Firstly, hello! Secondly, need advice on area of Karen/Langata please x

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Firstly, hello! Secondly, need advice on area of Karen/Langata please x

Post  sandybaby on Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:23 pm

Hello all,

I have been trailing this forum for a few weeks now, ever since we made a decision to move to Nairobi. Thanks for all the nuggets of information so far - it's been invaluable.
Cannot wait to get there - we did a look/see in December and feel it will be a great place to start our family (due no1 in March Shocked ) We're not making our move until after the baby is born and we are sorted (probably May-ish) but we are looking at property now and are willing to take somewhere on early if it is the right property.

An agent is on the lookout for us and has come up with a property in Langata very near Banda School.
The house looks great and seems (from photos - we're in Dubai) to tick all the right boxes. But, we had been looking at something nearer Karen Country Club. Do you think this is a little out of the way? Is Banda School good (thinking more of the crèche) compared with Stepping Stones which seems to be well thought of but is the other side of Karen?
How far from shops would that be?
We have a spaniel, will it be good for walking around there?

Sorry for all the questions, really hope someone can help xxx

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Karen/Langata advice

Post  Admin on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:09 pm

Hi there,

Thanks for posting your questions and how exciting to hear about the baby and your move! how is dubai?

A house in Langata near Banda school would be great - a lovely area to move to. As you say, if you are in the barrier area near Banda (Mkoma Estate) then it's great for dog walking, kids bike around and it is sociable with plenty of baby groups etc. Most Banda parents live in that area. If there's any criticism it might be that could be a bit intense with friends all living in the same area/sending kids to the same school etc. However, that's a plus point if you are new and want an easier introduction to live in Kenya! Taking your kids to Stepping Stones kindergarten would also not be a problem from there. Stepping Stones is also in Langata, albeit off Langata road.

vis a vis shopping - there is now the large Galleria shopping centre in the Bomas area/Langata so you won't be far from the shops. That Banda school area is around a 20 min drive from the Karen shops, but since Galleria Mall opened with a large branch of Kenya's biggest supermarket chain, Nakumatt, then I think that lots of people in that area go there.

In Langata you are bit further from Ngong road, The Junction shopping centre, Lavington, Westlands, the city centre. Karen/Karen country club is more central. Once holed up in self sufficient Langata, you might end up feeling you need your passport stamped to go into town, but with today's traffic and with a new baby - that might be no bad thing!

Where you live very much depends on where your husband is commuting to. Langata is good for accessing airport/Mombasa road, industrial area, Upper Hill. Karen better for UN (there's a good access route round the back villages), Westlands, Town. Peak time traffic is so crazy that if you are not on the road by 7am then you can triple your journey time.

Nb people also dog walk, ride horses, bike, round Karen - but unless you are in an estate, then the roads are admittedly busier than those in Langata.

Good Luck!!

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Re: Firstly, hello! Secondly, need advice on area of Karen/Langata please x

Post  sandybaby on Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:12 pm

Hi Admin,

Thank you so much for your reply and fantastic information. Sorry it has taken so long to reply. Baby now due in just over two weeks so lots to be thinking about! Dubai is good although there have been sand storms the last couple of days so visibility is poor but it's a small price to pay for the pleasant winter weather here. Summer weather is a different story - calling it humid doesn't cover it!

We've actually said we'll take that house now and we're really excited about it. What you said about the location being 'intense' is interesting but as you say, I don't think that will be a problem for us as we're totally new to the area so it may be a benefit and being new parents we'll probably not be going out extensively anyway. It's great to know that kindergarten facilities are close by as well as shopping etc. We tried to remember as much as we could from our short look-see but your info has helped us to put the area back in perspective.

My husband will actually be working from home but will need to get to JK Airport on a weekly basis. Traffic will be a problem at times we suppose but at least it's not a daily commute.

Thanks again! And thank you for having this resource for people to use.

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Karen/langata

Post  Admin on Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:47 am

Well done,

I'm sure that the move will be great and it'll be a fab area to bring up your baby with lots of fellow young mums around etc.

Good luck with the birth and the move - I hope all goes smoothly. Happy to answer any other questions whenever they arise.

best wishes to you in Dubai!

Very Happy

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Just a few more queries.... ;)

Post  sandybaby on Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:58 pm

Hello again Admin,

A few months have passed since your help last time. We're still in Dubai, now with a 3-month-old and it's getting very hot indeed. Over 40c everyday. We've just been putting the move on hold until all visas etc are sorted but we are leaving here for the UK and Ireland in 3 weeks or so and then on to Kenya after. I am starting to think it might all be in my imagination but I am assured it is happening!

The house we're moving to in Mukoma looks great....slightly concerned about the roaming lioness and her 'fully-grown' cub that have been reported but at least it's more interesting than another trip to the air-conditioned mall.

I just a have a couple more questions. One being curtains...we have curtains here and as they're good and the landlord doesn't want to buy them from us, we thought we'd take them with us. Once there, is there a decent place to have curtains altered?

Secondly, we were wondering about water. We have a water cooler here which takes 5 gallons barrels (water is mercifully inexpensive here), can you get refills in Nairobi? Are they costly? Otherwise we can sell the cooler. How is the water to drink? We would like to buy one of those large fridges with the drinks dispenser - are they advisable?

I might have more questions yet - that's just off the top of my head Smile

Thanks a million x

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A few more queries

Post  Admin on Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:54 pm

Hi there,
Nice to hear from you! Huge congratulations on the birth of your baby and well done for getting past the first 3 months!

Re water cooler - I would bring it. You can buy them here, but they are expensive. You buy 20 litre bottles everywhere here for around 500 kenya shillings (from supermarkets to corner shops). We drink bottled water, we also boil and filter water for tea/coffee and also cook with tap water. There are new fangled purifying machines that can be fitted beneath your sink so that tap water is converted to drinking standard - but most people stick with the bottles.

Kenya is also full of 'fundis' (pronounced foondees?!) They are skilled craftspeople who set up on street corners and ad hoc premises all over - many of these are tailors who charge v little to do alterations etc. We are definitely spoiled for choice - the low price sometimes comes with a bit of hit and miss on quality, so it's sometimes a bit of a gamble.

Mukoma will be fab. Don't worry about lions - as you say, it will liven things up and a nice ice-breaker conversation topic when meeting the neighbours. You'll find that Kenya/Nairobi is slightly a 'wild west' posting - but every day is an adventure and certainly never boring - so it's all good!

Fire away with more questions as and when!!

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Re: Firstly, hello! Secondly, need advice on area of Karen/Langata please x

Post  Kenyafor3 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:46 pm

On the question about the fridge with the drinks dispenser - if it is the type that is plumbed i.e. has to connect to a water source then I would say no, do not bring it, since tap water is not drinkable here.
However, I managed to find one before moving here that has a little tank on the inside that you can fill that feeds the dispenser and the ice-maker and that works great. That way you can just fill in bottled water.
Hope that helps

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Re: Firstly, hello! Secondly, need advice on area of Karen/Langata please x

Post  sandybaby on Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:19 am

Oh that is wonderful advice - thank you both so much!

The move is getting closer now and different things are popping into our heads on a near daily basis. We are getting ready to buy any white goods we need here but how about beds? When we were in Nairobi for our look-see in December, there were lots of furniture stalls along the Ngong Forest Rd (I think). We're more than happy to buy stuff here if necessary as we have a large container but do you think it's worth buying there?

Also, I have the dreaded baby weight to lose. I seem to have plateau(ed)...I don't think that's a word.... and wondered if there are good classes in the Karen area. It might just give me the impetus to continue if I know I can carry on. Yoga or aerobics. I believe we will be joining Karen Country Club when we get there. I will undoubtedly lose my husband to golf so having a reason to go there too would be great! Would a personal trainer cost much?

Sorry, lots going through my mind at the moment xxx

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other things..

Post  Admin on Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:25 am

Hi there,

Furniture:
Many Asians (and some mzungus) based in Nairobi, will make special shopping trips to Dubai specifically to buy furniture, curtain fabric, white goods, interior decor (lamps) etc for their homes, because they feel the quality and price in Dubai is better in terms of choice and value for money. You can buy tons of furniture on Ngong road from the outdoor stallholders -but you'll be surprised that it's not that cheap - and there are sometimes issues whereby chairs/tables wobble because they were constructed on an uneven/dirt surface etc?!?

A general rule of thumb is that you can get things in Nairobi but you will have to pay more and quality can vary. I would buy the beds (and mattresses) and all the basics that you need in Dubai then bring them in with your container. There are furniture stores called Furniture Palace, Palacina, Odds and Ends - many of them bring furniture in from overseas so there's a premium to pay to cover their import tax.

Exercise:
I know that there are a couple housewife/personal trainers based in Mkoma/Langata area and also there's a yoga class held at a private house (that I'm sure you can join) or otherwise yoga twice a week at the dance studio in Karen or Karen Surgery studio. It's all quite informal and you pay per session. Not expensive.

The Karen Club is also absolutely great. There's an eye wateringly high joining fee - becoming a golf member or gym member is an additional cost - alternatively you can pay per exercise class (aerobics/zumba/taeboe etc) or per gym session. There are 5 personal trainers based there - all of whom are brilliant. They can either do personal training (really very inexpensively) or simply they'll advise you informally on personalised workout routines for you on their gym equipment for free.

good luck!

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Wow, thanks

Post  sandybaby on Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:18 am

That is invaluable information. Thank you. We still have a few weeks before packing up so we will take your advice and look at getting any necessary bits and pieces here.

It looks like we'll be able to settle quite quickly in Langata once our things arrive. Not sure how long the shipment will take from here to there with port customs etc but we can always stay on with family in Ireland (no hardship) until the time is right.

Thanks once again for the advice. We look forward to starting our new life and experiencing a little bit of Africa for a few years to come.

Best wishes xxx

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