Sitting strategically along the ever busy Nairobi – Meru highway, a 3 hours drive from the capital city, sand winched by highlands of Nyeri and Meru. Nanyuki town dances on the backdrop of an all time huge branding besides a rich history dating all the way from times of construction of the railway.Everyone has had heard or eavesdropped a story about Nanyuki. Unlike many small towns, its a cosmopolitan which boosts a conspicuous presence of white settlers who have heavily invested in the economy of the vast Laikipia County whose headquarters and epicenter is Nanyuki.
But Nanyuki is more than the town, having dozens of opulent, high end hotels out of town which ordinarily engage in cut throat competition for the ever growing tourism market. Laikipia County is a world class tourist destination with numerous private and government owned humongous ranches dotted across the region. This has consequently offered many casual and formal jobs to the youths complemented by the white settlers who have invested in a wide range of investments from flower firms to cattle breeding and milk industry.
One amazing fact that really stands out for me is how foreigners interact casually with the locals. In fact you will spot most of them choosing to walk rather than take cabs as they find it more thrilling, if not finding them bargaining with a maize vendor. British Army have also set up a training base which has hugely impacted on the economy of the town. They offer ready demand for coffee houses and booming business in the only shopping mall.
There are peculiar habits though, starting with extremely long queues witnessed around end month in most major banks. The notion that Nanyuki is a huge entertainment base is rather quite true. With a number of serene restaurants out of town with well manicured golf courses and a view of Mount Kenya and one or two in town that can match the likes of Tribeka or Rumours of Nairobi. The flip side is, twilight ladies have a big business here with teens as young as 15 walking along the streets in the night hawking their bodies.This is also a town with so many street families probably because they are given hand outs by the very many whites in the town. My last and most awkward observation is the high number of mentally ill people, they are just so many.
A friend working in Nairobi once complained of food joints being a bit expensive and so are the stalls dealing with clothes and shoes. On a light note , you do not need to worry of alcoblow, your scare should be drawn to the fast speeding miraa pick ups as you cross the road or the military jets landing or taxiing away at the nearby Laikipia Airbase. Its a great town for those who need a less congested place and environmental friendly ambiance to live with no matatu madness or traffic. Life is relatively cheap if you make ‘good money’.