Nairobi (History, Roads, Transport, sports) is the capital and the largest city of Kenya. The name comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi, which translates to “cool water”. A reference to the Nairobi River which flows through the city. The City has a population of 4,397,073 , While the metropolitan area has a population of 9,354,580. The city is referred to as the Green City in the Sun.
“Green City in the Sun”, “Nai”,”Silicon Savannah”
|Constituencies in Nairobi County|
Nairobi (History, Roads, Transport, sports) was founded in 1899 by the colonial authorities in British East Africa, as a rail depot on the Uganda Railway. The town quickly grew to replace Mombasa as the capital of Kenya in 1907. After independence in 1963, Nairobi became the capital of the Republic of Kenya. During Kenya’s colonial period, the city became a centre for the colony’s coffee, tea and sisalindustry. The city lies on the River Athi in the southern part of the country, and has an elevation of 1,795 metres (5,889 ft) above sea level.
According to the 2019 census, in the administrative area of Nairobi, 4,397,073 inhabitants lived within 696 km2(269 sq mi).
Home to thousands of Kenyan businesses and over 100 major international companies and organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), Nairobi is an established hub for business and culture. The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) is one of the largest in Africa and the second-oldest exchange on the continent. It is Africa’s fourth-largest exchange in terms of trading volume, capable of making 10 million trades a day.
Nairobi is found within the Greater Nairobi Metropolitan region, which consists of 5 out of 47 counties in Kenya, which generates about 60% of the entire nation’s GDP. The counties are:
|Cities/Towns/Municipalities in the Counties|
|Core Nairobi||Nairobi County||696||4,397,073||Nairobi|
|Northern Metro||Kiambu County||2,449.2||2,417,735||Kiambu, Thika, Limuru, Ruiru, Karuri, Kikuyu, Ruaka, Kahawa and Githunguri|
|North Eastern Metro||Murang’a County||2,325.8||1,056,640||Gatanga, Kandara, Kenol/Kabati, Murang’a|
|Southern Metro||Kajiado County||21,292.7||1,107,296||Kajiado, Olkejuado, Bissil, Ngong, Kitengela, Kiserian, Ongata Rongai|
|Eastern Metro||Machakos County||5,952.9||1,421,932||Kangundo-Tala, Machakos, Athi River|
The site of Nairobi was originally part of an uninhabited swamp. The name Nairobi itself comes from the Maasai expression meaning “cool waters”, referring to the cold water stream which flowed through the area. With the arrival of the Uganda Railway, the site was identified by Sir George Whitehouse for a store depot, shunting ground and camping ground for the Indianlabourers working on the railway. Whitehouse, chief engineer of the railway, favoured the site as an ideal resting place due to its high elevation, temperate climate and being situated before the steep ascent of the Limuruescarpments. His choice was however criticised by officials within the Protectorategovernment who felt the site was too flat, poorly drained and relatively infertile.
Nairobi History shows that In 1921, Nairobi had 24,000 residents, of which 12,000 were native Africans. The next decade would see a growth in native African communities into Nairobi, where they would go on to constitute a majority for the first time. In February 1926, colonial officer Eric Dutton passed through Nairobi on his way to Mount Kenya, and said of the city:
Maybe one day Nairobi will be laid out with tarred roads, with avenues of flowering trees, flanked by noble buildings; with open spaces and stately squares; a cathedral worthy of faith and country; museums and of art; theaters and public offices. And it is fair to say that the Government and the Municipality have already bravely tackled the problem and that a town-plan ambitious enough to turn Nairobi into a thing of beauty has been slowly worked out, and much has already been done. But until that plan has borne fruit, Nairobi must remain what she was then, a slatternly creature, unfit to queen it over so lovely a country.
The continuous expansion of the city began to anger the Maasai, as the city was devouring their land to the south. It also angered the Kikuyu people, who wanted the land returned to them. After the end of World War II, this friction developed into the Mau Mau rebellion. Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president, was jailed for his involvement even though there was no evidence linking him to the rebellion. The pressure exerted from the locals onto the British resulted in Kenyan independence in 1963, with Nairobi as the capital of the new republic.
On 11 September 1973, the Kenyatta International Conference Centre KICC was open to the public. The 28-storey building at the time was designed by the Norwegian architect Karl Henrik Nøstvik and Kenyan David Mutiso. The construction was done in three phases.
Phase I was the construction of the podium, Phase II consisted of the main tower, and Phase III involved the Plenary. Construction was completed in 1973, with the opening ceremony occurring on 11 September and being presided over by Kenya’s founding father President Kenyatta. It is the only building within the city with a helipad that is open to the public. Of the buildings built in the Seventies, the KICC was the most eco-friendly and most environmentally conscious structure; its main frame constructed with locally available materials gravel, sand, cement and wood, and it had wide open spaces which allowed for natural aeration and natural lighting.
Cuboids made up the plenary hall, the tower consisted of a cylinder composed of several cuboids, and the amphitheater and helipad both resembled cones. The tower has been built around a concrete core and it has no walls but glass windows, which allowes maximum natural lighting. It has the largest halls in eastern and central Africa.
Three years prior in 1972, the World Bankapproved funds for further expansion of the then Nairobi Airport (now Jomo Kenyatta International Airport), including a new international and domestic passenger terminal building, the airport’s first dedicated cargo and freight terminal, new taxiways, associated aprons, internal roads, car parks, police and fire stations, a State Pavilion, airfield and roadway lighting, fire hydrant system, water, electrical, telecommunications and sewage systems, a dual carriageway passenger access road, security, drainage and the building of the main access road to the airport (Airport South Road).
The total cost of the project was more than US$29 million (US$111.8 million in 2013 dollars). On 14 March 1978, construction of the current terminal building was completed on the other side of the airport’s single runway and opened by President Jomo Kenyatta less than five months before his death. The airport was renamed Jomo Kenyatta International Airportin memory of its First President.
The United States Embassy, then located in downtown Nairobi, was bombed in August 1998 by Al-Qaida, as one of a series of US embassy bombings. It is now the site of a memorial park.
Transport in Nairobi
Syokimau Railway Station
Major plans are being implemented in the need to decongest the city’s traffic and the completion of Thika Road has given the city a much needed face-lift attributed to road’s enhancement of global standards. Several projects have been completed (Syokimau Rail Station, the Eastern and Northern Bypasses) while numerous other projects are still underway. The country’s head of state announced (when he opened Syokimau Rail Service) that Kenya was collaborating with other countries in the region to develop railway infrastructure to improve regional connectivity under the ambitious LAPPSETproject which is the single largest and most expensive in the continent.
Kenya signed a bilateral agreement with Uganda to facilitate joint development of the Mombasa-Malaba-Kampala standard gauge railway. A branch line will extend to Kisumu.
Similarly, Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Ethiopia for the development of Lamu-Addis Ababa standard gauge railway. Under the Lamu-South Sudan and Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project, the development of a railway component is among the priority projects.
The development of these critical transport facilities will, besides reducing transport costs due to faster movement of goods and people within the region, also increase trade, improve the socio-economic welfare of Northern Kenya and boost the country’s potential in attracting investments from all over the world.
The first phase of the Standard Gauge Railway project was launched on 31 May 2017 by the President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta in a ceremony that saw thousands of Kenyans ride on the inaugural trip free of charge. The two passenger locomotives christened Madaraka Express currently operate daily trips between Nairobi and Mombasa.
Roads in Nairobi
Nairobi (History, Roads, Transport, sports) is served by highways that link Mombasa to Kampala in Uganda and Arusha in Tanzania. They ease the daily motor traffic within and surrounding the metro area. However, driving in Nairobi is chaotic.
Most of the roads are tarmacked and there are signs showing directions to certain neighbourhoods. The city is connected to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by the Mombasa Highway, which passes through Industrial Area, South B, South C and Embakasi. Ongata Rongai, Langata and Karen are connected to the city centre by Langata Road, which runs to the south. Lavington, Riverside, Westlands, etc. are connected by Waiyaki Way. Kasarani, Eastlands, and Embakasi are connected by Thika Road, Jogoo Road, and Outer Ring Road.
Highways connect the city with other major towns such as Mombasa, Machakos, Voi, (A109), Eldoret, Kisumu, Nakuru, Naivasha, Namanga Border Tanzania(A104) etc.
Nairobi is undergoing major road constructions to update its infrastructure network. The new systems of roads, flyovers, and bridges would cut outrageous traffic levels caused the inability of the current infrastructure to cope with the soaring economic growth in the past few years. It is also a major component of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Nairobi Metropolis plans. Most roads now, though, are well lit and surfaced with adequate signage.
Sports in Nairobi
Nairobi is the African Great Lakes region’s sporting centre. The premier sports facility in Nairobi and generally in Kenya is the Moi International Sports Centre in the suburb of Kasarani. The complex was completed in 1987, and was used to host the 1987 All Africa Games. The complex comprises a 60,000 seater stadium, the second largest in the African Great Lakes (after Tanzania’s new national stadium), a 5,000 seater gymnasium, and a 2,000 seater aquatics centre.
The Nyayo National Stadium is Nairobi’s second largest stadium renowned for hosting global rugby event under the “Safaricom Sevens.” Completed in 1983, the stadium has a capacity of 30,000. This stadium is primarily used for football. The facility is located close to the Central Business District, which makes it a convenient location for political gatherings.
Nairobi City Stadium is the city’s first stadium, and used for club football. Nairobi Gymkhanais the home of the Kenyan cricket team, and was a venue for the 2003 Cricket World Cup. Notable annual events staged in Nairobi include Safari Rally (although it lost its World Rally Championship status in 2003), Safari Sevens rugby union tournament, and Nairobi Marathon.
Football is the most popular sport in the city by viewership and participation. This is highlighted by the number of football clubs in the city, including Kenyan Premier Leaguesides Gor Mahia, A.F.C. Leopards, Tusker and Mathare United.
There are six golf courses within a 20 km radius of Nairobi. The oldest 18-hole golf course in the city is the Royal Nairobi Golf Club. It was established in 1906 by the British, just seven years after the city was founded. Other notable golf clubs include the Windsor Country Club, Karen Country Club, and Muthaiga Golf Club. The Kenya Open golf tournament, which is part of the European Tour, takes place in Nairobi. The Ngong Racecourse in Nairobi is the centre of horse racing in Kenya.
Rugby is also a popular sport in Nairobi with 8 of the 12 top flight clubs based here.
Basketball is also a popular Sport played in the City’s Primary, Secondary and College leagues. Most of the City’s Urban youth are basketball fans and watch the American NBA.