Kenya is one of the most magical places on earth, and Nairobi is its gateway. As soon as I arrived in the city, I realized I will have to forget every assumption I had about Kenya. From my expectations about their culture, local people and even the climate, this country kept surprising me at every corner. One of the things you may not expect in Nairobi are the chilly evenings, so be sure to pack some extra layers.
The incredible nature and outdoor spaces make Nairobi magical. It might be hard to believe because of the continuous construction work and traffic, but you don't have to go far from the city to enjoy nature. One of my favorite weekend trips is to Karura Forest, an urban forest area, perfect for hiking, cycling, or taking a stroll with your dog. Don't miss out on the many outdoor social events, parties, and concerts that take place in Nairobi's parks and gardens, too, which can provide a nice break from the traffic and everyday noise of the city.
Settling down in Nairobi is not challenging. Young professionals, both locals and expats, often share houses and apartments. Renting your own place can be more expensive, especially if you’re only thinking of staying for a limited time, but it’s very doable. Day-to-day, you can get almost everything delivered to your door with services like Jumia. I had so much fun in my first week in Nairobi that I was soon ready to move out of my friend’s house and find my own place. I knew I wanted to stay in the city for a while. One of the best things about Nairobi is its incredible food. Don't be fooled by the appearance of Ugali, a dish made from cornmeal paste, because when cooked the right way and paired with a tasty stew, it's magical. You’ll find the majority of the cafes, bars and nightclubs in Westlands and Kilimani. If you’re looking for an active social life, these are great places to visit.
Avoiding rush hour traffic is essential in Nairobi. This is one of the main reasons why delivery services are so popular in Nairobi - the traffic can be a nightmare. Even though Uber is very affordable in Kenya, no one wants to spend 2 hours stuck in traffic. While matatus are certainly an experience (imagine a colorfully-painted bus or van, blasting music and flashing lights to attract customers) only experienced digital nomads and use them as their main form of transportation. This is why choosing where to live in Nairobi really matters. The shorter your trips, the better.
The communities in the city are very welcoming. The digital nomad and remote working community is very active. Sometimes, it feels like you’re living in a small town. Everyone knows everyone. The tightness of the community in Nairobi is one of my favorite things about this city, and the reason I keep going back. They quickly became my friends and we were able to explore the rest of this magnificent country together.