Friday, December 07, 2012

101 things to do in Nairobi, Kenya

Friday, August 31, 2012

Reasons why Africa is poor according to me

Disclaimer: I have not done any research.

1. The standards of being rich changed

Africans riches were measured by number of cows, number of children, being an elder and things that mattered like those. This has changed over they years. You are rich if you can grab yourself the best land, have the most money and such other inconsequential things.

2. Urbanization (include modernity and its variations here)

Africans lived in villages. They moved when the season changed. God knows where we would be by now. Look at how bright we were to avoid summer and winter! 

3. Africans food their own food, fruits grew on trees and we hunted the rest

Seriously, when i was growing up strawberries and blueberries were fruits that we just plucked on the trees as we ran and played. You just need to go to the supermarket and get shoked by the price of these fruits. We grew our food by the river streams. In short,  food was in great supply! I imagine at a point my ancestors just went out and shot the animals and brought home food. Now it would be considered animal cruelty. Ahem.

4. Cars, trains, railways and all other things that require fuel

Kenya spends (let me google that) I cannot get the real figures but i believe in billions in importing oil. Money that could be used on other essentials like basic human needs, food, water, health, dignity.

5. Monogamy

I am a Christian (no stones here) but monogamy is one of the practices that has brought problems to African children.  No wonder we have so many on the street because a man can only marry the only woman he wants to live with. It didn't matter in the past, he married the one with his child and he was free to marry others as well. African children were brought up by the village.

6. Land ownership

Land was communal. Now we have people who own land, huge tracts of land causing all manner of problems to the community.

And now i remember that we also had traditional medicine healers, midwives who were all dismissed.

I am tempted to see in the face of modernity what we can do to solve our problems in the traditional way. Again no research will be done.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Kenyans at the Olympics 2012

I really just wanted to find out about the Kenyans participating in Olympics 2012!

The Brand Kenya team is doing well with the  online publicity and Social Media during the Olympics. I would like to know the end result of this! I must congratulate Brand Kenya for this extremely well thought out online strategy.

First there is the Kenya House from where Ms. Julie Gichuru has been reporting Live on Citizen! You can even take a Virtual Tour

They are requesting for people to use Google Hangouts, signing up for a few myself to experience.

The country has a Wikipedia Page dedicated to Kenyans participating in the 2012 London Olympics which is also great!

Not to mention the Flash Mob You Tube Video created by DSTV

We wish the Kenya Olympic Team the best. Bring on the Medals!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Online shopping in Kenya; coming of age?

Kenyans always catch up with the world at least technologically. A few Kenyans that is. There is still a hoard of people who would think the word Yahoo is a contortion of the word taboo.

Believe the hype though Facebook is everywhere. At least my grandmother heard that one of my cousins was taking a stab at another on Facebook. I am sure she does not understand why it was worse on facebook. My point first is to let you know that inequality in Kenya is real. And that does not mean between the rich and the poor, it is between the technologically advanced and the technologically deficient. Not to say that i cannot access my data needs in my shags, i often do. Infact i suspect if i ever lived there, that is all i would ever do. But the truth is the people in my village just don't know about all this hype.

Online shopping in Nairobi is growing. It all started with Facebook and their business pages.Suddenly there are so many invites to like pages of businesses and events. There are business which owe their business to facebook. But why not, in this day of expensive goodwill to set up shop and the business permits, setting up shop online maybe the online way out for our young ones. And i guess that's is what all these all M-Vitus (as M would call them are all about). Trying to connect the Kenyan consumer and supplier.

I am a huge fan of baby stuff as with all other mums so the only one i can share are those i have used to shop for my toddler. My experience with Biashara has been less than satisfying so i ventured online to see the stuff plus there is little time to shop physically.

1. Totally Toto This is one of the well run online stores. They cater mainly for the younger ones (0-12months). Their quality is top notch.

2. Totspot I have shopped in this store many times as they cater for the older ones more than the younger ones. Delivery is efficient, the clothes are longlasting

3. Enzi Chic I have shopped here once and their clothes are lovely. I just doubt if there are really from Burberry and OshKosh. That dress costs at least $ 135 dollars but would cost Ksh. 1, 500 here. The math just does not add up. The clothes last though.

4.Smart Baby Kenya  The owners runs it from the apartment that she lives in. She lived in the US (obviously), in Kenya letting strangers into your house is not easy. The clothes are beautiful.

5. Kenya Business online I only have one advice to offer. Sort out the websites by the Industry. For example i am only interested in Furniture, baby clothes, African wear. Their business are sorted A-Z which can make it tedious for someone looking for a specific solution. However the initial followers like probably benefited too much from Google's advertising. You can check this one for delivery of fresh vegetables
6. Strawberry Store This is like a franchise of IKEA and mainly sells household goods.

Enter the world of wannabe Groupon

Anyone on twitter and facebook has seen some agressive marketing by Rupu and Zetu. They offer deals to customer, sometimes they claim 50% off. With all honesty i have bought those deals a couple of times and these are my comments;

1. Shops running deals are often not too enthusiastic to offer the services and/or are too tired to do so within the time stipulated. Once my friend bought me a deal on Zetu .

I planned on having the services at the end of the period. So I got there on a saturday afternoon there very enthusiastic about the Swedish massage.I had been talking to this girl the whole week and she was fine with me redeeming the deal on that date.

 Upon my arrival at New York Salon at Yaya, Nairobi and asking to redeem the deal,  i was told that the lady who was running the deal had left to be married and would not be coming back until 3 months later. I told them, the deal was not run by the lady but by the New York Salon and if i was not wrong i was at the New York Salon. Needless to say i only left after they had perfomed their end of the bargain.I promised myself to shun away deals by the New York Salon.

2. I am not sure they investigate the capacity of the outfit running the deals to provide the services. The deals are used by up and coming business to gain some competitive advantage over well established businesses. Not a bad thing but make sure that the company can meet their end of the bargain. Recently i bought another one from Rupu. Karembo Designs was offering the deal. Needless to say. I am still waiting for the delivery.

I am very skeptical about taking another deal.

That said online stores are going to grow in Kenya. Thankfully though, most of the times you pay on delivery. I would be skeptical of paying before viewing the goods.

That said i wish that Nakumatt, Uchumi, Tuskys and all major shopping outlets could follow suit! Nakumatt though has announced on its website that online shopping could be coming soon.

Online payment systems

In Kenya, i only know two online payment systems

1. Pesapal Kenya which is run by the Verviant Group. Pesapal is established running payments systems like and is used by the likes of Nairobi Securities Exchange to sell data and Networking in Heels Events owned by Violette Wambua to sell tickets. It incorporates Paypal, MPESA and Airtel money, Yu cash, Equity Bank. Check their website

2. Ipay is owned by Intrepid which offers web design and hosting services. It uses M-PESA, Airtel Money, yuCash, VISA, Master Card and Kenswitch. I am not so sure of the uptake of this one.

There is obviously a growing market for online services and services providers of internet security, payment systems better take note.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Visiting Nairobi? Here is somethings you can do

Having recently visited outside of the country, I always get frustrated about doing things where i can meet locals or do things that are not especially "touristey".
I can imagine what others visiting here must wonder what to do when you are in Nairobi.

1. Buy yourself a cellphone Safaricom/Airtel/Orange/Yu line to keep in touch with your family & friends. Calling using a Kenyan line is cheaper than roaming This are sold all over the town. Unlike places like Dubai where getting a line is almost impossible. Also to dial an international number put + before the international code.

2. Eating out? In the hotel. Most hotels serve your basic buffet which can get a little boring when you are visiting. To check places see here

3. Other things to do. Some people are not just into going out and having a warm beer at the carnivore. They need to run, jog, swim and other things that make them closer to nature If you are new in Nairobi, you can join many groups that are dedicated to the activities you love. See

4. Where to live? A lot of expatriates/visitors to Nairobi always wonder where to live. They end up in overpriced furnished apartments. There are plenty of places to stay in Nairobi. Do your research or use services like

5. You can also organize trips with companies like where you can meet Kenyans on the trips and make friends. 

Set yourself free

Just checking in here!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Taxi Driver

I love chatting taxi drivers. So i was lucky one of those days while travelling from Mombasa Rd to town. Anyone on that route will tell you how long that can be on the busy hour. We started with small talk but because i had wanted to get a blogstory out of the mouth of a taxi driver, so i persisted to get the juicy stories. Thank God, this particular Taxi Driver was a willing talker. So we talked about the dangers of being a taxi driver, the way his friend had been carjacked on the previous weekend and abandoned in God knows where! All hair raising stories. He told me the way certain customers treat them like low lifes and would not even talk to them. Eventually it got to the story i wanted. Do female passengers harass you? He lightened up like he had been waiting to talk about this for a while. "Ukicheza utakufa" he said. I told him i did not understand what he meant. He said "things are hard for us on the road, you wouldn't believe what we go through" "Married women with rich husbands are the worst".. Ukiona watu wakitembea, waogope. Apparently their husbands are gone most of the time. I prodded him further. He gave me a story where he was almost raped. This woman asked me to help her put some luggage in her house and then she closed the door and said i could not leave. I had to plead my way out. His colleagues suffer the same. You just don't come from the village and think you are very smart. These women will finish you, he added. But i am willing to assist in a desperate case, he chuckled. What is your worst experience, i asked. Watching whores on K-Street, he replied. Apparently his foreigner clients love going to the Street. But he earns enough money from that, so he does it anyway. After a long ride with enough stories he told me at the end of the journey. Call me if you need any service. I laughed and left. Definitely with a story.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Market to Kenyans not Africans

Everyone is lately into Africa. Late to the party but yes, they are here. Market researchers and strategists with their ivy league education and flossy research numbers.

Before you pump your precious dollars into Africa. Please note;

1. Africa is not a country. It is a continent with unique cultures, beliefs and languages. Learn to communicate with each country as a unique market.

2. One size does not fit all. Yes those adverts for Jik, Blueband etc shot in S.Africa irritate Kenyans. To make Tanzanians happy, you probably need to use the word  appeal to their softer side.

3. Culture, culture and culture. I see S.Africa agressive marketing towards Kenyans. Does. Not. Work. Make them feel part of the brand. Pay me later.

4. Kenyans are not fancy nor fancy luxury. The Kenyans with enough money for luxury can be found at dingy Njugunas.

5. Making a connection is important. Connect with your customer.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Physical Fitness can be Free

Working out for free. Gyms are expensive and boring. Mostly boring. This post is for my internal consumption and it could help someone like me.

Skipping Rope

Our favorite activity as children was skipping rope. There are many benefits associated with this high impact exercise. If you don't believe me you can read on the benefits of skipping rope here


If your idea of exercise is pumping your heart, sweating and running out of breath. Then this one is for you. It is free to run anywhere in Kenya. Even better you can join a running group. I went to walk-run in Karura on Thursday. Best thing ever.


Not free but minimal cost. Will tone your muscles and a lot of benefits too.

Jambo Nairobi offers excellent guide to physical and fun activities you can do while in Nairobi.

Keep fit, stop making excuses.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Great Moments

As you grow older, you seek things that make you think life is not all about going to work, eating, driving through traffic and going home. So beginning of last year, I set out to do a few things that make my life a bit interesting that does not involve Bendover and hungover.

This one totally rocked my world.

Standing at the bottom of Tigoni falls and letting the water hit you. Surreal experience once you get the fear out of the way. Even got the idea that you can hold your birthday party at the Inn and then have a shower:). This plus driving through Tigoni can be a wonderful experience.

Tigoni Falls

I will be sharing more of these events as they occur.

Monday, January 23, 2012

If you are on twitter, you must have seen this link doing the rounds

I have really tried to buy from Kenyans and this is how they treat me

1. My tailor (yeah i am still complaining five years later) never keeps his word.

2. The Nanny/househelp who does not care much about her work.

3. The shopkeeper who won't account for my money (despite paying him in advance).

4. The hotel with the "mango juice" where no mangoes were involved.

5. The journalist who puts the wrong picture for a story.

New Year

The promise of a new year is always that days ahead will be brighter.