Nairobi Expat Guide & Healthcare Options
As the capital city of Kenya in Africa, Nairobi is in between Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda and Tanzania. With a population of about 3.36 million, Nairobi is not only the largest city of Kenya, but also the second-largest city in the African Great Lakes region. There are more than 100 international organizations and companies that have branches in Nairobi, including the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Nairobi is a business and culture centre for expatriates from around the world. Also as the home of the famous Nairobi National Park, it owns a large variety of wildlife. The park covers an area of 117.21 square kilometers. Nairobi is fast becoming an expat destination in Africa.
A typical and most common Kenya food is called “Ugali”, made of cornmeal starch. Another popular vegetable in Nairobi is “Sukuma Wiki”, collard greens in English. Local people eat ugali and sukuma wiki as a standard meal. If you are looking for fine dining, Tamarind Restaurant offers a variety of seafood dishes, soup, and vegan.
You may have heard of necklaces made of different colours of beads that have significant meaning to the Maasai people (Nilotic ethnic group with distinctive dress and customs). Many expats buy souvenirs in Nairobi made of handmade ceramic beads would be a good choice. Another gift suggestion would be hand-carved wooden sculptures. Usually, the most popular choices are the “Great Five”: lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino, and leopard. Prices vary upon different types of woods and material used.
Though the government has been working hard in recent years to improve medical facilities in Nairobi, the public healthcare system is still below international standards for expatriates. However, private hospitals and clinics offer a fairly good standard of healthcare. This is not only because private medical facilities have equipped with more experienced Western-trained doctors, but also the hygiene levels and medical services are usually higher. The medical cost at these private healthcare facilities can be very expensive. Therefore, expats moving to Nairobi would want to obtain international health insurance before departure. For any highly complex medical procedures, it is often recommended that expats obtain medical care in South Africa or Europe. To know about healthcare system in Nairobi check out our healthcare page.
Despite where you come from, living in Kenya, Nairobi can have the chance to be infected by widespread diseases and some unfamiliar health risks. It is very important for expatriates to consult medical professionals for vaccinations and travel medicine before departure.
5. Safety & Security
According to the Government of Canada, though there is no nationwide advisory for Kenya, Nairobi, expats, and tourists should exercise a high degree of caution. Terrorist attacks and crimes have occurred previously in Nairobi so you should be fully aware of your surroundings and avoid large crowds if possible. Expatriates should pay more attention to the level of security provided by employers at any accommodations that they wish to rent.
6. Insurance options for Expatriates in Nairobi
Most expatriates will want to obtain international medical coverage if residing in Nairobi. Medical evacuation is recommended along with a plan that provides global medical treatment. A plan that will provide reimbursement for medical expenses via a large network of hospitals is recommended. Many expats should also obtain global life and disability insurance coverage.
Here is a list of different types of Nairobi expat insurance coverage you will want if you are planning to become an expatriate in Nairobi:
- International Health Insurance
- Expat Life and Disability Insurance
- Travel Insurance
- Evacuation Coverage
- Group Expat Insurance Plans