Süha Derbent’s Nairobi

WILD LIFE PHOTOGRAPHER SÜHA DERBENT HAS BEEN FOLLOWING THE TRAIL OF WILD ANIMALS AROUND THE WORLD FOR 20 YEARS. WE ASKED HIM ABOUT THE KENYAN CAPITAL, NAIROBI.

When did you get to know Nairobi? Do you go there often?
I first got to know Nairobi 15 years ago. I came to Central Africa for my first shoot after making an extended safari in the countries of South Africa. And that was, as they say, ‘It!’ Since Central Africa is a perennial favorite with me, I also go to Nairobi. And the people I take on safari are liking that city more and more.

Could we term Nairobi Africa’s gateway to wild life then?
Yes. Not just for me but for lots of people. Kenya rakes in serious revenues from tourism. People come to Nairobi from all over the world for safaris. They usually stay one night in the city and then set out in the morning for Masai Mara.

Can you tell us a little about Kenya and Nairobi?
Kenya is a country of warm, friendly people, like in the famous song, Hakuna Matata. One thing it shares with Istanbul is the morning and evening traffic congestion. If I had to describe Nairobi in one word, I would say it’s a ‘green’ city.

What is the best way to get to know Nairobi?
For me the most important thing about Nairobi is that you can see wild animals even in the city. Not the big cats but many species of birds, even birds of prey, can be observed in the trees around the city. When I’m in Nairobi, I like to visit the local market next to West Gate shopping center and pick up hand-made local products there.