Traditionally known as the “green city in the sun”, and long a center of importance in the region, Nairobi is the most populated city in East Africa, as well as the largest city and capital of Kenya. And while traditionally the city has been notorious for being one of the most dangerous cities in the world in terms of crime, it has slowly been emerging from underneath the tarnished past and is now recognized as one of the most influential and important cities for East Africa. Crime is still something you should be aware of, but it is not nearly as bad as it once was, and today Nairobi is a major cultural and economical hub that includes the UN Office for Africa.
In the 19th century Nairobi was nothing more than uninhabited swamplands, but the arrival of the Uganda Railway in 1899 sparked a growth spurt that transformed the area into the railway’s headquarters. By 1905 it was the capital of the British protectorate, and quickly became a major force of tourism and administration for the British, especially for colonialists and big game hunters. However, after WWII the tensions with the surrounding tribes began to grow, and eventually Nairobi gained its independence in 1963, albeit at a heavy price that has only slowly been paid off over the years.
Its tarnished reputation aside, Nairobi is now one of the bright spots of Africa in the 21st century. It is known as being one of the safari capitals of Africa, and visitors have access to things such as the Nairobi National Park, the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, or the Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park. The surrounding plains, cliffs, forests, and undergrowth offer a unique look into the African countryside, complete with plenty of wild animals and African culture. Just remember to play it safe while in the city itself, and stick to the main areas and well-lit streets at night.