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Anybody moved from the UK to Kenya?

(14 Posts)
oneplusone Sat 27-Jun-09 22:08:19

Have been contemplating what seems like a crazy idea to emigrate to Nairobi, Kenya.

Have been there quite a few times on holidays and know a few people over there. DH and I are looking for a major lifestyle change. He is sick of being part of the rat race and I am increasingly concerned at the direction in which this once great country is heading in terms of educational standards and family values and the sort of lives our children lead.

We want more of a outdoors lifestyle, to explore and live with nature and get away from our consumer culture with material values.

But am i being unrealistic in what we would gain from such a drastic move? I haven't been to Kenya for a number of years so don't really know what it's like today. Would be grateful for some information from somebody in the know.

TIA smile

Will be back late tomorrow to check thread so I am not posting and disappearing!

jkklpu Sat 27-Jun-09 22:13:30

No, but check out for the official view. Nairobi is known to be quite a violent place but check the details out here and on other sites. I bet there will be lots of expat blogs/forum chats you can find through Google.

oneplusone Sat 27-Jun-09 22:26:07

Thanks for the tip, am off to google now.

oranges Sat 27-Jun-09 22:27:38

yes, we moved there for three years! what do you need to know?

ShowOfHands Sat 27-Jun-09 22:29:26

themasterandthemargaritas buggered orf there. She's possibly one of the loveliest people in the world. I don't know if the two facts are related.

oranges Sat 27-Jun-09 22:29:59

I've just reread your post. The life you want depends really on where you live. Nairobi is quite unsafe and its tricky to walk in the streets, so you will only get the outdoors life away from the city, or within the confines of large gated gardens.
That said, I do think it makes you see the world differently. Again, Nairobi is as materialistic as any other place, but there is also a lot, lot more to it and I never felt as under pressure to conform to certain standards of wealth and success as I do here.

oneplusone Sat 27-Jun-09 22:34:05

oranges, hi! I would like to know what the schools are like, cost of living, does the crime rate really have an impact on day to day life? If we lived in Nairobi would it be realistic to get out into the bush for weekends etc.

What do expats tend to do workwise? Would we fit in with the expats already out there? (I suppose that depends on us really!).

Over here in London we are i suppose a typical middle class family, DH has a corporate job, I have been a full time SAHM for nearly 6 years. But my youngest will start school in sep 2010 so i am thinking about working again, would there be any chance of me getting a job over there? I am thinking of retraining as a teacher so would do that here before the move.

oneplusone Sat 27-Jun-09 22:38:55

Cross post oranges. What you said about seeing the world differently is exactly what i am after both for me and DH and more importantly the DC's. I am terrified of them growing up as pampered, spoilt, materialistic children. I try my best not to spoil them but living the life we do here, in our little middle class insulated bubble, i feel it is almost inevitable they will never realise how lucky and priviledged they are. I would like them to grow up in a different environment I suppose.

oranges Sat 27-Jun-09 22:49:38

well, the thing is, it's quite hard not to live an expat life in Nairobi, which is itself quite a priveleged, pampered bubble. The poverty is all around, but I think in many ways there's poverty everywhere and if you can ignore it here, you can ignore it there if you want to.

Jobs. Mainly charities, media, doctors. International companies obviously do employ expats too but I think they usually transfer their own senior people there. That said, I do know lots of people who just arrived and found work, but its a lot easier to set something up beforehand.

What do you mean by bush? You can go to Naivasha, the lakes and the safari places but, to be honest, its an odd thing. I love hiking and always felt quite hemmed in in Kenya as you either cantwalk cos its unsafe or there are wild animals. But the scenery is life changing to gaze on.

ZZZenAgain Mon 06-Jul-09 09:19:33

I don't think it is a crazy idea at all, especially if you have been there on holiday more than once and know people who live there. You have some idea what to expect. I would read as much as you can about the place obviously. I toy with doing this myself at times but dh is not interested which is a major spanner in the works.

It is a long time ago that I lived in Africa but I would worry if there is a future there for your dc once you have set yourselves up. This (apart from dh) is what holds me back. You have to look into secondary schools and beyond of course, however I think Nairobi should be ok for secondary.

However security is definitely going to be an issue. You have to keep in mind (well of course you know this already) that problem number 1 is the high birth-rate which means the population is doubling at least every 20 years with all the problems this entails.

when I look at Zimbabwe, it is hard to know whether it will be comfortable to continue living anywhere in Africa 20-30 years down the track. You could view it as a 2-5 year thing first maybe and a big adventure? Once you're there on the ground, you'd have a better idea whether iti s a long term solution for your family and how accessible the great outdoors is for you there.

In any case good luck and if you do go ahead, please write a blog. I will emigrate vicariously along with you!

ZZZenAgain Mon 06-Jul-09 09:26:22

If you do want to go walking about/exploring fairly untamed territory, you do need to prepare yourself. For instance you should know what kind of poisonous snakes might be around and take some serum and a syringe with you and also know how to inject and where; you can learn all this stuff and get the supplies but you need to be prepared to deal with things like that and not mess about if it will take a while for medical help to reach you.

I agree with oranges that when you are not on your own land but travelling around, you will probably be mostly in a car looking at the landscape and wildlife but probably not moving about in it freely that much

Oneplusone, I am in Nairobi (actually I am in the UK on holiday right now wink) and we have emigrated lock stock and barrel. I must have missed your post due to horrendous end of term activities but will happily reply to all your questions if you are still reading this thread.

(btw I obviously paid the very lovely SOH to say nice things about me wink)

ZZZenAgain Wed 22-Jul-09 12:13:26

how are you finding it living in Nairobi?

We are loving living in Nairobi. I love the fact that the children are outdoors most of the time, that we can explore interesting places and such different cultures and the children grow up with an international outlook.

Of course there are concerns, mainly around security and long term political stability of the country. Dh has his own business and we have primary school age dc, so we often talk about what we shall do in the future, especially around schooling. It can be difficult to cope with the uncertainty of where the country is heading economically and politically.

However schools are really not bad at all and there is a choice, which is often unheard of for expats in other African cities. The city is very vibrant and forward thinking. Security has not been an issue for us up to now (touch wood). I run around our suburbs 3 times a week with an ipod and have never had any issues. I can also walk to school with dd as we live close by.

We do travel around a great deal at the weekends, but it can be very pricey. And yes we do to a certain extent live in a privileged bubble, where there is a danger our children grow up with a 'superiority' complex in spite of being aware of the disparity between rich and poor.

I believe you have to be a certain kind of person to be happy living in Africa on a long term basis and it's not a decision to be taken lightly. However we are at present enjoying our life there very much (though currently in somerset on holiday, in the rain!).

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