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How Nairobi’s traffic jams are changing lifestyles

At 5.30am when many people are still snuggling in the comfort of their beds, Lang’ata Road is bustling with activity.

This is the morning rush into the city as residents of Kiserian, Ongata Rongai, Karen and Lang’ata try to beat the traffic jam that will see them spend over two hours on the road as they head to work.

Their reason for being out so early is simple: in half an hour, the road takes the semblance of a parking lot with motorists covering 10 kilometres in two hours.

And on a bad day, this can easily turn into a four-hour commute. By 6am, the build-up of traffic towards Galleria Mall is eminent.

Across town on Thika Highway, the early birds hit the road at 6am, half an hour after their Lang’ata Road counterparts, as they too rush to avoid the traffic snarl-up that can keep them on the road for over two hours.


James Rono is at his health club in Upper Hill every morning by 6am. He goes in for an aerobics session before taking a swim to cool down and leaves for the office.

“I get at least an hour-and-half each morning, sometimes more, for my workout. I then have breakfast before heading to work,” he says.

The routine is a relatively new one for James, who has opted to have his workout in the early morning rather than while away the time in traffic. Martin Njoroge, leaves his house in Rongai at 5.15 am.

He is in the city by 6am, where he spends at least half an hour catching up with the local dailies before heading out to Westlands where he works.


To cash in on the early morning trend, businesses and academic institutions have now resorted to opening their doors in the wee hour for the early birds.


By 6.30am, most restaurants in the city centre are bustling with activity to cater for the early morning group who did not have time for breakfast in their homes, or those looking to keep warm in a restaurant rather than stand outside as they wait for their offices to open.

According to Njoroge, a worker in the banking sector, most people in his line of work are forced to stand outside the premises until doors are opened, usually a few minutes before clients arrive.

“Most of my colleagues who do not have access to the office at that hour either go to class or read newspapers outside the office until it is open,” he said.

Gyms and health clubs have adjusted their opening hours and are now open from as early as 5.30am for their members. Colleges and universities have also added early morning classes which begin at 6.30am and end by 8am.

Read the full story here.

SOURCE: Business Daily