Lifestyle in Nairobi
PRO: Relatively integrated society
With the emergence of a large middle-class with disposable income, the expat and local communities are not as segregated as they used to be. Kenyan and expat parents mix openly at kids’ schools, country clubs, bars, shopping centres and local restaurants.
Nairobi enjoys a mild climate throughout the year. The city is at a high altitude, with sunny days and cooler nights. There is a short rainy season before Christmas, and longer rains fall from March to May. November to February is generally warm. No need for central heating or warm coats, ever.
PRO: Easily accessible holiday destinations
PRO: Expats lead active social lives
There are lots of restaurants and bars in Nairobi, and a buzzing social scene. There are also plenty of hospitals, and many good-quality private schools. The majority follow the British system, but there are also international schools. Many expats end up settling here because they love it so much.
CON: Limited shopping opportunities
Culture Shock in Nairobi
PRO: Locals are friendly and English is widely spoken
The Kenyan people are wonderfully friendly and tolerant of visitors. English is the first language spoken here, though most Kenyans are trilingual, using tribal languages and Kiswahili, or even a mixture of all three.
CON: Expats may take a long time adjusting
Safety and security in Nairobi
CON: Personal safety is an issue
Security is an issue in Nairobi, with incidents of car-jacking and theft not uncommon. However, if one were to compare crime rates in other large cities around the world, Nairobi wouldn’t be significantly worse. Just because an expat moves to Nairobi, does not mean they’ll be targeted. Most victims of theft are middle-class or poorer Kenyans who cannot afford good security.
CON: Shaky local political situation
Kenyans are highly politicised people. Due to the ongoing fight for fair elections and a better democracy, elections themselves can be fraught with public demonstrations and sometimes accompanying violence.
CON: Dangerous driving conditions
Working in Nairobi
CON: Corruption affects business
Bureaucracy and corruption is a problem. Many officials expect small bribes as a matter of course to move things along, which makes aspects of doing business difficult.
Cost of living in Nairobi
PRO: General expenses are affordable
The fruit and vegetables are delicious: organic, plentiful and cheap. This also applies to many of its meat products. Flowers are grown commercially here too, so roses, lilies and others are inexpensive.
CON: Holidays are expensive
CON: Certain utilities are pricey
Accommodation in Kenya
PRO: Domestic staff are easy to find
CON: Power and water supply issues
There are fairly frequent power cuts, although owning a small generator can be a huge help. Water supply can also be an issue as Kenya often experiences drought. In these situations, expats may need to supplement their water supply by buying water tankers.