Nairobi County

Attractions in Nairobi County

59. Kenya National Theater

Built in the late 1940’s and opened in March 1951, the Kenya National Theater, more popularly known as Nairobi Theatre, is Nairobi’s premier playhouse and the golden stage for local play-wrights and performers. The refurbished 365-Seater theater, with a spacious onsite restaurant and lounge, boasts multiple spaces for diverse creative processes and performance presentations covering drama, live musical concerts, physical theatre, images projection, dance and movement. It is run by the Kenya Cultural Center founded in 1952 as a semi autonomous government agency under the Ministry of Sports and Heritage in Kenya. It hold regular events and shows. It is located along Harry Thuku Street, not far away from Norfolk Hotel and Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (K.B.C).

Spatial Location of Kenya National Theater in Nairobi County
Spatial Location of Kenya National Theater in Nairobi County

60. The Norfolk Hotel

In 1900, Nairobi was declared a city in preparation for the arrival of Kenya-Uganda Railway in 1903. The railway led to the blooming of several towns like Mombasa, Voi, Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, and Eldoret. Nairobi conspicuously became important as a inland deport. It also enabled the settlers to come into the country and occupy the “White Highlands”, as well as, the growing number of visitors to the region eager for game hunting. The declaration of Kenya as colony in July 1920 through a proclamation by the British Empire, assuring the European settlers of their dominance in Kenya, further accelerated the influx into Nairobi. Naturally, there was a growing need for hotel establishments to meet the demand. The historic landmark of Norfolk Hotel, built in 1904, which became the epicenter for early explorers and settlers, played a climacteric role in Kenya’s historical legacy. “For over a century business has been discussed and deals struck on the verandah of the iconic Norfolk Hotel.” Fairmont Hotels

By catering luxuriously to the middle-upper budget, Norfolk Hotel established itself as Nairobi’s premier house for the sophisticated class. Then and now, its 27 luxurious suites and 143 rooms set around tranquil tropical gardens, with a heated outdoor swimming pool and a health club with a fitness centre, has attracted many travellers to Kenya. The rooms intermingle classic elegance and modern design with discreet technology. Many rooms have pleasing elevated views of the landscaped courtyard, while the signature suites are an excellent choice for guests seeking to experience luxury intertwined with the rich history of the city. In its garden is a collection of invaluable antique object piece like the “transportation trio” – a hand drawn cart, a model Ford and animal drawn cart.

Although it’s been updated with modern amenities through the years, Norfolk Hotel’s highbrow hospitality and Victorian design with fine timber furnishings, sweeping staircases and private tropical garden remains. It has also retained its signature decorum for sophistication and is a popular spot for hammering-out mind-blowing treaties and deals. In the same way, Norfolk gained unwelcome notoriety on March 14, 1922, when a fracas broke out outside the hotel and the police, aided by the settlers resident there, opened fire on the rioting crowd and killed about 27 people and wounded 24. The peaceful protest was part of a big delegation led Abdalla Tairara and Douglas Mwangi who were demanding the immediate release of Harry Thuku, leader of the Young Kikuyu Association. He had formed the party to protest the state of affairs of Kenya becoming a colony and called for the natives to fight for their right to hold land and title deeds. Of course, the Government and the settlers were unhappy about this development.

61. Ismail Rahimtulla Walji Trust

The Rahimtulla Trust Library is housed in the antique Rahimtulla Trust House, built by Rahimtulla, who bequeathed funds for the betterment of mankind. He had ideated a public library to house vast books, with emphasis on philosophy. Surprisingly little known, the modest trust owned library located on Mfangano Street has been in operation since 1950. It is still in relatively dandy condition.

62. Rahimtulla Museum

Established in 2001 as the Ramoma Rahimtulla Museum of Modern Art, this aims to support Kenyan artists and to house a permanent collection of Kenyan art. It showcases valued Kenyan art, contemporary African art, and numerous international artists. It has a resource centre for artists and workshop areas – even an apartment for international artists in residence. What’s more, it has plenty of intriguing sculpture in the outdoor area which is also used for open-air performances. It relocated from the ground floor of Rahimtulla Towers at Upper Hill, to a much bigger floor space in Parklands, made possible by the generosity of of patrons like the Descendants of Abraham Block. “The space at Rahimtulla Towers wasn’t big enough for both the permanent and temporary exhibitions”. It’s located along Second Parklands Avenue in the Westlands area.

63. Diamond Plaza

Unique to the Diamond Plaza, classically known as ‘little-India’, is the climbing dare at the Blue Sky’s Indoor Climbing Gym. Its 6.5 ms walls with hundreds of paths is a deserving challenge and a nice workout. Also of interest at Diamond Plaza is the listing of well-liked inveterate culinary joints popular especially for exceptional Indian Cuisine – great for those happy to try out new tastes and delights. It’s located along Fourth Parklands Avenue and Pramukh Swani Road.

Blue Sky’s Indoor Climbing Gym. Image Courtesy of Liah Cha