Like most people, I’m originally not from Nairobi, I came from a small town to this big town to make it. I had a degree in media and publishing studies and it didn’t seem like I would make it anywhere else so I moved to the city. My colleague used to call me an import, since I was not from here. I used to feel like one. Its three years now and I still feel like an import, like I do not belong in Naiorbi. Nairobi is loud, it’s big and bustling.
But I love this city. I do. It’s loud, it’s big and bustling (See what I did there?). Despite that though, I don’t think I can call myself a Nairobian. At least not yet. I notice that I have adopted some mannerisms associated with Nairobi. I now like Guarana, own an Infinix phone and have an accent as any lady living in Nairobi should right? I’m only slightly kidding.
I say I’m not a Nairobian because I cannot tell you much about this city. My knowledge about it consists mostly of the things I learnt in school. I know the common streets and it’s only because I use them. I know popular Nairobi hotels and restaurants and again it’s only because I use them. The iconic buildings I know are the ones everyone, even guests know and can google. Worse I can only tell you of a few activities you can enjoy in the city.
Nairobi is where you can find a national park coexisting with a metropolitan city. Can you imagine that? No major city in the world can boast of the fact that you can see wildlife and marvel at the wild vast land and see the city’s skyscrapers as the backdrop.
Nairobi is where a trip to the Central Business District from anywhere, becomes a journey on account of the traffic. It’s the matatu culture, where all the matatus with their different, creative art and music gives one a story to tell every time you use them as a means of transport.
To get the authentic Nairobi, you must see the economically and socially different uptown and downtown areas. Their diverse look and feel is a thing to marvel at. How can one (uptown) area have well-lit streets, five star hotels, fancy cars and sky scrapers while the other (downtown), have none yet it’s still the same city? It’s also home to one of the largest slums in Africa.
You can walk the streets of Nairobi at three am in the morning, grab something to eat, shop from a street vendor, or a mall and get a matatu or a cab home. We are a 24 hour economy after all. Nairobi is the impressive night life. With a pub, bar and clubs in plenty, there’s a party every night.
In Nairobi, one minute you will be buying unique and very affordable wares from the numerous street hawkers, the next you are witnessing a cat and mouse chase between them and county askaris. (The trick is to conduct your business really fast, they can hit at anytime, anywhere so speed is key).
In this city you find the most creative and unique art, vibrant art spaces, a mixture of local and international fashion trends.
It’s where you can eat international cuisines from world class restaurants and cafés and fill up on equally impressive nyama choma (roasted meat) in local eating joints.
Simply put, Nairobi is so much more than the common streets and popular hotels and restaurants as well as the common activities and attractions many people know. It’s time to discover that Nairobi.
This month, Yululate is launching a campaign, #DiscoverwithYuluate which will help you and me, find great places we didn’t know existed in Nairobi. Discover some less known picturesque buildings that will take your breath away. Discover great businesses like banks, salons, bars and pubs and of course eating joints, some located near you. During the campaign, you stand a chance to win great prizes too. See the details here.
What are some places in Nairobi that aren’t known by a lot of people but are worth checking out? How about businesses with great services and products? Comment your recommendations below and remember to review these favorite spots of yours.