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A Focus on Nairobi City, Kenya

Updated on June 16, 2015

Nairobi is the largest and capital city of Kenya. Nairobi County is formed by the city and its surrounding area. The name Nairobi is a Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi that means cool water. The phrase also is a Maasai name for the Nairobi River that lent its name out to the city. It is however popularly known as the ‘’Green city in the sun”, surrounded by many expanding suburbs. The inhabitants of the city are referred to as the Nairobians. Nairobi is governed by the Nairobi county government, whose current governor is Kidero Evans.

Nairobi was founded by colonial authorities in the 1899 in British East Africa as rail depot for the Uganda Railway. The town grew quickly and replaced Machakos as the colony’s capital in 1907. Nairobi became the capital of the Kenyan republic in 1963 after independence. During the colonial period in Kenya; the city became a Centre for the sisal, tea and coffee industry of the colony. The city lies in the southern part of the country on the Nairobi River and has an altitude of 1,795 m above the sea level.

With an estimated 4 million population in 2013, Nairobi is the second-largest city in African Great lakes region by population after Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. As per the 2009 census, 3,138295 people lived in the administrative area of the city within 696 km2. The city is the 14th largest in Africa, including its suburbs population

The city is one among the most prominent cities financially and politically in Africa. It is home to thousands of Kenyan businesses and hundreds of major international organizations and companies, including the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), the main headquarters and co-coordinators for the UN in the Middle East and Africa, and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). The city is a recognized hub for both culture and business. The Nairobi Security Exchange (NSE) happens to be the second oldest in the continent and also the largest. It is the fourth-largest exchange with regards to trading volume in Africa and is able to make 10 million trades in a single day. The Globalization and World city studies Group (GaWC) defines the city as prominent social center.

The city is situated between Mombasa and Kampala cities. Since it is contiguous to the eastern edge of the Rift Valley, tremors and minor earthquakes occur occasionally. The Ngong Hills are the most protuberant geographical feature of the area and are located to the city’s western side. Mount Kenya is on the North of Nairobi, and the Kilimanjaro Mountain is towards south east. On a clear day, both of these mountains are visible from Nairobi.

Most of the wealthy Kenyan citizens are believed to dwell in Nairobi, but the majority of the city dwellers are average or poor. Half of the population is believed to dwell in slums which cover only 5 percent of the city. The growth of slums is as a result of poor planning of the town, urbanization and the unavailability of loans especially for low income earners. Kibera is the largest slum in the city and in Africa and is located at the western side of the city. The slum covers about two square kilometers and is located on the land of the government

Nairobi has several parks and open spaces much of which has plenty of green spaces and dense tree-cover. The most prominent is the Uhuru Park which borders the central business district. The park is center for outdoor rallies, services and speeches.


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    • Nyamweya profile imageAUTHOR

      Silas Nyamweya 

      3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      thanks for the appreciation. Indeed there are many Indians in this place

    • emge profile image


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      I had visited nairobi once and I liked the place. Many Indians there also


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