Moving to Nairobi
Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is the largest city in East Africa. It serves as the economic hub of the country and surrounding regions, including Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. Expats moving to Nairobi will find a metropolis thick with the growing pains that come from rapid development, but in the absence of organic infrastructure.
Nairobi was originally a watering hole for the Maasai and their cattle, a swampy, river area known as Enkare Nyirobe or, loosely, "The Land of Cold Water". Later on, a mere outpost between Mombasa and Kampala, Nairobi was strategically placed for colonial expansion into the White Highlands and beyond. But over the past 100 years, the city has grown to a population of more than 3 million and is still expanding.
There are various considerations for expats moving to Nairobi. One is personal safety. Much has been made of Nairobi’s high crime rate. However, the crime that takes place here tends to be opportunistic, fairly unsophisticated and comparable to crime rates in other capitals around the world. For most people, frequent road traffic accidents are more of a menace than serious crime.
There continues to be a corruption problem that trickles down from high-level politicians to those on the ground such as traffic police, and sadly it's an issue that fails to be properly addressed.
The amount of overseas aid money and development funding pouring into the country is one of the contributing factors to Kenya having its own micro-economy, and many expats working in Nairobi are employed by non-government organisations. But in spite of international aid efforts and the recent emergence of a large middle class, poverty is still a huge problem.
Having said all this, expats may be surprised to learn that in spite of its poor reputation, many of those who move here fall hopelessly in love with Nairobi and choose to settle for many years, mainly because of the wonderful quality of life.
With spectacular game parks all over the country and a stunning Indian Ocean coastline on their doorstep, there’s plenty for expats to see and do. There's a sense of freedom, great schools, new experiences and adventures to be had, and a near-perfect climate.
To top it all, the Kenyan people are extremely happy, friendly and eager to help.