Once a simple train depot and post, Nairobi is now the capital and largest city of Kenya, as well as the most populous city in East Africa. Nairobi is an extremely important business center, the home of numerous corporations and even its own stock exchange; and United Nations Environment Program, better known as UNEP. Nairobi event venues can be very international, as groups will discover.
Named for Kenya's first post-Colonial prime minister and president, the city's main airport is Jomo Kenyatta International (NBO), the largest in East and Central Africa. Approximately 10 miles southeast of the city center, it is served by no direct flights from North America, but there is direct service from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Paris and Zurich.
The Kenyatta International Convention Center, easier said as KICC, is among the main meeting venues in Nairobi. It includes a 771-seat amphitheater, Tsavo Ballroom for 3,500 persons, Lenana and Aberdares rooms for a combined 500 persons, a revolving restaurant high above the ground (soon to re-open) and even a helipad.
Hotel venues in Nairobi that are equipped for meetings include the 376-room InterContinental Nairobi; which has meeting space for up to 800 persons; the 287-room Hilton Nairobi, which has meeting space for up to 2,500 persons; the 196-room Laico Regency, which was once known as the Grand Regency Hotel and has the Crystal Ballroom, among other spaces; able to host 800 guests, and 162-room Crowne Plaza Nairobi, which has a ballroom for up to 300 persons. Probably the best known hotel in Nairobi is the 165-room Norfolk, properly called today Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel, which eight meeting rooms, the largest able to hold 175 persons.
When thinking about special event venues in Nairobi, you might be surprised to learn about the Solar Ice Rink, which can host functions and corporate groups and is within the 136-room Panari Hotel's Sky Center. More on point, the Nairobi National Museum has gallery space, a botanical garden and banqueting areas; and Macushla House is an oasis away from the heat and bustle that has a conference room, gorgeous grounds, a pool with deck and several guest rooms. Groups can also gather at Tamarind Nairobi, a seafood restaurant at the base of the National Bank Building.
There are some interesting gathering spots for events outside of the city: Internationally famous, the Karen Blixen Museum (in a suburb named Karen named for the famous writer) has spacious lawns for events; it is approximately 15 miles north of the city center in the Ngong Hills, while the Giraffe Center (four new baby giraffes were brought there in summer 2012) in the city's Langata suburb gets guest up and close to these long-necked marvels and has lecture rooms, an auditorium, a feeding platform and a tea house. Dining venues include About Thyme, known for meat dishes, in the succulent neighborhood of Westlands, and Sarabi Supper Club and Pool, on the roof deck of the luxurious, room Sankara Hotel, in the Woodvale Grove district.
When in Nairobi, groups can get an eyeful just looking out of their windows. The Rift Valley, the longest, largest tear in the earth's crust, borders the city; both Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro can be seen from Nairobi on clear days and the immediately adjacent Nairobi National Park offers giraffes, lions and, if even luckier, rhinoceros.