, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 1- It is a beehive of activities at Nairobi’s Uhuru Park, where hundreds of city residents turned up for festivities on New Year’s Day.
For many, it was time to make merry and share with their loved ones, with traders cashing in from the revelers.
Activities included boat rides, face painting for children among others that kept people busy at the famous park frequented by low income earners—mainly from the informal settlements spread across the capital.
Mid and higher income earners choose destinations in the coastal city of Mombasa, Naivasha, Nakuru and other areas in Central Kenya while the moneyed fly out of the country.
There are also those who choose to travel upcountry, stay at their homes to enjoy with family or visit various establishments like hotels and restaurants to make merry.
“It is a great chance for us to stay together as a family ahead of a busy year,” said John Wangai, who was with his wife and children at Uhuru Park.
The park is also frequented by tourists who were busy taking photographs of the city from various angles.
“I am happy to usher the New Year in Kenya, I pray that peace and unity prevail within East Africa region,” a Tanzanian national who did not give his name said.
Amidst the merrymaking, Kenyans were still conscious of what lies ahead.
Monday’s celebrations were an extension from Sunday night when people converged in various parts of the city to usher in the New Year.
“Happy New Year, I am glad to cross over. 2017 was a tough one,” one reveler yelled, staggering from a club on Moi Avenue in Nairobi’s Central Business District which remained busy throughout the night.
At the Don Bosco Church in Upper Hill, hundreds of worshippers were singing and praying as part of their tradition in ushering in the New Year.
“God is Great,” Mary Kamau said shortly after midnight amid ululations from fellow worshippers, “We thank God we have made it.”
At the Safari Park Hotel, hundreds more families were making merry to usher in the New Year, with fireworks all over.
Places of worship in formal and informal settlements were packed to capacity, amid tight security.
“Goodbye 2017…” some were heard yelling out in joy.