Moving to Nairobi in June - Schools, Housing and General Help

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Moving to Nairobi in June - Schools, Housing and General Help

Post  Kenyafor3 on Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:10 pm

Dear Forum

What a great help the blog and this forum are. I have gone through most of whats available and still have a few questions I'm hoping someone can help with.
I will be relocating to Kenya in the next few months. My husband will probably go ahead of myself and my daughter since we will see out the school year here in europe.
We have been expats to different countries and you would think we'd have this down by now but every place is very unique.

1. Schools
My daughter is currently in an American International school but we're not fussy about this. She has also been in british international schools too. What I'm a little confused about is that there are schools offering british curriculum and then there are international schools in kenya. Whats the difference? There are many listed on various sites and seeing that all sound reputable I'm a little lost at trying to figure out which is the best. My husband's office will be south of the city so we where thinking of Brookhouse but maybe there are other comparable schools in the vicinity we should check out?
Also does one generally make use of a school bus service or do parents drop off and pick up?

2. Housing
Due to my husband working south of the city centre we though Karen would be a good area to live in since he doesn't have to cross the city centre. Any advice on this?
Also, e have seen on the net both compounds and stand alone houses. Is there a significant security difference having a stand alone home versus one in a compound? I hear security guards are expensive - can someone please give us a rough idea of what this cost is?

3. What to bring
I've heard that most houses don't come with white goods - i.e. fridge, freezer, washing machine, i doubt we'll need a dryer there? Is it advisable to buy these before we move? Currently we rent including white goods but if the prices are cheaper to buy in europe and include in our container then we would rather do that.

4. Cars
This is really a tough one to find information on the net. My husband will have a company car. But I would like to have a car too so I can get around. Is the second hand market reliable and what is a cost indication? Is it easy enough to drive around? I oubt I would have a problem driving there but can recall from some travels to east africa that most people had drivers, even locals.

Thanks in advance for the help



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Anyone out there?

Post  Kenyafor3 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:28 am

Hi All

I was really hoping to get some help on these topics. Is there anyone who can help.. please?

Kenyafor3

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Re: Moving to Nairobi in June - Schools, Housing and General Help

Post  Lamu Tam on Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:51 pm

Hello
Here's a very useful directory for expats in Kenya - lots of information on almost every kind of service you might need - addresses of estate agents, relocation companies etc Xpat link is another very useful listings magazine - - good for property to rent and cars for sale in particular.
Yes - Karen (and neighbouring Langata) are lovely places to live with a sizeable expat community - and getting to the south of the city and the airports is reasonably quick and easy along the Langata Road (rush hours everywhere in Nairobi are impossible though) Karengata property services and Langata Link and Fastrack are the recommended estate agents for these areas - they can all give you help with admin and bureaucracy - and Fastrack specialises in expat relocation too. Their details should all be in the Word of Mouth directory.
Please do take security very seriously wherever you live - at the very least make sure your garden is securely fenced - and that your house has a solid front door, strong door locks and metal window bars on all windows. You must definitely subscribe to a private security company's services - in case of a break-in or emergency they are quick to respond and far more reliable than the police. Electric fences, night security guards, dogs and any other measures you can take are all recommended - if you can afford them. Ultimate Security is a leading private security firm -
You can find absolutely everything you need in terms of white goods and household supplies in Nairobi - Nakumatt supermarkets are everywhere and have a huge range of cookers, fridges, tvs etc - prices are roughly comparable with Europe for reputable brands. (One of the very few things difficult to get hold of are nice lamps, lights, shades)
There is a huge range of cars for sale in Nairobi - and numerous dodgy dealers. This is a good and helpful second hand dealer on the Ngong Road near Karen - who is used to dealing with expats. The Xpat link and Word of Mouth sites have cars for sale on them. Best to get a second hand car checked out by AA Kenya or a good mechanic if you are not an expert. Very few people have drivers - it's easy to drive around Nairobi - but the traffic can be dreadful, the roads in terrible condition and the drivers clueless - but very rarely aggressive.
Not qualified - yet - to give advice about schools etc.
Please ask if you need more info
Good luck!

Lamu Tam
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Re: Moving to Nairobi in June - Schools, Housing and General Help

Post  LamuTamu on Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:58 pm

Hello again

The forum doesn't seem to like listing web addresses or links - they seem to have been omitted from my message

So you might have to google the following links that I tried to send you -

business directory for expats = Word of Mouth Kenya

listings magazine = Xpat link Nairobi

security company = Ultimate Security

recommended garage - Jas Auto Solutions

Good luck again!

LamuTamu
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Re: Moving to Nairobi in June - Schools, Housing and General Help

Post  clow on Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:59 am

Have you tried - a useful website for expats and those moving to the country. Good Luck.

clow
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Schools, cars, info

Post  Admin on Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:46 am

Hi there, great that you are moving to Kenya and Lamu Tam has answered many of the questions.

Re schools. The tradition is that many schools in Kenya follow the British system since Kenya was a former colony. Brookhouse is good, but do look at The Banda, Hillcrest, Kenton, Braeburn for good prep/primaries in the Karen Langata area. The International School is very good but far from Karen/Langata so if you wanted to continue with that system, then you may want to re-think where you are living. Confusion probably arises because we are so spoiled for choice of good schools in Nairobi. In many other countries, the International school is the only option. A good independant kindergarten in Karen (up to 6 years) is Stepping Stones school. My kids use a school bus since their school is a little further away, but many parents also drop/pick up themselves. Whatever you are most comfortable with.

Re housing. The trend in the Karen Langata area is to rent a town house on a compound of six or ten. These are often new with nice kitchens and perhaps a shared pool. The cost of security is then often rolled into the rent. Since many of these complexes are new, the rent is often high (250,00 to 300,000 shillings per month). There are also lots of very pretty old style colonial/stone houses on their own gardens of an acre or two. The rent on these can be more reasonable but security will be an extra cost (up to 50,000 per month). To be honest, most people I know still live in a house on it's own plot rather than the newer compounds, so there are plenty out there, it's just a matter of looking hard. June/July is a good time to arrive as many expats are moving on. Some people live in furnished apartments when they arrive, then look for a house. (Riverside apartments, Westlands, Yaya Towers apartments etc). The contacts Lamu Tam gave you are great. Try Knight Frank property consultants too.

Re white goods. They are available but horribly expensive here. You are right, you won't need a dryer. If I were you I would buy a fridge, oven, washing maching (I even have a small dishwasher) then import them.

re cars. It's a bit like houses. It's going to be far easier for you to find a car after you arrive here. You really need to look at them closely, test drive, get a mechanic to check them out. There are places that hire cars for the interim (Chequered Flag). Jazcars in Lenana centre, Karen, are also good for buying/selling and do pick up the free xpatlink publication with cars for sale or look on their website to get an idea of prices etc. It's always worth looking at 'expat leaving' sign boards in shopping centres when you arrive (Sarit Centre Westlands has the biggest one, but also Junction, Yaya, Westgate etc etc). Many cars are advertised here but watch out for 'duty not paid' because this is only relevant for diplomats and UN etc. Duty can be almost as much as the price of the car again.

I don't have a driver. Although it's common for offices etc to employ them, not many individuals/housewives actually do. The driving is fine, its just that the sheer volume of traffic combined with potholes can make it frustrating as it's often slow moving. Nowadays each area that you live in has it's own shopping centre, so they are all fairly self sufficient meaning crossing town does not have to be done that often. Perhaps one day when they finally open the Nairobi ringroad, the traffic problem will ease a little. Wishful thinking!!

Good luck!




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Re: Moving to Nairobi in June - Schools, Housing and General Help

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