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Pros and Cons of Living in Nairobi, Kenya | Expat Exchange
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Pros and Cons of Living in Nairobi

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Feb 25, 2023

Summary: The pros of living in Nairobi, Kenya include its vibrant culture, diverse population, and excellent infrastructure. The city is home to a wide variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues, making it a great place to explore and experience the local culture. Additionally, Nairobi is a hub for business and finance, making it an attractive destination for those looking to start or grow their career. The cons of living in Nairobi include its high cost of living, high crime rate, and poor air quality. The city is also prone to flooding during the rainy season, which can cause significant damage to property and infrastructure. Additionally, the city is often congested with traffic, making it difficult to get around.

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What are the pros and cons of living in Nairobi?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Nairobi responded:

"Expats and digital nomads generally like the following aspects of living in Nairobi: 1. Vibrant culture: Nairobi is known for its rich cultural heritage, with a mix of different ethnic groups, languages, and traditions, making it an exciting and diverse place to live. 2. Friendly people: Kenyans are known for their warmth and hospitality, making it easy for expats and digital nomads to feel welcome and make friends. 3. Affordable cost of living: Compared to many Western countries, the cost of living in Nairobi is relatively low, making it an attractive destination for expats and digital nomads looking to stretch their budget. 4. Natural beauty: Nairobi is surrounded by stunning landscapes, including national parks, wildlife reserves, and the Great Rift Valley, offering plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and weekend getaways. 5. Growing tech scene: Nairobi has a burgeoning tech scene, with numerous startups and innovation hubs, making it an attractive destination for digital nomads and entrepreneurs. 6. Climate: Nairobi enjoys a mild climate with warm days and cool nights, making it a comfortable place to live year-round. However, there are also some aspects that expats and digital nomads may dislike about living in Nairobi: 1. Traffic congestion: Nairobi is notorious for its traffic jams, which can make commuting and getting around the city frustrating and time-consuming. 2. Safety concerns: Crime can be an issue in certain parts of Nairobi, and expats and digital nomads may need to take precautions to ensure their personal safety. 3. Infrastructure: While Nairobi has made significant progress in recent years, some areas still suffer from inadequate infrastructure, such as unreliable electricity and water supply, and poor road conditions. 4. Pollution: Air and noise pollution can be a problem in Nairobi, particularly in heavily congested areas. 5. Limited public transportation: Nairobi's public transportation system is not as developed as in some other major cities, which can make getting around the city more challenging for those without a car. 6. Bureaucracy: Expats and digital nomads may find dealing with bureaucratic processes, such as obtaining visas and work permits, to be slow and cumbersome," said one in Nairobi.

"Nairobi is a beautiful and dynamic city...full of contrasts and economic disparities. The weather and vegetation and fresh food/produce are amazing. Kenya is a young and youthful country teaming with potential and growing exponentially in development. It is also becoming more and more cosmopolitan. It s the tech hub for East Africa n a huge gateway city for the region. Touristy things to do are abundant and the country is diverse in people n landscapes and just stunningly beautiful. People are generally spite,warm and friendly...but some friendly folk are scammers, conpeople or will use friendship with expats for financial benefits. On the other hand poverty is rampant so one must be prepared to live more generously than we do in the west. Water, electricity n internet are not dependable but fairly doable overall...crime and corruption are rampant...there s a lot to learn in order to avoid them (hopefully!! But no guarantees). Traffic is AWFUL n unpredictable... it s good to live as close as possible to your work and all the adverts that say only 20 or 30 minutes from somewhere are false advertisements. 20 minutes on your best day can easily be 2 hours another day," explained one expat in Nairobi.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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