By Jimmy Mwangi
Did you know that Nairobi wasn't intended as the first capital city of Kenya? According to history, Voi showed the first promise in 1897 and Machakos thereafter in 1908 before alienable right was bestowed onto Nairobi in 1912. But how did a swampy area named ‘Enkare Naih'rrobai' loosely translated to ‘the place of cool waters’ become a cultural melting pot and East Africa's most cosmopolitan city a century later? As a local, city dweller and tourist alike, there are always new things to discover as the city of contradictions hides its beauty in plain sight. A group of young Kenyans has been at the forefront of showcasing the often overlooked monuments and new attractions.
In July of 2017, the group operating under the umbrella Turnup Travel launched it's now popular Instagram Tours to create an innovative framework that brought together content creators and partnered with businesses and government institutions. The first edition was all about the history of architecture and nostalgic themed tour, which started at sunrise at UAP old mutual towers, to a waking town tour through the monuments.
The group, which accommodates anyone willing to join set out to create an enabling environment by reducing the bottlenecks and paperwork involved when accessing some of the capital’s points of interests. They went on to offer incentives to photographers, filmmakers, bloggers and social media influencers to showcase the city, enhance the discovery of brands and cool things to do and improve the image of the destination abroad.
The Instagram tours enhance collaboration and skills transfer among content creators to learn through apprenticeship and offers a 24-hour itinerary that takes participants through different establishments, activities and attractions in Nairobi in themed tours.
Besides the fun and networking, Turnup Travel, through their triple bottom line approach, also donate proceeds to Homeless of Nairobi to go towards the rehabilitation of former street children and provide education and upkeep. With successful IG Tours under their belt, the group is on course for their biggest tour yet. The fifth instalment themed New Perspectives is designed around tenets of cultural diplomacy key to combating stereotyping by creating a framework to unlock opportunities for cooperation, collaboration among creators and enhance relationships. The first of its kind initiative will promote the transfer of creative skills, ideas, information, art and the diverse lifestyles in Nairobi thus strengthening friendship among locals and expat communities.
The Nairobi Instagram Tour
Are you ready for a 24-hour city tour, urban cultural immersion, culinary journey and concert experience? Well, the Nairobi Instagram Tour is the platform for you. The group gives its members a chance to immerse themselves in Nairobi’s attractions.
Last September, the group organised a tour of the city. The charges were 6,000 per person. The package included transport, meals as listed below and entry fees plus a ticket to watch Jamaica’s Konshens performing live in Nairobi.
Here is how the itinerary looked like:
05:30hrs-Assembly at GTC - Chiromo Lane
06:00hrs-Catch the sunrise at Global Trade Centre - the newest tallest building in East Africa
07:30hrs Dim Sum at Yuanzhiyuan Chinese restaurant and live demo cooking
10:00-Cultural immersion through art and heritage tour at Nairobi National Museum
13:00hrs-Lunch at Pan Asian Yao in Gigiri
14:00hrs-Showcase of art at China Garden- Calligraphy, Pipa music and Kong Fu Tai Chi
15:00hrs-Sundowner and cocktail at GTC
19:00-Nightlife Experience that included a regular ticket to Konshens live-in-concert in Nairobi featuring among others Bensoul, Chris Kaiga, Ethic, Nviiri, Kansoul, Gwaash, Ochungulo Family, Sailors, among others.
April Long, a Chinese Lifestyle Blogger who is teaming up with Turnup.Travel noted: “Having lived in Nairobi for 4 years while working for an international financial organisation, I have always been fascinated about how diverse and inclusive the city is. Through this collaboration with Turnup. Travel and alongside other partners supporting the initiative, we wish to showcase new perspectives of Nairobi through film and photography both locally and internationally. It presents a blank canvas for all participants to (re)discover, appreciate and learn whilst sharing the experiences on social media.”