Accommodation in Nairobi

Living in Nairobi - UpperhillSimilar to most major African cities, expats must consider security when searching for accommodation in Nairobi. Whether they choose to live in the suburbs in a self-contained house with its own garden, in a town house that forms part of a complex, or in an apartment, safety costs must be included in the estimated expenses.

There are plenty of real estate and relocation agents in Nairobi that can help organise accommodation, and many specialise in a particular geographical area.

Renting property in Nairobi

Housing is relatively expensive in Nairobi, and rental prices only continue to increase, but monthly rent for accommodation closer to the central business district (CBD) is often cheaper than the outer suburbs, depending on size and quality.

Expats that opt to live in an individual house on its own property will probably need to employ a night watchman, and a daytime gardener. Some people employ their own guards on an individual cash basis (often Samburu or Masai warriors!), but the norm is to enlist the services of one of the many security firms who provide a back-up system, panic buttons and intruder alarms. This service must be factored into an expat's expenses if renting this type of accommodation.

Those living on a compound with other houses will have these costs shared out among residents or rolled into the rent.
When choosing accommodation in Nairobi it is worth planning where to live in relation to commute time. More and more cars are invading the roads, and traffic jams and gridlock situations are common. Expats with kids often choose to live near their school of choice for the same reason (there are plenty of good but pricey private schools to choose from). Wherever one chooses to live, there will shopping centres and supermarkets in the area.

The city centre used to be where most offices were located in Nairobi, but over the past decade many businesses have moved out and relocated to more traditionally residential areas, mainly because of heavy traffic. For instance, in Westlands, Parklands, Upper Hill offices and shopping centres are mixed in with residential apartment blocks.

The further outside of the city centre one moves, the more spacious living arrangements become - with stand-alone houses on quarter, half or one acre plots. But because many of these suburbs are still not connected to mains sewerage infrastructure, there are still restrictions on development.