A Brief History of Nairobi City
Like a phoenix, Nairobi rose from ashes in the 1900s after being torched down to stop the spread of plagues. This, I can bet, you didn’t know!
Nairobi, is a name coined from a Maasai Enkare Nyoropi, meaning a place of Cool Water. It was originally a swamp area, a home of the Maasai community, before the British Colonialist made it a city, to serve as the urban center for Kenya -Uganda railway construction. Nairobi is a city with a river flowing within the city and the only one with a National Park in the city center!
Mombasa was the capital city of Kenya then but Nairobi, like a seed planted on a wet fertile piece of land, sprouted so fast and grew beyond Mombasa.
After independence in 1963, it remained the Administrative Capital City of Kenya and one of the Largest Cities in Africa.
Currently, it is the most cosmopolitan city with people from all races, the most secular city, a tourist center, a business hub, most modernized in Africa and the fastest growing.
Nairobi, as its name suggests, is a home of cool waters both literally and metaphorically. Its aesthetic beauty, the vastness of cultures, the hospitality of its people, and its vibrance can only be compared to a bubbling spring.
About Nairobi City
Nairobi City is sandwiched between Ngong Hills, Mount Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro. It is a high altitude town with a sunny and cool environment most of the year. It is warm from November to March, gets short rains through April to June, then it gets warm again.
According to the 2019 census, Nairobi City has a population of 4.3 million people. It is highly cosmopolitan and rich in culture. It embodies the whole of Africa and the world as well.
Infrastructure in Nairobi City
Nairobi has elaborate, well developed roads that uplift the face of the city unlike many other cities in East Africa. The city is endowed with Super Highways and an ExpressWay. This easens traffic and offers alternative roads to destinations. Availability of traceable Uber services makes transport within the city and to the outskirts safe and easier.
The Matatu culture and Bodaboda rides are also an awesome experience for the daring and bold.
Your travel company can also organize travel services for you for the period of time you will be visiting the city.
The main Airport is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. It is one of the biggest in East and Central Africa. The Wilson Airport is also a smaller alternative and thus the availability of private jets in and out of the city.
There are good hospitals in the city including The Nairobi West Hospital, The Aga Khan University Hospital, The Mater Hospital, Kenyatta Hospital among others that accept Travel Insurance just in case one gets unwell.
Readers, Researchers and Library Enthusiasts have a Modernized Huge National Library with access to free internet. There are other Libraries open upon request and presentation of permission in Universities and Colleges in the City. The University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Daystar University among others have well equipped libraries.
Religion and Culture
With the world cup going on in Qatar, one realizes every place has its own rules, and when you go to Rome, you do what Romans are doing. Fortunately, Nairobi is a very secular city, accommodative and vast in culture. The presence of many tribes of Kenya have led to acceptance and flexibility in Kenyans. There are various races and religions as well. Some of the religions practiced include:
All these have their special places of worship where they freely gather without restrictions as long as they are not encroaching on other people’s rights.
Hospitality and Culinary culture
Nairobi City has a vibrant Culinary culture, with cuisines from all over the world. There are hotels serving professionally made cuisines to specification of various countries and cultures. The following are available in most star hotels and some in specific hotels that you can be guided to by your travel agent:
- All African Cuisines: Kenyan, Swahili, Ethiopian, Egyptian, Madagascan, Nigerian, South African among others.
- Japanese Cuisine
- Street food
All these are available in the city center and the outskirts.
Hotels and Restaurants
The most popular star hotels in the city include:
- The Norfolk Hotel
- The Starbucks
- The Fairmont Hotel
- Sarova Hotel
- Intercontinental Hotel
- The Villa Rosa
- The Hilton Hotel.
The hotels are affordable, known by most drivers in town and can easily be traced. They are known for hosting international guests thus have the expected standards.
There are multiple Air BnBs of various details to the liking of the guest and your Tour Agent should be able to advise accordingly.
Top 8 Magical Places to Visit in Nairobi City.
There are a good number of exotic places, with varied experiences to visit. It is no Wonder that Nairobi is known as the Safari City of the World. Here are some:
1. The Nairobi National Park
The park is as old as 1946. It’s the park in the city, a home of 100 species of animals and over 500 species of birds. It has a serene aura around it, with a Savannah Riverine Environment.
Activities include: Animal watching, bird watching, park safaris, photography, camping, picnics.
2. Nairobi National Meuseum.
The Museum is famous for the Leaky prehistoric artifacts. It hosts the Kenyan political history as well. There are birds, butterflies and some animals preserved as well. There are various displays of the Kenyan Cultures as well.
3. Nairobi Arboretum
For lovers of nature, this is the haven. This is a nature trail with an amazing atmosphere for relaxing and breathing fresh air.
Activities: Bird watching, Monkey watching, picnics, meditation, photography, nature walk, biking among others.
4. The Karen Blixen Museum
This is located in Karen in a home of a Danish woman who featured in the “Out of Africa” Movie. If you are a movie person then here is a place of curiosity to visit. There is a gallery, a gift shop and a beautiful coffee garden to sit and watch the sun rush across the blue skies of Nairobi City.
5. The Bomas of Kenya.
This is a place for historians and culture lovers. If you are interested in people and their way of living, you have a chance to witness the diversity of the 43 tribes of Kenya ranging from the dances, songs, food, the way of living, the types of houses and even their history. There are gift shops and you can pick keepsakes of different kinds.
6. Giraffe Center
This is located in Langata. You wanna dine with a giraffe? Get a kiss or just wonder at the weird looks of the warthogs? This is your must stop place. This is a rescue center for the rare Rothschild giraffe to save it from extinction. It is also a home of Warthogs. What an interesting contrast of beauties to watch!
7. The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
Here elephants are rescued from poachers at a tender age, raised and sent back to the wild when they grow big. It is an interesting phenomenon…
8. The Mamba Village
Wanna hold a baby crocodile? Here is the place you get a chance. This is a home of ostriches and crocodiles. It is a thrilling place to be.
Other places of intrest.
- The K.I.C.C – this is a 28 storey building that gives you a nice view of the whole city.
- The Railway Museum – for locomotive enthusiasts. The rich history of the East African Railway.
- Kenya National Archives – this is a haven for historians and biography writers. Here you find a rich history of Kenyan tribes and the pre- colonial and post colonial information.
Top 6 things You must Know when you visit Nairobi City.
- Know your location and destination all the time. If you feel lost, consult a police officer or your travel agent.
- Have petty cash. Most shops don’t accept dollars or credit cards. Do your forex business in a credible bank.
- Most souvenirs range between Ksh. 500 and Ksh. 1000. Don’t be fooled.
- Buy in legit tourist shops. You will see them in designated places and your travel agent will help you
- Know at least the location of 3 malls in town. Here you can find items for use and you can easily be located when need arises.
- Learn a word or two in Kiswahili. E.g Habari is a greeting answered by Mzuri.
6 Things that must be on your packing list.
- Valid Passport
- COVID-19 certificate
- Yellow Fever vaccination card
- Enough Cash
- Your Travel Agent’s Contacts
Nairobi City is always bursting with activities. There are places that you will find bursting with people and others will be quiet and sparsely populated. It is a place for all cultures, religions, behaviors and personalities. You never have to look over your shoulder when visiting. This should be your next vacation place!