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Everything you need to know before moving to Kenya

19 Aug 2021 - Category: Blog /
Moving kenya guide

Moving to Kenya? There are a few things you need to know before packing your bag. You’ve come to the right place!

Kenya is a country full of unique wonders and delights. Whether you want to work there permanently or just visit for a short period, there is plenty to discover. So what do you need to know before moving to Kenya?

In this blog we’ll explore some of the essential information you should have before making your move. We’ll also explore some practical tips which will hopefully make your moving experience as easy as possible.

So, let’s take a look at some of the things you need to consider before moving to Kenya:

  • Why should I move to Kenya?
  • What to expect when moving to Kenya
  • Practical information
  • Is moving to Kenya easy?

Why should I move to Kenya?

Kenya has a lot of opportunities and we know how many amazing things the country has to offer. Beyond the beautiful beaches, lovely climate and exciting cities, Kenya has a thriving international community especially in places like Nairobi and Mombasa.

If you have family and friends in Kenya, then you probably already have a good reason to move. The pandemic has emphasised how important it is to be together with your loved ones. So if you haven't spent much time with your family back home maybe now is the time to move to Kenya and reconnect.

What to expect when moving to Kenya

If you’ve started to think about moving to Kenya then you will probably already have some idea of what it’s like. Whether through family, friends or work you may know what life is like, but you’ll never truly know until you get there. So, what should you expect when you arrive?

Kenya is roughly the size of Texas (If you’re moving to Kenya from the US, this may help you visualise how big Kenya is!). It borders a number of countries including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda. To the east lies the Indian Ocean and along the coastline extends some wonderful white beaches.

Today Kenya is a multicultural country and a fantastic melting pot for people all over Africa and the world. In the cities you can expect to find international communities but also wonderful exhibitions of rich and historic Kenyan culture.

We also recommend that you start to learn Swahili before you move to Kenya. The country is multilingual and there are over 68 languages spoken throughout Kenya. The most common language is Swahili and the second most common language is English. If you have a strong grasp of both languages it will be easier to explore the country and enjoy everything Kenya has to offer.

Practical information

Now you have an idea of what to expect. But what about the practical steps you need to take before you arrive? And what essential information should you have when you are in Kenya?

Here are some things you should know about banking, accommodation, employment and education in Kenya.

  • Banking in Kenya is relatively simple and is accommodating to people coming from overseas. In recent years, the rise of mobile banking in Kenya has improved financial accessibility all over the country. There are seven tier 1 commercial banks, including Equity Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank, Barclays Bank of Kenya, Diamond Trust Bank, Cooperative Bank, Central Bank of Africa and Standard Chartered.

On a day to day basis many people use mobile banking and mobile wallets like M-pesa and Equitel to function. These have been effective ways of managing money in Kenya for many years and work just as well for immigrants.

  • The details of accommodation largely depend on where you choose to live. In general it is a good idea to sort out living arrangements before you move. The average cost of living per month for a single person is around £374.00 without rent. If you are moving to Kenya from the UK you’ll be pleased to know that rent in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is on average, 81.31% lower than in London.

  • Similar to accommodation, it is best to secure a job before you move to Kenya unless you have strong financial support from family and friends already living there. Agriculture and horticulture are the major industries in Kenya. However, in the large cities like Nairobi and Mombasa there are also emerging tech communities. There are more opportunities than ever before for workers in tech and online companies in Kenya.
  • If you are coming to Kenya to study you can expect to find a number of first-class education institutions including University of Nairobi, United States International University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and the Kenyatta University.

Is moving to Kenya easy?

Everyone’s moving experience is different.

For example, if you’re emigrating from Tanzania your experience will be wildly different to those moving to Kenya from the US or the UK. Your expectations and preparation will probably determine the success of your move.

If you have decided where you are going to live and work, your experience will be easier than if you are just going and hoping for the best. Ultimately, today it is as easy as it has ever been to start a new life in Kenya. If you have family and friends in Kenya already who can help you with your move then your experience shouldn’t be too difficult.

Aim to organise your health insurance, accommodation and employment before you move. Having these essential tasks done before you land in Kenya will allow you to feel more secure and it will be easier for you to start calling Kenya home.

Starting your journey to Kenya

Now you know some of the essential information, you can think about how and when you are going to move to Kenya. It is a wonderful country full of fantastic people. There is something for everyone whether you choose to travel around Nairobi and Mombasa, or live with family and friends in Thika.

If you already have loved ones living in Kenya you may want to support them and send them money. You can do this easily with Small World.

Small World is an international money transfer service helping people stay connected wherever they are in the world. If you need to send money to Kenya you could do so with Small World via bank deposit, mobile wallet or cash pickup. We want to help make your experience as hassle-free as possible so you and your loved ones can truly enjoy what Kenya has to offer!

Your first transfer online is always free of fees!


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