Nairobi Tales: Of an Incredible Night Visit to Eastleigh!
I’ve always perceived shopping as feminine. I deliberately avoid shopping errands.
I have two teenage daughters, Sarah and Tamara. They often gang up with their mother to make me dance, wear funny costumes and participate in cook-offs.
It’s all laughter and games, but shopping is where I had to draw the line.
The KCPE results released last week unleashed a celebratory mood into our home.
Sarah had managed excellent results. Somehow, despite her constantly doing everything else rather than studying! I had to take them out for a treat.
Instead of the usual spots, the teens picked BBS Mall, in Eastleigh.
Where? Eastleigh? I had to ask twice.
Finding BBS Mall
Well, hasn’t everything changed in this neighbourhood?
The BBS Mall is quite impossible to miss. They are centrally located on General Waruinge Street, opposite Pumwani Hospital. The building is so imposing that flashing neon signs are unnecessary – you’ll know it when you see it!
There’s a massive shared parking, basement level and an elevated parking on the west side. All parking slots have clear markings. It’s one thing to park and another to spend an hour searching for your car later.
There’s little to prepare you for the entirely new world that punches you in the face once you step in. two steps in. I instantly understood my daughters’ excitement.
Were we really in Eastleigh?
Design and Architecture
The BBS Mall is an architectural masterpiece that covers an astounding 6.5 acres designed by globally acclaimed architect Chris Bell.
The building is characterized by wide passageways. They have a thing for space. I did not feel suffocated by thick walls and unnecessary corners. This is twice the size of malls we had visited before, but we knew we’d not be lost.
It has a superb design. Everything is either in white, creams or shades of white and cream. I loved the high ceilings, ambient lighting and top-end fixtures. This mall even has chandeliers!
I’ve never liked Nairobi malls due to my asthmatic condition. It is often triggered by extreme cold or stuffy places. I’ve been to chilly malls. I’d be shivering in a few minutes.
I had a pleasant experience at BBS Mall with a pretty well-balanced air-conditioning. It was neither cold, hot or stuffy.
We started exploring.
Every so often, I’d be asking my wife: Are we really in Eastleigh?
The Exploration Run
The BBA Mall is designed on a floor-to-floor grouping system for related businesses. Interactive displays on the walkways make it easy to move around or spot a specific shop.
We, for instance – were here for a gastronomic adventure.
Sarah wanted Mexican dishes, while her sister vouched for Indian cuisine.
The 1st and 2nd Floors are the home of trendy cafes and eateries.
Here, we’d sample more than just food.
We ride the elevator to the 2nd Floor.
The girls love clothes. They have all the must-visit boutiques and brands for fashion and style enthusiasts. Interestingly, most of the boutiques display mouth-watering shopping deals and discount offers.
The Conclave Barbershop and Spa caught my eye.
They have a list of wholesome experiences at very reasonable prices. Everything from steam baths, physiotherapy, and chiropractors to Moroccan baths.
Oh, and ‘cupping’ – a recovery procedure very popular with elite athletes.
My wife loves interior design. She could literally live on the 3rd Floor – the home décor space.
The 3rd Floor is also home to the bankers. I could spot most Kenyan banks, plus a smattering of forex bureaus and money transfer firms.
Ultimate Hangout: The Selfie Wall
The teenagers had gone to the ‘Selfie Wall’ – on the 3rd Floor.
Well, architecture meets art. The designers set aside what seems like a gallery: An entire wall adorned with surreal 3D landscape prints. It feels like you are walking into a movie set, with lighting apt for modern photography.
The girls were here – shooting TikTok videos – alongside hordes of teenagers and young couples taking selfies, dancing or hanging out.
The Selfie Wall is the perfect chill spot to unwind in style and create memories with friends.
Culture & Religion
The BBS Mall is the perfect canvas for the strong entrepreneurial spirit of the Somali community. This cultural backbone fosters a unique sense of community, a collective mindset and a firm social network.
All this is possible due to a strong foundation in religion. Islam brings trust and unity of purpose in social and business circles.
The BBS Mall has dedicated two floors for an expansive mosque that can easily accommodate 2,000 people. It is a thoughtful gesture for the shoppers at the mall.
Roof-top Exhibition Area
My wife suggested we check out the rooftop. What she had in mind was a few aerial photographs of the Eastleigh landscape. We had had enough of stairs, so we took a lift.
We got the surprise of our lifetime. It was a well-crafted exhibition area, wholly carpeted like a mini football pitch.
It’d be perfect for social events, like brand activations, live band shows, and private parties.
BBS Mall is hosting the Core Expo (Construction & Real Estate) from 30th October to 2nd December which comes with alot of free Turkish delights and sweets with every buffet purchased during the Expo.
Late Night Hours
After a gazillion aerial photos of the neighbourhood, we rode the lift down. We had been here for four hours. It was almost 9pm!
That’s the longest I’ve ever enjoyed spending time in a mall!
Funny thing? The mall was now filling up. It was getting super busy. The Somali community has an almost-nocturnal lifestyle, mostly active from 5pm to past 2am!
The trading hours make BBS Mall the perfect shopping spot after work.
We had picked Arkam Dinner and Sweets, an open-plan café on the 2nd Floor.
I was craving coffee. The Espressos were so incredible that the girls had two each as we waited for the meal. Their menu is purely ala carte.
It’s not Fiction, Come See!
I’ve often been accused of hyperbole. This write-up hardly serves justice to BBS Mall. It makes Eastleigh my go-to destination in Nairobi.
Here, I can treat loved ones, hang out with my cronies – grab a Moroccan bath – and still grab a few discounts with shopping.
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