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Explore Nairobi

Vision 

The City of Choice to invest, work and live in.

Mission

To provide affordable, accessible  and sustainable quality services, enhancing community participation and creating a secure climate for political,social and economic development through the commitment of a motivated and dedicated team.

Core values

Accountability,  transparency, excellence,  accessibility, integrity, responsiveness, equity and team work.

Location

Nairobi is situated at 1°17′S 36°49′E in South-Central Kenya, 140 Kilometers ( 87  miles) south of the Equator. It is surrounded by 113 km² ( 70 mi²) of plains, cliffs and forest that makes up the city’s Nairobi National Park. It is adjacent to the eastern edge of the Rift Valley, and to the west of the city, are The Ngong Hills. Mount Kenya is situated north of Nairobi, and Mount Kilimanjaro is towards the south-east.

It is the most populous city in East Africa, with a current estimated population of about 3.5 million. This makes it the 14th largest city in Africa.

Being Kenya’s capital, and the arrival point for many visitors, it is well served by international airlines, and a regional road network linking it to other major East African urban centers. Railways link Nairobi to Mombasa, Kenya 's second largest city located on the shores of the Indian Ocean and Kisumu, the third largest city, located on the shores of Lake Victoria.

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 Uhuru Park

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Nairobi National Park

Tourism

Nairobi is home to many tour operators and travel agents. Excursions can be arranged to all parts of the city and beyond.

A Tour of Nairobi will normally include visits to the Nairobi National Park. This is home to large herds of Zebra, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Giraffes, Lions, Cheetahs, Hippos, Rhinos and over 400 species of birds. Within it is the Nairobi Animal Orphanage and the Nairobi Safari Walk, an Educational Center where visitors learn about wildlife and habitat conservation.

Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage , close to the Nairobi National Park takes in elephant calves and rhinos from all over Kenya orphaned by poaching.

The Giraffe Centre, in Lang'ata breeds the endangered Rothschild Giraffe and has conservation/education programs for visitors. Warthogs also wander the grounds of the gardens while visitors can feed giraffes by hand and even get a kiss (their tongues can get up to 20" long and are antiseptic).

The Mamba Village park is home to ostriches and crocodiles. Visitors get the chance to interact directly with crocodiles and even hold baby crocs guided by experienced staff..

The US Embassy Memorial Site, in the City Centre is a monument to the victims of the tragic Nairobi Embassy Bombings in 1998. Today, the serene park with galleries and inscriptions of the victims' names is a place where visitors come to learn about Kenya, its history and culture.

At The National Railway Museum,visitors can learn about the history of Kenya’s railroads which are at the heart of Nairobi's History and the Kenya/Uganda railway. It houses, engines and rolling stock from the country’s colonial period.

Karen Blixen Museum, is based on the Karen Blixen’s book "Out of Africa". The author's house is now home to the museum.

The Bomas of Kenya, on Lang'ata road is a reservoir of Kenyan culture. Visitors can see exhibits of traditional Kenyan homes, artifacts, dances, music, and song.

The Uhuru Gardens were built in remembrance of the struggle for independence, which Kenya was granted in 1963. The monument is a 24-m (79 ft.) high triumphal column supporting a pair of clasped hands and the dove of peace, high over a statue of freedom fighter raising the flag. The monument is surround by fountains and lush-landscaped gardens.

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Parks and recreation

Nairobi offers some beautiful getaways from the busy city life.

The Uhuru Park ("Nairobi’s Central Park") is a vibrant park that echoes the city's old slogan ‘The Green City in the Sun’. Nairobi residents, tourists, students and business people from all walks of life visit the park everyday for picnics, study, rest and a host of other activities. The serene park is a great place to take a breath, read a book or catch up with family and friends.

The parks major attractions include:

  1. Boat Riding
  2. Amusement Park
  3. Picnic Site
  4. Historical Monuments
  5. Assembly ground for meetings
  6. Skateboarding Spot
  7. Children’s Park (Road Safety Academy)

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Uhuru Park

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Karura Forest Sanctuary

The Karura Forest Sanctuary  is one of Kenya's Greenbelt Movement's great success stories .The western part of the park is open for visitors daily and consists of clearly marked woodland paths and facilities that make it ideal for Hiking, running, mountain biking, tennis, football, Rugby and Filming . The eastern end consists of deep woods with a variety of wild animals where trekkers venture in the company of armed rangers. Its major attractions include:

  1. Karura Caves & Waterfalls
  2. nature trails
  3. bamboo forest
  4. Bike Trail
  5. Friendly Colobus Monkeys
  6. wide range of birdlife
  7. Picnic Site

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Other parks in the city include the Jeevanjee gardens, the Uhuru Gardens and City Park (Parklands).

City Park's major attractions include:

  1. Bird Watching
  2. Nature trails
  3. Picnic Site
  4. Indigenous forest
  5. Historical sites
  6. Friendly troops of Sykes Monkeys 
  7. Over 988 species of flora and fauna
  8. Tree and plant nursery

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City Park

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Uhuru Gardens

Uhuru Garden's major attractions include:

  1.          Historical Monuments
  2.         Picnic Site
  3.         Recreational park
  4.        Secure jogging spot
  5.         Diversity of native flora and fauna

When you are in Nairobi and need some peace and quiet or a bit of adventure, our parks provide this relaxing atmosphere. This is our city's new vision and improved slogan

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Central Bank of Kenya

Leading Banks

Nairobi is the Financial Capital  of the East and Central Africa Region. Leading local and international banks have set operations in the city creating a vibrant and competitive financial eco system that is ever evolving.

Kenya’s largest Bank, Equity Bank, based in Nairobi County has received international acclaim for innovative banking solutions while another local brand Central Bank of Africa is changing the banking landscape through a fast growing mobile banking and credit system in partnership with Safaricom;  Kenya’s largest Telecommunications Company.

Some of the leading international banks in the city include Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Citi bank and Bank of Africa.

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Highways

Nairobi is connected by tarmacked roads to Kenya’s other major urban centers, such as Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Eldoret, Garissa, Machakos, Kisii, and Kericho among others.

The City is currently undergoing major road constructions to update its infrastructure network. Most roads are well lit and surfaced with adequate signage. Bypasses are currently under construction and seek to ease congestion in Nairobi's downtown area and the surrounding suburbs. The Bypasses comprise the following:

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Thika Super Highway

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Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

Airport

Nairobi is served primarily by Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. It is the largest airport in East and Central Africa. The airport is situated 17 km (10 miles) from Nairobi's Central Business District. The airport directly serves intercontinental passengers from Europe, the Middle East and Asia as well as internal flights to Eldoret, Kisumu on Lake Victoria and Malindi & Mombasa on the Coast. In addition to Kenyan Airlines, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is serviced by a large number of international airlines.

Wilson Airport is a smaller and busy general aviation airport located in a south-central suburb of Nairobi West. It handles small aircraft that generally operate within Kenya, although some offer services to other East, Central and North-east African destinations.

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Commuter Rail Service

Nairobi was founded as a railway town, and the main headquarters of Kenya Railways is still situated at Nairobi Railway Station, which is located 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 center with the suburbs. These include the Syokimau Stationand those along Jogoo Road, Imara Daima  and Makadara Estates.

Details on more of our railway services can be found on the Rift Valley Railways website.

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Nairobi Railway Station

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A hotel in the CBD

Accommodation

Nairobi is home to a variety of world class hotels  including The Hilton Hotel Nairobi , The Villa Rosa Kempinski Nairobi and the Stanley .

New hotels and resorts have sprung up around the city over recent years to meet the high demand for accommodation both in the low end and high end market.

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Shopping

Downtown Nairobi, once the center for government, institutional and private office space is now a bustling shopping district where local and international brands compete for Kenya’s growing middle class. The streets are lined with shops , supermarkets , fast food restaurants  and stalls where you can buy anything from high end electronics to low cost clothing. Nairobi’s shopping district is a diverse ecosystem that caters for every budget and every lifestyle.

Grand shopping malls are now a common site in residential neighborhoods in Nairobi providing access to many localand internationalbrands, products and services.

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A shopping mall in Nairobi during the Holiday Season

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Open Market in Nairobi

Open Air Markets

For fresh food and great prices in Nairobi visit the open air markets around the city.

The Gikomba  market is Kenya’s largest flea market situated a short matatu ride from the city center. It offers affordable second hand clothing, furniture, accessories, books, hardware, fresh produce and processed materials.

The Maasai Marketopens on Saturday's on Taifa Rd  and is a great place to shop for all sorts of African jewelry, fashion, ornaments, sculpture, paintings and souvenir.

Other markets include the Toi Market on Ngong Rd , the City Market in Downtown Nairobi, Muthurwa market  on Jogoo Rd, and Githurai Market  off The Thika Super-highway.

List and categories of Nairobi City County Markets

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Bus and Matatu Service

A matatu  (public minibuses/commuter buses) is typically used for traveling between downtown Nairobi and the suburbs. They are the most common form of public transport and provide a cheap way of getting around Nairobi.

Matatus vary in size, between the van sized 14seat Matatus and the larger 50-seat buses. The matatu's destination is imprinted along a yellow stripe on the side of the bus, and matatus plying specific routes have specific route numbers. Matatus are also at the heart of the vibrant youth culture in the city and are known to be covered in elaborate urban art and branding. Nganya Awards is Nairobi's annual matatu pageant held at the KICC.

They are usually packed during the morning rush hours as people head to work and in the evening as they return home. However, at other times and on weekends, the congestion is not bad.

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 though at times they operate along lines similar to those of shared taxis and leave only when full.

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Buses and Matatus in the CBD

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A boda boda rider with a passenger

Boda Boda

Popularly known as ‘Boda Boda’, Motorcycles are a convenient and affordable way to weave through Nairobi Traffic. Motorcycles provide a quick and safer means to navigate the city’s residential areas by night as they can easily navigate narrow foot-paths. This has helped open up transport to more remote parts of the city.

Regulations have been enacted that secure the riders safety through safety gear such as helmets and reflective jackets.

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Taxi and Share Taxi

Taxis are a more expensive but more reliable mode of transportation than the matatus. They come in all shapes and conditions, including some London-style cabs. Usually, they are not metered and, like most other things in Nairobi, their fares are negotiable. Taxis are available in most parts of the city. They park outside hotels, at taxi ranks in the city center, and at shopping malls.

Hotels and restaurants can order taxis if necessary. Nairobi Taxis are usually marked with a yellow line along each side or may be yellow with a black numbered label.

There are several companies operating Dial Taxi services with phone bookings, modern vehicles, competent drivers and reasonable rates. Several Taxi companies have airport booking offices.

Shared taxis, operate on some routes and also take passengers to nearby towns.

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Taxis

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Tour vans for hire

Car Hire and Rental

Car hire costs more than other forms of transport but are a great way to get around in privacy or with locally experienced drivers. Many of the International car hire  chains have franchises in the city and several rental options are available.

Local car hire firms in the city often request a full deposit but it helps to ask and read hiring contracts to get a good idea what each company offers. These operators are cheaper and more flexible than the international brands.

Car hire and rentals have detailed information on available car hires and rentals

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Pedestrian Walkways

Walking is the best way to get around the CBD. The distances are short, and the streets are well marked.

New infrastructure including foot and bicycle paths, footbridges, traffic cameras and digital traffic lights have made the city a calmer more orderly place to move around.

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Pedestrian in Chiromo Campus

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Parking in the CBD

Convenient Parking in the city

To streamline and make parking in the city more convenient and friendly to motorists, the Nairobi City County has installed twenty booths all over the CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT and WESTLANDS from where the motorists can access and buy parking tickets.

Motorists can access and buy parking tickets. Motorists are further advised to make use of Seasonal Parking Tickets available at City Hall. Seasonal tickets are cheaper and time saving.

Soon you can be able to pay for parking online through our new e-payment system.

To streamline and make parking in the city more convenient and friendly to motorists, the Nairobi City County has installed twenty booths  all over the CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT and WESTLANDS from where the motorists can access and buy parking tickets.

Motorists can access and buy parking tickets. Motorists are further advised to make use of Seasonal Parking Tickets available at City Hall.. Seasonal tickets are cheaper and time saving.

You can now pay for parking online through our new e-payment system.

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Night Life

Nairobi has a vibrant and growing social scene with a wide variety of clubs , pubs and sports bars  catering for a wide variety of clientele. The world famous Carnivore Restaurant is one of the most popular entertainment spots offering game meat and live entertainment.

The city has seen a rise in the number of new entertainment spots popping up in different parts of the city as a growing middle class feeds the demand for entertainment. The most popular entertainment districts in Nairobi are Westlands , Moi Avenue , Langata rd, Ngong rd and Tom Mboya Street .

Nairobi’s entertainment spots are open all week but are most active on Friday’s and Saturday's when Nairobians seek to get a break from the busy week.

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Night Life