Set between Muthaiga and Thika Road, Ridgeways, including the Garden Estate, is set beside the Kiambu Road, on the outskirts of Nairobi. Mostly surrounded by the Karura forest, it is a quiet, leafy residential area offering attractive bungalows and large houses, many of which include swimming pools and servants’ quarters on their own plots of land. Before the area was inhabited by elite Kenyans, it used to be part of the colonial white highlands or central uplands. The area still has a rural feel, with several water masses, including the Kigwa Dam, many exotic birds, monkeys, guinea fowls, hares and other wildlife that still lives in the forested ecosystem. Rent is rather high, as in any other four or five star area, and in times of water rationing, many homes rely on borehole water. The area houses diplomats, government ministers, MPs, parastatals heads, powerful businessmen, and corporate directors - Gigiri is just a few kilometers away with its many embassies from Europe and North America, and the United Nations complex. Although there are no shopping malls, residents rely on local kiosks, and cross the Runda estate to Village Market mall. However, Ridgeways is best known as home to the Windsor Golf Club, owned by Environment Minister, John Michuki. The Club is a modern resort complex and championship 18-hole golf course built to Colonial design with breathtaking views. The Windsor includes the Windsor Hotel, which overlooks the Golf Club, and is a favoured meeting point for Kenya's top decision-makers.
Location: 7 km North of Nairobi Centre.
Types of Buildings: There are few apartments, with the area dominated by old fashioned homes complete with stables, servants quarters and a few coffee plantations. Typically, houses are lavish four to five bedroom, mansions with sprawling gardens and tall trees offering clean, unpolluted air. For tourists, the main hotel is The Windsor Hotel.
Population Density: Low
Property Values/Trends: The area is popular with business people, government ministers, diplomats, drawn to the shaded streets with impressive houses, all in one acre or more of landscaped gardens. A 4-bedroom double storey home all ensuite can cost at least Sh150, 000 or more. However homes complete with a swimming pool, servants’ quarters, garden, rent could cost more. A ½ acre plot is worth at least Sh10 million, while a Ridgeways ambassadorial house can cost up to Sh40 million. However, servants quarters are nowadays also rented out, some going for as little as Sh5,000.
Area zoning for development: A major attraction to the area is its rich soil, forested landscape and cool climate. With its qualities, real estate agents are turning the rich coffee areas into lucrative holiday homes for family getaways. The construction of the five-star Windsor Golf Hotel and Country club among other luxury homes on the lower ridge are an example.
Security: High. Most residential homes here are fenced, gated and packed with fierce dogs. A few security staff or “askaris” also check visitors. Also, there are a few barriers on major road entrances in which vehicles coming through are recorded by security. But the area is considered a secure one. In times of crime, the closest police stations to Ridgeways include the Muthaiga Police Station.
Transport & Road Networks: The Kiambu Road, which links Muthaiga and Kiambu areas, is the main road in which one gets to Ridgeways. Although Kiambu Road has no potholes, it occasionally experiences serious traffic congestion in morning hours, which clears up rather quickly. Thika Road can also be used in times of traffic, but may take longer. There are matatus running through Kiambu Road such as Route No.100 and 120, charging passengers an affordable fare of Sh10 to Sh20 depending on the time of the day. However, in order to get into the estates the smaller roads occasionally have motorcyclists who pick passengers and take them to their destinations. A taxi to Ridgeways could cost at least Sh500. Thus, owning a car is a plus. Most roads here are gated with no potholes.
Hospitals: There is no hospital right in the heart of Ridgeways. However, hospitals accessible from Ridgeways include Mathare Mental Hospital at the Muthaiga roundabout and Gertrude’s Children Hospital at Muthaiga.
Schools: Ridgeways is home to the Ridgeways Academy, next to Paa Ya Paa Arts center, the Nairobi Pentecostal Bible College and not too far away, Braeburn College Building, which is closer to Garden Estate (tel 020 8561144).
Shopping Centres & Amenities: Ridgeways has a classy way of satisfying its residents. It is home to the Windsor Golf and Country Clubs, the Walkabout pub fit for nyama choma fans and the Paa ya Paa arts center for art lovers. However, the closest shopping mall accessible from Ridgeways is the Village Market, Gigiri which is a 10 to 15 minute drive a way.
Places Of Worship: Though there are no mosques and temples in sight, there are a few churches in Ridgeways like the Ridgeways Baptist Church located on Church Lane off Ridgeways/Windsor Hotel Rd.
Useful Contacts/Links for the area:
Police Station Muthaiga Police Station Tel: 0721 356 999 or 020 762 611.
Hospitals: Getrudes Children Hospital P. O. Box 42325, Muthaiga Road, Tel: 020 3763474