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Nairobi’s seven havens for the rich

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View of Rosslyn Gardens located along Red Hill Road,Gigiri.

While thousands of Nairobi residents struggle to pay Sh2,000 in rent, the city’s cream regularly shell out Sh200,000 every month.

A prominent resolution by most people each new year is to either build or buy their dream house. The type of the house might be as diverse as the various tastes but one common denominator is that a dream house needs be in a dream estate. Mr Solomon Kagwanja, a lawyer in town vows to get his family a house in Ridgeways estate in the next three years.

James, a banker is also intent in acquiring a house and though his dream estate is Runda, he admits that a spot in the less pricey South B would do for him. For those wishing to acquire a dream home in a dream estate in the city, the choices are there. Let’s sample some of what this former swampy, mosquito infested, colonial outpost has to offer, in the high end sector.

Riverside

It neighbours Muthangari, Lavington, Westlands, and Spring Valley and is home to numerous high commissions, including the Australian and Malawi commissions. It is also home to the German, Danish, and Netherlands embassies as well as the Prime Bank headquarters and the country’s pollsters, Steadman Group.

The area is perhaps the most centrally located of all Nairobi’s up-market suburbs. It is popular with diplomats and senior expatriate business people. However, Kenya’s rich own a good proportion of the houses too. Rambling 1960s or 1970s houses with large gardens lie along steep slopes dipping down to the Nairobi River, and most roads here are gated, with security staff checking all visitors.

Distance from Nairobi’s CBD; 4.4km Average house price; Sh50 million – (US$ 435,000) Average monthly rental price; Sh250,000. Area zoning for development: Although Riverside is a residential area, it is also home to offices, especially those belonging to embassies. A few more apartments are being built some with breathtaking views and within a very safe and secure location.

Kyuna

It is a relatively small estate along Lower Kabete Road and is generally a cool area with clean air in which some roads like that of Kyuna Crescent are flanked by bougainvillea ledges. The estate has become one of the most sought after residential areas by expatriates.

The estate borders the other upmarket suburbs of Loresho and Spring Valley. The nearby Kibarage slum provides casual labour to the estate. This suburb has few apartments, but is dotted with many mansions, double storey homes and villas with beautiful gardens. However, a few older buildings can be spotted. Most of the houses here are four and five bedroomed.

Distance from Nairobi’s CBD -7.6km Average house price -Sh40 million – (US$ 348,000) Average monthly rental price -Sh200,000 Area Zoning for Development: Kyuna is an upper middle class neighborhood, in proximity to Nairobi’s City Centre, Westlands and Brookside.

Nyari

It is a relatively new quiet and plush upmarket estate and is famed for its exclusivity. It’s a few kilometres from Gigiri and is a favourite neighbourhood for many expatriates, high-level diplomats and affluent Kenyans. Most of the units comprise spacious maisonettes boasting penthouses with excellent finishing, well-manicured gardens complete with swimming pools and recreational facilities such as a tennis or squash courts. No public service vehicle is allowed here.

Nyari police station was built on funds pooled by the residents and sits at the estate’s entry. The estate has a homely, natural feel with well-grown hedges, lush vegetation and lanes with a rural air. Village Market, Warwick Centre and Gigiri are all shopping and entertainment centres within 10 minutes’ drive of Nyari.

Distance from Nairobi’s CBD; 20 Average house price; Sh50 million – (US$ 435,000). Average unit (apartment) price; Sh12 million Average monthly rental price; Sh250,000.

Muthaiga

Muthaiga is Nairobi’s long-established version of Americas Beverly Hills; it lies along shady roads that wind through lush wooded hills and valleys with streams that turn into quick-running rivers in the March-May and October-November rainy seasons. Despite its prestigious tag, it began as a farm.

Back, in 1901, Sub-Commissioner John Ainsworth recommended to Sir Charles Eliot, the then Commissioner for the East Africa Protectorate, that Mr. Guy Sandbach-Baker would receive the 1,600 acres of unallocated land situated to the north of Nairobi on condition that he produced dairy products for the Protectorate.

‘Homestead Farm’ was the name given to the property constructed on the site where Gertrude’s Garden Children’s Hospital now stands. The farm soon became the major supplier of dairy products to the Protectorate. Within a few years, the Sandbach-Bakers had converted their property from a wilderness, into a well-organized dairy farm, boasting the most modern equipment.

So began the development of the country club after settlers there shifted from the Nairobi Club. Its exclusive residential estate grew as many more settlers came while after Kenya’s independence in 1963, it attracted affluent Kenyans.Besides the popular Muthaiga Golf club, there is also in the vicinity the Windsor Golf Club.

Distance from Nairobi’s CBD; 5.7km Average house price; Sh65 million (US$ 565,500) Average rental; Sh352,000 per month.

Loresho

Developed since 1967 on former coffee farms, Loresho is a leafy green up-market residential suburb for middle to upper class Kenyans and expatriates. It is located 8km North West of Nairobi’s city centre and harbours a mixture of old and new buildings. Homes are mostly four or five bed roomed stone houses set on well manicured lawns. The area includes a Vetlab Golf Club and the Loresho shopping mall. Located there too a reputable leader in sales and marketing of animal health products, the Cooper Kenya Limited organisation.

Other areas accessible from Loresho include ABC Place, Wayaki Way, Westlands. Loresho is luxurious in the vein of Lavington and Muthaiga, although bordering the Kangemi and Kibagare slums. As a fact, Kangemi sprung up through rural to urban migration into employment for the rich people of Loresho who needed gardeners, maids and general house helps.

Distance from Nairobi’s CBD; 8km Average house price; Sh50 million – (US$ 435,000) Average monthly rental price; Sh200,000 Area zoning for development: The area is mainly a residential area with the minimum subdivision of a parcel of land being half an acre.

Runda

The estate is located in a serene, quiet and peaceful environment that was once a coffee farm. Runda’s landscape is dotted with modern, huge, and sometimes splashy houses with well manicured lawns. The minimum allowable subdivision of a parcel of land is half an acre. Demand for elite houses came after the Unep headquarters was built in Gigiri.

A growing number of diplomats and foreigners have driven the expansion of the leafy suburb. The first phase of the estate (Old Runda) was developed between 1972 and 1980 by MAE Properties Ltd. The housing units, set in a well planned neighbourhood, each typically occupy 1 to 2 acre plots. Further development of more houses in phase 2 and phase 3 has since seen half acres sold to developers.

Currently, phase 6 has been completed and phase 7 is set to commence soon. Runda estate now spans from Limuru Road to Kiambu Road. Runda has been divided into areas depending on the year of development and location. There is Old and New Runda, Runda Evergreen and Runda Mimosa.

Runda Resident Association is one the most vibrant and vocal resident associations in the city.. With committee members meeting several times a month, it has been credited for keeping the estate in its well organized, clean state even forming a company to provide water to the residents.

Distance from Nairobi CBD; 14.5km Average house price; Sh55 million – (US$ 478,500) Average monthly rental; Sh350,000 per month Area zoning for development: Runda is zoned as a high-end residential area.

Karen

It was named after Karen Blixen, the Danish author of the colonial memoir, Out of Africa. Her large farm occupied the land where the suburb now stands. Located south west of the city centre, Karen offers a blend of colonial bungalows and villas on gorgeous and expansive grounds, and has ensured its continuing sense of country life around modern, urban centres and facilities.

For quite a long time, most houses were huge, colonial houses set on well manicured lawns. But there has been an upsurge of private, modern houses over the last few years. It has a large European population and wealthy individuals, with the area’s many riding stables, stores and classy restaurants, race course, golf courses and clubs adding to a cultural and historical background that includes the Bomas of Kenya, Karen Blixen Museum, Nairobi National Park, Animal Orphanage, Sheldricks Home, Ostrich park, Giraffe Park and Manor, all overlooked by the scenic Ngong Hills.

Distance from Nairobi’s CBD; 19km Average house price; Sh45 million – (US$ 391,500) Average rental; Sh200,000 per month. Area zoning for development: Zone Three residential area. The area is strictly a residential area, with the minimum subdivision of a parcel of land being half an acre.

 (Sources: HassConsult, propertyzote, VillaCare)

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