Ruaka is a fast-growing, upper-market neighborhood that is 10 kilometers northwest of the Nairobi Central Business District. It attracts discerning investors from far and wide and is home to the largest mall in Kenya and the entire East Africa region, the renowned Two Rivers Mall.
Bounding it to the east and south is Gigiri, home to the United Nations Headquarters in Kenya. Ruaka also borders high-prized estates such as Runda and is part of the Greater Nairobi Metropolitan Conurbation.
Ruaka has become one of the fastest-growing satellite towns in Kenya with different property types coming up in a place that was once filled with leafy vegetation and bare land. And being approximately 20 minutes away from the city center, Ruaka is the perfect place to get away from the congestion in Nairobi.
Ruaka is accessible via Limuru Road and the Northern Bypass. Once the proposed Western Bypass is completed, it will also link Ruaka to the Nairobi – Nakuru Highway at Gitaru. Not only will this give maximum exposure to Ruaka, but also serve to expand it even more as it will open doors to more investors.
Brief History of Ruaka
Ruaka was a prime agricultural area. There were no major roads connecting the surrounding counties (Nairobi and Kiambu). Ruaka was sparsely populated. There was no real estate activity in the area but that has now changed with the recent activities taking place.
Ruaka has immensely grown. New buildings are sprouting up. Developers are pouring in as the area is cheap and affordable to carry out construction activities. The soil is alluvial rich therefore the buildings constructed have firm stability. Currently, the tallest building has 11 floors. Modern housing plans are being used thus offering quality homes and apartments. The county government has recently installed sewer lines. The roads are being expanded and the bypasses connect the town to the neighboring towns. This has enabled easy accessibility in and out of the place. It is also cheap to sink boreholes and the water is clean and not salty. Therefore it can be stored in water reservoirs and be used for drinking and other uses.
Ruaka has a large working population and this brings about revenue to the county. The county government in return upgrades the area to enable comfortable living. Ruaka definitely has its perks!
How to get to ruaka
To get to Ruaka, from the Nairobi CBD. Take route number 106 that goes to Ruaka and its environs such as the UN, Two Rivers Mall, and the Village Market. You can board these matatus at the Khoja stage or at the Odeon Cinema stage. In the alternative depending on where you are, you can also take route number 125/126 buses located at Railways station bus stop.
During peak hours, it will cost you around eighty to a hundred Kenya shillings (Kshs.80-100/-) to get to Ruaka and fifty shillings (Kshs.50/-) during off-peak hours. Peak hours start from 6 am to 10 am and 4 pm to 9 pm, while off-peak hours start from 11 am to 3 pm and 9 pm to 12 am.
Since Ruaka is just a stone’s throw away from the city save for when there’s traffic. It will only take you approximately 30 minutes to get there by matatu. 15 minutes if you opt to take a cab or if you decide to drive yourself there.
There has been a construction boom in Ruaka town with a growing demand for residential property. As a result, it has become easier to move in and out of Ruaka. This is thanks to the government improving the road network and constructing the Bypass.
Ruaka attracts young professionals and expatriates working in multinational institutions in the area. Because of the distance to Nairobi, beautiful landscape, cool climate, and close proximity to different social amenities like restaurants, retail stores, and more, the growth in Ruaka is the impetus. The working population has enabled services such as internet connectivity and errand services easier. Services can be easily accessed as vendors have set up shops in the area.
Property Prices in Ruaka
Investment firms have for the umpteenth time reiterated the “unique” investment opportunities in Ruaka in reports and publications. Land in Ruaka is currently cheap. An eighth of an acre range from 10M to 15M. A quarter of an acre ranges from 20M to 40M. Housing plans are cheap and affordable. Apartments for sale 2 bedroom range from 6M to 9M. 3 bedrooms range from 8M to 13M. Townhouses range from 10M to 15M. Rental properties range from Kshs. 600,000 to Kshs.900,000.
Most of the demand in Ruaka comes from young families who want to purchase their first home which in most cases is a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment. This shows from the social amenities within the area e.g. when it comes to schools, Ruaka has kindergartens showing the youthfulness of the demographic that lives here or that which it attracts.
With the shift to micro-living, more property seekers prefer smaller affordable rental spaces hence the increased demand for bedsitters, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. The homes and apartments are of high quality. Rent-to-own options are being offered by developers in Ruaka. You can check some of the properties here.
Also the growing demand for land and housing in such satellite towns together with the construction of the Western Bypass will continue to drive investments in Ruaka.
In Ruaka, developers get more units on a small piece of land, thus getting better returns on investments. The more units you can erect on a given piece of land the better for an investor. Therefore developers are taking advantage of this growth by constructing multiple apartments to cater to the high demand in the area.
Ruaka’s growth has come about due to various factors such as:
- Presence of recreational facilities such as Two Rivers Malls, Village Market, Riviera Mall, the Tribe Hotel and Trademark Hotel.
- Improved infrastructure with the Northern ByPass linking to Kiambu Road connecting to other neighbourhoods such as Westlands, Runda, Waiyaki Way and Limuru.
- Enhanced security from the presence of international organizations like the American Embassy, the United Nations and Hope Worldwide.
- Cheaper available land compared to the neighbouring suburbs such as Runda. Many locals are willing to sell their land to investors.
- Availability of unused bare land behind the properties along the main road which creates an opportunity for developers and agents to supply more properties to meet the ever-growing demand.
If you are looking for a place to call home with an abundance of schools, and fun activities for the kids to participate in, look no further. Ruaka is the most preferred place by many young families who put emphasis on the development and growth of their children. Some of the schools in Ruaka include:
- Bloomsfield School
- Lily of the Valley Junior School,
- Kingsmead Junior Academy,
- Royal Brain School,
- Foresight Junior, among many others.
Hospitals in Ruaka
If you are worried about your healthcare needs being met at ease, you need not worry as Ruaka entails a number of modern health facilities with competent health practitioners hence you need not rush to the city whenever a health emergency comes up. Below are some of the hospitals in Ruaka. Take a look:
- Aga Khan University Hospital Ruaka
- Ruaka Healthcare Hospital
- Gertrude’s Ruaka Clinic
- St. Peter and Ann Medical Center Ruaka
- AAR Healthcare Ruaka
Restaurants in Ruaka
Ruaka has something different for everyone when it comes to restaurants, whether you are looking to enjoy an evening with your friends or family, or grab a quick bite.
If you have been to Ruaka before, you know about the nyama choma joints that are located along the Bypass. There is something about the meat they sell here. People who go to Ruaka to either view property to rent or buy, frequent this place a lot over the weekend. The meat is sold in open grills by different vendors, which leaves you with plenty of options.
As a pork lover, you’ll enjoy sampling the variety of meals that are all made from pork. You’ll definitely want to sample the pork burgers, mishkaki, pork mutura, pork sausages, pork dry and wet fry.
At Two Rivers, the restaurant options are endless. Whether you are in the mood for fast food, Chinese or Italian, they’ve got you covered. Some restaurants at Two Rivers include Colosseum Restaurant & Lounge, Aldar Restaurant Lebanese & Oriental cuisine, Nagala’s Chakula, Afghan house, Lotos, and Adega Express and Artcaffe, and others
Shopping Malls in Ruaka
Different fashionable shops such as Nike, Woolworths, LC Waikiki, Two Rivers will cater to your entire family. Other places to shop include the Rosslyn Riviera Mall, Quick Mart Supermarket, Tuskys, Carrefour among others.
Apart from shopping malls and supermarkets, Ruaka also has open-air markets which sell fresh produce, cereals, and fruits. As you can see, Ruaka never disappoints.
The following are the main factors boosting real estate in Ruaka;
1. Good Transport Network: Limuru Road, the Northern Bypass, and the proposed Western Bypass will enable easy access to Nairobi CBD and other transport nodes such as Waiyaki Way, Kiambu Road, the Eastern Bypass, Thika Road and Mombasa Road,
2. Hotels, Malls, and Recreational Facilities: Ruaka boasts of hosting one of the largest mixed-use development in East and Central Africa, Two Rivers’ Mall, which opened in February 2017. Other neighboring recreational facilities include the Rosslyn Riviera Mall, The Village Market, Tribe Hotel, Sahara West, Village Falls Park, and Herisquare Lounge, ensuring leisure facilities are in the nearby vicinity,
Ruaka enjoys a certain level of security because it borders the affluent suburbs of Runda, Nyari and Rosslyn. It is also minutes away from the United Nations Complex, and certain embassies like the American Embassy. Those areas have a high-security presence that spills over to Ruaka.
4. International Organisations: The presence of the United Nations Environmental Program in Gigiri (8 minutes away from Ruaka) has attracted foreigners who not only boost the appeal of the town but also create a market for residential and commercial real estate,
5. Zoning: Due to the relaxation of zoning restrictions, the town has seen an increase in high-density developments that have resulted to an increase in the value of the real estate.
Key attractions in Ruaka
If you are looking for a healthy dose of fun and retail therapy, Ruaka is the place to head out for such. Let’s take a look at some of the key attractions at Ruaka;
Two Rivers Mall
If you are looking for a full day of adventure and fun, the enormous Two Rivers Mall is an excellent destination. Though be warned, you may need to spend more than a day at the mall to discover everything it offers.
Spread across 65,000 square meters, the mall boasts an enormous shopping and retail space. It is home to big brands such as Carrefour, LC Wakiki, Hugo Boss and Nike.
Ride the Ferris Wheel
The largest Ferris Wheel in Africa is at the Two Rivers Mall. It offers riders spectacular views of Nairobi and neighboring areas, and is aptly called the ‘Eye of Kenya‘.
Therefore, if you are not afraid of heights, this is the perfect activity to give you an adrenalin rush while giving you a bird’s view of the Nairobi skyline. The Ferris Wheel rotates slowly and constantly to allow people to get on and off without it coming to a stop. With 40 cabins, each sitting 6 people, one ride takes approximately 17 minutes and will cost you Kshs 500 per person.
If you are not afraid to bring out your inner child, you will have the perfect opportunity at Funscapes. It has games for children of all ages. As an indoor mini-park, you don’t have to worry about your kids wandering off or constantly keeping an eye on them to see what they are doing because it is a safe space for the kids.
No need of doing the same things over and over again. Why not try something new and learn how to skate?
Having dinner in most restaurants in Nairobi, all you have is the view of the person you are with and artwork on the walls. However, at Two Rivers it’s a different dining experience. Apart from the lovely food, brighten your evening with the beautiful view of the dancing fountains.
Several hours of shopping and time at the theme park will help work up a healthy appetite. You can choose from the wide range of dining options available here. So, whether you are looking for fast food, or fine dining, you will be pleased with the excellent choice before you. From traditional indigenous cuisines to an international fare, patrons can enjoy it all.
The Swahili words ‘Nyama Choma’ translates as ‘roast meat’. Roasted goat or beef meat is served with ugali and kachumbari salad and is traditionally eaten with the hands. Ruaka has emerged as one of the best places to get Nyama Choma in Nairobi. Located on the bypass, you will find meat being cooked on open grills and sold by several vendors. Of course, you can also opt to visit a restaurant that offers Nyama Choma.
Red Hill Art Gallery
The Red Hill Art Gallery is set amidst a beautiful verdant garden and showcases modern and contemporary African art. It has an interesting and eclectic collection of art and sculpture that has been carefully and painstakingly collected by the owners of the gallery over a period of twenty-five years.
The gallery proudly hosts exhibitions of works by renowned artists, as well as new talent. You can expect to see breathtaking collage art, narrative painting, and much more. The art on display is as unique as the medium used to create them. If you intend to visit the gallery, it would be a good idea to check the exhibition schedule on the gallery’s official website.
The Karura Forest is unique and unusual because of several reasons. The most important of these is that it is an urban forest and only a few minutes’ drive from Ruaka. This is why it is an attractive option on your list of things to do in Ruaka Kenya. There are several pathways and trails you can choose to explore parts of the 1,000 ha forest. In fact, you can cover as much as 50 kilometers of the forest on the marked trails. It is a good idea to wear comfortable and sturdy footwear so that you can make the most of your visit to the Karura Forest.
For bird and game watchers, Karura Forest will definitely indulge you as it is home to as many as 200 species of birds and wild animals. It lies on the drainage basin of several tributaries of the Nairobi River, including the Rui Ruaka, Getathuru, and the Thigirie.
Visitors to the forest will enjoy exploring it and can visit the Mau Mau caves, the waterfalls, and the bamboo forest. After several hours of hiking, you may enjoy relaxing by the river café. If you need to take a break from the rigors of urban life, the Karura Forest offers an excellent getaway.
Shopping for traditional and indigenous handicrafts has never been so much fun, as it is at a Masai Market. The location of the market changes every day, and so it would be a good idea to check where it will be set up on the day you intend to visit. Some of the locations for the market include The Village Market in Ruaka and the Westgate Shopping Mall in Westlands.