Nairobi Matatu Culture

Nairobi matatu culture is deeply rooted in Kenyan history. Kenya’s capital is a rapidly growing city in the Eastern Africa region, with a unique identity cemented in its public transport sector. “Matatu culture is about completion on which ride will be the best,” says Moses, a Matatu Driver. 


The modern Matatu contains a custom-modified body with intricate attention-grabbing designs coupled with unique graphics and exterior lighting. The sound system is well-balanced with a cut-off bass and a series of plasma televisions that are strategically placed to allow for music video viewing. Wi-Fi is a new additional feature on some exceptionally modified matatus.


Nairobi has a population of over 4 million people, movement from one part of Nairobi to another is facilitated by many buses popularly known as Matatus. Over time, the Matatu industry has evolved from a simple mode of transport into a flashy and controversial car fashion culture. “The people in this industry do a lot of amazing stuff. It’s not just about carrying commuters from one point to another. Still, if you dig deeper you will find there is more than that”, Brian Wanyama tells Africanews Nairobi Correspondent Ronald Agak.


The Matatu Culture has gained international recognition with Forbes recommending that riding in a matatu is one of the best experiences one should not miss when they visit Nairobi. The matatu culture is defined by pop culture trends such as modern music and film. Major players in the industry believe that the evolution of the culture is still ongoing and the best is yet to be seen.

Click here to explore Nairobi’s attractions and you could even use a matatu just for the experience.


The fare on any given journey is dependent on the time of day. At peak times and times of high demand, the fares increase. Off-peak times are generally 10 am to 3 pm, although fares could change without notice.
An example of a Nairobi matatu.

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