Many Europeans and American citizens visit Kenya each year as tourists, to enjoy the beaches and go on safari. The beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro, the Great Rift Valley and the rich diversity of the wildlife in Kenya are quite unparalleled. They are now protected by the many national parks in the country. However, the vastly different culture and standards of living outside the five-star hotels means that very few westerners actually choose to move permanently to Kenya.
The official languages in Kenya are Swahili and English, as it was a former British protectorate. The currency is the Kenyan shilling. Kenya has a tropical climate. It is hot and humid near the coast, temperate inland and the north is very dry. Monsoon seasons are from March to May and October and November, when it becomes very hot and humid. The highlands are cooler than the coast and Mount Kilimanjaro is snow-capped due to its altitude.
Agriculture is a main part of Kenya’s economy along with tourism. Economic growth is very slow with an income per capita of just $1200 and the country generally is poor. Industry and jobs centre on petroleum products, grain and sugar milling, cement, beer, soft drinks and textiles. Tea, coffee and hides are also widely exported but jobs for immigrants are scarce. Most people who come to Kenya to work, do so as employees of international charities, or come as volunteers to help with education, health, building projects and youth work. Nairobi is the base for the United Nations Africa headquarters. It is wise to checkout the visa and immigration requirements with your Kenya embassy for full up to date details.
Nairobi has some apartments and real estate suitable for renting for those who are working in Kenya. An international mover will be required to ship personal possessions to Kenya. International schools are also available for those with school age families. There are a number of ex-Pat social clubs and notices are posted in the malls.
Healthcare in Kenya is provided by national and private hospitals, nursing homes which are often run by churches, health centre and private clinics. Many Kenyans have HIV/Aids. Tuberculosis and malaria are a cause of the high number of deaths each year. Vaccinations are essential for those who are considering living and working in Kenya.
Non-Africans make up less than 1% of the population, and most ex-Pats are based in Nairobi. Although crime and social unrest are an issue, generally ex-Pats feel safe and enjoy the lifestyle of this friendly country.