Nairobi railway museum
Nairobi railway museum
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4.0
239 reviews
Excellent
85
Very good
91
Average
47
Poor
13
Terrible
3

hschultes
Pelham, NY51 contributions
Couples
Small museum that tells about the evolution of Kenya via building the railways. Gives great info and background on Kenya up until the present day, telling the story through artifacts, pictures, maps, and an AMAZING guide. We got there at 4330, and even though it closed at 5pm, she gave us an intro and highlights. We then checked out the museum and thanked her and went to leave, when she told our driver we still needed to check the outdoor space with the trains. She came and gave us a tour of that pet, explaining the background of the engines. I’m not a train fanatic- but love quirky museums. We were the only ones there and loved every minute of it. Yes, it’s a bit run down, but that’s part of the charm. You won’t regret going at all- it’s a great way to spend an hour or two before a late night flight. Just get there early enough!
Written 19 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SteveK
Los Angeles, CA179 contributions
Great history significant to Kenya's development. Neat stop.

Museum is dated and worn around the edges, but they do a good job on meager budget. Rail history well-articulated, and its significance to growth of Kenya and relevance within British Commonwealth is clearly presented.

Exterior exhibits (e.g., trains) are unfortunately not comprehensively labeled; it's minimal. But one gets the idea.

VISITED: 1 Jan 2022; nonresident adult 600 KES; credit cards accepted
Written 3 January 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

peter n
3 contributions
imagine being in a place full of locomotives!! seeing the very first locomotive to ever land in Kenya.
my family and i had a time of our life.
Written 26 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Martin Karari
Nairobi, Kenya234 contributions
A must visit experience for anyone visiting Nairobi. This museum literally catalogues the birth of Nairobi and Kenya in general. It gives the history of how the Kenya-Uganda railway was built and with it the nation of Kenya defined. It is full of history which every Kenyan should know. You get a chance to see the various train engines used over the years including the hand pushed train wagons.
Written 7 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Granules2013
Darwin, Australia2,019 contributions
Solo
Only a small museum hidden in the city. It’s a bit of an effort to get to and also a bit run down. You pretty much just do an at your own pace tour and wander around yourself reading and viewing everything. Really interesting place though, lots of history and some of the exhibits are really good. Great to walk around and climb into some of the old trains outside.
Written 4 April 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

GILL C
Chichester, UK36 contributions
This is a fascinating place - and should not be missed by visitors to Nairobi - the memorabilia and photographs of the extraordinary endeavour that building this railway represented , and the hardships of those involved are a significant part of the history of the country, and come to life here. Without the supply depot being created here on the way to Uganda,, Nairobi as it is today would not exist. Sadly some of the photos and drawings are becoming a little faded with age and could do with some conservation effort before they are lost forever. The rolling stock surrounded by weeds is evocative of a bygone era but open to exploration in a way that would not be possible in a European museum.
Written 30 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Patti G
12 contributions
The staff was not helpful and was more concerned with the age of my money. The inside museum was interesting with artifacts from old trains. It was a reminder of the colonial days.
Written 12 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Madhulika L
Noida, India4,174 contributions
Getting to this museum is a little convoluted—the approach to it is down a curving dirt road, past the outdoor sections of the museum (which are separated from the road by heavy wire mesh). To get on to the dirt road itself, you have to first go through a gate manned by a security guard, who will get you sign in, in a register. The actual tickets to the museum have to be bought at the museum building, at the end of the dirt road. The entry fee is $10 per adult (or KSH 600) and $2 per child (or KSH 100)—which doesn’t work out the same if you know the exchange rate, which the staff here don’t seem to. Since we didn’t have shillings , only dollars, we ended up paying $22 for my husband, me, and our daughter; if we’d paid in shillings, it would have been much cheaper. Make sure you bring along sufficient shillings.

The museum spreads out across four rooms and the large yard outside. The first room is the largest, and the most interesting. Before we started, a museum staffer conducted us to a relief map of Kenya and gave us an introduction to the history of the Kenyan railways: how the system was designed by the British primarily to allow them access to the Nile in Uganda; how Indians were brought in to work as supervisors while local Kenyans provided most of the labour; the progress made; and important landmarks and incidents related to the railways, such as the infamous Tsavo maneaters.

After this interesting little talk, we were free to go about the museum , looking at the exhibits for ourselves. The first room has a vast range of exhibits, ranging from photographs, survey maps, station masters’ chairs, a track inspector’s bicycle (and a similarly used trolley), plus other memorabilia from the late 1800s and early 1900s, all relating to the laying down of the railways in Kenya. There are also other interesting objects here, including the porcelain set used on board train by Princess Elizabeth when she visited Kenya in 1960 along with her husband Prince Phillip (as many would know, by the time she left Kenya, she was Queen Elizabeth II)—sofas on which she sat while in Kenya are also in the museum.

Another highlight of this room are three claws of one of the Tsavo man-eaters that disrupted work on the ‘Lunatic Line’, as the Mombasa-Nairobi line was known. The claws are kept safely in a little plastic box, at the staff’s office: we asked to see these, and were shown them readily enough.

The second room is much smaller, and contains signalling equipment and other communications equipment used by the railways, from bells and lamps and early typewriters, to telephones of various vintages. In the third room are items related to ships and water transport: models of ships associated with Kenya, and a good bit about a German cruiser named Konigsberg, which was sunk off the coast during World War I. This room contains a fine sideboard and the captain’s table salvaged from the Konigsberg.

The last room is about modern railways in Kenya, most of which are being developed with Chinese collaboration.

After these four rooms, we went off to the large, gravelled yard outside, where are stationed several engines, coaches and related railway equipment. Several of these are open, and you are allowed to climb in to look around. For me, the most interesting piece of history here was stationed inside the pale blue shed near the gate: here stands Coach #12, a first class coach inside which a British police officer, Superintendent Charles Henry George Ryall, had decided to sit up, armed with a gun, to try and kill one of the Tsavo man-eaters. Unfortunately for Ryall, he fell asleep—and was killed by the lion, which entered the coach.

A little outside the shed and close to the gate of the yard is a locomotive which was used in the filming of the movie ‘Out of Africa’.

A fascinating museum.
Written 31 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Precious Thaavu
1 contribution
Family
This is a trully must visit. Carry water and wear comfortable shoes because it's quite a walk within the museum. Come ready to read and learn a lesson in history. Loved it. My kids loved it
Written 13 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

David
Southampton, UK1 contribution
Couples
Very interesting and it was refreshingly different to be able to get in the locomotives and rolling stock without safety concerns overriding everything. There was no active guide but the people inside were helpful in selecting souvenirs and answering questions.
Written 22 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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