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Kenyan culture and lifestyle

With its good schools, range of properties and low cost of living, Kenya is an appealing expat destination. Learn more about what living in the country will be like.

Kenya has a vivid and varied culture. From the stunning Masai Mara seven kilometres outside Nairobi, inhabited by the majestic Masai people, to the 39 other ethnic groups spread right across the country, once you decide to explore your new country you’ll relish the sights and sounds. Kenya is the country to be in if you have a passion for conservation and wildlife. During the months of July to October, you’ll be able to see one of the most extraordinary sights on the planet — ‘the great migration’, when thousands of wildebeest, and zebra cross the Mara river.

Visit Samburu, 206km north of Nairobi to see how Kenyan Wildlife tackles the evils of poaching daily. The problem of poaching has increased to the extent that in 2016 Kenya hosted an international conference in a bid to curtail this evil trade. In 2015 20,000 elephants were slaughtered for their ivory across Africa, and the problem has become so serious that elephants are almost extinct in certain parts of the continent.

Poaching is such a serious problem that a 2017 report in The Guardian stated that, ‘East Africa has experienced a 50% drop in its elephant population’. International aid has been offered to Kenya to fight illegal trade and the US donated Khs4.9 billion in a bid to defeat the smugglers.

Going on safari is part of the Kenyan experience — the word ‘safari’ was coined in Kenya — as is exploring its diverse countryside and towns. Lake Victoria is in the south of the country, bordering Tanzania, and while you’re there you should visit the lakeside town of Kisumu. Dunga beach, close to Kisumu is an excellent venue if you want to explore a traditional Kenyan fishing village. Famous for its hippo viewing point as well as its position on Lake Victoria, Kisumu is also close to the curious rock formations at Kit Mikayi.

A healthy mind is said to nurture a healthy body, and when in Kenya you can easily take up hiking. To the north of the country, Mount Kenya dominates the spectacular Mount Kenya National Park. This is the place to visit for some exhausting hikes across glaciers, or just an energetic stroll along the slopes of Mount Elgon.

Part of the expat experience is to explore new countries and cultures, and the peoples of Kenya are so varied that you’ll wish you could live in this fascinating country for longer. Just extend your Alien Card or apply for permanent residency.


If you’ve moved to Kenya with your family, and short of sending the children to an expensive overseas boarding school, you’ll probably want to keep your family with you to enjoy your Kenyan adventure. Kenyan private schools have a good reputation and, as a rule, expats tend to send their children to these establishments. American and UK curricula are the most frequently used but other expat communities, including the Dutch, Swedish, Japanese, French and German, all have their own community schools. This is helpful as you might leave Kenya before your child has completed their schooling and on your return to your respective country your child will have kept up to date with the national syllabus.

When applying to a school, your child will need to have their academic records and may have to take an entrance exam as well as have an interview to determine their suitability. For example, the International School of Kenya asks for three years of school reports as well as a confidential report from your child’s last school. Entrance applications usually take place during the summer. Schooling isn’t cheap. Kindergarten can cost Ksh20,846.15 per month, primary school for a year will come to Ksh861,625.00 and the fees for senior schools can be very expensive. Just for applying to the International School of Kenya, you’ll be charged US$400 (Ksh40480.60), and that’s before you’ve even found out if your child has gained a place at the school. (Figures correct March 2018.)

Some of the most popular schools in Kenya:

  • The International School of Kenya – Nairobi
  • Rosslyn Academy – Nairobi
  • Deutsche School – Nairobi
  • Lycee Denis Diderot – Nairobi
  • Agha Khan Academy – Mombasa
  • Braeburn School – Mombasa

Learn more about relocating with children by reading our five essential expat tips.

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