You cannot be Kenyan if you have never heard of Ongata Rongai town, popularly known as just Rongai or Ronga. It is a favourite subject by savvy social media users always creating ridiculous memes about it, mostly about its distance from Nairobi town.
Ongata Rongai is a peri-urban settlement at the outskirts of Nairobi located in Kajiado County and is situated 17 km (10.6 mi) south of Nairobi town. Although largely located within Nairobi metropolitan, it does not fall within the administrative boundaries of the city and is separated from Nairobi city proper by the Mbagathi River.
It is divided into two administrative locations, Nkaimurunya and Rongai, which are separated by the Magadi road. Historically occupied by the Maasai people, present-day Ongata Rongai grew from a meeting of a cattle market in the northernmost tip of Kajiado County and the quarry township in present-day Kware. The cattle market and the quarry spread rapidly and joined in the late 1950s.
The Maasai people occupy majorly the rural parts of Rongai where they still practice their major economic activity, livestock rearing. However, the town has a diverse population due to its proximity to Nairobi.
Ongata Rongai is mostly dominated by middle-income earners and is known for its succulent and finger-licking nyama choma fresh from the farms. It serves as a primary entry point where most fresh produce is transported directly to the towns from the farms. It has two major markets for fresh produce: one near Maasai Mall and another one near Kware. A large number of butcheries across Ongata Rongai also bear testimony to the popularity of beef in the town and to outsiders.
Just like any other modern town, Rongai houses various top banks, schools, and hospitals. Banks include Barclay’s, Equity Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank, HCF, Bank of Africa, Co-operative Bank, Sidian Bank, among many others. Healthcare providers like Equity Afia Medical Center, The Karen Hospital, Aga Khan Hospital, Meridian Hospital, Nairobi Women’s Hospital, Fatima Mission Nursing, Sinai Hospital and also Gertrude Children’s Hospital can also be found in Rongai.
It also boasts of various top learning institutions like Laiser Hill Academy, Magadi Road Primary, Maxwell Adventist Academy, Fanaka Junior School, Olerai School, Kunoni Educational Center, Azuri School, Thorn Tree School, Ongata Primary School and more. Other schools include African Nazarene University, Adventist University of Africa, Multimedia University of Kenya and Adventist University.
Rongai does not disappoint when it comes to the social scene. There are various restaurants and clubs that offer residents and visitors the perfect entertainment spot. These are The Smith Hotel, Beatus Chicken and Coffee House, GiMor Restaurant, Siron Place Restaurant, Club Legend, Hornbill Bar & Restaurant, Choma Place Inn Bar And Restaurant, Pizza Inn, Chicken Inn and many more.
Modern shopping centres are also evolving in Ongata Rongai such as; Maasai Mall(which has top retail stores, ATMs, restaurants that offer cuisines such as Italian, Chinese and Ethiopian), Bees Park, Geomerc Centre, Times Arcade, Great Wide Mall, etc. Rongai also has major shops i.e. Uchumi, Tuskys, Naivas and Tumaini Supermarkets.
If you are not aware of Rongai’s intricately designed matatus, you must be living under a rock. They are undeniably Nairobi’s finest public service vehicles. They have eye-catching and jaw-dropping graffiti on the outer body while the inside is fitted with free wi-fi, numerous speakers and LCD screens for loud music surrounding.
For extroverts and adventure junkies, Ngong Hills is a must-visit. Enjoy the great green outdoors by taking part in hikes, mountain climbing, camping or just simple nature walks.
Another must-see gem is the Kitengela glass, an artifacts manufacturer tucked away in the far-flung Tuala township area. Enjoy breath-taking pieces of art inform of glass art, sculptures, home décor, and jewelry. The Nairobi National Park is also nearby for those looking to marvel at various wildlife.
For those looking to learn more about entrepreneurship of the food industry, Tam feeds, an agro-processing industry located in Gataka is also a must-visit.