Welcome to Nairobi



   Co-Author of this page

WELCOME to Nairobi – JAMBO! – In the first national language, – Kiswahili, – this truly means welcome from the heart, and with it go the infectious smiles and an instantanious hospitality of her people.

The characteristics of the ‘Jambo’ people are ingrained in the mysteries of their 42 mother-tongues. Some of those languages are as different as Chinese from English. Nairobi is more or less a working-place for its diverse ethnic composition, because each language brings to the City its own culture, and all those cultures are put into a single melting pot called NAIROBI – local and foreign cultures being stewed together in that ‘mutungi’. Indeed, all the world’s cultures are found in Nairobi,- the cosmopolitan ‘City in the Sun’.

And Nairobi, like its mother Kenya, is the only place on planet Earth with the least racial discrimination – a fact! The moods, smiles, gestures and walks of this dramatically and aggressively growing City of human diversity are indeed, infectious. For sure, everybody who comes from any part of the world to Nairobi, will find his own human grain. Nairobi is a City of flying and crawling socio-economic standards,- a City of cultural evolution and a City of warm and wanting hearts.


The City of Nairobi is barely a century old. The tongue, which authored the name Nairobi, is Maasai, Kenya’s most colourful tribe of the nilotic line. In this nilotic language the name ‘nairobi’ means ‘place of cold water’, referring to the swamp it was in those early days. The Maasai are the most photographed people by visitors because of their colourful traditional attire, and they stand out to symbolize the vanishing Kenyan culture.

Generally speaking, Nairobi was a creation of British colonial administration. It was started to act as the headquarter in East Africa. It was in Nairobi that the British colonial mood consumed their African taste. It was here where they took their tea and grasped the spirit of British aesthetics, and it was here, where there was the meeting point of British and African mannerisms. So, Kenyans and Africans as a whole, learnt how to behave like the British and speak English minus the Queen’s accent.

Prior to independence, the Nairobi architecture was British. And since Kenyans are exceptionally imaginative in copying European behaviour, that is why any foreigner going through Nairobi, feels and sees British influence. Slowly, after independence, the African architectural mood took over – the mood with which the trademark of Nairobi,- the Kenyatta International Conference Centre was constructed. Nairobi is a City of class-consciousness – britishly. But this is changing.


Nairobi prides itself with five-star hotels and nooks for secret lovers and hunters of witchcraft. Nairobi has beds and rooms to accommodate any human VIP from anywhere in the world. The City of beautiful women and African rhythm in an environment which knows neither winter nor desert heat throughout the year. There is no City in the world with a better climate than Nairobi.
Nairobi has hosted uncountable international conferences of world leaders and professionals. Nairobi has proved to be the centre for human relations. Nairobi is the host of the biggest group of international journalists out to cover Africa, and Nairobi has the biggest human workshop in Africa for handling socio-political issues. Nairobi holds the biggest numbers of non-government and religious bodies.

Nairobi is not a historical monument of human activity,- rather it is a living monument of one of the fastest changing human evolutions. For this reason it forms the most ideal meeting ground for cultural and ethnic conferences. Nairobians have a superb general knowledge of the world. They are always eager to exercise that knowledge on any unsuspecting foreigner who speaks to them in English. English is the country’s official second national language.


Nairobi is the only City in the world which lives in the neighbourhood of a breathtaking wildlife in its natural environment in the Nairobi National Game Park. This Park is within a few kilometers from the centre of the City. A visit to the Park is a visit to the ancient and natural African environment.

You want a night out? Then you must go to the Carnivore. The concept is unique and you will eat to your heart’s delight and be entertained by a multitude of International artists. This is the leading multi-cultural meeting-point for a memorable and wonderful night out that no visitor should miss.


This little gem is only a few kilometers away from the City. It captures past wildlife habitat and prides itself being the home of the father of archeology Dr Louis Leakey, who made the claim that human life started in Africa. For bird and butterfly lovers, there is an extraordinary display of the species originally presented in the interest and custom of the British people. And there is of course, the wonderful collection of plants and all the tribes of Kenya painted by the renowned artist Joy Adamson.

The famous Karen Blixen Museum is in a suburb of Nairobi and presents an example of the aristrocratic life-style enjoyed by the Danish authoress Isaak Dinesen and her contemporaries. Here is the home of the well-known romantic lover, whose book ‘Out of Africa’ was made into a film, which captured the imagination of an international audience and made Kenya the dream for would be travellers.


Nairobi’s largest home of natural habitation of plants is City Park. Sadly it is in need of rehabilitaion and a group of dedicated ‘Friends of City Park’ have been working tirelessly on this project since 1996. Hopefully the team will shortly embark on its mission having worked their way through many difficulties for the past years, but never losing sight of their vision.

There is much to discover about Nairobi and many interesting places to visit. The City’s skyline has changed into a silhuette of modern and impressive high-rise buildings with state- of-the-art facilities.

We invite you to come and see for yourself,- be our guest and….. once again, WELCOME to NAIROBI.

David G. Maillu, D.Litt.