Nairobi, Kenya Report of what it's like to live there - 11/01/20
Personal Experiences from Nairobi, Kenya
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No. Multiple posts in Latin America and Europe.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
US. It is a LONG trip with a connection in Europe. Every airline uses their crappiest plane to fly in/out of Nairobi (even Qatar and Emirates) so the leg into/out of Nairobi is always unpleasant.
3. What years did you live here?
4. How long have you lived here?
5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing is good, big houses with nice yards.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Hit or miss. There are lots of things you can't find or you'll only find occasionally. Prices are shockingly expensive.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
You can get everything via DPO.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
There is a surprising dearth of restaurants. You end up going to the same places over and over again.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Occasionally the termites would swarm but nothing too awful.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Plentiful and cheap.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Lots of choices, can be pricey.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
English is spoken everywhere.
6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Plentiful but not safe.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Fast and generally works well.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
Lots of opportunities around.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Yes! In addition to the terrorism (!) which is a real and ever present concern, there are general safety issues with everything.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Medical care if decent for the day to day. Dental care is good.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
4. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
The climate is fantastic except for the occasional rains and flooding.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
ISK is an excellent school.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
This is not a good place for teens. There lives are super-restricted and the only place to hang out is in the malls which is, in itself, a safety concern.
3. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
4. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Going on safaris is great but they are incredibly expensive even at the resident rate and not something you can do every weekend. Otherwise, it can be a really boring place with little to do. Once you have been on safari and to the elephant orphanage, there isn't much else to do on an average weekend.
5. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
The traffic is terrible, it is very expensive, it is bad for teens, and it is boring.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?