BootsnAll Travel Network

Future of Tourism in Nairobi, Kenya

In 1998 and 2002, embassy bombings occurred in Nairobi. Although al-Qaeda targeted embassies of western countries, the bombings killed mostly Kenyan citizens. According to people I spoke with from Brogibro Tours, tourism is still suffering.

They claimed that the hotels were mostly full when I visited during high season (late December), but I didn’t see that. Although there are a number of attractions around the city, I was bored after two days. It’s difficult to get around and hard to get your bearings when you’re jet lagged and in a new city.

I spoke with a man at dinner one night who grew up in Uganda in the 1970s and lived later on in South Africa and Tanzania. He spoke at length about the improvements Nairobi has made in the past ten years. Although it’s still considered one of the most dangerous cities in Africa, there have been great efforts made toward cleaning it up. Many of the beggars have been moved outside of the city (indeed, I wasn’t directly accosted for handouts very often) and flowers have been planted in hopes of improving the city’s appearance.

I am not optimistic about the immediate future of Nairobi as a tourist destination. The city center still gets a bad rap, and there are not a lot of nice restaurants or shops to drive visitors. It is also more expensive than cities in nearby Tanzania.

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