What you need to know:
- Kitengela has transformed into Nairobi's "new party town”, attracting revellers in droves.
- Several entertainment joints on Namanga Road paint a picture of soothing opulence.
- Hospitality investors jostle for business spaces in the town as others close shops.
Blaring music from popular nightspots, traffic snarl-ups characterised by roaring and hooting fuel guzzlers, and giggling, skimpily dressed girls make up the image of Kitengela, Kajiado County, on weekends.
Kitengela has transformed into Nairobi's "new party town”, attracting revellers in droves. The Nairobi Expressway has made it easier to get to and from the town, which sits near the border of Kajiado and Machakos counties.
Several entertainment joints on Namanga Road paint a picture of soothing opulence. With dancing neon lights and exquisite settings, they look like big ships docked in a busy harbour. Most serve roast meat and chicken as the main delicacies.
Out-of-town revellers set the pace, with locals mostly choosing working-class clubs.
Hospitality investors jostle for business spaces in the town as others close shops. In Kitengela, a club roars for a short while before it is edged out in quick succession.
In 2019, Halcyon Lounge and Grill hit the town like a thunderbolt, segmenting customers according to their age, social status and preferences and edging out the infamous 4:1:1 club that later shut down.
The only night spot in town with artificial waterfalls at the centre and a floating disc jockey has since stopped segregating customers to remain afloat. Its momentum has slowed down but it still roars.
Two years ago, Pavilion XV, associated with a popular comedian, opened its doors, becoming the talk of the town. Nyama choma and friendly liquor prices drew customers like moths to lights. Revellers flocked there on weekends. Vehicles used to be parked on both sides of Namanga Road "mbaka che".
But the club closed its doors a fortnight ago after another "sophisticated and exotic" joint, Rixxos Lobby and Grill, opened its doors a short distance south on Namanga Road.
A Nation spot check on Tuesday showed that Pavilion XV is completely abandoned, with a loosely hanging sign advertising stalls, kinyozi spaces and shops to let.
Its semi-permanent structures are covered in dust from the swirling winds common in Kitengela. When one speaks, the echo reverberates in the entire promise.
"People stopped coming. People who used to operate nyama choma outlets moved out in a huff to the new club. It is the trend in Kitengela," said a watchman.
Rixxos is now the talk of the town. The multimillion-shilling club that sits on three acres on Namanga Road boasts an exotic, artistic architectural plan. Most furniture was imported, with gold, silver, and bronze handrails.
The club is set in a rectangular space with a few sunken and tented sitting areas set strategically in a green lawn that revellers sometimes turn into dancing spaces. A children’s corner is available. Some of the spaces, including parking, are incomplete.
The aroma of roasted meat envelops much of the club from an open kitchen that is a hive of activity on weekends, selling meat from more than 300 goats and sheep.
This is not an ordinary club for any Tom, Dick and Harry. It’s for a chosen few, considering the "not hustler-friendly" prices.
The upstairs wing is reserved for very important persons (VIPs). It has a cool breeze blowing from the Lukenya hills to the northeast. With its own liquor counter, it is less crowded, but any reveller wishing to while the night away from this corner must order drinks exceeding Sh10,000.
Though managers were not willing to speak to the Nation about the investment, a worker said the club glitters over the weekend.
Just before the dust from Rixxos settles, Quiver Lounge & Grill is loading a kilometre away from it.
The stylish popular entertainment joint, artistically resembling Quiver Lounge on Thika Road, is under construction and is expected to open its doors in mid-December. The Nation could not independently establish the connection between the two clubs.
"This club will give other clubs a run for their money. It will be a smoking gun for revellers,” a foreman at the site told the Nation as interviews for waiters went on in one corner of the unfinished premises.
Kitengela is growing by leaps and bounds, especially its hospitality sector, due its proximity to Nairobi, said Lawrence Kiambi, director of Lawsavic property management company.
"Kitengela and its environs is slowly snowballing into Nairobi's new party town, considering its proximity to Nairobi and the warm temperatures. Land availability is also a major factor,” Mr Kiambi said.