Brookside is an up-market, green, residential area set between Westlands, Spring Valley and Upper Parklands estate (Kabete Road), with the Waiyaki Way dual carriageway separating the area from Muthangari. Just like its neighbours, Brookside is close to Nairobi’s dynamic social hub for expatriates, middle class and wealthy Kenyans, Westlands, with its wide range of shops, plazas, restaurants, bars and night clubs. Many Brookside residents have offices in Westlands and the town centre. Brookside itself is also home to a sprinkling of corporate offices, including the Uptown Agencies, Dry Associates Ltd, Kenya Secular Arms Ltd, Elephence Ltd, Corrington Business Systems, and Trishul Business Consultants. The area is also popular with property developers such as International House Ltd, which manages properties such as Avocado Villas on Brookside Drive. As a quiet residential areas, its apartment blocks are popular with expatriates, young professionals and a few families attracted by the choice of facilities. Some of the up market British system schools are found in the area, including Brookhouse Preparatory School, where many children of the country’s top political establishment are enrolled.
Kyuna is generally a climatically cool area with clean air in which some roads like that of Kyuna Crescent are literally covered with bougainvillea. Its immediate neighbours are the Kibagare Estate with its slum area, and the more up-market Loresho and Spring Valley. Kyuna itself is up-market with a few old fashioned houses with servants’ quarters, and new mansions being built in the area. Kyuna shares many of the same facilities - hospitals, schools, and social amenities - with Spring Valley and Loresho. For instance, the National Agricultural Laboratories located in Kyuna, serves the neighboring Loresho, where many own dairies. Kyuna is north of Westlands with the main access road being the Lower Kabete Road which leads straight onto Kyuna Road up to Kyuna Rise on the left, and then left into Kyuna Crescent. The Communications Commission of Kenya also sits between Kyuna and Loresho.
Mombasa Road ***
Classified as a A109 road, Mombasa Road is the main highway linking Kenya’s capital Nairobi, to the country’s second largest city and main port, Mombasa. As Nairobi has expanded, the Mombasa Road has seen rapid development, with investors finding expansive land on both sides of the road, especially between the Athi River junction and the city – a distance of 30KM. Over the last 7-8 years, developments along the Mombasa Road have included housing estates, office parks, manufacturing centres and leisure and entertainment spots. The housing estates along Mombasa road are middle income, but the offices are regarded as high end. Both national and international companies have built impressive headquarters drawn by the easy access to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, which is off the Mombasa Road before the Athi River junction. Estates neighbouring the road include; South C, Plainsview, Hazina, Imara Daima, Embakasi and Highway estate. These estates have an average of 300 houses. Mombasa Road also houses the industrial capital of the country, Industrial Area, and numerous Export Processing Zone facilities.
Rhapta Road Rating ***
Rhapta Road is a section of the greater Westlands area, north-west of the city. The road stretches from the Westlands shopping centre roundabout to Mahiga Mairu Avenue, cutting across quiet residential areas mixed with office blocks. Like most suburbs near the city centre, Rhapta Road is quickly becoming a commercial area.
Embakasi is a residential and commercial suburb 15km east of the Central Business District. It borders Langata constituency and parts of Industrial Area to the south and is one of the few estates in Nairobi with a seeming never-ending construction boom, due to space availability. Private and government connected Real Estate Developers have pitched here. Savannah, Nyayo, Honey Suckle Apartments and Simba Villa estates are a sample of the modern estates coming up. Other older estates here are Donholm, Nyayo, Umoja and Komarock. This vast suburb houses low income and higher middle income residents. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Kenya’s largest airport and the GSU training school are located here. As well as modern apartments, there are a few gated communities, built in the late 1970s and early 1980s and new ones, such as the gated Fedha Estate. As the biggest constituency in Nairobi, Embakasi is poorly planned and access to some estates is hampered by a poor road network. It has many entertainment joints, the most famous of them being Jam Rescue. Equity and Barclays Bank, Nakumatt Supermarket and Gertrude’s Children hospital are located here.
Nyari Rating ****
Nyari is a relatively new, plush, leafy upmarket estate along Red Hill Road that feeds onto Limuru Road. Nyari borders the even grander areas of Gigiri, Muthaiga and Runda to the North East and Kitisuru to its South. The lavish estate is set some 15 kms from Nairobi’s Central Business District and 2 kms from Gigiri the hub of diplomatic entities including the United Nations Environment Programme's global HQ, and the US embassy. The Romanian Consul is based within Nyari, which is a highly secure neighbourhood with 24 hour police patrols regular. It is a favourite neighbourhood for many expatriates and affluent Kenyans. Nyari police station was built on funds pooled by the residents and sits at the estate’s entry.The estate has a homely, natural feel with well-grown hedges, lush vegetation and lanes with a rural air. Village Market, Warwick Centre and Gigiri are all shopping and entertainment centres within 10 minutes' drive of Nyari residents.
Central Business District (CBD)
Nairobi city is popularly referred to as ‘the green city in the sun’ and the Central Business District is the heart beat of the city. From humble beginnings in the late 1890’s, Nairobi city has grown from a simple rail road depot on the railway linking Mombasa to Uganda, to become the 4th largest City in Africa, in terms of infrastructure development and size. The CBD skyline is usually compared to cities in America and Asia.
Nairobi West Rating**
Nairobi West is a residential and commercial area 3 kilometres north of the Central Business District. It falls under Langata Constituency and borders South C to the east and Upperhill to the West. Its closeness to town makes its properties in high demand among tenants and developers. The area is densely populated and buildings are congested. It has few gated houses and many apartments. Due to space limits, only modern apartments are now being built in the area. The famed Strathmore University is located here and some residential houses offer university accommodation. Some of the older houses in the area are characterised by their Indian architecture, while Madaraka estate is one the earlier estates and Akiba Estate one of the newest. Nairobi West is known for its many entertainment dens like Taidy Sports Bar, Club Tamasha and Deep West Restaurant.
South C Rating***
South C is a modern, gated residential and commercial middle class estate in the South Land area of Nairobi. It borders South B, and Langata estates. It’s a hub of international NGO’s and government institutions. The Kenya Red Cross, Kenya Water Institute, Kenya Industrial Property Institute, and CID training school are all located there, set 6 kilometres from the city centre. Various banks at South C are I & M, First Community and Barclays Banks. Its sports facilities include Ministry Of Works, Kenya Re-insurance, Ngara and South C sports clubs. Mansions and bungalows house most residents but there is also a sprinkling of apartments. It is famed as the cradle of many prominent Kenyan entertainers.
Kileleshwa is a quiet, upper-middle income, leafy suburb west of Nairobi City. The landscape is a mixture of aging, colonial houses built in the 1950’s and 1960’s and modern apartments and townhouses. The Government holds quite a significant part of Kileleshwa. Most senior civil servants have been housed in Kileleshwa in spacious bungalows and maisonettes, with Kileleshwa differing from neighboring Kilimani, Hurlingham, or Lavington in the land size per house. Until quite recently, Kileleshwa houses occupied three-quarters to an acre of land. The suburb is also quieter and greener than Kilimani and Hurlingham. At the border of Kileleshwa and Kilimani lies State House, the official residence of the President.
Upper Hill Rating ***
Upper Hill is quickly becoming the prime office location in Nairobi. Many businesses have relocated to the area from the Central Business District, with companies now building their office headquarters in Upper Hill as a first choice. However, the growth of Upper Hill as a commercial hub is recent. Only 8 years ago, Upper Hill was a predominantly upper-middle class residential area, with many, old colonial houses occupying 1 or 2 acres of land. Today, it is resplendent with neat, organized rows of high-rise buildings housing blue-chip local and multinational companies. Contrasting with the spectacular, modern skyscrapers are some remaining and somewhat unkempt bungalows waiting for the right price to sell the land. The area is home to several regional and local companies headquarters; Standard Chartered Bank, Equity Bank, The World Bank, Coca-Cola, City Bank, Pricewater Coopers, IFC among other big names have built impressive head-offices at Upper Hill.
Set between Muthaiga and Thika Road, Ridgeways, including the Garden Estate, is set beside the Kiambu Road, on the outskirts of Nairobi. Mostly surrounded by the Karura forest, it is a quiet, leafy residential area offering attractive bungalows and large houses, many of which include swimming pools and servants’ quarters on their own plots of land. Before the area was inhabited by elite Kenyans, it used to be part of the colonial white highlands or central uplands. The area still has a rural feel, with several water masses, including the Kigwa Dam, many exotic birds, monkeys, guinea fowls, hares and other wildlife that still lives in the forested ecosystem. Rent is rather high, as in any other four or five star area, and in times of water rationing, many homes rely on borehole water. The area houses diplomats, government ministers, MPs, parastatals heads, powerful businessmen, and corporate directors - Gigiri is just a few kilometers away with its many embassies from Europe and North America, and the United Nations complex. Although there are no shopping malls, residents rely on local kiosks, and cross the Runda estate to Village Market mall. However, Ridgeways is best known as home to the Windsor Golf Club, owned by Environment Minister, John Michuki. The Club is a modern resort complex and championship 18-hole golf course built to Colonial design with breathtaking views. The Windsor includes the Windsor Hotel, which overlooks the Golf Club, and is a favoured meeting point for Kenya's top decision-makers.
Developed since 1967 on former coffee farms, Loresho is a leafy green up-market well-developed residential suburb to middle to upper class Kenyans and expatriates. It is luxurious in the vein of Lavington and Muthaiga, although bordering the Kangemi and Kibagare slums, with Kangemi having sprung up through rural to urban migration into employment for the rich people of Loresho who needed gardeners, maids and general house helps.
Riverside Rating ****
Many define Riverside as Lavington’s up-market relative and neighbour, which Hass Consult gives a 4 star rating. It neighbours Muthangari, Lavington, Westlands, and Spring Valley. Home to numerous high commissions, including the Australian and Malawi commissions, it is also home to the German, Danish, and Netherlands embassies as well as the Prime Bank headquarters and the country's pollsters, Steadman Group, the area is perhaps the most centrally located of all Nairobi's up-market suburbs. The area is popular with diplomats and senior expatriate business people. However, Kenya’s rich own a good proportion of the houses too. This is where the apartment building boom started, spawning many new blocks. However, large and well-serviced, these are beginning to look a little dated compared to the newer blocks in Kilimani and Hurlingham.
Set 3 km North West of the Nairobi Central Business District, Westlands contains some of the highest income areas in Nairobi, as well as slum areas such as Kangemi. However, it is mainly known as Nairobi’s dynamic social and entertainment hub for expatriates, middle class and wealthy Kenyans, with a wide range of shops, plazas, restaurants, bars and night clubs. It has also drawn many businesses, which have relocated from the city centre, as a strategic location for a variety of clientele mostly from the up-market neighborhoods of the surrounding Riverside, Spring Valley and beyond. Thick with public transport heading back and forth to the Central Business District, Westland’s southern edge borders Waiyaki Way, leads out of Nairobi to the Rift Valley. The area is also home to the largest modern shopping plazas, which include The Westgate Mall and the Sarit Center, which have supermarkets, clothing stores, food courts, banks/ATMs, restaurants and movie theaters, each packed with entertainment events and exhibitions.
Spring Valley Rating****
Slightly more understated than Muthaiga, Spring Valley is an exclusive low-density suburb distinguished by contemporary homes in well-treed compounds. As a middle and high income purchaser, you will find anything from old colonial houses to gated compounds and apartments. A 15 minute drive from central Nairobi, which is 5.2 km away, it is also close to the hustle and bustle of Westlands with numerous malls and restaurants, while away from the noise, traffic and pollution. Apart from Westlands, areas within a 5km radius include: Parklands, Hillview, Loresho, Lake View, Kitisuru and Gigiri.
Hurlingham Rating ***
Hurlingham suburb is some 15 minutes drive from the city centre, and part of the greater Kilimani area. It’s a modern, unique, vibrant, but constricted residential and commercial upmarket area that combines business and pleasure. International NGO’s, SME’s, conference centres, guest houses, beauty shops, hospitals, counseling institutions, restaurants and media outlets coexist symbiotically here. Due to limited space, it’s largely an apartment area; with a few maisonettes, and some remaining older mansions, but it's well planned and served by a good road network. Its commercial buildings are in high demand due to the close proximity to town and relative tranquility. The entertainment spots that dot the area are popular around the city and are frequented by upper income Kenyans.
Lavington Rating ****
Lavington is a middle to high income residential suburb some 7 km north west of the City centre. The area is home to many large villa residences and beautiful gardens. Most trees have been untouched even as the area has developed, giving the suburb a country touch in a modern setting. It was originally the St. Austins Mission established by the French Holy Ghost Fathers. This explains the numerous Catholic mission centres and Catholic-sponsored institutions in the area.
Karen Rating *****
Karen is one of the oldest residential areas in Nairobi, said to have been named after Karen Blixen, the Danish writer of Out of Africa, whose farm originally covered the area. Karen offers a blend of colonial bungalows and villas on gorgeous and expansive grounds, and has ensured its continuing sense of country life around modern, urban centres and facilities. The area's many riding stables, stores and classy restaurants, race course, golf courses and clubs add to a cultural and historical background that includes the Bomas of Kenya, Karen Blixen Museum, Nairobi National Park, Animal Orphanage, Sheldricks Home, Ostrich park, Giraffe Park and Manor, all overlooked by the scenic Ngong Hills. The area has a great deal of character.
Parklands Rating ***
Parklands is a commercial and residential suburb established in the late 1940s. Its proximity to the city centre makes it a hot property area, housing the upper middle class and Kenya's vibrant Indian business community, and offering a melting point of religions across Hindu, Christianity and Muslim whose adorned houses of worship dot the area. Part of its housing architecture has a strong Indian/Asian influence, but there are also many modern apartments. The area is a part of Westlands and famed as one of the places where the Aga Khan spent his early childhood. Kenya Hockey Union, Nairobi Gymkhana and Parklands Sports Club are some of the sports facilities in the area. The Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) headquarters are here, as is one of the Kenyatta University campuses and the Aga Khan University. Health facilities include the Aga Khan Hospital and Parklands Kidney Centre. Parklands is also a renowned hub for some of the city's nightlife entertainment.
Runda Rating *****
Once a coffee farm, Runda has been transformed to a high-end housing estate over the last 30 years. Demand for elite houses came after the UNEP headquarters was built in Gigiri. A growing number of diplomats and foreigners have driven the expansion of the leafy suburb. The first phase of the estate (Old Runda) was developed between 1972 and 1980 by MAE Properties Ltd. The housing units, set in a well planned neighbourhood, each typically occupy 1 to 2 acre plots. Further development of more houses in phase 2 and phase 3 has since seen half acres sold to developers. Currently, phase 6 has been completed and phase 7 is set to commence soon. Runda estate now spans from Limuru Road to Kiambu Road. Runda has been divided into areas depending on the year of development and location. There is Old and New Runda, Runda Evergreen and Runda Mimosa. Runda Estate neighbours Muthaiga to the South, Gigiri and Ridgeways.
Gigiri Rating *****
Gigiri, a close neighbor to Runda and Muthaiga, has been given 5-star rating by Hass. Separated from Nairobi city centre by the 2,500-acre Karura Forest and several low, wooded hills, Gigiri is a highly acclaimed secure neighborhood harboring the larger part of the diplomatic missions including the UNEP, World Food Program, US and Canadian Embassies. The area is also characterized by lavish homes with sprawling gardens, a few modern townhouses and beautiful guest houses. The Village Market, Warwick centre, Gigiri shopping centre provide good entertainment as well as necessities making Gigiri a self sufficient neighborhood. Roselyn Academy, German School and ISK (International School of Kenya) are closely located and are amongst the top schools in Nairobi.
Muthaiga Rating *****
To date, the Muthaiga area is Nairobi’s long-established Beverly Hills, where American celebrities hail from, lying around along shady roads that wind through lush wooded hills and valleys with streams that turn into quick-running rivers in the rainy seasons. The area is home to wealthy Kenyans, but is better known for diplomats, expatriates on long-term contracts or settled foreigners and even President Kibaki.
Kilimani Rating ****Kilimani is a convenient prime residential area about 10 minutes away from the city centre. It houses mainly maisonettes and apartments and is quickly coming up as a prime commercial zone as well. The Kilimani greater area encompasses smaller, gated estates like Riara and Hurlingham. The Location is accentuated by proximity to major shopping centres including Yaya Centre, Prestige Plaza, Uchumi hypermarket, Hurlingham shopping centre and Adams arcade. Kilimani is offers a unique blend of upper-mid income maisonettes, modern apartments and office blocks mainly housing NGO's and embassies. Educational facilities include French school, Makini school, Milimani Primary, Kilimani primary, Kindergatens, Theological and computer colleges. Kenyatta Hospital, Nairobi Hospital, Masaba Hospital and Hurlingham Medical plaza cater for medical services. Though Kilimani is not a gated community, most town houses are enclosed with 5 – 15 houses in one enclosure.