Large forensic mtDNA databases which adhere to strict guidelines for generation and maintenance, are not available for many populations outside of the United States and western Europe. We have established a high quality mtDNA control region sequence database for urban Nairobi as both a reference database for forensic investigations, and as a tool to examine the genetic variation of Kenyan sequences in the context of known African variation. The Nairobi sequences exhibited high variation and a low random match probability, indicating utility for forensic testing. Haplogroup identification and frequencies were compared with those reported from other published studies on African, or African-origin populations from Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and the United States, and suggest significant differences in the mtDNA compositions of the various populations. The quality of the sequence data in our study was investigated and supported using phylogenetic measures. Our data demonstrate the diversity and distinctiveness of African populations, and underline the importance of establishing additional forensic mtDNA databases of indigenous African populations.