Frequently Asked Questions about Kenya
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With so much to plan and consider, expats moving to Kenya are sure to have a few queries and concerns about their destination. Below we try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Kenya.
Do I need a car in Kenya?
Yes. Expats will need a car to get around as public transport in Kenya is limited and sometimes unsafe. It's advisable to invest in a reliable vehicle as a broken-down car can present its own safety problems. An alternative is to hire a vehicle from a rental agency. That said, there are several ways of getting around in Kenya, and the fairly new train connecting Nairobi and Mombasa, called the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), is great for trips between these two cities.
Are there reliable internet service providers in Kenya?
Yes, Kenya has reliable internet, much to the relief of expats. There are many competing internet providers in Kenya and access shouldn't be a problem in the major cities.
Is my house going to be safe?
In terms of accommodation in Kenya, many expats live in gated communities and compounds. These are usually safe and often have dedicated security guards. Those living in freestanding homes will largely be responsible for their own security arrangements, and should make sure their budget can accommodate the cost of round-the-clock security measures.
While security systems and guards may be an element of culture shock for some, they can make both locals and new arrivals feel more secure in their homes. We recommend expats familiarise themselves with the main safety concerns in Kenya.
What is the healthcare like in Kenya?
The standard of healthcare in Kenya varies. Expats generally opt for private hospitals which generally offer a much higher standard of facilities than their public counterpart. We recommend expats invest in health insurance which includes cover for potential repatriation for more complicated medical procedures.
Do I need a visa to travel to Kenya?
Whether an expat needs a visa or not depends both on their country of citizenship and how long they plan on staying in Kenya. Countries such as South Africa, Zambia and Botswana don't need to apply for short-term visas. Citizens from several countries can obtain a visa on arrival at their port of entry, and others may easily apply online or through the nearest embassy. To work in Kenya, expats will need a relevant work permit.
What are schools like in Kenya?
Schools in Kenya deliver a high standard of education, and expats who can afford it generally opt for private and international schools that follow an international curriculum. It's important to research these schools in advance and make budget allowances for related school fees.
Is it expensive to live in Kenya?
An expat's expenses really depend on where they settle in Kenya and their lifestyle preferences. Expats will likely move to Nairobi, the capital city, where the cost of living is higher than elsewhere, with particularly high accommodation costs. While it's not as expensive as many European expat destinations, don't be fooled into thinking everything is cheap. Still, lucrative employment packages generally make up for high costs, and it's easy to find discounts to save money. We recommend budgeting and negotiating with employees for particular benefits.