Recently voted as the 12th Best City for Expats in the World and 1st in Africa, Nairobi, “The Green City in the Sun,” is often an underrated city which offers all the basics Digital Nomads are looking for, at a Budget Price, with all the upsides of a Modern City.
1. M-Pesa (Mobile Banking Service)
M-Pesa is a convenient way to receive, store, spend & transfer money through mobile phones. It is an acceptable means of payment, known for its effectiveness in Kenya.
As a Foreigner, all you need is a Valid Passport and a Safaricom Sim Card, and then you can move about the whole country without carrying cash. You can pay for all services from the high-end restaurants to the street vendors, the retail stores, Uber and taxi drivers, internet service providers, or every other imaginable product/service available. As Kenyans will tell you here, “Even street beggars have M-Pesa.”
2. The Weather
The Weather in Nairobi is very sunny with intervals of rain for 2-3 months. A day in Nairobi has approximately 12 sunshine hours.
|Weather Condition||Month||Average Temperature|
Weather Conditions in Nairobi, Kenya.
Therefore, Nairobi’s weather is perfect for outdoor activities almost all year round, the best time being from early July to mid-October.
Though it has fallen from the Fastest Internet speeds in Africa ,comparatively Kenya averagely has faster Internet speed than U.S.A according to a report from content delivery network Akamai. At 13.7 mbps Kenya’s average data connection speed is the world’s 14th fastest. It is also double the speed of the global average data connection speed.
As a Matter of act Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest Capital took the lead with an average speed of 17.13Mbps, followed by Nairobi at 13.27 Mbps. Kenya has the highest internet penetration in Africa at 85.2% as of 2020.The Data was retrieved from Statista’s report on the Share of internet users by country in Africa. The country also enjoys the highest average speeds in Africa peaking at about 12Mbps according to Trading Economics.
Average Speeds and Rank
|Country||Internet Penetration (%)||Average Speeds (KBps)|
Nairobi has abundant Co-working spaces in Several areas and more spaces are coming up with affordable rates. Kenyan Co Coworking spaces are collaboration hubs, and social spaces where workers/nomads from different backgrounds can come together to utilize the facility, share expertise and explore new ideas.
Most of these Co-Working spaces usually have various packages for Daily, weekly or monthly rates. Daily rates usually range from 9$ to 25$ to monthly rates from 150$ to 200$.
Below is a Sample of Some Spaces and its features.
|Jenga Leo||From 9$per Day||Westlands||Rooftop Gym & Café Bar|
Events & Meeting rooms.
Wellness, Prayer & Lactating Room
Complimentary Tea, Coffee, Fruit or Water
|Nairobi Garage||From 110$ per Month||Westlands, Karen, Kilimani, and Spring Valley||Tea & Coffee bar.|
|The Foundry Nairobi||From 200$ per Month||Nelleon Place, Rhapta Road Westlands & Viking House, Waiyaki Way.||Amazing office view.|
Free Coffee & Tea.
Printing and photocopy services.
|Regus||From 10$ Per Day||Britam Towers, Purshottam Place, Delta Corner Tower, Vienna Court, and 14 Riverside Business Park.||Business lounge.|
Nearby Fitness Suite.
On-site Coffee bar.
Outdoor seating area.
The Co-Working Spaces are all up to modern standards with a touch of African Vibe or Artwork. You can expect good Services and as Kenya has a long history in the Hospitality industry.
Kenya has a very active Start Up/Innovation intensive Culture and is currently the 2nd most Attractive Capital for Startups in Africa only bested by Lagos. Most of these Start ups have started from these Co-Working Spaces. Overall, only seven African cities had a score of more than 1.0 points on Startup Blink’s index for 2021 From Statista which measures the number of Startups coming up in Africa.
Leading Start-ups and Comparative Scores
|LEADING CAPITAL FOR START-UP’S||TOTAL SCORE(Score From1.0)|
4.Tech Community/Start-up Community/Investments Opportunities
Nairobi has a big Tech Community and this can be confirmed by the number of Big Tech companies which have set up their Head quarters in Nairobi. The government is also building Kenya’s Tech City named Konza City which is intended to be Africa’s Premier tech Hub dubbed “where African silicon savannah begins”. The Center will be 64km south of Nairobi and its purpose is to attract tech company’s in Software development, Data centers, business process outsourcing and include a Science Park focused on research and technology. The park It is also intended to include shopping malls , a convention centers, shopping malls, science park hotels, international schools, health facilities and a international schools.
Here’s is list a list top five tech firms in Nairobi.
Start-up Community/Investments Opportunities
Nairobi has really grown to become top two Startup destinations in Africa with only Lagos beating it.This corresponds directly to the level of internet Accessibility in the whole country .In fact as the 1st Quarter of 2022 African Start ups have already raised US$2 billion, with Kenya taking US$482 million of the amount. The investment opportunities in Nairobi are immense and indicative of the many Startups that are coming up. The amount of dollar millionaires has also been on the rise from the Latest Statistics.
The table below shows different independent numbers but when put together paint a picture of the potential.
|COUNTRY RANK ON NUMBER OF STARTUPS 2020-2021||US $ INVESTED||NUMBER OF DOLLAR MILLIONARES|
|1. Nigeria/Lagos-3,300 Startups||1.Nigeria-US$600 Million||1.South Africa-39,000 US$ Millionaires|
|2. South Africa/Joburg-660 Startups||2.Kenya-US$420 Million||2.Egypt-16, 900 US$ Millionaires|
|3. Kenya/Nairobi-600 Startups||3.South Africa -US$228 Million||3.Nigeria-10,000 US$ Millionaires|
|4. Ghana /Accra-500 Startups||4.Egypt-US$202 Million||4.Kenya-8,500 US$ Millionaires|
|5.Morroco/Rabat-500 Startups||5.Morroco-5,000 US$ Millionaires|
5.Great Expat/Nomad Social Life
Nairobi Social Life is very Vibrant and there’s so much to do and there’s something for Everyone to do. There is a live band playing somewhere ,there is a concert happening ,there is a Play at at the theater hanging out with with people at a Lounge with some DJs playing . Aside from that, like there’s so many things that you can do. For example, you can go hiking, you can go you know just a little bit out of the city and do ziplining you can go like riding your bike in one of the many green Spaces available. The art scene is also very Vibrant with so many Gallery showcasing a Africans Art and Culture. There are many restaurants from different Cultures from Mexican to Lebanese to Ethiopian.
There’s a Big expat community in Nairobi from American to Liberian and usually have WhatsApp or Facebook groups which can get guidance from familiar culture from your native Country.
The Green City in the Sun has abundant Green spaces for nomads to decompress. Nairobi has maintained a high number of forest within even as rapid construction of Highrise’s take place. Among the popular Green Spaces Include The Karura Forest, Ngong Hills,Olkalou Nature Trails and Arboretum.
The Green spaces are nestled in between Suburbs making it easy for commute to them. Most suburbs also incorporate Green Spaces between Estates. The Green are well maintained and usually charge a very minimal Charge to use the facilities. The Charge usually Varies from 0.5$ to 1.50$ for use. For most of the facility you can hike, cycle, walk your dog to picnics etc.
Nairobi by itself does not have Beaches, however if you take 45 min airplane , you find yourself one of Africa best Beaches. You can also use SGR and within 4 hours land in Kenya’s second Largest City Mombasa. The coast of Kenya has many signature Beaches from Lamu, Shela, Watamu and Diani Beaches plus dozen other coastal Beaches.
Nairobi is the Only City in the world that has a fully fledged National Park within the City. Literally after landing at the Airport you can take a 30 Minute Drive and see the Big Five in their natural Habitat.
Apart from Nairobi National which is in the City, Kenya has other National Private and National Parks all over the Country.
Here’s Some of the Popular Game Reserves:
|National Reserves||Distance From Nairobi by AIR/SGR/ROAD||Attraction|
|MASAI MARA-||45 and 60 minutes Flight/5hr Ride by Road,255Km/159Miles||The Wild Beast migration and the Big 5|
|SAMBURU||1 hr. 15 min Flight/5 to 6 hours by Road,225Km/140Miles||Beautiful Sunsets ,Dramatic Scenery & Unusual Big 5|
|AMBOSELI||47 Mins Flight/SGR 3.5Hrs,216km/135Miles 4hrs by Road||Elephants Herds With the Backdrop of Kilimanjaro|
|LAKE NAKURU||2.5 to 3hrs Drive From Nairobi-166km/104miles||Lake Tinged with Pink Flamingos|
|MERU||5 Hrs. Drive,289KM/180MilesThe un spoilt Wilderness of Elsa the LionessTSAVOSGR-3.5 Hours,55Mins to Mombasa then To Tsavo,5hrs Drive From Nairobi 264km/164milesRed Elephants & Mane less LionsPopular Kenyan Game Reserves
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Nairobi is Fairly Modern City with good Road network albeit with Traffic Jam, which is being addressed with many road infrastructure being undertaken by the Government. Nairobi is City looks like a constructions site with so Apartments popping up everywhere.
Eastern African Longest Expressway stretching 27 Kms cutting along the City is going to change the look of the Capital City as well as reduce Nairobi Famous Grid Lock Traffic Jams. The roads are well Maintained, there are many Urban Shopping Mall for shopping just like Western Cities.
Nairobi is a Hub of many Festivals from Sports ,Jazz, Food to music, you are spoilt for Choice. Though there are other Festival s around Kenya here are the Top Festivals just In Nairobi.
Famous Festivals Outside Nairobi
11.The Vibe/People and Culture
Most Foreigners will testify there’s a different Vibe in Africa, Nairobi is known as Hustle city of Africa. Kenyans are generally known to be very welcoming, most Foreigners will attest to the work Ethic of Nairobians or Kenyans Generally. Kenyans has very diverse Culture with 42 ethnic backgrounds and Languages.
Nairobi is modern City but still touch of African culture, street vendors, organized chaos, hustle and bustle associated with African Cities, though modernizing at a very fast pace with the Government trying to bring order to the City. The Graffiti Painted matatu(Transport Buses) with loud Music sprinkle a Street Culture unlike any other. Nairobi just like most other Modern cities has it share of issues ,the city especially Town can be overwhelming for most foreigners with large human traffic but just as most Cities one should exercise common sense and Caution.
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12.Ride Hailing Apps/Boda Boda
Ride hailing apps are plenty in Nairobi and they are the best way move around Nairobi as a foreigner. They are other ways to get around in Nairobi a part from Ride Apps but our advice don’t use other transportation modes until you are comfortable around the City or you have a chaperone to show you around until you understand the nuances of Nairobi Transport system. The cost of the ride hailing apps is usually fair as compared with other Cities. The obvious advantages of using Ride Hailing Apps you get to go places by using navigation as a Newcomer. If you stay in middle areas which have all the amenities around Ride Hailing Apps are convenient and very cheap. The most popular Ride Apps in are Uber and Bolt(Formally as Taxify).
Here’s is a Table with Comparison of Prices Per Km/Mile in Nairobi, Joburg & London.
13.Cost of Living
Nairobi can cheap or expensive depending where you live, so let’s start with the Biggest Expense for most People which is rent for a decent apartment in nice Suburb for a two bed -three bedroom flat goes for about 600$-1200$.The further you move from neighborhood near the City Center the cheaper the apartments.
Here’s Table of Expected cost
Services like grooming/self care are cheap compared to western Prices. However Electronics generally are usually very pricy due to high Taxation so be prepared to pay more than average American price.
Often overlooked factor when choosing which African City to move. Unfortunately most African Cities are yet to have consistent Power which is something westerners are not used to. However in Kenya and Nairobi to be precise, has consistent with Power with Blackouts Experienced rarely and in the rare occasion there’s a power Black out its usually Fixed within 10-30 mins time. Contrast with other favorite digital nomad Cities like Dare Salam ,Accra and Lagos which usually experience Blackouts on daily basis .One of the running Jokes is ”you know you are in Lagos by the Constant buzz of generators”.
Kenya is a Multi Language Country and most people can communicate in English . Schools in Kenya teach both languages (Swahili & English) as national Languages thus making it easy to converse with even ordinary Kenyans. You can be able to converse with Kenyan when you are procuring products and services even at the lowest level of the society.
Nairobi is safe depending on three main factors: location, time of day and mode of movement. Like most cities in the world, caution and common sense will dictate how safe you can be. Often cast as Unsafe by Embassies with exaggerated information coupled with false Narratives disseminated by western Media Houses. Nairobi is relatively safe but like any Modern city does have certain areas that are unsafe. In Fact as most American or Westerners who have lived for a while in Nairobi will tell you they feel safe In Nairobi more than their native Cities especially the Bigger Cities.
As a Digital Nomad your Dollars or Currency goes a long way here Nairobi than it would in most places, a house help here in Nairobi would cost around $5 for all chores in the House and up to max $8 per day if it also includes cooking. Generally the general Salary for a housekeep is $150 per month .A driver will cost you $10 per Day or $250-$300 per month. This allows you to focus on your craft or online Job without incurring so much expenses at the end of the Month.
The high Speed Train referred as S.G.R (Standard Gauge Rail) which connects Nairobi and Mombasa and will eventually also will link Kisumu cutting across the Country. This opens tourism across the country as it gives an alternative to Kenya Nightmare Traffic jams.
For Example To Amboseli National Park takes 3hr Train Ride and you get picked the Train Station at Mtitu Andei and straight to the National Park and back.
The Charges to Mombasa for the 1st Class is $30 while Economy Class is $10.While on you way you can easily be able to Spot Elephants, Zebra ,Giraffe and other wildlife as the train cuts cross Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park.
Kenya’s Public Hospitals are of quite low standards as compared to western Countries and most digital Nomads are advised to get Private Hospital/Medical Covers. However as a foreigner you can still pay For public Insurance usually at $5 per Month just as safety net if by chance you cant afford the Private Covers but don’t expect up to Standard Services.
Kenya’s Private Hospitals are among the Best in Africa and with South Africa Hospitals as the Best in Africa. Private Insurance is highly encouraged, the quality of the services is very good but be prepared to pay almost the same amount of money just as any western Country.
Nairobi has all the Big/major Hospitals and Chemist incase of emergency or Prescriptions. However Africa in general is not does not have a Big Pharma Culture and getting prescription is tightly controlled and Doctors don’t easily Prescribe Strong Medicine as Easily as western Countries do.
Here’s Table with Estimates showing Rates of Covers from Different Countries
Though greatly affected by Corvid -19 the Kenyan Government is pushing the Resumption to make Nairobi the Major Transport Hub in Africa which also to a great Extent depends on the national Carrier Kenya Airways. The government has been Expanding the the Airport and facilitating the national Carrier to have direct flights from most Continents with the Recent introduction of Nairobi to New York direct Flight as an Example. Currently there are direct Flights to Tourist Destinations like Rwanda ,Ethiopia ,Mauritius and S.Africa .
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