Nicknamed the safari capital of the world, the lively city of Nairobi is much more than a jumping off point for safari camps and Mt. Kilimanjaro. It is a modern and multi-ethnic metropolis and home to more than four million people.
Once an uninhabited swamp area, it became a supply depot for the Uganda Railway in 1899. The city earned its name after a waterhole, since the word Nairobi means cool waters in Maasai. Quickly gaining in importance, the city became the capital of the British East Africa Protectorate in 1905. Its main draw back then is the same draw today: tourism. Except in the early 1900s, the grand hotels built by the British housed big game hunters. The city’s rapid expansion caused tension as the Maasai and Kikuyu People wanted their land back. Finally, Nairobi became the capital of the new republic when Kenya gained its independence in 1963.
Now it’s a cosmopolitan and culturally vibrant city and boasts many theaters, concerts, and fine dining as well as plenty of clubs, casinos, coffee shops and malls to keep the global traveler entertained. Just outside the city is Nairobi National Park home to large herds of zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, giraffe, lion, cheetah, hippo, rhino, and over 400 species of birdlife. Visitors can go on the Nairobi Safari Walk, an educational center to make people aware of wildlife and habitat conservation. The Nairobi National Museum is the largest in the city with a large collection of artefacts documenting Kenya’s history as well as being the home of homo erectus popularly known as the Turkana boy.