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When most people think about sub-Saharan Africa, pictures of poor starving children, a land riddled with poverty and hunger and untouched, pristine landscapes often come to mind. While it is the case in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, there are others that defy that stereotype. Nairobi is one such city that seems to go against the stereotype. It is the capital city of Kenya and sits at 1795m above sea level. What started off as a camp site for railway workers during the colonial period has grown into a city full of life and activity not to mention amazing scenery.

Also known as the ‘green city under the sun’ Nairobi gets its name from the Maasai phrase, ‘Enkare Nyrobi’ which loosely translates to ‘cool waters’. In case you are planning to make a trip to Africa, here are five reasons why Nairobi should be your first stop.

1.     Culture

Nairobi is a metropolitan city well known for its cultural diversity. If seeking to get a better understanding of the cultural heritage and diversity held within the city, and the country at large, then the Bomas Of Kenya is the best place to visit. This cultural museum is made up of different bomas or homesteads set up to represent the way of life of the dominant ethnic groups in the country. Not only do you get a chance to experience the cultural diversity from the tour, you get a chance to enjoy cultural dances performed in the premises’ theater.

2.     Nature

Despite being a concrete jungle in its own right, Nairobi is one of the few cities in the world to host a national park within its boundaries. The Nairobi National Park plays a key role in Kenya’s conservation scene. Not only is it home to a diverse number of wildlife species, it also acts as a rhino sanctuary, an ivory burning site and hosts the David and Shertliff wildlife trust that is a sanctuary for orphaned elephants. Apart from the national park, you also get to enjoy nature walks at the Arboretum, Ololua primate research center in Karen, Karura Forest, and get a chance to interact with giraffes at the Giraffe center.

3.     History

The evolution of the city to the bustling hub of life and business today is one that has been rather eventful. To help you understand more about the city’s and country’s history, Nairobi is riddled with a number of museums. If you are a history buff then The Karen Blixen Museum, The Nairobi National Museum and The National Archives are definitely places to visit.

4.     Art and Crafts

If you are a lover of everything arts and crafts then Nairobi has a feast in store for you. To enjoy the array of arts and crafts, both ancient and contemporary then The Murumbi Art Gallery is a definite stop over for you. The National Archives also holds a number of interesting artifacts that have a rich history. Other interesting places to visit include the Kazuri Bead Factory, and Kitengela glass.

5.     Food

The city’s diversity is not only found in culture but also in the culinary side of life. If you are looking for an array of game meat then The Carnivore restaurant is a must visit. Mama Oliech’s food restaurant is famed for its ugali and fish, staples of the coastal region. For authentic nyama choma Njuguna’s along Waiyaki way is a place to visit. Swahili dishes is famed for its coastal foods while restaurants such as Al Yusra bring a touch of Somali cuisine to the heart of the CBD.