16 Pros and Cons of Living in Kenya

Updated On October 9, 2023

Like Kenya‘s neighbors, Uganda and Tanzania, the population over the last 50 years has skyrocketed.

Currently, there are almost 60 million people who call this east African country home.

That means there’s a lot going on in Kenya.

With that kind of boom, there must be an incentive to not only keep having children.

Also, the health standards have improved to keep them alive.

To dive deeper into the Kenya of today, we’re going to go through a list of positives and negatives that might make you consider the African nation, too. 


Pros of Living in Kenya

1. Diversity

Kenya’s spot on the African continent opens the country up to an inspiring amount of diversity.

In addition to the Indian Ocean, the country’s neighbors are Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Not only is there a natural mix of those nationalities, but there are 42 tribes native to Kenya.

Then, due to the never-ending beautiful landscapes, tourists from all over the world routinely file in.

Kenya ends up being something of a melting pot full of people with all kinds of ethnicities and backgrounds.

2. Biodiversity

Kenya is about the size of Texas.

Anyone who has driven through knows you can drive 12 hours in Texas and still be in the same state.

Take that kind of acreage and spread it in a completely unique environment and you get a wonderfully varied biodiversity.

The flora and fauna are one of the reasons this African nation is such a beautiful place to live.

Not to mention that Kenya is basically the safari capital, which helps draw in millions of visitors annually.

3. Things to Do

What do you like to do?

If you’d love to get up close and personal with wildlife, there are places like the Giraffe Centre or Masai Mara Travel, where you get to see wildebeest migration.

Need some fresh air?

There are 24 national parks, 15 reserves, 6 marine parks, and several conservatories.

Interested in taking in some culture?

There are 22 museums, monuments, and historical sites sprinkled across the country.

Whatever you’re looking for, you can stay busy in Kenya.

4. Community

One major bonus about living in Kenya is the integrated communities, especially in the larger cities.

Because of the major boost to the nation’s tourism, there’s always a nice wave of cultural representation when out and about.

Some of these people come for the first time and fall in love.

Kenyans are very welcoming and encourage anyone who loves the land to stay.

The ex-pat community meshes well with the native people of the area.

This creates a harmonious vibe for everyone.

5. Language

Another good reason Kenya is such a great place for people to move to is the abundance of languages spoken.

The official languages are Swahili and English.

That means there is no reason to fear communication with locals.

If you’re speaking with someone, the biggest difference will probably be accents.

Even if you have other languages you’d like to speak, there’s probably someone around who can speak with you.

In total, there are about 70 languages spoken.

If you’re looking to stay in areas where English is more prevalent, try Nairobi

6. Weather

Nairobi and the surrounding areas have some of the best weather in the world.

The temperatures feel great, sort of like a Goldilocks city.

No need to worry about snowstorms or sweltering heat.

It’s pretty much just like that all year long.

If you want it to be a little warmer, head south to Mombasa.

On the coast, this city can get hot, but then you have the ocean to cool off in. 

7. Cost of Living

Kenya might be one of the best places to live while working remotely due to the money you’d save.

Overall, the cost of living is more than 50% less than in the US.

Rent is 80% lower.

Many citizens have monthly expenses of less than $500.

It’s such a budget-friendly place that Kenya has been rated in the top 10 of the cheapest places in Africa to live. 

8. Domestic Help

It’s considered logical and appropriate to have help with things around the house.

In many places around the world, hiring for that type of work is only for wealthy households.

That isn’t the case in Kenya.

Many families throughout the country rely on domestic workers for a number of tasks.

These workers come at such a great rate that the service has become commonplace. 


Cons of Living in Kenya

1. Safety

Despite the beauty, there’s always someone lurking around that’s up to no good.

Whether you’re a tourist or local, it’s important to be very cautious when going out after dark or alone.

Crimes committed in Kenya often include carjacking, home invasions, kidnappings, and mugging.

Unfortunately, police aren’t equipped enough to get involved with serious crimes and they can be ineffective.

The same goes for emergency services.

2. Transportation

First of all, don’t drive around in a super showy car.

That’s unwanted attention and it could cause you major problems, such as putting a target on your back.

If you decide to get a car,  having to drive might change your mind.

So many of the roads throughout Kenya are very poorly put together.

In addition, traffic laws are often ignored.

Stay safe and hire a driver.

3. Corruption

Although the government has been working hard to curtail the vast amount of corruption, it’s been a long process.

That process has more to do with money than anything else.

Taking bribes was such an acceptable practice that it has grown rampant, like a disease.

Some officers would even demand to be paid off in order to move things along or even let people go from a false arrest. 

4. Unusual Expenses

Something you likely haven’t budgeted for is a security detail.

However, if you’re doing quite well for yourself and want to move into more expensive housing, you might be required to have a safety entourage.

The security team’s price tag may have you reconsidering that decision.

Electricity can also eat away at your wallet.

Check out the options before picking a plan. 

5. Poor Reality

Despite the many benefits of living in Kenya, there is one reality that no one can ignore.

Even though this is one of the cheaper places to live on the continent, poverty is everywhere.

Thanks to the corruption and economic disparity, there’s a high percentage of Kenyans who aren’t making it.

So, it’s not uncommon to have pushy salesmen trying to get tourists to purchase cheap trinkets for higher amounts. 

6. Tribalism

In a place that has so much ethnic variety, you’d think the country as a whole would be open to it.

However, political parties often use the unity of a type of people as part of their campaigns.

That creates a dislike for anyone who does not fit into that list.

Problematic doesn’t begin to describe the situation come election time. 

7. Water

Depending on what part of the country you live in, access to water might be strained.

When checking out housing, the lack of water might not be mentioned by the property manager or owner.

This is something you will need to investigate before signing anything.

The best-case scenario would be access to a nearby well. 

8. Shopping

Something that would be tough to adjust to coming from the west would be shopping.

Unlike grocery stores in America with entire aisles dedicated to cereal, the options in Kenya can be quite limited.

Demand can be flaky and imports can be that much more expensive.

From produce to clothing, it might be especially tough to have a diverse diet or get a new wardrobe.

Pros and Cons of Living in Kenya – Summary Table

Pros of Living in KenyaCons of Living in Kenya
1. Diversity1. Safety
2. Biodiversity2. Transportation
3. Things to Do3. Corruption
4. Community4. Unusual Expenses
5. Language5. Poor Reality
6. Weather6. Tribalism
7. Cost of Living7. Water
8. Domestic Help8. Shopping

Kenya Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Kenya Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kenya a good place to live?

It is a wonderful place to live and can be perfect for some people and not for others.

In the end, it really depends on your priorities.

Kenya has a low cost of living, is safe, and has a regular mix of people thanks to being a safari destination.

Also, many cities are very friendly to ex-pats.

Where do most ex-pats live in Kenya?

Generally speaking, many of the foreigners who move to Kenya settle in Nairobi or Mombasa.

It’s easy to fit in larger cities with more diversity in comparison to other small towns.

However, since there are many reasons to move to a new country, it would not be surprising to find people from all over the world all over the country.

Can foreigners own land in Kenya?

No need to find someone else to sign for your purchase.

If you weren’t born in Kenya and have no ties to the country, that won’t keep you from being able to own a piece of the country for yourself.

Since 2010, a few laws have been passed, such as the Lands Act, to ensure access to the land.

Can foreigners open a bank account in Kenya?

Yes, those who were born in other places around the world are allowed to have a bank account in Kenya.

However, the main string attached to that privilege is residency.

You can only open that account if you actually live in the country and have an address to provide.

The address will be verified and all the bank-related info will go to it.

Are there items you can't bring to Kenya?

There are plenty of restricted items when it comes to Kenya.

To be fair, much of what you can’t bring in are things you are unable to bring to other countries, too.

A full list of what’s prohibited can be found online, but we have a few things we can share.

Such as illegal substances, anything flammable, weapons, and auto parts with fluid inside.

8 Comments on 16 Pros and Cons of Living in Kenya

  1. A
    Anonymous says:

    Very helpful information. Thank you.

    1. J
      Jesus loves everyone says:

      Might want to add that you should not go there if you are gay. It is punishable by 21 years in prison. Kind of a big one to leave out. There is also a culture of violence and vilification of gay people in this country.

      1. Y
        Yah Loves in Truth says:

        The bible says that homosexuality is a sin. Jesus does loves you and He doesn’t wish for any to perish, which is why we must repent and walk in truth, not lust. Good for Kenya.

  2. L
    Lost child says:

    Yea the gay thing is pretty crucial who want to go there just to be street beaten cuz you come off too sus

  3. A
    Anonymous says:

    Hahah. It’s funny how foreigners tend to know the country more the the ones living there. You can never be beaten on the streets because you are gay but it is illegal to be gay and rub it on everyone’s faces. As a Kenyan, am glad I was part of making the Kenyan constitution that made homosexuality illegal. That is our country. So take it or leave it.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      Texas my dear is 1.5x the size of Kenya. It also depends on the routes you take. And the cost of living right now has tripped. Ensure what you write to visitors is accurate and up to date. N

  4. H
    Human being says:

    Big Facts!
    Take it or leave it!!

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