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Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and many tourists arrive here before traveling on to the country's famous wildlife parks. The name of the city is derived from the way the Masai called the place: Enkare Nyirobi, which means 'place of cool water'.
The exact population of Nairobi isn't known; estimates range from 3 to 4 million. It's the largest city in East Africa.
Nairobi is located in the south of Kenya, approximately halfway between the two highest mountains of Africa. Mount Kilimanjaro (in Tanzania) lies about 200 kilometers south of the city; Mount Kenya at over 150 kilometers north of Nairobi. West of town lies a hilly area, the Ngong Hills.
Kenya's capital is a center of international politics, finances, commerce and trade. There are large UN-organizations and branches of over a hundred large, international companies. The Nairobi Stock Exchange is the most important one in Africa. The city is also the gateway for millions of tourists who visit Kenya annually.
Nairobi Airport is called Jomo Keniatta International Airport and is situated 15 kilometers southeast of the city center. It's easily reachable by rental car. You take the road to the seaside resort Mombasa (A-104, Mombasa Highway). After the suburb Embakasi the airport is signposted.
So-called matatus (minibuses with 14-24 seats) are the most popular means of public transport in Nairobi. Most matatus run a set route (also to places outside the city). Recently, the government issued rules for these minibuses: they are not allowed to transport more passengers then they have seats for and all seats need to have seat belts. You'll need to find out for yourself if these rules are observed. Since 2011 no new licenses are issued for matatus; the government wants to slowly banish them.
There are several companies exploiting the city buses: Kenya Bus Service (KBS, blue buses), Citi Hoppa (green buses) and Double M (purple buses). Nairobi is the transportation hub of Kenya; there are various bus and train connections to other places in the country, including Mombasa, Nyeri and Kisumu.
Nairobi's infrastructure hasn't kept up with the economic growth and the increasing car traffic that came with it. The city is tremendously busy and traffic is chaotic. Traffic jams are common. The situation is being improved by building new roads, bridges and overpasses, but it remains to be seen if those efforts will relieve traffic. For security reasons, it's best to park your rental car at a guarded parking lot or in one of the parking garages, which appear more and more in Nairobi.
As said above, Nairobi is a city of international politics and trade and a great tourist attraction. There are a tremendous amount of accommodations, but we advise booking your accommodation in advance. Many luxurious hotels can be found near the road to Mombasa; there's a concentration of budget hotels near the bus station.
For more information about Nairobi, we recommend Google and the following sources: