Effortlessly chic, Annabel Onyango and Patricia Kihoro are two of Nairobi’s best-known tastemakers. Annabel (@annabelonyango) is a stylist, though studied as an environmental biologist (extra cool), and Patricia (@misskihoro) is an entertainer who sings, acts, and presents amongst other enviable talents. As a former New Yorker and admittedly somewhat jaded when it comes to discovering what cities “have to offer”, I was keen to discover a Nairobi outside of the well-tread stops in Karen.
With a directive to show us some of the best boutiques in fashion, art, and design, our first stop with Annabel was the studio of Adele Dejak, a Kenyan jeweller whose atelier is just on the outskirts of Nairobi. Dressed in a KikoRomeo tie-dye jumpsuit, a trendy Nairobi-based brand, she led us through Adele’s workshop where we chatted with women handcrafting jewellery and across the way to the browse the shop. Filled with brass cuffs and rings along with earrings made of horn and other natural materials, this is a must-stop for those wanting only-found-in-Kenya (note: our Safari Shop has a lovely collection of Adele pieces).
From there we hit Circle Art Gallery, home to the best up-and-coming names in the East African art scene for interested collectors (where Patricia serenaded me with a Toni Braxton song), followed by a quick lunch at the outdoor Pallet Café, which creates employment opportunities for those with hearing impairments, dotted by little shopfronts for local makers.
At Kuona Trust, the artists’ collective housed in old shipping containers, we visited the outpost for Michael Soi, profiled in The New York Times for his social satire paintings, along with the very on-trend line drawings of 2Endo. We drove into the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Loresho, popping in to see Deepa Dosaja’s silk dresses and Wasp and Sprout’s homeware and gifts sourced from local artisans.
After hearing there was an outdoor market on at Shamba Café, we made a detour to the giant red barn home to a restaurant, fresh produce market, grocer and gift shop, set a farm which is part of the University of Nairobi’s College of Agriculture and Veterinary Science. Weekend markets are a staple in Nairobi as many are unable to maintain shopfronts, so it’s best to research which are happening when you’re there.
Our final stop, and the one I was most excited for, was Tribal Gallery, a 1930’s Tudor home-turned-furniture gallery, where just about everything is for sale — decorative boxes from Senegal, rugs from Morocco, lamps made from dhows on the Kenyan Coast. You best come with extra luggage as you’ll want to take everything home (by appointment only).
Navigating Nairobi can be complicated given its traffic patterns so we suggest tailoring your time around where you are staying and what your key interests are — be it fashion, art, home — and Angama Safaris can create your itinerary lead by Annabel and Patricia.
Filed under: Safari Style
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