Areas and suburbs in Nairobi

Nairobi is a prominent city in Africa, both financially and politically. It is important that expats moving to Nairobi familiarise themselves with the areas and suburbs of the city in terms of housing, schools, hospitals, and proximity to one's workplace. Some neighbourhoods are more suited to families, while others lend themselves well to the lifestyle of a single expat. 

For those who can afford it, upmarket housing is available in attractive neighbourhoods with all the facilities one could wish for. However, there are also a number of more affordable areas in Nairobi for expats who are earning more modest incomes. 

Exclusive neighbourhoods in Nairobi

Karen and Langata

Karen and Langata are two of the most exclusive areas in Nairobi and offer residents modern, high-end living options. Popular with both expats and wealthy Kenyans, these areas are home to a number of well-known private schools. A modern shopping complex offers residents a range of choices when it comes to dining and shopping. The only downside to living in Karen or Langata is that the areas are quite isolated. Although public transport it is available, expats living in this part of Nairobi will need to have a car.


Runda is a self-contained neighbourhood, which has a bit of a rural touch thanks to the surrounding forests. The US Embassy and the UN complex are nearby, making this a convenient place to live for employees of these organisations. Accommodation in these areas usually comes in the form of large, modern houses on huge plots. Runda is popular with expats who have kids as there are a number of kindergartens, primary, and secondary international schools nearby.


Muthaiga is often referred to as the 'Beverly Hills of Nairobi' as it is home to some of the richest Kenyans and most highly paid expats. Most roads in Muthaiga are gated, so it is very safe with its 24-hour security patrol. Those with children appreciate living close to a range of good international schools. Expats in Muthaiga also have access to great sport and recreation facilities at the area's country clubs.

City living in Nairobi


Close to Nairobi’s city centre, Westlands is a convenient location for young professionals looking to live close to their place of work. The area has plenty of shops, restaurants, nightclubs and bars to keep expats entertained. Spring Valley is the quieter part of Westlands where bungalows and large, detached houses are the norm, in contrast to the rest of Westlands which favours apartment blocks. Some roads in the area are gated and have security staff to monitor those who enter.

Kilimani and Hurlingham

Most of the apartment complexes in Kilimani and Hurlingham are high-rise and come with swimming pools and 24-hour security. The better complexes have additional facilities such as gyms, saunas and health clubs. The area also has several international schools and plenty of entertainment options in the form of shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants and even a casino.

Zeynep Vural. Our Expat Expert

I have relocated to Kenya in 2012 with my husband and two kids. Enjoying the beautiful weather and laid back lifestyle here in Kenya.  After working for big corporations, decided to become a life coach and started my practice recently. I am also a blogger, who loves to write and read. 

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