The Expat Guide on Moving to Nairobi

Have you ever considered moving to Nairobi? The Kenyan capital city – known as the economic and cultural hub of East Africa – is a thriving metropolis with a growing population. No matter what you’re looking for, it’s possible to find rental apartments in Nairobi that fit your needs. To help, consider the following tips regarding culture, safety and neighborhoods in the city.


As a whole, the Kenyan people are welcoming and friendly. And because English is the first language spoken in the city, for the most part, there will not be a huge language barrier. In fact, many Kenyans are trilingual (many speak tribal languages, Kiswahili and English) and will be able to hold at least basic conversations in English.

Over the past decades, a large middle-class population has emerged. Unlike the past, expat and local communities are not as segregated: Kenyans and expats interact with each other at schools, restaurants and shopping centers. Do keep an open mind, however: poverty is still an issue, especially in the eastern part of town, where it is not uncommon for upscale neighborhoods to be close to slums.

Nairobi is the heart of East African culture. There are myriad bars, clubs and restaurants in the city – and the town is always buzzing with something to do. You will also be close to some of the world’s most beautiful scenery: you can snorkel coral reefs, sail in the Indian Ocean or visit the numerous white sand beaches.


Nairobi suffers from a largely exaggerated bad reputation. In fact, compared to large cities around the world, the crime in Nairobi is not significantly worse. And while crime does exist, it can be avoided. The best advice for expats? Be aware of your surroundings and avoid travelling alone at nighttime.


Finding rental apartments in Nairobi can be a painless process. Generally, the most affluent neighborhoods are found in the western part of town. Karengata contains two neighborhoods located southwest of the city center that offer upscale housing. The suburb of Gigiri – home to the United Nations Complex and diplomatic centers of both Canada and the United States – is also common amongst well-paid expatriates.

For those seeking more affordable rental apartments in Nairobi, there are several popular residential districts: Brookside, Lavington, Loresho and Kileleshwa all offer affordable rates while still providing its residents with modern comfort. Kilimani, Hurlingham and parts of Westlands – populated by both expat residents and Kenyans – are recommended for those that prefer a more urban lifestyle.

Finding rental apartments in Nairobi can be a painless process for any expatriate. No matter what you’re looking, there’s sure to be rental apartments in Nairobi that will cater to your lifestyle.