Explore

A Nairobi Native’s View On The Significance Of Matatu Culture

By DeAnna Taylor

Share

Nairobi, Kenya is one of the most thriving cities of Africa’s western cape. It sets itself apart with its own unique culture that drives many tourists to the country each year.

 

A Matatu is a public service vehicle that carries commuters from one point to another and they operate within a town, mostly Nairobi. While this may sound like public transportation that you can find in any other city around the world, these mini-buses have a life of their own. The brightly-painted, music-blasting, privately owned buses were initially introduced to Kenya in the 1950’s. In the early stages of the Matatu business, they were simply an inexpensive means to get locals and visitors from point A to point B. However, they are now one of the main attractions for Nairobi, in addition to still being very cost friendly. A ride on a Matatu can run anywhere from $.20 to under $1.

 

Photo courtesy of Matwana Matatu Culture

 

Related: Nairobi Hotels: From Airbnb To Hidden Gems

 

We spoke with Brian Wanyama of Nairobi. He’s been in the Matatu industry for eight years as a Matatu Ambassador and founder of Matwana Matatu Culture.

 

Travel Noire: Can you explain the Matatu culture today and what it means to local Kenyans?

Brian: The Matatu Culture has evolved in such a way that has made traveling by public means safe, convenient, and reliable as compared to the old times when Matatus never used to be roadworthy or trustworthy.


Matatus play a big role in the community because it is the biggest youth employer in Kenya used to express Kenyan pop culture, premiere the latest music videos, and interactively convey conscience messages.

Photo courtesy of Matwana matatu culture

 

Travel Noire: How do non-Kenyans react to Matatu culture when they are first introduced to it?

Brian: They really get excited when they see how they are vibrantly designed and full of color. They gaze for hours, take pictures, videos, post it on online and take a never ending ride on a few before they get used to them. They also get excited about how affordable it is and also really appreciate the craftmanship used to build the Matatu.

 

Travel Noire: What else can you tell us that will convince our audience to try a Matatu ride one day?

Brian: When you want to really enjoy Kenya, use a Matatu. They are one of a kind and part of Kenya’s heritage and authenticity.

 

Photo courtesy of Matwana Matatu Culture

 

Travel Noire: Where can our readers find your company on social media?

Brian: Across all platforms: matwanaculture.

Share
Travel Noire

DeAnna Taylor

DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Which African Country Is Best For Your First Trip To The Motherland?

Which African Country Is Best For Your First Trip To The Motherland?

With 54 countries making up the continent of Africa, planning your first trip to The Motherland may seem like a daunting task. Here are 5 countries that offer the first-time traveler a range of natural beauty and vibrant culture.  Kenya Kenya is located on the eastern side of the continent along the Indian Ocean and […]

Leah Freeman-Haskin

Beautiful Stays In Kenya With A View

Beautiful Stays In Kenya With A View

Kenya is one of Africa’s most stunning countries, where visitors from all over the world get to experience what makes the continent so magical. From the mountains to beaches, here are some of the best hotels to say during your trip to Kenya: Waterlovers Beach Resort Located on Diani Beach, Waterlovers Beach Resort is not […]

Parker Diakite

LGBTQ Refugees Allege Anti-Gay Police Harassment In Kenya: ‘We Are Suffering’

LGBTQ Refugees Allege Anti-Gay Police Harassment In Kenya: ‘We Are Suffering’

Kenya is known as a refuge for the LGBTQ community in East Africa. However, many LGBTQ refugees have been tormented by Kenyan police in the past few weeks. Nina Muregwa, a 17-year-old Burundi national, told TIME that she feels threatened ⁠— she escaped death threats because of her sexual identity back home. She escaped to […]

Kelsey Marie