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To learn more about life, nature and culture in Kenya, visit the Nairobi National Museum. The museum is located near Museum Hill, a 10-minute drive from the city centre. In addition to the museum, which was beautifully renovated in 2005, you will be able to visit the botanical gardens, a nature trail, shops and restaurant facilities.
The museum was founded in 1910. At the time, the collection was displayed in the Nyayo House; however, that facility became too small. In 1929, the collection moved into the current monumental building, set amidst plenty of green. It is a beautiful spot to learn more about this fascinating country. Until 1963, the museum was called the Coryndon Museum in honour of Sir Robert Coryndon, Governor of Kenya. After the country’s independence, it was renamed the National Museum.
Even before you enter the museum, take a look at the modern artwork at the entrance and admire the local art in the lobby. The collection includes the most beautiful utensils from the native tribes. Further on, you will find more exhibits on this civilisation and their culture, with samples of Masai warrior outfits and necklaces. The museum also focuses on African fauna. There is a room full of stuffed animals, such as deer, a lion and a giraffe. The bird collection in particular is quite large. From hornbills to the standard-winged nightjar, there are many species on display. Outside of the museum you will also find a reptile garden with impressive snakes. The most interesting exhibit is probably the one about the evolution of mankind. The exhibit includes special casts of human fossils, such as an almost complete skeleton of a 1.6-million-years-old Turkana boy, which was uncovered at Turkana Lake in Kenya. Prehistoric skulls of our ancient ancestors provide a great overview of human evolution.
“The huge bird collection ranges from hornbills to the standard-winged nightjar”
The museum’s showpiece is the skeleton of Ahmed, one of Kenya’s most famous elephants. This large beast with enormous tusks was born in Marsabit National Park in 1919. Environmentalists were afraid that poachers would slaughter this beautiful elephant for its tusks. In 1970, then president Jomo Kenyatta offered Ahmed round the clock protection, seven days a week. He made sure that the animal was always accompanied by 2 park rangers. Ahmed lived to the age of 55 and died of natural causes in 1974.
Museum Hill, Nairobi City, Kenya