The outskirts of a town means on the very edge of the boundaries. However, in this instance, the towns on the list will be towns that most may consider party of Nairobi but are actually parts of other counties. Renting in the outskirts of the city has been propelled for the most part by the movement of companies away from the business district and infrastructure. There are many commercial developments coming up in the city outliers. This means that less and less people are moving further from the center.
This also couples with the fact that the further one goes from the city, the cheaper the houses are and even the more spaces you get for the same amount. Try and compare a one bedroom apartment that goes for 20,000 shillings in South B to the same that goes for 10,000 shillings in Kitengela. The former can fit into the latter with space to spare more often than not. Here are a few popular places hoods.
Kiambu County starts from Kahawa Wendani so Ruiru is also in the same county. Most of the hoods along Thika road are very well developed and have high populations, Ruiru is sort of quiet. There are not many people willing to move that far from the city. The town has therefore only grown gradually over the years. This also means that the rent is cheaper and the houses more spacious.
Ruiru is right on the bypass which means that you can access Kangundo Road, Mombasa Road and by default, Outering Road. The one thing you are bound to love though is the night life and the fresh produce. A lot of Kenya’s produce passes through Ruiru so count on finding some of the freshest vegetables around. To top that, it is not that hard to go from Ruiru to town. The fare is not too high and while you may encounter heavy traffic, it is manageable on most days.
This is yet another little town whose growth has been propelled by the infrastructure. Part of Kamulu lies in Nairobi County while the other lies in Machakos County. It is a very popular place for people looking to buy their own land both for residential and development purposes. A one bedroom house in this area can go for 8,000 shillings a month which is less than the cost of a bed sitter in Madaraka estate. Due to the availability of land and the slow migration to the outskirts, the developments still churn out spacious quarters. Fare to Kangundo is about 200 shillings so expect to pay 100 shillings or less for transport to town.
Through the Eastern bypass you can access Mombasa road. On the way you will go through Utawala which is yet another great place to live if you like being on the outskirts. The hood has seen tremendous growth ever since the bypass was built. They get public transport service well into the night. A one bedroom house in Utawala goes for 10,000 shillings or less.
Syokimau has become very popular which means that rent in some instances may be at the city center levels. It is in Machakos County or rather right after the edge of Nairobi. People scrambled to live in Syokimau so again the developers built houses with smaller rooms than you would expect that far away from town. One thing that may really irk you about Syokimau is the price of fruits and vegetables. While in most cases roadside vendors have affordable prices, the ones in Syokimau have perhaps higher prices than anywhere else. For example, you could get a bag of five oranges for 100 shillings. Oranges cost 5 shillings each as an unwritten rule. Investigation into this phenomenon will be done at a later date.
Living in Syokimau is simplified by the train which takes a little under an hour to arrive at the Nairobi train terminus. There are two trains, one leaving Syokimau at 6:40 AM and another leaving the terminus at 7:40 AM. There are three return trips starting at midday then 5:50 PM and 7:50 PM. This makes it easier to commute to the CBD. Therefore, the train has been a major propellant of migration away from the city center along Mombasa road.
The gem of Kajiado County housed some of the very first ‘diasporans’ to work among ‘Nairobians’. It used to take up to three hours to commute from Rongai to town. Ongata Rongai is only 17 km away from town and should not take more than a half hour ideally but that almost never happens. The infrastructure along Langata road and other areas that lead to Rongai has really helped with the commute. Therefore, it costs and takes a lot less now.
Rent is obviously quite affordable with a two bedroom going for as low as 14,000 shillings a month. This would put bed sitters at well below 7,000 shillings. Water shortage is not rampant either. Kajiado County is known for the most succulent meat in the country. We can all agree that the meat is a fitting consolation prize for commuter’s headache.
This is right on the edge of the UN blue zone, Runda and all those affluent neighborhoods you aspire to. You can therefore think of yourself as living in affluence adjacent. Ruaka mostly caters to people who only brush the shoulders of diplomats (not brush with). Therefore you can expect a one bedroom to go for as much as 20,000 shillings. You can also find the same for less. If you are going to live in Ruaka, it is best to look around as much as possible. Most units will be sufficiently spacious and with easy access to all amenities. Who knows, passing through all the big houses on the way home everyday might work as a motivator for you.
Before you make the decision to move the outskirts of the city, make your calculations. In some cases, the cost of commuting may be too high to make sense. Also do you research on the security of the neighborhood especially in times of political unrest. Some quiet is good for the soul.