The city of Nairobi

Nairobi is a vibrant city inhabiting over 3.5 millions of people. And this number comes from the census in 2009, so there could also be a few more by now. In literature and travel blogs Nairobi isn't known as the most beautiful city, however, it brings everything and all facettes one can think of a world city should contain. So far, I went to administrative offices such as the immigration office and the office for the work permit. Not the most exciting places to be but definitely worth a visit concerning the consequences not doing it ;-)

Also, my host mum from the Airbnb I am currently staying at and Jutta, the Comundo Coordinator for Kenya took me on various tours in Nairobi. From the KICC, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, one gets a nice overwiev over the city and all its various neighbourhoods. Huge differences can be observed as e.g. the upper class living compounds with lots of green areas, the CBD including numerous newly built skyscrapers and areas of immensely compacted living areas such as the Kibera slum.


As I am settling down here I am getting more and more confident with the questions if, when and where I should get out the mobile phone to take pictures. Not even thinking of carrying the camera with me. But that's not too bad, as it is forbidden to take photos in the city center anyway. And as I am still fairly new here, I don't want to get to know the police that way.


In order to learn more about living in Nairobi, today I am going on a downtown tour provided by former street kids. The organization that offers this was founded by a young swiss guy who I met at the 1. August ceremony held by the swiss embassy (see further down).

Activities & getting around

In addition to downtown Nairobi there are many interesting places to explore and experiences to gain. As you know me, I am into practicing different kinds of sports and if I cannot move enough I become impatient and nervous - who did I get this from? ;-)

So, that was one of the reasons why I have chosen to stay at the Airbnb I am currently staying at. The Arboretum park you can see here is therefore a beautiful and close oasis of recovery and retreat. Far away from the constant traffic and other noises you can run here in the midst of birds and monkeys. I've also tryied to run along streets. But taking the exhaust fumes into account it might not be much less healthy to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day ;-) For lack of alternatives I am still doing it sometimes, I mean the running along streets...


Attending the 1. August ceremony mentioned above happend actually by coincidence. When I went to the swiss embassy (newly built you remember the intro of my newsletter) to register on my first day, I've heard about the ceremony on the upcoming saturday. Since it is always good to know people with a similar mentality I went there and, fortunately, met some really nice and interesting people. Also, since I left Switzerland the 1. of August, I took the chance to eat some Züri-Gschnetzlets and enjoy a warm bonfire. Regarding the fire ban in Switzerland this year I can proudly say that I spent the first of august very traditionally.


Getting around in Nairobi is an adventure. There are multiple options to get from A to B, however, it will never take the amount of time you plan with:

  • Taxify, Uber: This option is luxurious, protects you from the exhaust fumes and is also considered to be the safest way. Although, during rush hour (so basically from 7am to 11am and from 2pm to 9pm), it can take up to 4x the time it would normally take.
  • Boda Boda: Motorbikes are great. Fast, agile, cheap - but also noisy, stinky and you are within the exhaust fumes. Nevertheless, I am looking into going through the process of getting the license and a motorbike here. As this will be a fertile soil for interesting stories, I am going to write about this later.
  • Matatus: Minivans and Buses are everywhere in Nairobi. There are specified routes taking you from one end to the other by stopping on demand and with a number of fixed stages in Town. They are cheap, noisy and usually not brand new ;-) Regarding the dented bodies of the cars that means that Kenyan drivers try to make the most of the gaps in the traffic.
  • Walking: People walk. People walk everywhere. I walk. I don't walk everywhere. Some people walk over 2h to work in the morning and 2h back in the evening. Considering the comuting hours in the traffic that's probably not even a bad idea. Still, sidewalks rarely exist, meaning that getting hit by a passing car is not unusual.