AN ISLE OF CALM, MOMENTS FROM THE CITY CENTRE
Sarova Panafric boasts of a rich history. When the quest for Africa’s independence raged in the 1960’s, the hotel hosted many of continent’s nationalists under the umbrella of Pan Africanism, hence the eventual name, Panafric.
Over the years, our name has come to signify the finery of cultural creativity. Our suites are a tapestry of rich Neo-African splendor. Our Superior and Standard rooms are stylish masterpieces, while our conference rooms are beautiful, modern and technology-laden. The hotel flagship restaurant, The Flame Tree, offers a wide range of local and international cuisine. It is an intimate, quiet location that is perfect for business lunches, meeting with friends, having a few drinks or simply taking some time out to think and ponder the world.
Today, Sarova Panafric represents the best of Neo-Africa: All the comforts of the modern world but with a rich African tradition and style.
The Panafric hotel first opened its doors to the public on 5th January 1965. It was opened by the first president of Kenya H.E. Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, who was a staunch supporter of the Pan African movement. It was he who adopted the name Panafric hotel. At that time the hotel consisted of only one block, which contained 100 rooms. An economic boom during the Pan African era led to an ambitious expansion plan of the hotel. A second block was officially opened on 6th February 1969.
In 1991 Sarova Hotels bought Sarova Panafric from African Tours & Hotels (AT&H) making it the third Sarova Hotels acquisition, after The Sarova Stanley and Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa. From 1965, Sarova Panafric has curved a special niche in Kenya’s hospitality industry being among the oldest and most heritage-valued hotel in Kenya.
Sarova Panafric has today changed so much that the name sounds familiar but her face is easily unidentifiable, thanks to various phases of renovations and rehabilitations to keep a pace with new trends in hospitality industry.
The hotel was brainchild and home to the authentic cultural theme nights that sought to bring Nairobians together in celebration of traditional food, music and lifestyle of various Kenyan communities. Today’s Sarova Panafric is imposingly set in a quiet residential suburb, which commands a panoramic view of the Nairobi city thus a popular meeting place for local businessmen and politicians.
The 162-roomed hotel has in addition 42 furnished and serviced apartments and has undergone a systematic product development project which has seen extensive refurbishing of accommodation and conference rooms. Among famous guests Panafric has hosted include: President Jomo Kenyatta, founding father of Kenya, Kwame Nkurumah, 1st Independent President of Ghana, Tanzania’s President Julius Nyerere and President Dr. Milton Obote of Uganda.
THE HISTORY OF NAIROBI
GREEN CITY IN THE SUN
Originally a particularly swamp-like area, the city now known as Nairobi was named after a watering hole known in the Maasai language as Enkare Nairobi, meaning "cool waters".
Nairobi was founded in 1899 as ‘Mile 327’, a supply depot for the Uganda Railway which was being constructed between the coast of Mombasa and Uganda. Nairobi's position was not a carefully selected one. It just happened to be the last open space and level ground where the trains could shunt before the platelayers began to lay their rails up and over the eastern escarpment wall of the Great Rift Valley.
A halt was called during the railways construction to undertake necessary repair work. Tents were put up on the plains by the railway workers and makeshift shacks erected. When the railway workers moved on, they left their shacks behind. Soon, other travelers arriving from Mombasa used these for want of better accommodation, and added to them. In the early 1900s, Nairobi had to be totally rebuilt after an outbreak of plague and the burning of the original town.
Nairobi replaced the port city of Mombasa as the capital of the British East Africa Protectorate in 1905. The railway brought wealth into the city, which fueled dramatic growth. It was soon Kenya's second largest town after Mombasa itself. As the British colonialists began to explore the region, they were using Nairobi as their first port of call. This prompted the colonial government to build several grand hotels in the city. It was soon an important center for the colony, teeming with adventurers, hunters and travelers from all over the world.
Nairobi continued to grow under British rule, and many British citizens settled within its suburbs. The continuous expansion of the city began to anger the Maasai people, as the city was devouring their traditional nomadic pastoral land to the south. It also angered the Kikuyu people, who wanted the land returned to them.
In 1919, Nairobi was declared a municipality. Between 1920 and 1950, the number of white settlers within Nairobi rose from 9,000 to 80,000. And so did the friction between these settlers and the indigenous peoples.
Nairobi was granted city status in 1954. Kenyan independence from Britain was achieved in 1963 and Nairobi became the capital of the Republic of Kenya. After independence, the city grew rapidly and today it is a cosmopolitan and multicultural city, with a skyline that has been compared to some European and American cities.