The capital and largest city of Kenya, Nairobi, is where the hustle and bustle of human feet rather than animal is most prominent. Its business high rise clad streets are a vast contrast to the open plains that one would picture at the mention of Kenya. Nairobi draws its name from the Maasai phrase for cold water, “Ehkane Nairobi” which also happens to be the name of the Nairobi River.
Being the most populous city in East Africa makes it the 12th largest city in Africa with a population of 3 million people – a far cry from the population it saw back in its humble beginnings as a train deposit en route to Kampala. Its buildings and hotels hark back to this time and are filled with traces of colonialism and age-old architecture. The city also plays host to one of the largest stock exchanges in Africa, the NSE which is also the second oldest exchange on the African continent.
However there is a reason Nairobi is affectionately referred to as the “green city in the sun”. While there are many concrete structures throughout the city, there are also green characteristics throughout the city and surrounds. This theme is carried out throughout the many trees in the area as well as parks in the centre of the town and well known reserves on its outskirts.
Uhuru Park is probably the most well-known of these reserves as well as the Nairobi National Park which is home to a plethora of wildlife as well as over 400 species of bird. This famous land area is flanked by the central Park as well as Langata Giraffe centre which makes great efforts to raise endangered Rothschild giraffes and introduce them into the wild. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust also goes to great measures to rehabilitate and provide a home for orphaned elephants and black rhinos.
However, while steeped in a dense tree cover and surrounded by wildlife, the city of Nairobi also caters for those in search of culture with their many museums, the world’s largest icing rink as well as a collection of fantastic markets such as Spinners Web and the City Market, known for their traditional fare and wood carvings.