Nairobi County is a bustling metropolitan region located in the heart of Kenya. It is the capital and largest city in Kenya, with a population of over 4 million people. Nairobi is known for its rich history, diverse culture, vibrant nightlife, and impressive economic growth. This article will discuss everything you need to know about Nairobi County.
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Quick Facts About Nairobi County
- County Number: 047
- Number of Sub-Counties: 17 (Westlands, Dagoretti North, Dagoretti South, Langata, Kibra, Roysambu, Kasarani, Embakasi West, Ruaraka, Embakasi South, Makadara, Embakasi North, Embakasi East, Starehe, Embakasi Central, Mathare, and Kamukunji.)
- County Headquarters: Nairobi City
- Current Governor: Johnson Arthur Sakaja
- Current Senator: Edwin Watenya Sifuna
- Woman Representative: Esther Muthoni Passaris
History of Nairobi County
The city of Nairobi was founded in 1899 by the British colonial government as a railway depot for the Uganda Railway. The name “Nairobi” is derived from the Maasai phrase “Enkare Nairobi,” which means “cool water.” The British colonial government chose the city’s location because it was a major watering hole for the Maasai people and was conveniently located along the railway line.
During the early years of the city’s development, Nairobi was a small, dusty outpost with little infrastructure. However, in the 1920s and 1930s, the city experienced a rapid growth spurt as it became the administrative centre of British East Africa. The city continued to grow and prosper after Kenya gained independence in 1963.
Geography and Climate
Nairobi County covers an area of approximately 696.1 square kilometres and is at an altitude of 1,795 meters above sea level. The city is situated on the Nairobi River, which flows into the Athi River. The Ngong Hills surround Nairobi to the west, the Nairobi National Park to the south, and Mount Kenya to the north.
Nairobi has a subtropical highland climate, with cool temperatures throughout the year due to its high altitude. The city experiences two rainy seasons: the long rains, which occur from March to May, and the short rains, which occur from October to December.
The Economy of Nairobi County
Nairobi County is the economic hub of Kenya, with a vibrant business community and a booming tourism industry. The city has numerous multinational corporations, including General Electric, Coca-Cola, and IBM. The Nairobi Securities Exchange, the second-largest stock exchange in Africa, is also located in the city.
The tourism industry in Nairobi is thriving, attracting millions of visitors every year. Nairobi is known for its wildlife parks, including the Nairobi National Park, just a few kilometres from the city centre. Other popular tourist attractions in Nairobi include the Karen Blixen Museum, the Giraffe Centre, and the Maasai Market.
Culture and Society
Nairobi County is home to a diverse array of cultures and ethnic groups. Most of the population comprises the Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, and Kalenjin ethnic groups, but there are also significant populations of Maasai, Somali, and Indian people.
The city is known for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants located throughout the city. Nairobi is also home to a thriving arts and music scene, with many local artists and musicians gaining international recognition.
Nairobi County has a well-developed transportation system that includes buses, taxis, and trains. The city’s public transportation system is operated by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), which oversees the operations of buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation.
The Nairobi Commuter Rail Service, launched in 2017, connects Nairobi with its surrounding areas, making it easier for people to travel to and from the city. The city also has a network of highways, including the Thika Superhighway, which connects Nairobi with Thika.
Nairobi County is home to some of Kenya’s best schools and universities. The University of Nairobi, Kenya’s oldest and largest university, is located in the city. Other notable universities in Nairobi include Strathmore University, United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa), and Kenyatta University.
There are also numerous primary and secondary schools located throughout Nairobi County, both public and private. Some of the most prestigious schools in Nairobi include St. Mary’s School, Nairobi, and the Nairobi International School.
Nairobi County has a well-developed healthcare system, with numerous hospitals, clinics, and medical centres throughout the city. The largest hospital in Nairobi is Kenyatta National Hospital, a public hospital serving as Kenya’s main referral hospital.
Other notable hospitals in Nairobi include the Aga Khan University Hospital, the Nairobi Hospital, and the Mater Hospital. In addition, numerous private clinics and medical centres are located throughout the city.
Safety and Security
Nairobi County has its fair share of crime and security challenges, like any large metropolitan area. However, the city has significantly improved its security situation in recent years.
Nairobi City County Inspectorate Service is responsible for maintaining law and order in Nairobi County. The police work closely with other security agencies, including the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), to ensure the safety and security of Nairobi residents.
Tourism: Things to Do in Nairobi County
Here are some things to do and see in Nairobi City County:
1. Visit the Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is the only national park in the world in the capital city. It’s home to many wildlife, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, and zebras.
2. Explore the Karen Blixen Museum
The Karen Blixen Museum is dedicated to the Danish author Karen Blixen, who wrote the book Out of Africa. The museum is on the former farm where Blixen lived between 1914 and 1931.
3. Visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a conservation organization that works to protect elephants and rhinos in Kenya. Visitors can watch baby elephants being fed and learn about the organization’s efforts to combat poaching.
4. Shop at the Maasai Market
The Maasai Market is a colourful outdoor market that sells a variety of Kenyan handicrafts, including beaded jewellery, wood carvings, and textiles. It’s a great place to find unique souvenirs and gifts.
5. Visit the Nairobi National Museum
The Nairobi National Museum is dedicated to Kenya’s history and culture. It houses a collection of artefacts, including fossils, ethnographic exhibits, and contemporary art.
6. Take a City Tour
Nairobi has a rich history and culture, and many guided tours explore the city’s landmarks and attractions, including the Parliament buildings, the Kenyatta International Conference Center, and the Uhuru Gardens.
7. Explore the Railway Museum
The Railway Museum houses a collection of steam locomotives, railway artefacts, and exhibits that showcase the role of the railways in Kenya’s development.
8. Hike the Ngong Hills
The Ngong Hills are a series of hills located just outside of Nairobi that offer stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside. Visitors can go hiking, mountain biking, or simply enjoy a picnic with a view.
9. Experience Culture at the Bomas of Kenya
The Bomas of Kenya is a cultural centre that showcases the traditional cultures of Kenya’s various ethnic groups. Visitors can watch traditional dances, sample traditional foods, and learn about the history and customs of Kenya’s diverse communities.
10 Visit the Giraffe Centre
The Giraffe Centre is a sanctuary for the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe. Visitors can feed the giraffes from a raised platform and learn about the conservation efforts to protect these magnificent animals.
Nairobi County is a vibrant and dynamic region that is home to a diverse array of cultures, businesses, and tourist attractions. The city’s rich history, impressive economic growth, and thriving arts and music scene make it a popular destination for visitors worldwide.
While Nairobi County has its share of challenges, including security and healthcare issues, the city has made significant progress in addressing them and continues to grow and thrive. Whether you are a tourist, a business traveller, or a resident of Nairobi, there is always something new and exciting to discover in this dynamic city.