More than a century old, the capital city of Kenya is the only major city neighboring a national park (Nairobi National Park). Its cosmopolitan nature contributes to the illimitable energy and the numerous elements of diversity, from fashion and food to language and beliefs.
Popularly known as the city in the sun, Nairobi is perhaps the most interesting city to visit, live and work in Kenya given the great contrasts that exist. You will just as easily meet a woman with a basket on her head, a child on her back, pregnant and on her way to the market as you will spot another woman adorning sunglasses and high heeled shoes, talking on a Samsung galaxy SIII phone while driving a Range Rover. The same contrasts apply in all other aspects of social, cultural and economic settings.
Initially a salty and uninhibited swampland, Nairobi has come of age as a modern city.
- The pastoralist Kenyan Maasai community knew the swampland as Enkare Nyrobi, meaning an area of cold water, and it is from this phrase that the name Nairobi was born.
- During the Kenya railway construction under the British colonial rule, a camp known as Mile 327 was set up as a supply depot. The British used this camp as a provincial capital until 1905, when Nairobi was made the capital of British East Africa Protectorate.
- In 1963, Nairobi became the capital city of independent Kenya.
Nairobi is the headquarters of Nairobi county and Nairobi district.
- Until the promulgation of Kenya’s new constitution in 2010, the government was centralized in Nairobi, with all government ministries, arms of the government, major company headquarters and major institutions such as Referral hospitals, universities and national and international schools being located here.
- All international bodies such as UNHCR, UNEP, UN Habitat etc., plus foreign missions and embassies are located in Nairobi.
- The city has witnessed the worst political unrest from the 1981 coup de tour and Saba Saba political movement to numerous conflicts between President Moi Regime and social and political activists.
- Nairobi contributes more than 60% of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product- making it a very crucial area in determining the country’s economic progress.
- Presently, Nairobi Stock Exchange is the oldest and largest in Africa and graded 4th in regards to trading volumes (signifying the potential the city has investment-wise).
Demographics in Nairobi
With an area of 684km2, Nairobi has a population that is almost equally divided between the have and the have-nots, harboring as many wealthy people as urban poor. Collectively, however, rich or poor, the people of Nairobi are all Nairobians.
- The most populous East African city, Nairobi has more than 3.375 people
- In Africa, it is the 12th largest city.
- Being a cosmopolitan and multicultural city, it has people from all the 47 tribes of Kenya, plus people from all African countries and representatives from around the world.
- The main languages are Swahili and English
- There is a growing, urban-language phenomenon in Nairobi popularly known as Sheng, which is made by marrying or bending Swahili words with other dialects.
- You will find Catholics, Protestants, indigenous believers, Buddhists and even atheists here.
Real-estate demographics in Nairobi
Nairobi has the worst and best in property demographics.
- While there is a growing middle-class real-estate market generating high property yields, there is simultaneously an increase in unsuitable dwelling units such as shanties and squatter settlements among the urban poor.
- There is a huge housing deficit due to high rural to urban migration (though the deficit makes Nairobi an ideal place for investment)
- With improvement in infrastructure, the value of properties and rental yields in various areas in Nairobi have doubled and even tripled in recent years
- Nairobi has registered 20% growth in its high-end residential real-estate market, ranking the best globally.
Situated at 10 17o S 360 46 o E and at 1,795 meters above sea level, Nairobi stands amid Mombasa and Kampala cities. To its west are the Ngong Hills and to the north and southeast towers Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro respectively.
- Nairobi has a subtropical highland climate with an altitude that contributes to cool evenings and moderate temperatures.
- December and March are the warmest and sunniest with average of 240 C.
- Nairobi has two rainy reasons with moderate rainfall in April and July.
- The city receives minimum of seven hours of sunshine daily throughout the year.