Photo Story: The Real Nairobi

By Mark Wiens 3 Comments

Welcome to Nairobi, the capital and largest city of Kenya.

Nairobi City Pictures

Look into your rear view mirror and you will notice the real side of Nairobi.


Hop into a public “matatu” mini-bus and venture to the neighborhoods that make up Nairobi.

Pictures of Nairobi


Nairobi matatu mini-buses line the sloppy muddy road, waiting to be repaired in order to get back on the street again. Riding a matatu is one of the more entertaining things to do in Nairobi.


A warm reception at this downtown Nairobi apartment complex. A thermos of steaming chai is waiting.

Photos of Nairobi

Freshly washed laundry streams through the inner square.

Pictures of Nairobi

Browsing local fresh markets like City Park Hawkers in the Parklands area of Nairobi is one of the most rewarding things to do in Nairobi!

City Park Hawkers Market

Hawkers and vendors line the streets of Nairobi, selling snacks like roasted maize, newspapers, or other products of the day.

Nairobi Jobs

The most convenient way in the world to buy a puppy is through the window of your car, while waiting in long lines of stagnant traffic.

Street Hawking Nairobi

This is street food in Nairobi. A Mama cooks the food in her home, packs it in plastic containers and gunny sacks, and transports it to wherever there is demand.

Rice and Beef Stew Nairobi

Clockwise from top left:


In Nairobi anything can be fixed and re-sold. “Jua Kali,” is a name that describes fix-it men that can transform a hunk of junk into something useful.

Jua Kali Nairobi

In Nairobi, people live on the edge. Walking past on the street, you would never notice the crater in the center of this slum village, but from an adjacent top of a building, the conditions of a landslide in the future appear to be inevitable.


If you need that latest “2Pac shave” or “Ice Cube cut,” Nairobi can cater to all of your salon needs and requests. Name a hip hop celebrity and they got you covered.

Pictures of Nairobi

Dedan Kimathi was a Kenyan Mau Mau rebel leader who battled against the colonial power of Britain in a struggle to gain independence. A bronze statue was erected in his remembrance in downtown Nairobi.

Dedan Kimathi Nairobi

A serious fence in Dandora area, Nairobi, Kenya.  Fences are often wrapped with barbed wire, shards of broken glass, electric wire, and sometimes thorn bushes.

Fence in Nairobi

Behind the barbed wire lie charming manicured lawns and elegant gardens for afternoon tea.

Pictures of Nairobi

In Nairobi, when it rains, it bleeds. The blood red dirt flows through the streets as rivers and puddles gather in hazardous spots, wreaking havoc for pedestrians and motorists, but nourishing the beautiful greenery.

Picture of Nairobi

A cutting board loaded with nyama choma roasted meat is a treat and pastime that all Nairobians enjoy.

Photos of Nairobi

Bus Nairobi

“If u can’t beat them join them,” and together “Yes we can.”