People like to complain about Nairobi and its quirks. Yet, what most would not want to admit is that it is quite nice here. Like someone popular once said, it is the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. That is what Nairobi is in so many ways. It is the city that leaves you completely worn and tattered but also nurtures and teaches you to get right back up. There is a lot to love about Nairobi. Many expatriates have been known to move here permanently after their contracts have lapsed. Below are some of the many great things about renting in Nairobi.
1. Many options
There are so many rental options to choose from. You can get a house for whatever budget you are on and however far from the central business district you would like. You get more rental options here than quite possibly any other place in the country. You can live in a DSQ in a fancy neighborhood and fake it until you finally do make it. You could also get a studio apartment in Kilimani. Or, you could go a different way and decide to start from the bottom in a bedsitter in Zimmerman. Whatever vision you have for your renting life in Nairobi is perfectly doable.
2. Move at will
Because there are so many choices to choose from, you can move to any neighborhood you want to live in any kind of house you want. The only downside to this is the expense of moving often. The point is, if you do not feel like your current renting situation suits you, there is an option to move and find something else. If your current renting situation gets a bit too expensive then you can move to a more financially suitable hood or building. You have a choice in Nairobi. This is unlike in other towns where you will go awhile before finding a suitable alternative.
3. 24 Hour economy
How nice is it to wake up in the middle of the night with a craving for something fried and be able to get it within the hour? Not to encourage such undisciplined feeding but ti is nice to know you have the option, no? This also means that you could start a business that you could open after your office hours and run for a bit until midnight. The round the clock economy not only offers convenience in the form of public transport through the night but also an opportunity for a side hustle.
4. Side hustles
Speaking of side hustles, this is the city where you can successfully run a side hustle. There are so many opportunities to do great things and support yourself. You could go to Kamukunji, buy a few pairs of shoes then sell them for 40% profit online. There is so much you could do to make money on the side here. Side hustles that would not be successful in another town. Anyone in this country needs to be well versed in the art of creating many income sources. Renting in Nairobi will give you the push you need.
5. Financial creativity
Nairobi can be quite expensive. This is one of the things most people complain about. But, this kind of difficulty forces you to be very creative with your money. You will develop discipline and intelligence with your finances. If you have trouble, you can always find discount financial planning classes to help you out a little bit. If the planning classes prove the money to be insufficient then you could always refer to point 4 above. Bottom line is, Nairobi will force you to learn how to survive.
The city of Nairobi is aware of exactly how hard things could be. For this reason, there is always some deal or other you could benefit from. It could be a supermarket discount offer or it could be a taxi company offering to cover 80% of cab fare for a full week. This is the city where all the big companies start. Nairobi residents often enjoy wonderful deals that make it easier on their pockets. This same tradition of discount extends over everything from groceries to dry foodstuffs to shoes and clothes as well as school supplies for children.
7. Builds character
Hardship creates two different kinds of people. Some become beaten down and give up. Others use that to become stronger and emerge victors. If you are the latter kind of person then Nairobi will build your character. You will be pick-pocketed on your way home from work. You will be drugged and mugged in a matatu. Your house will be broken into while you are away for the day. If you remain determined enough though, you will find that there is nothing life can throw at you that will break you. You will be a stronger more disciplined and motivated person.
8. Personal development
As a human being, you should always work to improve yourself every day. You should always try everything in your power to ensure that you are making yourself better. Nairobi is the place where you will have multiple opportunities to do that. You can find affordable opportunities to advance your education. You can find opportunities to attend seminars and conferences for personal advancement. You get more chances to improve your physical and mental health. You get the chance to make yourself into a person you will be more proud of. Your idea of actualization could even be through giving back by participating in marathons.
9. Weekend activities
There is so much to do in Nairobi to simply enjoy yourself and discover your hobbies. You can choose to go the theater way or you could do the cinema. You could choose to be a health enthusiast who runs and cycles in Karura on Saturday morning. You could even become a concertgoer and discover great Kenyan artists. You could decide to look out for flea markets for authentic Kenyan jewelry among other forms of art. You could even join those travel groups and see Naivasha or Tsavo for a weekend. All of these are affordable ideas for wonderful weekends where your mind will expand and your social circle will grow.
Nairobi has access to some of the best amenities there are in the country. You will be able to visit malls with a diverse number of shops to browse. You will be able to be treated in some of the best hospitals in the country. There is a school in Umoja where the fees is less than 3,000 shillings a term and whose performance is top-notch. Your child’s universe will be well rounded with the diversity in the schools, strict discipline and the good quality education they get.
11. Proximity to services
Many headquarters are in Nairobi. This is everything from workers’ unions to NGOs and even big companies as well as public service offices. Most organizations will have you go to the headquarter if you have an issue. Do you need a passport? Do you need to make an inquiry at KASNEB? If you live in a different town, you will have to wake up early so that you can get there on time before the queue builds up. If you live in Nairobi, you will be there before the queue builds up. This is not exactly a reason to abandon your own home in a different town but it is a plus if you ever consider relocating to the city.
12. Friends become family
Small town mentality dictates that one only remains friendly to the people they know and their own families. In Nairobi, any genuine friend you make soon becomes family. It is easier to make friends here too because everyone has a common goal: to survive. Many may be trying to pick your pockets but you will run into quite a few whose intentions are genuine. This is especially true if you pick up any of the weekend activities suggested. Even dating is easier because a majority of the Tinder pool is situated in Nairobi.
Nairobi is a mix of cultures and ethnicities. Walk on any street for about twenty minutes. You will hear many dialects spoken. Many skin colors will walk past you. If you attend an event, you will find that diverse people stand in clusters and communicate with each other in a language they all understand. This is a city where a person’s difference is celebrated and accepted. Your child who may be biracial will not be pointed at and ridiculed at school for being different. This is until another political event ruins the party. However, it is with a fervent hope that we have learned our lesson.
Nairobi is not perfect but she is the dream. If you are a new renter in Nairobi then you are in for a wild ride. The cost of living may be higher than most other towns but the benefits of living here far outweigh the downside. Happy living!