Nairobi is one of East Africa's most prominent cities. As Kenya's capital, the city is buzzing with residents who work hard and play hard: progressing in the business world and equally enjoying the active social scene, nightlife and cosmopolitan lifestyle. Expats moving to Nairobi will be excited by the prospects of living in the economic hub of eastern Africa.
Living in Nairobi as an expat
There are many pros and cons of moving to Nairobi. Despite the cons, most expats happily agree that they are outweighed by the positives, particularly the wonderful quality of life. The warmth of the people and the climate have many expats falling hopelessly in love with Nairobi and choosing to settle for many years.
There are plenty of work opportunities for expats in Nairobi. It is one of the largest metros in East Africa and it serves as the main commercial centre of Kenya. Nairobi has a relatively well developed industrial centre and is home to the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE). Few expats working in Nairobi relocate without a job offer. Most arrive with an already negotiated contract and, in some cases, a lucrative employment package.
One of the many considerations of expats moving to Nairobi is personal safety. However, much of the crime tends to be opportunistic, and housing in gated complexes comes equipped with reliable security systems. We recommend that expats practise vigilance and take normal precautions.
Transport is another consideration where safety plays a role in Nairobi. The city's transport infrastructure is somewhat underdeveloped and many expats choose to hire a local driver, or have one provided by their employer.
Cost of living in Nairobi
The chance to experience a new culture and environment while enjoying a reasonable cost of living has attracted many expats to Nairobi. Highly skilled expats and those with managerial positions working in Nairobi will be able to afford most of the creature comforts they had in their home country, and then some.
Expat families and children
Families with kids can settle in a spacious home close to some of Nairobi's best international schools. Those with a taste for luxury (and a budget that allows it) can invest in palatial properties in the more exclusive areas and suburbs, such as Muthaiga – the 'Beverly Hills of Nairobi'.
The more new arrivals begin to explore the city centre, neighbourhoods and surrounding areas, the more they realise how much there is to see and do. Families can enjoy a safari in Nairobi National Park, take in some art and culture and several galleries and other venues in the city, take part in the many fun events on the city's calendar, and experience fun nights out on the town at some top restaurants and lively bars.
Climate in Nairobi
Nairobi has a maritime climate, tempered by its high elevation and tends to be less hot than the rest of Kenya. As the city is near the equator there is little variation between the seasons.
Ultimately, expats with a sense of adventure will savour their time in Nairobi. Outdoor lovers, particularly, will likely never want to leave.
►Looking for a place to stay in Kenya's capital city? Read Accommodation in Nairobi
"Nairobi is a big city that is always busy, vibrant, interesting. The great outdoors are not far away and most expats living here enjoy a good quality of life." Read more of Jerry Riley's thoughts in his expat interview about living in Kenya.
"Nairobi is changing so fast. It’s an exciting place to live and there are huge opportunities here. We have made sacrifices and taken risks by living out here, but we now have a very good quality of life..." Frances shares her thoughts about life in Kenya in her expat interview.
Are you an expat living in Nairobi?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Nairobi. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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