Where is the best weather in the world?
Forget air-conditioning and heating? Really?
This question comes up time and again—which city on the globe has the best weather? Very few people—if any— would opt for a region with frigid winters. The same would be true for a place with torrid summers. Safe would be to assume that a large majority would only be too happy to dwell in a place with cool, comfortable weather all year round. And if it also had just about the right amount of rain spread over the year, wouldn’t that sound like a place with the ideal weather? But where on Earth can one find such a place? Halfway around the world from the US, near the Equator, but at an altitude of 5,800 feet, lies Nairobi, the capital city of the East African nation of Kenya.
The place is in Africa!
What—some might say—a city in Africa? Hard to believe, but Nairobi, called the “Green City in the Sun”, is blessed with possibly the best weather in any season—summers when the temperatures peak out in mid-80’s, with cool evenings and nighttime temperatures in low 60’s. Its high altitude means low humidity. Yes, one can say goodbye to air-conditioners, or even ceiling fans for that matter! This is one place where one needs to work real hard to break out into a sweat! And that’s only half the story. Winters are equally pleasant—never too cold, with nighttime temperatures in the low 50’s; rarely in the 40’s. A big relief for me, after some of the winters that I spent in Northern Germany and one in Wisconsin, USA.
It’s not just the weather…
That’s not all—elsewhere, the long daylight hours in summer followed by shorter days in winter can be stressful on one’s system, before the body adjusts to the changing schedule. But not so in Nairobi—since it lies near the Equator, one has a comfortable twelve hours of daylight virtually all year round. With lush landscapes, colorful birds chirping their hearts out, flowers and trees in full bloom, the whole atmosphere feels so uplifting!
The birth of a city
The name owes its origin to a small river called Enkare Nairobi by the local Masaai tribe, which means “place of cool waters”. It was a small railroad depot in 1899 when the British were constructing a railway line that would link the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa to Uganda, which was then considered the “Pearl of East Africa.” The weary British engineers and their workers apparently could not resist the pleasant weather and many of them made a longer than the scheduled stop at this spot. Some stayed back and soon the place developed into a beautiful city, which to this day casts a spell on anyone who lives there. It is tough for any resident to leave Nairobi willingly—your author included, who “overstayed” his two-year stint by as many as eighteen years!
A city easy to fall in love with
But a city has to have lots more than just delightful weather to make it attractive. Nairobi is well planned and maintained and is the regional headquarters for several international organizations—the most important one being United Nations. The United Nations for Environmental Protection (UNEP) has its world headquarters in Nairobi. Several multinational corporations have their regional offices there and the city is thus host to a large number of foreigners (or expatriates) who live there, enjoying the very friendly and cordial hospitality of the locals. The city has a cosmopolitan outlook with a vibrant social life and restaurants covering a wide variety of cuisine, with the famous “Carnivore” offering a feast of grilled meats for the true carnivores!
There is a lot more Nairobi has to offer a visitor. It has a game park right on its outskirts, where a half-day trip would provide a tourist a quick view of the country’s famed wildlife. The National Museum in Nairobi has an anthropological section that traces the evolution of the Homo erectus and includes the remains of a “Zinjanthropus”, believed to have lived in East Africa between 1.8 and 2.5 million years ago. Another section of the Museum contains memorabilia from Joy Adamson, who reared Elsa, the lioness, made famous in the movie “Born free”. The country is blessed with so many natural resources that a separate article “Which is the best country to visit in Africa?” is written by the author.
The “Green City in the Sun”.
But this is about Nairobi. This is the city that I fell in love with when I landed there some three decades ago. And there are tens of thousands of people from all over who, like me, felt the same way—many from the U.K., Europe, and Asia, amongst others, have stayed back. They too have not been able to resist the charms of the “Green City in the Sun” with the best weather, beautiful landscape, friendly and hospitable people, and a vibrant social life.