Cost of Living and Accommodation

1 min read
01 Jan 2024

Cost of Living

Anyone who assumes living in Africa is cheap will get a shock in Nairobi. Locally grown fruit and vegetables bought in markets and from roadside kiosks are affordable, but malls, supermarkets and restaurants can cost as much as in Europe. Matatus (shared minibuses) are an affordable way to get around, costing KSh 30 ($0.29) for a short trip, but expect to pay around KSh 300 ($2.90) for the same trip in an Uber or Taxify and at least KSh 1,200 ($11.55) to take one across town. Gas costs around KSh 340 ($3.27) per gallon. Eating out in a local joint will cost you around KSh 300 ($2.90) and a beer around KSh 200 ($1.93). If you prefer to eat in Kenya’s wonderful Japanese, Peruvian, Italian or other international restaurants, expect to pay anywhere from KSh 2,000 to KSh 6,000 (around $19 to $58) per person including alcohol. 


There are lots of apartment buildings in Nairobi and more seem to be springing up daily. To rent one, you should expect to sign a one- or two-year contract with a damage deposit of one month’s rent. Prices vary depending on location, but budget around $700 for a one-bedroom apartment with an additional $50 for a garden. Rental agencies include Pam Golding ( and Maarifa Homes (, and landlords pay the agent fees. Be sure to check whether utilities and security fees are included in your rent or must be paid directly. Guesthouses are a charming oddity of Nairobi. These small properties were built on the grounds of larger buildings during colonial days to house guests. Many are now rented separately and usually include use of the main property’s garden and pool. It’s advisable to live close to work since traffic is heavy, especially during rush hour.

Main photo by Amani Nation