- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Kenya Guide (PDF)
With so much to plan and consider, expats moving to Kenya are sure to have a few queries and concerns about their destination. Below we try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Kenya.
Do I need a car in Kenya?
Yes. Expats will need a car to get around as public transport in Kenya is limited and sometimes unsafe. It's advisable to invest in a reliable vehicle, as breaking down can present its own safety problems. An alternative is to hire a vehicle from a rental agency. That said, there are several ways of getting around in Kenya, and the fairly new train connecting Nairobi and Mombasa called the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is great for trips between these two cities.
Are there reliable internet service providers in Kenya?
Yes, Kenya has reliable internet, much to the relief of expats. There are many competing internet providers in Kenya and access shouldn't be a problem in the major cities.
Is my house going to be safe?
In terms of accommodation in Kenya, many expats live in gated communities and compounds. These are usually safe and often have dedicated security guards. Those living in freestanding homes will largely be responsible for their own security arrangements, and should make sure their budget can accommodate the cost of round-the-clock security measures.
While security systems and guards may be an element of culture shock for some, they can make both locals and new arrivals feel more secure in their homes. We recommend expats familiarise themselves with the main safety concerns in Kenya.
What is the healthcare like in Kenya?
The standard of healthcare in Kenya varies. Expats generally opt for private hospitals which generally offer a much higher standard of care than public facilities. We recommend expats invest in health insurance which includes cover for potential repatriation for more complicated medical procedures.
Do I need a visa to travel to Kenya?
Whether an expat needs a visa or not depends both on their country of citizenship and how long they plan on staying in Kenya. Countries such as South Africa, Zambia and Botswana don't need to apply for short-term visas. Citizens from several countries can obtain a visa on arrival at their port of entry, and others may easily apply online or through the nearest embassy. To work in Kenya, expats will need a relevant work permit.
What are schools like in Kenya?
Schools in Kenya deliver a high standard of education, and expats who can afford it generally opt for private and international schools that follow an international curriculum. It's important to research these schools in advance and make budget allowances for related school fees.
Is it expensive to live in Kenya?
An expat's expenses really depend on where they settle in Kenya and their lifestyle preferences. Expats will likely move to Nairobi, the capital city, where the cost of living is higher than elsewhere in the country, with particularly high accommodation costs. While it's not as expensive as many European expat destinations, don't be fooled into thinking everything is cheap. Still, lucrative employment packages generally make up for high costs, and it's easy to find discounts to save money. We recommend budgeting and negotiating with employees for particular benefits.
►For an overview of life in Kenya, see Moving to Kenya
►Read more about the Pros and Cons of Moving to Nairobi
Are you an expat living in Kenya?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Kenya. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
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