As many of you know, I often have to travel to Nairobi so it occurred to me to tell everyone a little bit about Kenyaâ??s capital city. The name is derived from a Maasai word meaning cold. According to my grandfather, Nairobi was Maasai land before Maasai were reduced to nothing by disease and severe drought that struck the land when his father (my great grandfather) was a young man. My grandfather cannot tell me when that was but he is now aged 87. Some Maasai still live around Nairobi but they have assimilated into other tribes. With increased activities such as business and agriculture, livestock herding is rare to see in and around Nairobi. Those people who do keep animals have had to adapt to modern means of livestock husbandry (like herding cows in a traffic jam). When I took the photos below, I recalled my grandpaâ??s stories.

Nairobi herding

Nairobi herding 2

A drive down Langaâ??ta road (a major thoroughfare in Nairobi) and there are more cows.


I took this close to Nairobiâ??s posh estate Karen.


  • I fear for the cows’ well being.

    Do you mean that Karen Blixen’s property is an estate? I really had no idea that her house was still standing. Is it a tourist attraction that anyone can visit?


  • Antony, I keep reading about prolonged droughts, just yesterday I learned Uganda is suffering from one of their worst, in decades. Spain and Australia, too. Why do I bring this up? This photo of the malnourished cattle ( you can see the outline of their ribcages and collar bones ) is the reason. Ironic that cattle are dying from dehydration and malnutrition, caused by drought. Their very existance, threatens them, their link with climate change is intertwined.

  • sauwah says:

    the weather has gone extreme and highly unusual. I am sorry that the North Kenya area has gotten so dry while the south like the Mara is getting more rain than usual or the different period of the rain’s coming in. The changing of time for the rain to come does posts a more difficult challenge for lions and other residential predators; after all they are so used to have rain in certain time. And with the rain, calves are born during the time of plenty. Now rain comes in at different time, lions too time their raising of cubs along that period of calving would find themselves with nothing much to eat and feed their hungry babies.

  • sauwah says:

    karen blixen’s house is or was still a tourists’ attraction. i have been there in 1997. just like the house in the movie Out of Africa.

  • Sauwah, I found out by snooping aroune the interweb that “Out of Africa” was filmed in that house. I thought it was a set but apparently much of the film was made on the estate.


  • Dana-Phoenix Arizona says:

    Karen Blixen Estate is an area in Nairobi where there are homes. Alot of Expats live there. This is considered an ‘exclusive’ area to the rest of Nairobi.

    The grounds of Karen Blixen house are very nice and yes the original house is still there, although alot of her personal items have been removed, there are still some furnishings.

  • Lisa, California says:

    I just couldn’t resist posting this: My all time favorite part of a movie. Enjoy. Lisa

  • Fiona says:

    Antony, do you know what breed of cow is being shown in your photos? They look like Boron, which generally show protruding hip bones and can sometimes have a much more emaciated look than the cattle the west is used to seeing.

    Thanks for keeping us informed about Kenya Antony. It gives me insight into a very different part of the world to my own.

  • Fiona says:

    Here’s a link to anybody interested in the cattle I mentioned above. Note how it can survive on a scarcity of water and low quality feed. Very versatile indeed!

  • sauwah says:

    awesome cows that they are! maybe the ranchers here in u.s. should get some breeding cows instead of those big fat but pretty cows that do use up most water and do demand so much more grass. in addition, the u.s. or western cows do damage or degrade our natural landscape and pollute our rivers and streams. thus, i prefer buffalo meat since the buffalo are native species and it is so lean.

Leave a Reply to Fiona Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Share This

Copy Link to Clipboard