Kawangware 56: 6 Nairobi hoods with the oldest matatus

There are hoods that are known for bad matatus.

As much as Nairobi and other major towns take pride in having the best ‘javs’, a culture that has been a tourist attraction even with international celebrities promoting it, there are hoods that are known for bad matatus.


If you live in Highrise, Nairobi, you know well that this ‘hood’ needs vehicular redemption.

This one comes top as the king of the worst mats. Most of these mats have to be pushed for them to started and once they do, the emit smoke like a chimney.


Parklands might be one of the best hoods in Nairobi but their ‘javs’ are nothing to write home about. Just like Highrise, the mats here are those old number plates.

Forget how much one gets charged for fare, it takes a miracle to survive a ride home as even the interior is so stuffy, it chokes you.

Kawangware 56

This is one of those ‘hoods where anything goes. Their buses will have you taking ‘route 11’ chances. The KBS’s busses and City Hoppas at least give one hope but when it comes to the other buses and mini-busses, Kawangware leads from the back.

They can actually battle for a tie with Kibera and sometimes Dagoretti. From cockroaches to rusty doors and windows, these guys will surely need special intervention.

South B and C

South B used to have the best ‘javs’ back in the day. It was one of the hottest hoods back then and yes, the ‘kanges’ were also hot. But the same cannot be said about the hood now -forget the cool ‘javs’ that share the South B and South C route.

Most of the mats in both routes are old and are the smoking chimney type and most of the time, they break down on the way. And what is up with those guys always only fuelling for Sh200?

Donholm and Civo

The thought of Civo reminds you of old buses and tiring long drives home. It is like after mats wear out, they are usually dumped there.

Industrial Area

This is the mother of them all. Catching an Industrial Area mat is like courting tetanus. Most of them are rusty.

They also still have those extinct ‘tupendane’ train seats mats where one is forced to lock legs with the person seated opposite them.