Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya and still the largest city in the country. Nairobi city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name “Nairobi” comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to “the place of cool waters”.
Nairobi is increasingly emerging as Africa’s hub for most companies operating in the region. Nairobi City, the largest in East and Central Africa, has several factors going for it: relatively better telecommunications and transport links, strategic location with access the Indian Ocean that makes it a natural gateway to the regional market, a supportive and gradually improving business environment, a fairly sophisticated and robust ﬁnancial and capital market and significantly, a workforce that is widely acknowledged as one of the best, if not the best on the continent in terms of skills and work ethic.
Among the companies that have chosen Nairobi County as one or their anchor African hub include telecoms operator Airtel, which runs its 16-country African operation from Nairobi. Others are Coca Cola, General Electric, Google, Nokia and Samsung, among others.
History of Nairobi
Nairobi was founded in 1899 as a supply depot for the Uganda railways which was being constructed between Mombasa and Uganda. It was named after a water hole known in Maasai as Ewaso Nyirobi, meaning “cool waters”. It was totally rebuilt in the early 1900s after an outbreak of plague and the burning of the original town. Nairobi replaced Mombasa as the capital of the British East Africa Protectorate in 1905 the railway brought wealth into the city, which made it grow dramatically
It then became Kenya’s second largest town after Mombasa. As the British colonialists started to explore the region, they started using Nairobi as their first port of call. This prompted the colonial government to build several grand hotels in the city. The main occupants were British game hunters.
Nairobi continued to grow under the British rule, and many British peoples settled within the city’s suburbs. The continuous expansion of the city began to anger the Massai people, as the city was devouring their land to the south. It also angered the Kikuyu people, who wanted the land returned to them.
In 1919, Nairobi was declared to be a municipality. Between the years of 1920 and 1950, the number of white settlers within Nairobi rose from 9,000 to 80,000. There was, however, friction that existed between these settlers and the local peoples.
Nairobi was granted city status in 1954. After the end of World War II, this friction developed into the Mau Mau rebellion. Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s future president was jailed for his involvement, even though there was no evidence linking him to the rebellion. Pressure exerted from the locals onto the British resulted in Kenyan independence in 1963.Nairobi was the capital and largest city of the Republic of Kenya.
After independence, Nairobi grew rapidly, and this growth put pressure on the city’s infrastructure. Power cuts and water shortages were a common occurrence…
Nairobi city is located at 1°16′S 36°48′E and occupies around 150 km². It is situated about 1660 metres (5450 feet) above sea level.
Nairobi is situated between the cities of Kampala and Mombasa. It is close to the Rift Valley. The Ngong hills are towards the west, Mount Kenya is towards the North and Mount Kilimanjaro is towards the south-east.
As Nairobi is adjacent to the Rift Valley, minor earthquakes and tremors occasionally occur. At 1860 metres, Nairobi enjoys a fairly moderate climate. The altitude makes for some chilly evenings but it is never too cold. The sunniest and warmest part of the year is from December to March, when temperatures average the mid-twenties during the day. The temperature usually peaks at 25°C. There are two rainy seasons but rainfall is only moderate. The cloudiest part of the year is just after the first rainy season, when, until September, conditions are usually overcast with drizzle.
Economy of Nairobi
Kenya is one of the more prosperous countries in Africa, and in the capital of Nairobi business is growing at high speed. Nairobi is the most prominent city of East Africa and the hub of the entire region. For African standards, it has a very good infrastructure.
Nairobi is home to the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE), one of Africa’s largest. The NSE was officially recognised as an overseas stock exchange by the London Stock Exchange in 1953. The exchange is Africa’s 4th largest (in terms of trading volumes) and 5th (in terms of Market Capitalisation as a percentage of GDP).
The skyline of Nairobi city is filling up with skyscrapers and office buildings. Currently, Nairobi Business Park is being built, a flagship complex with office space for companies. When finished, it should offer 30,000 square metres of office space.
However, inflation is relatively high, and the huge gap between the poor masses and the rich upper class remains. Half of the population lives on less than $1 a day, while a small group of Kenyans is extremely rich.
Nairobi Tourist Industry
The biggest Nairobi business in terms of foreign income, is unquestionably tourism. It brings in around U$1 billion a year. With a safari park outside the city, and dozens more within a few days drive, Nairobi is the place to go for a safari holiday. With a major international airport, Nairobi has become the tourist gateway for all of Kenya. The main railway goes through the city, and the national network of roads also.
Exporting Tea and Coffee Kenya is the largest exporter of tea in the world. Tea is grown on more than 110,000 hectares of land. It’s also the 17th largest exporter of coffee. Much of the coffee is grown on farms around Nairobi. Kenyan coffee is bought and sold at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange every Tuesday of the week. The weekly tea auction takes place in the port city of Mombasa.
Multi-National Corporations Doing Business in Nairobi
Several major world-wide companies have regional headquarters as well as manufacturing plants in or near Nairobi. Names you will see include Goodyear, Siemens, Coca-Cola, Citibank, General Electric, Toyota and even internet giant Google. As corporations expand beyond the North American market, they are finding that a presence in East Africa can open up whole new opportunities. Nairobi has the modern facilities that major businesses are looking for. Nairobi is home to several international organisations. One of the four huge international headquarters of the United Nations is located in Nairobi.
Large African companies have a strong presence in the Nairobi business area as well. Kenya Airways operates out of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, and the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) also has its headquarters in Nairobi.
Goods manufactured in Nairobi include clothing, textiles, building materials, processed foods, beverages, cigarettes. Several foreign companies have factories based in and around the city. These include Goodyear, General Motors, Toyota Motors, and Coca Cola.
Business Travel in Nairobi
With more and more business taking place in Nairobi, there are plenty of facilities to accommodate a business trip. Major hotels like the Nairobi Serena or Hilton Nairobi have extra services for business travellers, such as meeting rooms, internet and fax services and even a secretarial staff. You’ll find that many high-class hotels are located in the business district.
The Kenyatta International Conference Centre, located in the heart of the business district, has all the facilities needed for major business meetings, exhibitions and conferences. The amphitheatre can hold up to 800 people, and the huge main chamber can sit up to 5,000 attendees. The sound systems are state-of-the-art, including wireless simultaneous interpretation services that can translate into 7 languages, for international events.
The business district is also home to the City Hall and Parliament buildings. Uhuru and Central parks add a natural green element to the area. Some parts of the city are growing so fast with regards to business facilities, that offices are starting to move out of the business district to other parts of the city. There is a great deal of commercial growth going on.
The Nairobi Stock Exchange The local stock exchange was established in the 1920 when Kenya was still under British rule. In 1954, the London Stock Exchange recognized the NSE as an overseas stock exchange and today it is the 4th largest exchange in Africa. There are nearly 50 companies listed on the exchange, as well as Government of Kenya treasury bonds.
Nearly every possible industry or business sector can be found represented in Nairobi. Business in technology, agriculture, finance, retail, manufacturing, travel and many more are t in this busy African capital.
Housing in Nairobi County
There is a wide variety of standards of living in Nairobi county. Most wealthy Kenyans live in Nairobi but the majority of Nairobians are poor. Half of the population have been estimated to live in slums which cover just 5% of the city area. The growth of these slums is a result of urbanisation, and poor town planning.
Kibera is one of the largest slums in Africa, and is situated to the west of Nairobi. (Kibera comes from the Nubian word Kibra, meaning “forest” or “jungle”). The slums cover two square kilometres and is on government land. Kibera has been the setting for several films, the most recent being
Other notable slums include Mathare and Korogocho. Altogether, 66 areas are counted as slums within Nairobi.
Many Nairobi non-slum-dwellers live in relatively good housing conditions. Large houses can be found in many of the upmarket neighbourhoods, especially to the west of Nairobi. Historically, British immigrants have settled in Gigiri, Muthaiga, Langata and Karen. Other middle and high income estates include Parklands, Westlands, Hurlingham, Milimani, Spring Valley, Lavington, Rosslyn, Kitisuru, and Nairobi Hill.
To accommodate the growing middle class, many new apartments and housing developments are being built in and around the city. The most notable development is Greenpark, at Athi River town, 25 km (16 mi) from Nairobi’s CBD. Over 5,000 houses, villas and apartments are being constructed at this development, including leisure, retail and commercial facilities. The development is being marketed at families, as are most others within the city. Eastlands also houses most of the city’s middle class and includes South C, South B, Embakasi, Buru Buru, Komarock, Donholm, Umoja, and others.
Transport in Nairobi County
Transport in Nairobi city is relatively well-developed as compared to other towns in Kenya. Nairobi has an extensive network of tarmacked roads making transport a bit easier although at times there are traffic jams.
The most common transport means in Nairobi are:
Airports in Nairobi County
Nairobi is served primarily by Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. It is the largest airport in East and Central Africa, and handled over 4.9 million passengers in 2008. The airport is a major transit hub for passengers flying to East Africa’s natural attractions, and other smaller cities in East and Central Africa. The airport is situated 20 km (12 mi) from Nairobi’s Central Business District. The airport directly serves intercontinental passengers from Europe and Asia. There are currently major plans underway to expand the airport to accommodate growing air traffic.
Wilson Airport is a small, busy airport to the south of Nairobi. It handles small aircrafts that generally operate within Kenya, although some offer services to other East African destinations.
Eastleigh Airport was the original landing strip in the pre-jet airline era. It was used as a landing point in the 1930s and 1940s British passenger and mail route from Southampton to Cape Town. This route was served by flying boats between Britain and Kisumu and then by land-based aircraft on the routes to the south. The airport is now a military base.
Matatus in Nairobi County
Matatus are the most common form of public transport in Nairobi. Matatus, which technically means, “thirty cents for a ride” (nowadays much more) are privately owned minibuses, and the most popular form of local transport,and generally seat fourteen to twenty-four. Matatus ama(or) mathree operate within Nairobi and from Nairobi to other towns. The matatu’s destination is imprinted on the side of the bus, and matatus plying specific routes have specific route numbers. Matatus were easily distinguishable by their extravagant paint schemes, as owners would paint their matatu with various colorful decorations, such as their favourite football team or hip hop artist. More recently, some have even painted Barack Obama’s face on their vehicle. They are notorious for their poor safety records, which are a result of overcrowding and reckless driving. Matatu drivers are pressured to make as many round trips as possible to maximize profits for their operator. Due to the intense competition between matutus, many are equipped with powerful sound systems and television screens in order to attract more customers.
However, in 2004, a law was passed requiring all matatus to include seat belts and speed governors and to be painted with a yellow stripe. At first, this caused a furore amongst Matatu operators, but they were pressured by government and the public to make the changes. Matatus are now limited to 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph).
Buses in Nairobi
Mass transit in Nairobi is made up of buses and minibuses. These provide a cheapway of getting around Nairobi. They are usually packed during the morning rush hours as people head to work and in the evening as Nairobians return home. However, at other times and on weekends the congestion is not bad. Kenya Bus Service (KBS) operates a large fleet of commuter buses that serve the city. However, the most important means of mass transit are matatus . Matatus are privately owned minibuses.
There are a large number of long-distance bus companies in Nairobi that provide transportation to most areas of the country. Long-distance buses also provide service to major cities in Uganda and Tanzania. In addition to long-distance buses, there are mini-buses with regular service to Mombasa and shared taxis to nearby urban centers including the Kenya-Tanzania border. Shared taxis are Peugeot station wagons that usually carry seven passengers.
Often the minibuses and shared taxis leave when they are full and therefore do not follow fixed schedules. While the large buses often follow a schedule, at times they operate along lines similar to those of shared taxis and leave when full. Many of the long-distance buses travel at night and, in addition to transporting passengers, carry cargo.
Nairobi railway station serves as the main point of departure for trains to and from Mombasa and Kisumu. There is also a direct Nairobi to Kampala, Uganda, train once a week.
Trains in Nairobi County
Nairobi was founded as a railway town, and the Kenya Railways (KR) main headquarters are still situated at Nairobi railway station, near the city centre. The line runs through Nairobi, from Mombasa to Kampala. Its main use is freight traffic, but regular nightly passenger trains connect Nairobi to Mombasa and Kisumu. A number of morning and evening commuter trains connect the centre with the suburbs, but the city has no proper light rail, tramway or subway lines.
Nairobi is also the junction for a branch railway to Nanyuki.
Taxi in Nairobi
Taxis are available in most parts of the city. They are costly in comparison to matatus and buses but are a safer and more convenient form of transport. They park outside most hotels, at taxi ranks in the city centre and at shopping malls.
Driving in Nairobi is straight-forward. Most of the Roads are tarmacked and there are signs showing directions to certain neighborhoods. The city is connected to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by the Mombasa Highway which passes through Industrial Area, South B, South C and Embakasi. Ongata Rongai, Langata and Karen are connected to the city centre by Langata Road which runs to the south. Lavington, Riverside, Westlands etc. are connected by Waiyaki Way. Kasarani, Eastlands, Embakasi are connected by Thika Road, Jogoo Road and Outer-ring Road.
Highways connect the city with other major towns such as Mombasa, Machakos, Voi,(A 109), Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Namanga Border Tanzania(A 104) etc.
Nairobi is currently undergoing major road constructions in order to update its infrastructure network. The new systems of roads, flyovers and bridges would cut outrageous traffic levels caused the inability of the current infrastructure to cope with the soaring economic growth in the past few years. It is also a major component of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Nairobi Metropolis plans. Most roads now, though are well lit and surfaced with adequate signage.
Walking Around Nairobi
Because traffic congestion is a major problem in downtown Nairobi, walking is the best way to get around the city center. The distances are short, and the streets are well marked.
The best advice for a touristin Nairobi is to stay in the city centre, know where you are at all times, and pretend you know where you’re going (even if you don’t). If you find yourself in an unfamiliar area your best bet is to find a taxi (although you will probably pay dearly if the driver suspects a panicked westerner!). Don’t carry large quantities of money or passports on the street, and assume that anyone trying to engage you is up to no good or trying to sell you something. In recent years, crime has significantly reduced, though one should still be wary. If one stays smart and plays safe, without going around much after dark, Nairobi is a safe place to stay. Most locals are honest people who will happily help you if you approach them.
Kenyans are proud people and there is not a lot of begging like you find in some other countries. Some opportunistic people will hang around shopping centres and beg, but they will generally accept a simple ‘sorry’ and leave you alone if you do not give. Many of these ‘beggars’ are middle class kids or adults who have realised they can profit from exploiting foreigners, and should not be encouraged. If you are ever lucky enough to visit a slum as a local (not on some perverse tourist safari) you will discover the poorest of the poor do not even beg.
Outside of tourist and expat communities, young children will become excited at the sight of foreigners. If you are fair-skinned, children may run towards you to try to shake your hand, or yell “mzungu” (white person) or “how are you?”. Older kids are more reserved, and you should be wary of kids who are older than 9 or 10 who are trying to distract or get close to you.
Slums should be avoided by tourists as you will attract a lot of attention which can quickly turn into a dangerous situation.
Apart from the inner city centre, Nairobi dies out at night. Streets are mostly empty. Do not walk alone after nightfall. Always use taxis. The areas north and east of River Road should be avoided, especially if you’re not a local!
Biashara Street is a safe shopping street due to the presence of 10-15 Maasai guards. A place to avoid as a tourist is the City Market; you could end up paying a much higher price than on Biashara Street.
If you are in a matatu and moving slowly through traffic, particularly after dark, you should keep your window closed if your valuables are in reach to prevent people snatching them from the outside (there are thieves who walk through traffic looking for such opportunities). Mobile phones and wallets should be securely kept and not displayed prominently during calls or cash transactions in the River Road area, particularly after dark.
Eastleigh (known as ‘little Mogadishu’) is an area near the city centre that is decaying due to years of neglect by the government (including the police). It is predominantly populated by Somalian migrants and refugees, and most Kenyans will not go there for fear of their safety. Tourists would be wise to avoid it day and night.
There have been several grenade attacks in the city for which Al-Shabaab have claimed responsibility. These are likely to be ongoing while the Kenyan army has a presence in Somalia. They are random and often fatal, and one should be weary and report any suspicious behaviour.
Traffic Jam in Nairobi
The traffic flow in Nairobi is becoming a major challenge to the people living in Nairobi. People waste a lot of hours that could be used to improve the economy in traffic jams. If you want to go somewhere in Nairobi, you have to leave two hours before since you’ll spend some time in the traffic jam.
How to deal with traffic jam in Nairobi
- We should use larger commuter buses which carry many people at once instead of the 14 seater vehicles
- The government should build more by pass roads, that ensures that vehicles going in another direction don’t have to go through a round about.
- Use commuter trains to transport people instead of entirely depending on vehicles.
- Strict adherence to traffic rules and traffic lights.
Shopping Centres and Malls in Nairobi
If you’d like to take home more than just memories of your trip to Nairobi and Kenya, you’ll find a wide range of local shopping products that make ideal souvenirs or gifts. Kenyan products are as diverse and unique as the country itself. There are traditional artefacts, fantastic jewellrey, beautiful carvings, the world’s best coffee, precious stones, furniture, beautiful cloth, excellent local music, wonderful modern art and so much more to be found.
Shopping Malls in Nairobi
There are many shopping venues in Nairobi and if you enjoy the real shopping experience at the malls then you will be spoilt for choice. These state-of- the-art shopping malls boast ample parking, a one-stop-shopping experience, wine & dine areas.
Popular Shopping Malls in Nairobi include;
ABC Place,Waiyaki Way, Westlands
It is the ultimate place for new brands, experiences and ideas. With a stylish mix of establishments ranging from furniture to fashion, beauty and food.
Tel: 020 4440362,
The Sarit Centre, Westlands, Off Waiyaki Way
The centre has a cinema, a food court and an expo centre, capable of hosting over 50 stands. Sarit is an inter-active shopping mall offering one-stop access to a complete range of supermarkets, stores, and service outlets alongside entertainment professional and medical facilities.
Te/: 254-2-3 74 7408/9, 3748662, 3740329
E-mai/: info@sarit-centre. com,
www. sarit-centre. com
Yaya Centre, Arwings Kodhek Road
A modern multifunctional shopping mall. The tenant mix boasts brands that define Nairobi’s discerning market. Food on the 2nd floor with a wide variety of selection from Indian to Chinese to contemporary styles at Saffron, Dim Sum House, Chinese Kitchen, Primi Piatti and Sierra bar and restaurant.
Tel: 254-20-277 3360/1
www. yaya-centre. co. ke / www.yaya-apa/’tments.c0m
Village Market, Limuru Road, Gigiri
Since its inception 12 years ago, Village market has proved to be a leader in shopping complexes, managing to mix modernity and ethnicity into a melting pot of urban shopping. Because of its compelling architectural design, The Village Market has earned itself numerous accolades including the coveted International Council of Shopping Centers‘ Design Award.
The Galleria Shopping Mall, junction of
Magadi and Langata Roads.
Tel: +254 20 4448085 / 4444504
Email: info@nbihomes. com
West Gate Shopping Centre, Mwanzi Road,
Tel: +254 20 3746172/3, +254 20 3742951/32,
Email: in fo@Westgate. co. ke
Supermarkets in Nairobi
Cell: +254 733-632130, +254 722-204931
Uchumi Supermarkets Ltd
Tel: (254) 20 — 227001,
Email: customerservice@uchuml. com,
Email: info@tuskys. com
Tel; 2221500 — Mega: 2244322. Ronald Ngala:
214 7200, Hyper: 2228138, Stadium: 26036666
Tel 254 (020) 65363059 (020) 6553045
Other shopping malls in Nairobi includes
- Junciton Shopping Centre(Ngong Road),
- Prestige Plaza(Ngong Road),
- Crossroads Shopping Centre(Karen),
The Nairobi Java House is a popular chain of restaurants with multiple branches located around the city including one at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Street Markets in Nairobi
As in most African countries, there is a huge range of cheap souvenirs to be purchased along the roadside while on your Kenya safari. These are handmade but mass-produced. Materials include ebony, soapstone and ivory. Note that it is illegal to export products that contain any elements of elephant, rhino or sea turtle. There will be plenty of opportunities to purchase souvenirs during your trip When on Safari there are curio shops wherever you stop for a rest break whilst travelling between game parks. On the coast you will find plenty of people operating on the hotel beaches trying to persuade you to buy anything from a carved key ring with your name engraved on it to a weeks safari.
Listed below are a few of the most common souvenirs on offer.
These can be found almost everywhere you find a tourist normally depicting wild animals or tribes people.
You will find a verity of objects carved from soap stone which include chess boards, soap dishes, candle sticks, bowls and drinks coasters.
Kiondos are woven sisal baskets and are sold everywhere; they are strong, durable and long lasting.
All sorts of brightly coloured textiles are offered for sale the most common being cotton kangas which are traditional wrap-arounds
Beads and Necklaces
Every visitor to Africa goes home laden with souvenirs – from the smallest pieces of Masai jewelry to a six foot wooden giraffe. Africa is renowned for its fine craftsmanship and souvenirs are available in shops and markets just about everywhere between in Nairobi and other towns in Kenya. Remember that while it’s easy enough to store these items on an overland truck, at some point you will have to fit all your souvenirs into your backpack – and be able to carry it! Souvenir specialties include:
- Kenya – Masai beads and blankets
- Bbatiks and wooden giraffes (Nairobi city market)
- Kikois and tangas – a male and female version of the sarong (Nairobi shops)
If you are after quality artwork, it is probably wisest to look in galleries and shops that deal in it rather than trading in the informal sector.
Much of African culture places great emphasis on appearance and therefore on jewelry. African jewelry has been given tremendous attention for centuries. Own a useful and beautiful part of African culture now. Many pieces of African jewelry contain cowry shells. They are not only beautiful but also symbolic! Wood Carvings & Art Work You will find a great variety of Hand-carved wooden sculptures and carvings with more traditional themes in the markets of Kenya. Even in the Open Markets you will find them. You can bargain if you enjoy bargaining. Here a bargain is a must.
Nairobi City Centre
The city centre of Nairobi is relatively compact, and although bustling with hawkers and sometimes a little intimidating, west of Moi Avenue it’s normally safe to walk around during daylight hours, although it goes without saying don’t look too ostentatious and be vigilant.
In the past there have been incidents of petty crime, bag snatching and the like, (but remember this can happen in capital cities worldwide, so keep things in perspective). Encouragingly, in recent times there has been a clampdown on crime in the city centre.
A good place to start is the Thorn Tree Café at the Stanley Hotel on the corner of Kenyatta Avenue and Kimathi Street, which has been a popular meeting spot for travellers over the years.
Kenyatta Avenue was Delamere Avenue during the colonial era and formed the core of the city at that time. Some of the banks are fine buildings, their façades showing a faded elegance, and the northern side of the street is typical of colonial Asian architecture, with shops set back under wide, covered walkways. It was designed to allow a team of oxen to turn around in the street — today it roars with traffic, so cross the road carefully and head north to Banda Street where you can visit the
McMillan Memorial Library (open Mon-Fri 09.00—17.50, Sat 09.30—13.00) and the African Heritage Centre which has a collection of authentic African arts and crafts for sale and a café serving African food. Turn left along the Street and take a right up Muindi Mbingu Street which will bring you to the City Market on the left. There’s a butcher and an assorted array of fresh fruit, vegetables and cut flowers, while at the back there’s a collection of kiosks with a variety of African arts and crafts for sale — the usual kiondo baskets, Kisii soapstone carvings, and carvings of wooden animals, Maasai beadwork and jewellery and skin-covered drums. The mamas bargain hard, all part of business, and you’re expected to do the same. Opposite the market is the Jamia Mosque, distinctive with its decorative green and white paintwork. Keep heading north along Muindi Mbingu Street, to Biashara Street.
This is the best place to go shopping for kikois and kangas, and the Asian shops have a good selection, together with the usual safari hats and T-shirts. Also, on the right side of the street is Atul’s, the camping shop, where you can buy camping gas canisters and hire equipment. Continuing north along Muindi Mbingu Street, you come to Jeevanjee Gardens, a pleasant little park The Maasai Market operates on Tuesdays and Fridays from 09.00—15.00.
If a market day, cross the park diagonally to join the junction of Moi Avenue and Monrovia Street, and cross the road, where you will see an assortment of Maasai crafts for sale. (This market is far cheaper than the Maasai Market held at Village Market on the Limuru Road each Friday which also includes curios from other parts of Africa.) Otherwise, continue north and cross University Way and it’s a short walk along Harry Thuku Road to the Norfolk one of Kenya’s smartest hotels, where you get a bit of a culture shock after the raw energy on the streets. It was a major meeting point for the early settlers,
Lord Delamere among them, but today is more of a tourist venue for those coming to and from safari. But it’s worth a visit to see the snippets of history from the colonial era, including the Delamere Bar and Terrace, where you can have a drink before heading back across town. If you sneeze at the prices at the Norfolk, retrace your steps to Monrovia Street and turn right and then left down Loita Street to the French Cultural Centre, which has a pleasant, shady café, and is also a venue for visiting arts (open Mon—Fri 08.30—17.30). Continue south along Loita Street and then turn left along Market Street where you can see the silver mushroom of the New Florida nightclub, one of Nairobi’s original nightclubs often with live bands, and turn right down Koinange Street. Cross over Kenyatta Avenue and continue past the post office down to Kaunda Street, which bears right and continues south to City Square, with its distinctive flag poles.
On Parliament Road is Jomo Kenyatta’s mausoleum and statue on the right. At the opposite end of City Square are the impressive law courts, stately colonial buildings, south of which is the round tower of the Kenyatta Conference Centre. Wood- panelled and rather gloomy inside, the centre has numerous rooms and wide corndors. With permission, for KSh100, you may be able to go to the top floor of the tower, which was once a restaurant, from which there are expansive views across the city skyline. If you are not flagging by this stage, you can continue south along Parliament Road, and turn right at the roundabout on to Harambee Avenue, where you can visit Parliament House.
If you are interested in watching parliament in session, ask for a visitor’s permit and then you’ll be ushered to the public gallery. Returning back to Parliament Road, head south from the roundabout to Haile Selassie Avenue, from which you can visit the Railway Museum, with its fine stock of old steam engines, and then continue to the railway station, with its remnants of I 930s architecture. Opposite is the Memorial garden (open daily 06.00—18.00; entry KSh20) on the site of the 1998
American Embassy bombing which killed 263 people and injured;,000. Then head north up Moi Avenue for several blocks to the National Archives on the corner of Luthuli Avenue (open Mon—Fri 08.30—16.30 and Sat 08.30—13.00) which have an interesting documentary photographic record of the struggle for independence, and the office of past presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Arap Moi. Then cross back to Mama Ngina Street and head into the cylindrical tower of the Hilton Hotel, where you can have a look at the Kumbu Kumbu Gallery of African art and the East African Wildlife Society (EAWS) Art Gallery and visit the EAWS shop in the arcade. Continue north up Moi Avenue to the Mzizi Arts Centre in Sonalux House, a vibrant venue for Kenyan poets and playwrights. This is a hive of creativity, and often has lively, monthly performances of new works. There are also displays of art and sculpture. Thereafter it’s a short hop back to the Thom Tree on Kamathi Street.
Nairobi City Guide
Nairobi is an exceptional metropolitan city that has scores of historical attractions and activities not to be found in other cities. lt is therefore important to know what to expect and where to in Nairobi before leaving home.
NAIROBI NATIONAL MUSEUM
Nairobi National Museum is located at the Museum Hill approximately IO minutes drive from the Nairobi city centre accessible both by public and private means. The museum housing celebrated collections of kenya‘s History, Nature, Culture and Contemporary Art. The museum is also well known as a unique events venue, for the appreciation of Kenya’s heritage amidst workshops, cocktails, conferences and other functions. Major attractions include art gallery, temporary exhibitions, botanical gardens and nature trail, shopping and dining facilities.
Tel+254 (0) 20 8l64I35
NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK
Black rhinos, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, buffaloes, Giraffe, zebra, elands and wildebeest are the highlight of this amazing park, located only 7km from Nairobi city centre.To the south are the Athi—kapiti Plains and Kitengela migration corridor .Man—made dams within the park have added a further habitat, favourable to certain species of birds and other aquatic treasures.
Tel: +254-20-6000800, 6002345.
KENYATTA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE
Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) is a 30—storey building located in Nairobi, Kenya. It is a venue for conferences, meetings, exhibitions and special events. It has hosted many international conferences and seminars. There are several well equipped conferences and meeting rooms with the largest having a capacity over 4,000 delegates. It has Simultaneous Interpretation Equipment with capability up to seven languages, a modern business centre, a banking facility, tour and travel services, expansive grounds, ample and secure parking.
BOMAS OF KENYA
Bomas of Kenya is a cultural centre at Langata. Bomas (homesteads) displays traditional villages belonging to the several Kenyan tribes. The talented resident artistes perform traditional dances and songs taken from the country’s I6 various tribal groups, including Arab—influenced Swahili taarab music, Kalenjin warrior dances, Embu drumming and Kikuyu circumcision ceremonies.
TeI: 89 I 39I, 89 I 80 I /2, 890793/5/8
Nairobi Arboretum is situated about 3 km from city centre and adjacent to the State I-louse. It is one of Nairobi’s few remaining green spaces with shaded walkways, picnic lawns and jogging trails. It contains a large collection of trees and shrubs from the tropics both native and from throughout the world. It has developed to a green refuge from the bustle of the city and a place for learning about biodiversity
Tel:+254 (0) 20 3746090 or 3749957 or 3537568
DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFETRUST
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust IS located in Nairobi Game Park and serves as an orphanage for baby elephants as well as some rhinos. TheTrust was formally established in I977 and has been a world pioneer in successfully hand-rearing baby elephants and rhinos. Orphaned elephants are cared for by surrogate human mothers who nurse, play, and live with them 24 hours a day. The orphanage is open I lam—l2pm daily, at which time visitors can watch the elephants being fed by their respective caretakers.
EmaiI:rc-h@africaonIine.co.keTel:+254(0)202 30 I 396
The Giraffe Centre was established in order to protect the endangered Rothschild giraffe found only in the grasslands of East Africa. The purpose of the Centre is to create awareness and provide free environmental education aimed at sensitizing Kenyan youth and the general population on the need to appreciate and conserve Kenya’s biodiversity.
Cell: +254(0) 723786l65
KENYA NATIONAL ARCHIVES
Situated at the edge of central business district in downtown Nairobi along Moi Avenue,the Kenya National Archives is a reservoir and living example of historic and ethnographic knowledge here is history in its very space and structure, in the aims and ideas of its users and in the various form of popular and professional practice carried out within its walls.
Telephone: +254-20-2250576, +254-20-225l I64
Nairobi Mamba Village is located in Nairobi’s leafy Karen suburb, about l 3 kilometers away from the city centre. Mamba village is famous for its Crocodile Farm. The pens are home to an estimated 7O Nile crocodiles. The experience is always satisfying and exciting especially for children.
Tel: 020 8044773/248620l
Cell: 0720 987l83
Only 7km south of the city of Nairobi lies the Nairobi Safari Walk, Kenya’s new conservation based recreation facility The combination of skilled and creative landscape design, unique wildlife species and detailed interpretation, renders the facility supremacy in tourism and conservation. Activities at the safari walk: guide walks, talks and lectures, tree identiﬁcation and nursery techniques.
Tel: +254 (20) 6000800
Mobile: +254 7266|0508/9 or 73666342l
THE CARNIVORE NAIROBI
The Carnivore is home of the Simba Saloon, a delicious a la carte restaurant by day and Nairobis most popular nightclub the informal indoor/outdoor atmosphere, exceptional snacks and the pulsating rhythms of Africa combine to ensure an exciting ambiance. Located near Wilson airport Langata road, the food, service and atmosphere are strikingly different from anything ever seen in Kenya. The Carnivore is a meat specialty restaurant and was twice voted amongst the world’s 50 best restaurants by an expert panel in ‘Restaurant magazine Carnivore is described as ‘amazing’
TeI:020 605933-7 6002764.
Cell: 073361 I608! 0722204647
NGONG RACE COURSE
Ngong Race Course is 25 minutes’ drive from the city centre and is located along the Ngong Road besides the Ngong Road Forest between the estates of Woodley, Langata and Karen. lt is operated by the jockey Club of Kenya. Ngong racecourse is a right hand turf track of about 12400m.lt includes a six—furlong straight and two chutes of 2060m and l800m.
Cell: +254 733 777 417 / +254 708 299 048
Slide, spin, soar and plunge into the amazing River Sagana. gliding at rapids camp for example, begins into a whirlpool that spins you around a number of times before you are spilled into the mighty Sagana river. lt’s very safe to do this and a life jacket is provided to keep you afloat.
Cell: +254 732308026! +254 722308026
Located next to Carnivore Restaurant, off Langata Road, nearWilson Airport, Splash Water world has one of the volleyball,‘kiddy’ cars, camel rides, horse rides, restaurant children and adult team building activities.
Cell: 0725698 I 55. 020 2405799
Paintballing is a warlike game where guns are substituted with air pressure driven paintballs which burst on impact Kitengela Paintball Polo is located 20 minutes from Bomas of Kenya and it also offers facilities such as team building, camping and corporate fun days.Y0u can play volleyball, football, archery, and ride bikes,
Tel:020 20 22272
The national motor cross championships held each year is an event organized by the East African Motor Sports Club (EAMSC)
Enjoy the scenic lawns and views as you have a picnic. Water largest pools in Kenya. Also available are water slides, Beach and bar In addition Splash hosts birthday parties, functions,
Nairobi is a culinary melting pot with a good variety of cuisine types available. Restaurants in Nairobi cater for all budgets and tastes with dishes from virtually all corners of the globe. All continents are aptly represented, and what is most impressive is the authentic touch that characterizes these dishes The choices are numerous with options for fine dining or casual eats with dining establishments ranging from five star hotels to restaurants offering take away services.
Facts About Nairobi County
Area (Km 2): 695.1 Km 2
Climate/Weather: The temperature ranges from a minimum of 10°C to a maximum 24°C. The rainfall amounts range between 500 mm and 1,500 mm per annum.
Key National Monument(s): Jomo Kenyatta Statue, Dedan Kimathi Monument, Tom Mboya Statue, Kenya National Museum, Kenya National Archives, President Kenyatta’s Mausoleum, Bomb Blast Memorial Park, Parliament, Uhuru Gardens
Population of Nairobi County
Population: 3,138,369 (Male – 51.1 %, Female – 48.9 %·)
Population Density: 4,515 people per Km 2
National Percentage: 8.13 %
Annual Growth Rate: 4.1 % _
Age Distribution: 0-14 years (30.3 %), 15-64 years (68.5 %), 65+ years (1.2 %0)
Number of Households: 985,016
Government of Nairobi County
County Capital: Nairobi Town
Number of Constituencies (2010): 8 (Makadara, Kamukunji, Starehe, Langata, Dagoretti, Westlands, Kasarani, Embakasi)
Registered Voters: 1, 292, 234
National percentage: 10.2 %
Number of Districts (2009): 4 (Nairobi West, Nairobi East, Nairobi North, Westlands)
Number of Lcal Authorities: 1 (Nairobi City Council)
Economy of Nairobi County:
Poverty Level: 22 % (Nairobi District) ,
Age Dependency Ratio: 100:46
Resources: Wildlife, Livestock, Waten Pasture, Forests, infrastructure
Financial Services: Over 40 Commercial Banks, Over 45 Micro-Finance Institutions
Main Economic Activities in Nairobi County:
- Industrial Production of various Goods in Small, Medium and Large-Scale
- Professional Business Services
- Commercial Enterprises
- Livestock Products
- Poultry Products
Education in Nairobi County
Number of Institutions (2007): Primary (1,241), Secondary (335)
Primary: Enrolment (335,056)
Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1:1539 (Public Schools)
Secondary: Enrolment (49,728):
Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1:15 (Public Schools)
Tertiary: Over 60 (Includes Universities, University Satellite Campuses, Youth Polytechnics, Medical Colleges, Teacher Training Colleges.; Technical Colleges, Aviation Colleges, Hospitality Colleges, and Commercial Colleges)
Adult Literacy Classes: Enrolment; Over 4,700 (Nairobi Province)
Health in Nairobi County
Health Facilities: 496 – District Hospitals (3), Referral Hospitals (2), Dispensaries (156), Health Centres
(71), Medical Clinics (144), Matemity Homes (14), Health Projects (4), Nursing Homes (21), VCTS’s (39), Others (42)
Doctors to Population Ratio: 1: 23,000