KarenGuide Blog

Amazing adventures, real life reviews and inspiration all in this perfect guide built by local bloggers

I need to get out of my house; I’m stifled creatively and need inspiration. I decided to hunker down with my computer and attempt to work out what I’m doing with my life. I head for my usual haunts, Artcaffe in The Hub, Newscafé at Hardy Post but I’m uninspired. I need a chance of scene, then I hit upon the idea of The Waterfront.

The Waterfront Nairobi I’ve been down on the Waterfront since it opened in March. I think if you open with such a huge fizz and bang then you should have more than one shop open at the time. The Watermark it has the potential to be the vibrant centre of Karen, it’s a good looking, well located, spacious mall but it sits mostly empty. Care and consideration have been taken in the design and built of the building and its surrounds. 200,000 square foot of clean white lines are juxtaposed with a 3.5 acre man-made lake and grassy banks. Wide-open spaces house market stalls on weekends and benches invite you to sit down and relax. Even the toilets are immaculate, overall the mall has a sense of light and spaciousness that is exacerbated by its ghostly halls.

Nairobi Cafe Java – international food cafe

Upon arrival I’m happy to see that things are slowly changing. I’m sitting in Café Java’s; the decoration is fairly swanky; floor to ceiling windows overlook the lake. The vast light yet elegant room curves around a leather-encased bar that holds displays of tantalising cakes. It’s lime green and taupe colour scheme adds gravitas and a sense of cosiness. This is a comfortable place, and it’s proving popular. At lunchtime on Tuesday it is 50% full. I’m allowed to sit here for a couple of hours and no one chases me out or constantly hovers with the bill as they do in Java House. A breeze blows in gently through the door and the manager comes to ask how my meal was… this is great I think, my new secret hideout. I have Fajitas, reasonably priced at just 1050; they are delicious, served sizzling hot with refried beans, good guacamole, sour cream, salsa and lime rice. It’s ticking all the boxes and I so want to give The Watermark another chance. CJ's The Watefront Karen

ShopRite at The Watermark

The marketer in me senses that The Watermark is about to get a helluva lot more popular with the arrival of Shoprite from South Africa. Whilst branded Shoprite in Kenya, the stores are modelled on the South African Checkers store and bring with them a more luxurious shopping experience. Shoprite is bringing more choice to customers with a wide range of imported South African products including a fresh in-store bakery and deli counter. They are ferocious on price; products in the Westlands store are considerably lower than most other Kenyan supermarkets. The arrival of another international food store into Kenya can only be a good thing; bringing lower priced foreign brands will help drive prices down as a whole. I visited the Westlands store recently and it’s a lovely looking shop with some dearly missed South African products… I think Shoprite may be the key to driving traffic to the Waterfront.

Where to eat at The Watermark

Elsewhere in The Waterfront other shops are popping up. This week welcomes Saab Bakery whose storefront boasts delicious looking cakes and whose website shows a fab looking fry up. There’s Indian at Mint Café, pizza and pasta at Panarottis, chinese at The Graceful and a huge menu of different cuisines at my new favourite CJ’s. Of course, Game is also here, the one-stop shop for cookers to camping items, water bottles to window cleaner. On weekends a market pops up with organic food stalls and local crafts. 

Big on Entertainment

The Waterfront is big on fun, there is Paintball Fury and Maji’s Magic is an aquatic obstacle course on the lake. Maji’s also do Stand Up Paddleboards and wakeboarding. There is usually a bouncy castle and cars for the kids to drive around on or boats for them on the lake. There was talk of a 5km running track but I can't see it. It’s a typical Kenyan entertainment offering, a gathering point for families on weekends and spot for adults to linger during the nights, with frequent concerts & shows. Majis Magic The Watefront So what’s it missing? Well, more shops for a start as it is still mostly empty. It has no clothes shops other than Classic Polo, no toy shops, no fabulous trinket shop to mooch around in. It’s missing the local craft shops of the Village Market, and the international brand names of The Hub. It's a mall in its infancy and with bags of potential but in terms of shopping, it appears that The Waterfront has yet to find its niche.

In summary, The Waterfront is great for entertainment, good for food and lacking in shops. I'll keep you posted over the coming month. Check out these organic and sustainable food suppliers in Nairobi The Waterfront Nairobi

The Waterfront facts:

Shoprite opens on 26th September and I’m promised they will have some fabulous opening offers

Current shops include: Globoedge Solutions Timeless Gifts House of Party Classic Polo Regineez Mari Fashion Goodlife Pharmacy Skarpa Osu Malia Baroque Sax and Violins Game Patori Leather Goods Emrok 25th Hive

Current eateries include: Saab Bakery Panarottis Mint Leave The Graceful Café Java’s Services: Beauty Kuche Rand Forex Bureau Waterfront Clinic One move hair and beauty Entertainment Maji’s Magic Aquapark costs 2000 KES for 1 hour including all equipment Wakeboarding costs 2000 KES for 75 minutes including instruction/lesson Paintball Fury 90 minutes and 150 paintballs for 1500

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