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When in Nairobi | Culture, people, things to do and memorable brands
When in Nairobi
Cultural Currents

Nairobi is a wonderfully immersive city with life and work bursting onto its streets. Locals set up their own stalls and bring along the whole family – this creates a great community feel with colours and smiles on each corner.

Bold, brash and blaring, matatus embody the culture of Nairobi. These independently owned buses used by locals for commuting are full of graffiti art, cartoon images and flashing lights. You’ll not only spot them from a distance, you’ll also hear them – matatus are always booming with music.

Ever tried eating food with your hands … and then eating your plate too? It’s customary for the Ethiopian community in Nairobi to serve their food with an injera, a large round flatbread – the ‘plate’ – with lots of traditional dishes of mixed vegetables, meats, spices and sauces alongside. This is a delicious and unique experience but also very messy!

 
 
 
 

Nairobi is a wonderfully immersive city with life and work bursting onto its streets. Locals set up their own stalls and bring along the whole family – this creates a great community feel with colours and smiles on each corner.

Bold, brash and blaring, matatus embody the culture of Nairobi. These independently owned buses used by locals for commuting are full of graffiti art, cartoon images and flashing lights. You’ll not only spot them from a distance, you’ll also hear them – matatus are always booming with music.

Ever tried eating food with your hands … and then eating your plate too? It’s customary for the Ethiopian community in Nairobi to serve their food with an injera, a large round flatbread – the ‘plate’ – with lots of traditional dishes of mixed vegetables, meats, spices and sauces alongside. This is a delicious and unique experience but also very messy!

an interesting thing to do

A trip to Nairobi National Park is an absolute must – a rich safari experience in wide open grass plains with a backdrop of the city’s skyscrapers. Take a part-open bus tour for the best chance to spot endangered black rhino, leopards, cheetahs, zebra, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes, hippos ... if you’re lucky you may see a well-fed lioness, basking in the sun next to the carcass of her recent meal. Be sure to take a head scarf and large sunglasses so the experience isn’t ruined by the sand and silt getting windswept into your face.


A tip to Nairobi National Park is an absolute must – a rich safari experience in wide open grass plains with a backdrop of the city’s skyscrapers. Take a part-open bus tour for the best chance to spot endangered black rhino, leopards, cheetahs, zebra, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes, hippos ... if you’re lucky you may see a well-fed lioness, basking in the sun next to the carcass of her recent meal. Be sure to take a head scarf and large sunglasses so the experience isn’t ruined by the sand and silt getting windswept into your face.

One local brand

Kitengela Hot Glass is an artists’ community located in Nairobi opposite the National Park. A huge range of beautiful glass objects are mouth-blown or sculpted on-site, from decorative animals, jewellery and vases to glass-beaded curtains and stained-glass windows. They only use recycled glass, tinted office windows, wine bottles and the like. A destination in itself, you can literally spend hours exploring the grounds at Kitengela, weaving along the mosaic pathways and discovering magical sculptures such as giant oxen, glass murals and Hobbit-like structures.

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⭐🇰🇪

With thanks to Alisa Hearne for her unique, cultural insights.