If you have a long layover in JKIA, there are several activities you can do at JKIA or near JKIA. This post has 19 good suggestions that I’ve researched for you.

JKIA is the airport that serves Nairobi, Kenya. It’s a major international hub for East Africa and one of the busiest airports in the region. The airport has two terminals: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Terminal 1 and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Terminal 2.

The main terminal is divided into four sections: Domestic Departures, International Departures, Arrivals Hall and Transit Area A for connections to other destinations in Africa or Europe via Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines or Turkish Airlines.

Terminal 2 handles mainly domestic flights with some regional routes to Southern Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda.

What to do Near JKIA   

Activity Location & Accessibility  Cost & Safety 
Visit Nairobi National Park KWS Park, about 3.2 kilometers from the airport  It costs $30 for non-residents and $10 for residents. It opens from 8 am to 5 pm.  
Visit the Uhuru gardens Accessed through the Mombasa road exit A104. It is about 18.4 km from the airport Kenyan lunch goes for Ksh 4951. It opens from 8 am to 6 pm. There are tour guides to ensure safety of the tourists.  
Enjoy cultural dances at the bomas of Kenya Via Mombasa road, Exit A104, on the southern bypass road, 21.7 km from the airport.  Open from 8am to 5pm Half-day cultural tour is available for the ksh6623.22 Day tour at the giraffe Centre, elephant orphanage, for Ksh. 8638.98 
Visit the museum In Nairobi city,16.1km from the airport. Half-day walking tour and viewing a rooftop city for sh3617.49. Nairobi storytelling tour with the street children for Ksh 4083.26 
Shop at Yaya center mall 20.7km from JKIAOpens from 8 am to 9 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 6 pm on weekends. Restaurants however are open till late at night. Authentic local Kenyan food sells at Ksh.10871.62 
Visit Karen Blixen hotel 31.6 km from the airport via the southern bypass. Open from 8.30 am to 6 pm. They offer an admission ticket at Ksh 1410.72 
Visit giraffe center Located 27.2km from the airport via Mombasa road, and along Langata road. Opened from 9 am to 5 pm. One is required to carry a valid id card or passport. Charges Ksh. 1500 for school groups, Ksh. 200 for residents, 3-12 yrs. Charges Ksh. 750 for nonresidents of 3-12 years 

19 Things to do at JKIA Airport or Near JKIA

If you have a long layover and looking for things to do at the airport or at locations near JKIA, below are some good suggestions;

  1. A. Dine: The Transit area in JKIA is divided into three sections; A, B and C. Section A contains many food and retail outlets including but not limited to Burger King, McDonald’s, Jamba juice, KFC, Steers (local fast food), a steak restaurant and a coffee shop. Section B has a Pizza Hut, a sandwich bar and an Indian restaurant. Section C offers many services including a hair salon, prayer rooms, showers, spas and dry cleaning services.
  2. A good alternative to the main terminals is the Hilton Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta, which is a 15 minute taxi ride away from the airport.
  3. B. Shops: If you have time to visit only one shopping outlet, go for The Village Market which is about 50 minutes from both terminals by taxi. Outlets there include Vivo phones as well as many other shops and cafes. You can also choose from an array of restaurants offering cuisines from around the world.
  4. C. Coffee Shops: There are about 14 coffee shops in JKIA. Some of them include Starbucks, Oasis (inside the Hilton Hotel), Caffe Nero (inside the JW Marriott), Fix (in section B of Terminal 1) and Zest (in section A of terminal 2).
  5. D. Prayer rooms: There are prayer rooms at both terminals. They are located in the boarding lounge near Gate 2 of Terminal 1 and Gate 3 of Terminal 2.
  6. E. Free WiFi Service: Both Terminals offer free WiFi services that can be accessed by any passenger with a smart phone or tablet device, which you can use to communicate about your status while waiting.
  7. F. Showers: The Hilton Hotel offers a free shower service that is available to all passengers at the hotel reception, located on the first floor of Terminal 2.
  8. G. Spas and Hairdressing Salon: Salon Royale is located in section B of terminal 1 and offers haircuts, spa services including manicures, pedicures, facials and massages.
  9. H. Airport Hotel Accommodation: If you are looking for an alternative to the airport hotel terminal options, try The Sarova Stanley Hotel located just 25 minutes from JKIA on Langata Road. There’s also a shuttle that goes between the hotel and the airport every 30 minutes.
  10. I. Duty Free Shop: The duty-free shop is located in Section A of the International departures terminal next to a cafe and a transit lounge for passengers travelling on Emirates flights via Dubai or Qatar Airways flights with a stopover in Doha, Qatar.
  11. J. Luggage Storage: There are three options for you if you have time to kill but have no space to carry your luggage. 1) The Hilton Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta hotel branch offers a service for its guests where you can store your luggage at the reception while you visit the town or other places outside of Nairobi. 2) You can also leave your check-in baggage with one of the travel companies in the transit area. Just tell them where you’ll be and when you expect to return, and they’ll store your luggage for free. 3) If you plan on leaving your bag in the airport while transiting through another African country, there is a service in section C of Terminal 2 that offers this service.
  12. Go see giraffes at the Giraffe center: Its 20 minutes drive from JKIA. The giraffe center offers various tours including a special tour for children. You can also take a photo with the “tongue-out” giraffes.
  13. Go Safari: There are four game reserves located near Nairobi that offer both day and night activities, offering you an opportunity to see Kenya’s wildlife up close without having to go too far from the airport. 1) The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, just 40 minutes away by car, offers day and night tours that take you on a journey through its 35 acre sanctuary for orphaned animals. 2) About 30 minutes drive from JKIA is Lion Park which is home to a natural habitat for a variety of animals from lions and leopards to giraffes. They offer day and night safari tours as well as animal interaction activities including Lion walks, petting lion cubs or feeding caged animals. 3) The Nairobi Animal Orphanage is also about 30 minutes drive away from JKIA and has a wide selection of animals from camels, monkeys and horses to lions and leopards as well as falcons. 4) The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust also offers a Children’s Farm that’s about 30 minutes away from the airport with a variety of animals used for entertainment including rabbits, goats and pigs.
  14. Go visit Nairobi National Park: The Kenya Wildlife Service offers a full-day tour for about $60 that will take you to the Kenya National Park, which is approximately 40 minutes drive from JKIA. If you choose this option, your tour will start at 7am and end at 5pm after a visit to the park where you can see various wild animals including giraffes, ostrich, hippos and elephants.
  15. Visit Karen Blixen’s House: If you are a fan of author Isak Dinesen, more famously known as “Karen Blixen”, you can visit her museum and house which is just 15 minutes away from JKIA.
  16. Take a helicopter Safari: If you’re looking to see the entire landscape of Kenya within a few hours or just want to take some stunning aerial photos of Kenya, then this is the option for you. It’s a 30 minute flight over parts of the Great Rift Valley and Nairobi National Park, allowing you to explore parts of Kenya that aren’t easily accessible on safari.
  17. Visit Wilson Airport: This is just 5 minutes drive from JKIA and offers an aircraft viewing area where you can see planes up close or sit at the bar and watch take-offs and landings.
  18. Visit Kenya Aviation College: If you’re interested in the aviation industry, then the Kenya Aviation College is a must visit for you. They offer training courses and aircraft maintenance as well as an opportunity to see how planes are stored at this outdoor facility.
  19. Visit Nairobi City Center: Nairobi is a bustling city with various modern and upscale malls, restaurants and bars. The best thing about Nairobi is that it’s just 30 minutes drive from JKIA so you can easily go for a day trip and come back the same evening.
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