Separated from Nairobi city centre by the 2,500-acre Karura Forest and several low, wooded hills, Gigiri houses both the United Nations (UN) complex and the new United States embassy, which moved here after the terrorist attack on the old building in 1998. The area is popular with humanitarian workers and diplomats, drawn to the wide, leafy streets lined with impressive houses, all in an acre or more of landscaped gardens. There are no major apartment blocks here.
Runda, to the north, is a private estate built on a former coffee plantation. It has large, modern houses on big plots and excellent security, roads and water supplies provided by the privately owned Runda Water Limited. The area also has an active residents’ association (www.rundaestate.com). Nairobi’s most upmarket shopping centre, The Village Market, is just west of the UN complex, boasting a multi-screen cinema, restaurants, a food court, a supermarket and dozens of boutique shops. For a more down-to-earth experience the Movers pub and restaurant further north on Limuru Road serves excellent nyama choma (roasted meat) and beer. Several kindergartens, primary and secondary schools popular with expatriate children including the International School of Kenya (American), the German School and Rosslyn Academy, are located in, or are easily accessible from, these areas. Buses and matatus link Gigiri and Runda with central Nairobi along the principal highway, Limuru Road, but once off into the residential areas public transport is scarce. A taxi to the city centre from the UN complex (7 km) is KSh600. Owning a car is a great bonus here.