Saturday, September 23, 2023

Inside Nairobi’s Muthaiga estate where Kenya’s wealthy millionaires live

Nairobi, the bustling capital city of Kenya, is known for its vibrant energy and diverse culture.

Amidst the hustle and bustle, there lies a serene oasis called Muthaiga Estate.

Established in 1912, Muthaiga Estate takes its name from the Kenya green-heart tree, locally known as Muthiga.

This tree holds cultural significance as it is believed to possess medicinal properties, capable of curing ailments ranging from stomach aches to malaria.

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Just like the tree itself, Muthaiga Estate exudes a sense of calmness and has become the residential destination of choice for the country’s affluent citizens.

 Among them, the late retired President Mwai Kibaki stood as a notable resident, lending an unparalleled prestige and allure to the neighborhood.

Joining him in this esteemed community are other distinguished figures, including businessman Jimmy Wanjigi, Ngina Kenyatta (wife of the first President of Kenya), and Kenyan businessman Manu Chandaria.

Additionally, Muthaiga Estate boasts top ambassadorial homes, including the residence of the American envoy to Kenya, further enhancing its prominence on the global stage.

One of the remarkable features of Muthaiga Estate is its proximity to the Karura Forest.

This gazette forest plays a vital role in regulating the air quality in the area, providing a refreshing and clean environment for residents to enjoy.

The well-manicured grounds and bright flowered flame trees that adorn the estate add to its aesthetic appeal.

Described as “solid and imposing,” the structures within Muthaiga Estate exhibit an architectural grandeur that rivals English country estates.

The homes are generously spaced apart, ensuring privacy and exclusivity for its affluent inhabitants.

The sprawling resort-style mansions sit on expansive parcels of real estate, with plots measuring one acre or larger.

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These properties adhere to strict neighborhood guidelines established by the first British settlers in 1901, further enhancing the overall allure of the estate.

The safety and security of residents within Muthaiga Estate are paramount. The Kenya Police, along with several private security firms, maintain a robust security system to ensure a safe living environment.

Such measures provide peace of mind to residents, allowing them to fully enjoy the luxury and tranquility offered by the estate.

Muthaiga Estate is not merely a residential neighborhood; it is a millionaire’s playground.

The exclusivity and opulence of this enclave are reflected in property prices.

According to the online portal OLX, homes in Muthaiga Estate can fetch prices as high as Sh700 million. Renting a house within the estate can cost around Sh400,000 per month , catering to the elite class seeking a truly luxurious lifestyle.

The rich history of Muthaiga Estate dates back to the early 20th century when John Dawson Ainsworth, the first sub-commissioner in charge, established a new town at Mile 327, later known as Nairobi.

Sandbach Baker, one of the earliest settlers, and his wife Marie ‘Queenie’ Vera, established Homestead Farm on over 1,600 acres of land. This farm supplied dairy to Nairobi, and Marie Vera Baker leased 500 acres of the land to other settlers, beginning the development of Muthaiga Estate.

In 1912, James Archibald Morrison acquired the entire Muthaiga estate from the Bakers. He subdivided the land into 10 and 50-acre lots, developed roads and piped water, pioneering real estate development.

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The Bakers, who initially received 1,600 acres within the Karura Forest, returned to England. Morrison’s contributions included establishing the enduring Muthaiga Country Club in 1914.

The name “Muthaiga” was inspired by an African greenheart tree on a plot bought by an architect, representing its medicinal significance to the Kikuyu.

The former Baker house now houses Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital.


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