Nairobi City

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Known as both the Green City in the Sun and the Safari Capital of the World, Nairobi is not only the largest city in East Africa, but is also the highest (at 1,700m), the most modern, and the fastest growing.

Nairobi derives its name from the Maasai word ‘Enkare Nyarobi’ meaning “place of Cool Waters’. The Kenya – Uganda railway surveyors arrived at the turn of the century on their way to Lake Victoria to find the place a little more than a swamp.

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Places of interest include the Law Courts and Parliament Buildings; Railway Station and Museum, with its steam locomotives so emotive of a more romantic age; the ornate Jamia Mosque; and the City Market with its arrays of tropical fruits and flowers.

Also famous is the Norfolk Hotel, linked with Kenya´s history since 1904; Kenyatta Conference Centre built in 1983; the National Museum and the adjacent Snake Park and Aviary, founded in 1910, with its unique collections so relevant to Kenya´s early history and the prehistory of mankind; and the Karen Blixen Museum, outside the city, a memorial to a woman admired both for her writing and her spirit.

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Look around first, there is so much on offer: wood carvings and traditional handicrafts; sensuous soapstone from Kisii; colorful sisal mats; “kiondos”, the famous Kenya bags; “kangas” and “kikois”, traditionally worn by women and these days used as tablecloths or beach wraps; batiks, as the silk ones printed by Heidi Lange or Robin Anderson … Also, two gemstones originate in this part of Africa: the blue Tanzanite and the vivid green Tsavorite.

The city normally enjoys hot sunny days and cool evenings.