Kenya

Nairobi

Nairobi, capital of Kenya, is a lively, cosmopolitan and bustling city. The centre is modern and prosperous; services are well organized and efficient. Businessmen and women talking on mobile phones walk the pavements alongside Masai warriors with long, ochre-stained hair, tourists mingle with busy traders and commuters, markets sell traditional handicrafts in the shadow of office towers, and life goes on at a frenetic pace. The city never stops moving, and the streets throng with pedestrians, cars,
matatus
and
mkokoteni
(hand-drawn carts used to carry goods to market). However, the combination of Kenya's rising population and migration to the towns has resulted in the size of Nairobi increasing at an enormous rate. Housing and other facilities have failed to keep up and shanty towns in the outskirts are the inevitable result. The population is officially estimated at just under three million but, with a growth rate of 6.9 %, it is expected to reach around five million by 2015. Unfortunately Nairobi has also attracted fame for its high crime rate, and visitors should at all times exercise caution. Nevertheless, there are many interesting things to do and see. Nairobi National Park is in sight of the city, there are a number of other wildlife attractions within a stone's throw and Nairobi itself is home to some of the best restaurants and shops in East Africa. It's worthwhile making time for Nairobi at the beginning or end of a trip to Kenya. The city sits at 1870 m above sea level - from here it is a long and steady fall to the coast, 500 km away.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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