Living costs for single male (plus additional questions)

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Living costs for single male (plus additional questions)

Post  Tias on Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:58 pm

Hi,

I'm a 24 year old Norwegian male considering moving to Nairobi in 2012. I have some questions that I hope you guys can help me answer.

First and foremost, what kind of budget am I looking at? How much money do I need every month? I'll be living alone (except for my dog which I'm planning on bringing).

- Housing. I'll need some sort of flat to rent, and preferably someplace central or with good public transportation. One bedroom is sufficient, but two would be better. I've found a few flats on different websites, and there seem to be a lot in the price range 60 to 100k, but I don't know if the neighbourhoods are bad etc. Is 60 to 100k sufficient for an ok apartment in Nairobi?
- Is it common to find furnished apartments?
- What about home appliances like washer, stove and refrigerator?
- What kind of food expenses am I looking at? My diet is comprised of meat, fish, eggs, dairy, fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes etc. No bread, pasta, rice and that sort of thing. How much would I be spending on food?
- Costs of internet? I work in IT, and as I'll be working from home I'm gonna need some sort of broadband connection. I don't need fiber optic cables straight to my home (although I do have that here in Norway, and I'll definitely miss it Embarassed), but 3g is probably a bit too slow. Cable or dsl would be nice.
- Can one survive without a drivers license in Kenya? I'm spoiled by good public transportation and have never seen the need for drivers license of my own, so I'm a bit dependent upon public transportation in Kenya as well. Is this feasible? I guess I could try and get myself a drivers license if I'll end up staying in the country, but that's future business.

Other than that, am I crazy for wanting this? I'm not moving for jobs or similar, I simply want to move, and my company have agreed to let me work as a telecommuter from Kenya (although for a reduced salary). I'm a bit afraid I'll be a bit isolated as a consequence. Is there social stuff happening for people in their twenties in Nairobi?

Tias

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Re: Living costs for single male (plus additional questions)

Post  juniper on Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:42 am

Hi,
I can't answer all your questions but will try a few. I answered an internet question in another post (see Curtains and Internet). I have just moved here so I may be wrong about some things but my impression is that there is hardly any public transportation here. There are small vans, matatus, that have crazy drivers and they might be phased out in favour of bigger buses but I think the situation is not clear yet. A lot of people employ drivers here, probably 15000Ksh/month and up for salary. As for food, anything imported is going to be European prices, fruit and veg not expensive but non-tropical imported fruit from South Africa etc is more expensive. So your food costs will depend on how picky you are about food and how much you cook from scratch. Restaurants are not too bad in terms of prices, I think. Home appliances are European prices or more. In general, don't count on things being super cheap here, although since Norway is so expensive perhaps you'll be ok.
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Re: Living costs for single male (plus additional questions)

Post  Tias on Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:25 am

Hi, and thank you for your answers! I found your answer about Internet in "Curtains & Internet", thank you. You seem to bring new energy and life to this otherwise slow paced forum! :-)

- This seems to be the Orange ADSL options. 10 000 ksh is a bit steep, but internet is a necessity for my part.
- I've yet to locate Safaricom's offering.
- Currently I cook more or less all my food, and most of my meals are composed of unprocessed foods, so I'll probably survive on that front...
- Lack of public transportation is unfortunate. I probably can't afford a car and driver, and I don't think I'll be traveling enough to justify such an expense, but I might be able to cope with matatus and taxis, even though the matatus scared the s*** out of me when I visited the country a few years back. Matatu matata!

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Re: Living costs for single male (plus additional questions)

Post  juniper on Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:03 am

Hi, I just got hooked up to Safaricom's internet service, 2 Mbs for 7000 Ksh/month. So far so good, certainly much better than the dongle I was using, and they hooked it up very quickly and efficiently, within two days after I ordered it by paying in advance for the router and half of the first month's payment. They assured me that I would get all the money back if they could not get a signal or if they couldn't get it to work. It took them several hours to set up the antenna on the roof and run the cable, and to get it to work. They worked very professionally, tested everything before leaving and we are very pleased with the service.
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Re: Living costs for single male (plus additional questions)

Post  Tias on Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:16 am

Great, thanks juniper. They sound very professional and effective!

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Living costs for single male

Post  Admin on Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:16 am

Apologies for slow moving forum and a long absence from the Administrator. I'm glad that you've had some of your questions answered though!

Just wanted to add that if you are going to be self-employed then you could consider renting a guest house a little further out of town which might be nicer than an apartment - especially if you are bringing a dog. Often larger houses in their own compound/garden have one smaller guest house which is fully self contained and they are also often furnished. Security, gardeners, cleaning even internet connection is also often covered in the rent. Areas like Karen often have this set up where houses tend to be on bigger plots with leafy gardens. Try looking at relocation agents 'Fastrack' 'Langata Link' in nairobi. There was a guest house like this recently advertised on the Karen Country Club noticeboard. The social life in Karen is also not bad, there are quite a few popular bars and restaurants etc with plenty of twenty something people frequenting them.

There are also apartments in Yaya (shopping centre in Nairobi, Kileleshwa area,) where someone of your age who has recently arrived in Nairobi from UK, is flat sharing - but since you won't be commuting into an office and you are bringing a dog then it might be an idea to live further out.

Re transport - traffic is bad but it's not impossible. Though dangerous, more and more people are opting for motorbikes these days.

Just a thought.

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Re: Living costs for single male (plus additional questions)

Post  Tias on Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:02 pm

Thanks, uh, Admin :-)

Renting a guest house further out of town might be a good idea, and a furnished apartment would be great, at least in the beginning when I'll be considering whether I'm going to stay permanently or not. Thank you for relocation agent tips, that'll come in handy. I've considered the Yaya centre as I've been there shopping a few times before, but the rent is too high for me alone, and I feel too old to be sharing an apartment again.

Regarding transport I see that I should maybe consider getting a drivers licence, either for bike or car.

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Living costs for single male

Post  Admin on Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:36 pm

Good luck with the search.

Loads of people (incl expats) use matatus and/or relatively inexpensive taxis to get around so I wouldn't panic too much. Good idea of yours to come over for a few months initially then just see how it goes.

The good news is that the Kenya shilling currency has dipped so you will get more for your money - also, Kenya has a sort of micro-economy which is oddly unaffected by global crisis - the reason? Possibly because it is fuelled by the massive aid community based here / cash-rich politicians investment (from ill gotten gains) in business and property (it's difficult to send all their dodgy money overseas anymore) / Somali/pirates money / Massive Chinese investment / the geographical location of Nairobi being a regional hub for many international brands - Coke, Nokia, Google etc .... and other contributing factors - so things continue to boom (touch wood). New buildings popping up everywhere, new roads being built.

all best,

Africa expat wife!

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Re: Living costs for single male (plus additional questions)

Post  Tias on Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:20 pm

Great, thanks :-).

I'm thinking getting my driver's licence in Kenya might be an option. In Norway it's easily £3 000 and upwards, so I'm thinking that's something that's bound to be cheaper in Kenya. I have to look into that.

Stable economy is good news indeed. A lot of people sees Kenya as a very promising country in regards to technology, some even speculating it's gonna be the "next India" in regards of IT. Time will tell, but it has great potential for sure.

Changing topics a bit... I understood you kept dogs. How is that going in Nairobi? Do they handle the heat ? Are there vets, pet stores etc.? Is it generally safe to walk dogs along the road, or is it best to opt for a gated community with garden?

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Dogs in Nairobi

Post  Admin on Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:50 am

Hi there,

Yes we do have dogs - there are really good vets around with high standards, Kenyan/expat and Asian ones - you can take your pick in whichever area you wind up. They will all do vaccinations and are generally cheaper than the ones we have in England, but all qualified to a high standard. We've had good experiences with our local vet.

Nairobi is not really that hot so dogs cope fine. Many dogs sleep semi-outside at night (under cover but free to roam as guard dogs). Ours sometimes choose to sleep inside (if it's raining) but often prefer to stay out and keep the askari (nightwatchman) company during the night. It's their choice!

It's very common for households to have at least one or two dogs and you often see people walking their dogs mornings and evenings, perhaps you see this more often in the less built up suburbs such as Muthaiga, Runda, Karen and in gated communities such as Lake View/Hill View/Spring Valley. Not sure how many apartment complexes welcome dogs.

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moving to nairobi

Post  ESMAIL on Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:11 am

Hi, we have a guest wing for rent, fully furnished and fully secured near state house, with instant hot water shower, toilet and wash basin and also a small pantry, rent is 30,000 kshs b/b, menu available for lunch/dinner, highspeed internet available at extra cost. your dog would be a problem because we already have two dogs. call for further information Esmail 254 20 722724595, Available from 1st Oct 2012 long term occupation preferred
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Re: Living costs for single male (plus additional questions)

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