weekly, and monthly publications from the region and around the world are available from sidewalk vendors and bookstores everywhere. Hotels generally have at least two local dailies available, one of which may be delivered to your room each morning.
Police -- To contact your nearest police station, dial tel. 122.
Post Office -- Post offices, or posta, are easy to spot; the main one in the city is on Kenyatta Avenue (tel. 020/24-3434) and is open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to noon. For parcels, you're best off using a courier service.
Restrooms -- Stick to toilets in hotels, upmarket shopping centers, and restaurants.
Taxis -- Cabs are fairly ubiquitous in the city and always hang around hotels, shopping centers, and many points of tourist interest. While in the city, drivers of unmarked "taxis" will often attempt to solicit your business; best to stick to vehicles that are clearly branded as taxis. If you can't find a cab, you can call one of the following companies: On-Time Cabs (tel. 020/271-0507, 020/273-0995, 072/152-1322, or 073/352-1313; www.ontimecabstravel.co.ke); Courtesy Cabs (tel. 072/270-1291, 072/239-0756, or 073/372-5429); or Soaring Eagles Tours, Travel & Taxi Co. (tel. 020/445-3996). Kenatco can be relied upon for fixed-rate trips to just about any point in the country.
Weather -- Nairobi enjoys a relatively mild climate, with warmish days averaging 24°C (75°F) and cooler nights that may require light woolens or a jumper; June and July are considerably colder, averaging 18°C (64°F) during the day, with very brisk nights. Theoretically, the short rains fall from October through December, while long rains fall between March and June.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.