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Transportation in Nairobi

Coach

A good bus network covers most conceivable routes around town, supplemented by a broader-ranging system of shared minibuses known locally as matatus. Both tend to be overcrowded, however, and matatus are also driven with spectacular disregard for safety, while buses have a reputation for pickpockets. Both are best avoided by tourists.

Taxi

Taxis are the safest and easiest way to get around Nairobi. Bulky grey cabs similar to their black London counterparts are most reliable but charge relatively high fixed fares and are not metered. Other taxis come in various shapes, sizes and states of repair, and fares are negotiable. Either way, they are not expensive by international standards, and drivers are usually very companionable.

Foot

Walking is the easiest way to get around the compact city centre by day, but is unsafe after dark. Outside of the centre, distances are too great for walking to be a realistic option.

Rent your car

There are car hire companies in Nairobi but with its congestion, aggressive driving, hooting horns and fines, driving can be a nail-biting affair. Navigating your way is something else, and the most secure parking is at major hotels.

Rent your car

Transportation tips

Negotiation is an inherent part of the fabric of daily life in Kenya, nowhere more so than when it comes to renting a taxi. Visitors may be asked two to three times what a local would pay for the same ride, and even the most skilled negotiators will pay a small premium. It's best to see haggling over the fare as a source of fun rather than anxiety. Driving in Nairobi requires some adaptation to the 'might is right' approach favoured by matatu drivers in particular, and to the almost complete lack of signposts.

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