Enthusiasts will tell you that going to Gikomba market is equalled to dining with the devil. It is dangerous. Threatening. Thus, you need a well-executed plan and several weeks of preparation before venture out into this blizzard downtown market for the first time.

For starters, the market is meant for hard-core hustlers who have no more fear left in them. These sons and daughters of men jump and skip death in twisted forms. They smile at hatred and mischief. They dare accidents. It has been rumoured that for 96 years no one has ever gone in and out of Gikomba without losing something, except those guided by the Lord. 

Slay queens are particularly advised to lose their stilettos…they need new black boots if they ever want to enter the market. Walking here in heavy make-up is a mockery to industrious Kenyans…it is punishable.

One is likely to meet with the nose breaking horrid stench of unknown matter of Gikomba market 2 kilometers before he/she arrives. It will just waft through your nostrils twice and you will get a deadly cold for 3 weeks. There are old horrible bridges that welcome you into this market…just below is the dirtiest water ever seen in these parts of the Sahara. Street boys will mock your innocence by dropping their faeces straight into the water from an elevated angle, just beside the walk way. On the upper side, six of them will be urinating into the same water. Other careless citizens will be washing their legs way, downstream…using the same water!

The overcrowding in Gikomba is unmatched. You will be lucky if you ever get a chance to spot the ground. Ambitious men and women will shove you left, right and center as they demand to pass even when they clearly see no way. It is only in Gikomba where you hear whistles from muscled youngsters with heavy loads that are 10 times bigger than an elephant, on their backs. Before you move, they will hit you with the loads and walk away unapologetically. Don’t dare talk to them…I repeat, do not engage them.

Emotional sellers
These are food science or economics graduates trying to make a living in business. They have failed to find a job in Nairobi for so long…they are devastated and sad. They will jump on you with ecstasy the moment you approach their stalls. Unsatisfied customers will walk away from their stalls but these entrepreneurs will feel dejected and hurt, as if buying their kshs. 200bob T-shirt would change their lives forever. You will hear them grumbling angrily amidst throwing muffled abuses. While walking away, your hands will be abruptly held by 3 young men who will pull you to different stalls before you even show intentions of buying anything…

In a market where hot boiled corn is served near a walkway or tormenting sewage drainage…you can easily lose appetite for 4 days.

It is surprising that Gikomba’s visitors beat “thieves” to death daily. You won’t fail to notice crowds of 5000 people beating one single person and no one dares to help. This kind of heartbreaking ruthlessness expose the extent to which humanity has fallen into sin and hatred; and it has fallen deep. The self-made street judges are often rumoured to be fellow thieves who kill quickly to avoid exposure.


Uptown kids from rich suburbs are advised never to venture into this market. It has no space for weaklings who eat chips for breakfast, biscuits for lunch and pop corns for supper. But, in case one really wishes to experience life in these self-made jungles…there are a few recommendable trainings needed. 

1. Employ a tour guide
It is advisable to get a fearless guy from Kayole. He has probably seen it all. You must be willing to take orders from him while in the market. He will be in charge of negotiating if you ever need to buy anything. In Gikomba, madondo/chapo means a meal comprising of beans and chapati…let him choose where to eat or not to eat. If at all you must eat.

2. Wear a pair of  jeans and a t-shirt with old shoes
Leave those expensive suits or khakis in the house. This is not a fashion show! Approach the market as one who is familiar with life and blend in with the throng.

3. Carry a cheap phone 
You can’t expect to “whatspp” in Gikomba with your IPhone 9. It is even illegal to pick calls in English…. if your uncle calls from the USA and it is urgent…call him “Buda” or “Mbus” and quickly insist on calling later….in SHENG. For instance, “Niaje Mbus, nitakuvutia”! End of call.

4.Train in the gym for 2 weeks
Gikomba pushes people to the limit. Your father’s Range rover is not needed in this market. People rotate up and down for hours on foot…weak men and slay queens will find it hard here. If you insist, make sure you go to the gym regularly for 2 weeks in preparation for your visit. 


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