The Galton-Fenzi Memorial along Nairobi’s Koinange Street should be among the city monuments that elicit much attention from travellers. Particularly because it harbours great history regarding the origin of East Africa’s road network as we know it today.

It is a tribute to Lionel Douglas Galton-Fenzi, who is remembered for founding the Nairobi branch of the Royal East Africa Automobile Association in 1919, now the Automobile Association of Kenya. In 1926, he drove from Nairobi to Mombasa on a dirt track, becoming the first motorist to do so. People remember him for achieving this.

The now caged memorial, with its numerous cryptic markings, which denote possible coordinates for routes that Galton-Fenzi developed for the association, sits near a designated smoking zone that may put you off if you are a non-smoker.

Galton-fenzi memorial. The place where the peculiar monument stands is said to be the focal point from which all distances to and from Nairobi were measured.

After Galton-Fenzi’s death on May 15th 1937, they erected the memorial in 1939. Galton Fenzi founded the Royal East Africa Automobile Association in 1923. He remained its Honorary Secretary until he passed away at 56.

Galton-Fenzi, after founding the association, began negotiating for loan cars to test them for their suitability under East African conditions. For instance, he received a Riley 12/50 from the Riley Motor Car Co. Ltd. of Coventry and used it to make the maiden drive from Nairobi to Mombasa and back.

Galton and Captain Gethin in 1926 with the Riley 12/50 from the Riley Motor Car Co. Ltd. of Coventry which he used to make the maiden drive from Nairobi to Mombasa and back.

The monument appears to display the distances between Kenyan towns and this location. Consequently, the peculiar monument provides a focal point for measuring distances to and from Nairobi. Indeed, some of the marked towns include Mombasa, Fort Hall, Nanyuki, Moyale, Kajiado, Athi, and Voi. Other towns outside Kenya include Juba, Khartoum, Cairo, and Alexandria. The monument also shows distances from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro and Mombasa to Dar es Salaam. St Paul’s Church in Kiambu is where Galton-Fenzi’s burial is located.

Please remember to visit the Galton-Fenzi Memorial. Take selfies in front of it. It’s before the General Post Office and opposite the Cardinal Otunga Building.