Clockwise from top: Central business district, Nairobi National Park, Parliament of Kenya, Nairobi City Hall and the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
Clockwise from top: Central business district, Nairobi National Park, Parliament of Kenya, Nairobi City Hall and the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
Flag of Nairobi
Coat of arms of Nairobi
Coat of arms
"Green City in the Sun", "Nai","Silicon Savannah"
Nairobi is located in Kenya
Location in Kenya
Nairobi is located in Africa
Nairobi (Africa)
Coordinates: 01°17′11″S 36°49′02″E / 01°17′11″S 36°49′02″E / -1.28639; 36.81722
CountyNairobi County
 • BodyNairobi City County
 • LegislatureCounty Assembly
 • GovernorMbuvi Gideon Kioko
 • Deputy GovernorVacant
 • Capital city696 km2 (269 sq mi)
1,661 m (5,450 ft)
 • Capital city4,000,000
 • Density4,850/km2 (12,600/sq mi)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)
Area code(s)020
HDI (2017)0.653[2]
GDP (2018)14.9 billion USD[3]

Nairobi (i/) is the capital and the largest city of Kenya. The name comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi, which translates to "cool water", a reference to the Nairobi River which flows through the city. The city proper had a population of 3,138,369 in the 2009 census, while the metropolitan area has a population of 6,547,547. The city is popularly referred to as the Green City in the Sun.[4]

Nairobi was founded in 1899 by the colonial authorities in British East Africa, as a rail depot on the Uganda Railway.[5] The town quickly grew to replace Mombasa as the capital of Kenya in 1907.[6] After independence in 1963, Nairobi became the capital of the Republic of Kenya.[7] During Kenya's colonial period, the city became a centre for the colony's coffee, tea and sisal industry.[8] The city lies on the River Athi in the southern part of the country, and has an elevation of 1,795 metres (5,889 ft) above sea level.[9]

With a population of 3.36 million in 2011, Nairobi is the second-largest city by population in the African Great Lakes region after Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.[1][10] According to the 2009 census, in the administrative area of Nairobi, 3,138,295 inhabitants lived within 696 km2 (269 sq mi).[11] Nairobi is the 10th-largest city in Africa, including the population of its suburbs.

Home to thousands of Kenyan businesses and over 100 major international companies and organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), Nairobi is an established hub for business and culture. The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) is one of the largest in Africa and the second-oldest exchange on the continent. It is Africa's fourth-largest exchange in terms of trading volume, capable of making 10 million trades a day.[12]

Nairobi metropolitan region

Nairobi County (Red) surrounding Nairobi Metro (Green)

Nairobi is found within the Greater Nairobi Metropolitan region, which consists of 5 out of 47 counties in Kenya, which generates about 60% of the entire nation's GDP.[13][14] The counties are:

Area County Area (km2) Population
Census 2017
Cities/Towns/Municipalities in the Counties
Core Nairobi Nairobi County 694.9 4,000,000 Nairobi
Northern Metro Kiambu County 2,449.2 1,623,282 Kiambu, Thika, Limuru, Ruiru, Karuri, Kikuyu, Ruaka, Kahawa and Githunguri
North Eastern Metro Murang'a County 2,325.8 942,581 Gatanga, Kandara, Kenol/Kabati, Murang'a
Southern Metro Kajiado County 21,292.7 687,312 Kajiado, Olkejuado, Bissil, Ngong, Kitengela, Kiserian, Ongata Rongai
Eastern Metro Machakos County 5,952.9 1,098,584 Kangundo-Tala, Machakos, Athi River
Totals Nairobi Metro 32,715.5 7,490,128

Source: NairobiMetro/ Kenya Census