Moving to Mombasa
Expats moving to Mombasa will find a vibrant, loud and bustling city by the sea. As Kenya’s second largest city and a key regional economic hub, Mombasa's popularity as an expat destination is on the rise.
Expats are often drawn to Mombasa to work in mining, manufacturing, energy and oil. Large numbers of people also move to Mombasa to volunteer and work for NGOs. The city is also a major coastal tourist spot and the hospitality industry is another prominent income generator in the region.
As is the case in most large Kenyan cities, safety and security are concerns for expats. While the authorities in Mombasa have taken steps to implement safety measures by introducing security patrols in certain parts of the city centre and along the beaches, expats should avoid areas such as Kisumu Ndogo, Shauri Yako and Mmoja.
The standard of accommodation for expats living in Mombasa is high. Houses and apartments tend to be spacious and modern, yet affordable. Most expats choose housing within a secure gated community. The cost of living is reasonable and, while it can be hard to find home comforts, expats do have easy access to a large number of luxuries.
In terms of transport, the safest way for expats to get around in Mombasa is to hire a car with a local driver. Driving in Mombasa is dangerous and road traffic accidents are common as road conditions and signage are of a poor standard. The behaviour of road users can also be erratic, so expats will need nerves of steel if they want to get behind the wheel themselves.
The standard of healthcare provision in Mombasa varies considerably, and expats must ensure they have a comprehensive insurance policy if they want access to the best quality private healthcare. Mombasa’s main private hospitals are Mombasa Hospital, Pandhia Memorial Hospital and the Aga Khan Hospital. These hospitals are relatively well-equipped facilities and have English-speaking medical staff.
There's no shortage of activities to keep expats occupied in this colourful, vibrant city. From relaxing on Mombasa’s stunning beaches and finding a bargain at Kongowea's open-air market, to discovering more about Kenya’s fascinating history or getting active on Bamburi's hiking trail, there is something for everyone.
Mombasa is home to a mosaic of different cultures and expats living in the city are likely to experience some level of culture shock. It's not quite as cosmopolitan as the Kenyan capital of Nairobi and expats should dress modestly as most Mombasa locals are Muslim.
Expats may take a while to adjust to the slow, relaxed pace of life in Mombasa, but with a little patience and an open mind, they'll find their experience far more rewarding.