Nairobi, Kenya

My Town

Nairobi, Kenya

Anita Mwango Moragia at the top of the KICC building in downtown Nairobi. Photos courtesy of Mwango.

Anita Mwango Moragia (BA'15) is a development communication specialist at an international NGO, who has been living in Nairobi for the past four years.

What three words best describe Nairobi?

Dynamic, natural, and in-your-face.

How did you come to live in Nairobi?

I actually came back home briefly, after completing my second master’s degree in Cape Town at the end of 2019. My intention was to return to Canada eventually but the pandemic hit and I ended up staying longer than I intended and falling back in love with Kenya. It’s been a couple of years now and I don’t see myself returning to Canada anytime soon.

What do you like most about living there?

I love the diverse activities one can do. You can go from a wine-tasting in a garden, to riding horses in nearby tea farms, to eating some amazing Nyama Choma (roasted meat made the Kenyan way) at a kibanda, or local joint. It’s really a beautiful city with rich and diverse experiences.

From art exhibitions to wine-tasting, there are a lot of cultural activities to enjoy in Nairobi.

Describe your favourite neighbourhood.

Lavington. It has so many hidden gems — cool places to work out of and many unknown restaurants to try out that aren’t too busy. And did I mention it’s very, very green?

If you could change one thing about Nairobi, what would it be?

Traffic. As much as I want to say it’s all roses, traffic can be pretty upsetting, which means you’re always accounting for it in your movements.

What might surprise a visitor about Nairobi?

It’s an incredibly diverse city, which means you can easily find food from your hometown. Whether you’re Turkish, Italian, Indian, or Ghanaian, there’s always something for everyone.

What’s the most over-rated tourist hotspot?

Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Centre. I might be a little biased because I’m Kenyan but for a first-timer, they’re great spots!

How easy is it to meet new people?

I would say it’s so-so. However, Nairobi is the Africa HQ for many organisations, and also considered to be "Silicon Savannah," meaning it’s the hub for a lot of startups, so you do have new people coming in all the time who are green and eager to make friends!

What issues are particularly important to the people of Nairobi?

Traffic, cost of tuition, and the state of politics. These can always be a point of discussion with any Kenyan, but with varying responses, of course.

What is one local custom that every visitor should know about?

Do not say “Jambo” to Kenyans. It’s a greeting that screams tourist. This is a tourist phrase that’s written in all the Swahili phrase books and I still don’t know why.  Instead, say “Habari” or “Sasa,” the latter being more casual, like “Hi.”

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Looking to connect with your UBC alumni community?

If you live outside our campus communities in the Lower Mainland and Central Okanagan, visit the Global Alumni Network page to see if there’s an alumni ambassador or social media community where you live.

Alumni volunteers also host fun My Town Meetups in locations around the world. Check out our Meetups page to see if there’s a gathering near you — or sign up to host one in your location!