Nairobi Travel Guide

Geography

The city is situated at and occupies .

Nairobi is situated between the cities of Kampala and Mombasa. As Nairobi is adjacent to the eastern edge of the Rift Valley, minor earthquakes and tremors occasionally occur. The Ngong Hills, located to the west of the city, are the most prominent geographical feature of the Nairobi area. Mount Kenya is situated north of Nairobi, and Mount Kilimanjaro is towards the south-east. Both mountains are visible from Nairobi on a clear day.

The Nairobi River and its tributaries traverse through the Nairobi County. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai has fought fiercely to save the indigenous Karura Forest in northern Nairobi which was under threat of being replaced by housing and other infrastructure.

Nairobi's western suburbs stretch all the way from the Kenyatta National Hospital in the south to the UN headquarters at Gigiri suburb in the north, a distance of about .

The city is centred on the City Square, which is located in the Central Business District. The Kenyan Parliament buildings, the Holy Family Cathedral, Nairobi City Hall, Nairobi Law Courts, and the Kenyatta Conference Centre all surround the square.

Climate

Under the Köppen climate classification, Nairobi has a subtropical highland climate (Cfb). At above sea level, evenings may be cool, especially in the June/July season, when the temperature can drop to . The sunniest and warmest part of the year is from December to March, when temperatures average the mid-twenties during the day. The mean maximum temperature for this period is .

There are two rainy seasons, but rainfall can be moderate. The cloudiest part of the year is just after the first rainy season, when, until September, conditions are usually overcast with drizzle. As Nairobi is situated close to the equator, the differences between the seasons are minimal. The seasons are referred to as the wet season and dry season. The timing of sunrise and sunset varies little throughout the year for the same reason.

Districts and neighbourhoods

Nairobi is divided into a series of constituencies, these are Makadara, Kamukunji, Starehe, Langata, Dagoretti, Westlands, Kasarani, and Embakasi. The main administrative divisions of Nairobi are Central, Dagoretti, Embakasi, Kasarani, Kibera, Makadara, Pumwani, and Westlands. Most of the upmarket suburbs are situated to the west and north-central of Nairobi, where most European settlers resided during the colonial times. These include Karen, Langata, Lavington, Gigiri, Muthaiga, Brookside, Spring Valley, Loresho, Kilimani, Kileleshwa, Hurlingham, Runda, Kitisuru, Nyari, Kyuna, Lower Kabete, Westlands, and Highridge, although Kangemi, Kawangware, and Dagoretti are lower income areas close to these affluent suburbs. The city's colonial past is commemorated by many English place-names. Most lower-middle and upper middle income neighbourhoods are located in the north-central areas such as Highridge, Parklands, Ngara, Pangani, and areas to the southwest and southeast of the metropolitan area near the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The most notable ones include Avenue Park, Fedha, Pipeline, Donholm, Greenfields, Nyayo, Taasia, Baraka, Nairobi West, Madaraka, Siwaka, South B, South C, Mugoya, Riverbank, Hazina, Buru Buru, Uhuru, Harambee Civil Servants', Akiba, Kimathi, Pioneer, and Koma Rock to the centre-east and Kasarani to northeast area among others. The low and lower income estates are located mainly in far eastern Nairobi. These include, Umoja, Kariokor, Dandora, Kariobangi, Embakasi, and Huruma. Kitengela suburb, though located further southeast, Ongata Rongai and Kiserian further southwest, and Ngong/Embulbul suburbs to the far west are considered part of the Greater Nairobi Metropolitan area. More than 90% of Nairobi residents work within the Nairobi Metropolitan area, in the formal and informal sectors (jua kali). Many Somali immigrants have also settled in Eastleigh, nicknamed "Little Mogadishu".

Kibera slum

The Kibera slum in Nairobi, with an estimated population of 170,000 people, was thought to be Africa's second largest slum. However, recent census results have shown that Kibera is indeed much smaller than originally thought.

Most of Kibera slum residents live in extreme poverty, earning less than $1.00 per day. Unemployment rates are high. Persons living with HIV in the slum are many, as are AIDS cases. Cases of assault and rape are common. There are few schools, and most people cannot afford an education for their children. Clean water is scarce and therefore diseases caused by related poor hygiene are prevalent. A great majority of people living in the slum lack access to healthcare.

The Government is addressing the problem, having initiated a programme to replace the slum with a residential district consisting of high rise apartments, and relocating the residents to these new buildings upon completion. The apartments are being built in phases in line with the Government's budgetary allocations, and a few apartments in phase 1 of the project have already been occupied.

Parks and gardens

Nairobi has many parks and open spaces throughout the city. Much of the city has dense tree-cover and plenty of green spaces. The most famous park in Nairobi is Uhuru Park. The park borders the central business district and the neighbourhood Upper Hill. Uhuru (Freedom in Swahili language) Park is a centre for outdoor speeches, services, and rallies. The park was to be built-over by former President Daniel arap Moi, who wanted the 62-storey headquarters of his party, the Kenya African National Union, situated in the park. However, the park was saved following a campaign by Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai.

Central Park is adjacent to Uhuru Park, and includes a memorial for Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya. Other notable open spaces include Jeevanjee Gardens, City Park, 7 August Memorial Park, and Nairobi Arboretum.

source: Wikipedia

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