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Life as a Digital Nomad in Kenya

Life as a Digital Nomad in Kenya

Last Updated: August 21, 2023

Kenya, located in East Africa, has rapidly risen as a top destination for digital nomads. Its magnetic allure is a result of a unique blend of white sandy beaches, diverse national parks teeming with wildlife, and the bustling capital city of Nairobi. Moreover, Kenya boasts some of the best internet connectivity in the region, making it an ideal spot for remote work. 

However, there are essential aspects to understand before embarking on your digital nomad journey in Kenya. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into all you need to know about working remotely and exploring this beautiful country.

Kenya Travel Basics

Main Languages

Kenya is a bilingual nation with Swahili and English being the official languages. You'll find that English is widely spoken and understood, making communication easy for English-speaking travelers.

Capital City

Nairobi, Kenya's capital, serves as the gateway to the country. It's a vibrant city with a burgeoning tech scene, offering numerous opportunities for networking and coworking.

Main Airport

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi is the primary entry point for international travelers. It's well-connected to major cities worldwide.


The currency in Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KES), with an exchange rate of approximately $1 = 130 KES. ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are accepted in urban areas.

Time Zone

Kenya operates on East African Time (GMT +3).

Plug Socket Type

Kenya uses the UK 3-Pin plug socket (Type G). Be sure to bring the appropriate adapters if needed.

Visa Requirements

Digital nomads planning to stay in Kenya should apply for a 90-day single-entry visa online in advance through the evisa platform. There is no Visa-On-Arrival option, so plan accordingly.

Travel Insurance

Consider obtaining travel insurance, with SafetyWing being a recommended option for digital nomads.

Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Kenya is during the dry season, which runs from September to March. This period offers pleasant weather and is perfect for exploring the country's natural wonders.

Internet Quality

Kenya boasts high-quality internet connectivity, especially in urban areas. You'll find reliable and fast Wi-Fi connections in most towns and hotels. In remote areas, 4G+ networks provide excellent backup options.


Kenya's attractions include its diverse natural landscapes, safaris, stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and emerging coworking spaces.

Quick Tips About Kenya

  • Visa Application: Remember that there is no Visa-On-Arrival in Kenya, so apply online at least two weeks before your arrival date to avoid delays.
  • East Africa Tourist Visa: Kenya is part of the East Africa Tourist Visa, which also covers Rwanda and Uganda. This visa allows for a combined 90-day stay in these countries.
  • National Parks: Kenya boasts over 40 national parks, including the famous Masai Mara, known for hosting the Big 5 animals and the annual wildebeest migration. Amboseli National Park is another gem.
  • Nairobi National Park: Located within the city, Nairobi National Park offers a unique opportunity to see wildlife without venturing far from the urban hub.
  • M-Pesa: Get a SIM card from Safaricom to use M-Pesa, a mobile money platform widely accepted by businesses in Kenya.
  • Safety: Exercise caution, especially in Kenyan cities at night, with Nairobi having a reputation for crime. Avoid walking alone and opt for Uber when possible.
  • Transport: Given Kenya's size, consider flying or using the train for long-distance travel, as driving can be challenging and tiring.
  • Cost of Living: Kenya is not a budget travel destination, with safaris being costly for solo travelers. Nairobi's cost of living is comparable to many European cities, while the coast offers a more affordable alternative.

Top Destinations



Less than three hours from Nairobi, Naivasha is a picturesque town located in the Great Rift Valley. It offers a peaceful escape from the city's hustle and bustle and is renowned for its diverse natural attractions, including Lake Naivasha.


Diani, situated on Kenya's south coast, is celebrated for its pristine beaches and is home to the only coliving space designed for digital nomads. It's a tropical paradise offering a perfect blend of work and leisure.


Midway between the bustling tourist hubs of Mombasa and Malindi, Kilifi is a tranquil coastal town. With beautiful landscapes and a laid-back atmosphere, it's an ideal destination for a peaceful escape.

Other Destinations

  • Lamu: This tiny island off Kenya's coast is famed as the oldest Swahili settlement in Africa. It boasts cultural festivals, traditional boat trips, delectable cuisine, and much more.
  • Watamu: Known for pristine white sand beaches, dramatic coral features, a marine park, and the nearby Gede ruins, Watamu is a coastal gem.
  • Nanyuki: Nestled at the foot of Mt. Kenya, Nanyuki is popular among trekkers and mountain climbers. It features ranches and forest reserves in stunning landscapes.
  • Mombasa & Nyali: While Mombasa is Kenya's main port, it's a busy, congested city with unremarkable beaches. Nyali, to the north, offers a slightly more pleasant suburban setting.

Internet in Kenya

Kenya's reputation as a tech and startup hub in East Africa ensures excellent internet connectivity for digital nomads. In general, you can expect reliable and fast Wi-Fi connections in most towns and hotels. Even in more remote areas, your phone's 4G+ network will keep you connected.

4G+ Providers

  • Safaricom: Renowned for having the most reliable and fastest 4G+ network in Kenya, Safaricom's coverage extends even to remote areas.
  • Airtel: While Airtel doesn't offer 5G, it provides the second-best 4G+ and 4G coverage, primarily in and around Nairobi.
  • Telkom: Telkom's 4G+ network is isolated to Nairobi and Mombasa, but 4G coverage can be found in various regions. It's worth noting that Telkom often performs better in certain areas, such as Diani.

All three network providers offer 4G+ mobile Wi-Fi routers, which serve as convenient backups if you encounter connectivity issues.

Coworking Spaces

While Nairobi boasts a plethora of coworking spaces, they are relatively scarce outside the capital. Additionally, many coworking spaces in Nairobi cater primarily to corporate clients and do not emphasize community building or events. 

For now, these spaces are best utilized for reliable and fast internet access and as an occasional change of scenery from your home office.

Laptop-friendly Cafes

Laptop-friendly Cafes

Nairobi is teeming with laptop-friendly cafes, where you'll find plug sockets, comfortable seating, and dependable internet. 

Cafes like Java, Artcaffe, and CJ's are popular choices for digital nomads. Along the coast, such as in Diani, Mombasa, and Nyali, you can also find suitable places to work. However, in more remote locations like Lamu, options may be limited, so plan accordingly.

When to Visit Kenya

Kenya's diverse climates and attractions make it a year-round destination. Each season offers a unique experience:

  • November to February: This period, known as the 'short rains' season, features clear, sunny days. However, there may be occasional unpredictable weather and possible flooding. December, in particular, is busy with tourists, especially on the coast.
  • March to May: These months mark the beginning of Kenya's long wet season, with the possibility of rain starting in April. Coastal towns become quieter during this time, with many businesses temporarily closing. Despite the weather, you can still find low-key festivals and activities, especially in Nairobi.
  • June to July: Kenya's 'winter' season is characterized by cold, misty, and sometimes gloomy weather in most regions. However, the coast maintains a warm climate throughout the year, making it an excellent escape from the cold.
  • August to October: This period is peak tourist season in Kenya's national parks, with the Great Migration in full swing until October. Nairobi experiences hot and mostly dry weather, while the coast may see brief spells of rain and slightly cooler temperatures.

Kenya offers a wealth of opportunities for digital nomads, from its stunning natural beauty to its reliable internet connectivity. Whether you're exploring the wild on safari or enjoying the coastal vibes, Kenya provides a fulfilling experience for remote workers seeking adventure and inspiration.

The Best VPNs in Kenya

When it comes to choosing a VPN in Kenya, it's essential to prioritize your online security and privacy. While you're probably already familiar with the core features of a VPN, such as encrypting your internet connection and accessing geo-blocked content, the following VPN options have been tested and recommended specifically for users in Kenya:

  • ExpressVPN
    • Pros: Known for its exceptional speed and performance, ExpressVPN has a strong presence in Africa, including Kenya. It offers robust security features and reliable access to geo-restricted content.
    • Cons: It's on the expensive side compared to other VPNs, but the performance justifies the cost.
  • NordVPN
    • Pros: NordVPN is a global leader in VPN services, known for its comprehensive security features. While it's excellent for most purposes, it may be slower in Africa due to the limited number of servers on the continent.
    • Cons: Speeds may not be as fast in Kenya due to server availability.
  • Surfshark
    • Pros: Surfshark stands out as a budget-friendly VPN option for users in Africa. It offers reliable servers with speeds that can rival NordVPN, and it comes at a more affordable price point than ExpressVPN.
    • Cons: It may not have the extensive track record and reputation of the other two VPNs.
  • CyberGhost
    • Pros: CyberGhost offers competitive pricing and a range of security features. It can be a good choice for users looking for affordability without sacrificing too much on performance.
    • Cons: CyberGhost may not be as widely used or tested in Kenya compared to the top three options.

Top Things to Do in Kenya ( Safaris and National Parks)

Top Things to Do in Kenya

Kenya's national parks are a paradise for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. From the iconic Maasai Mara to lesser-known gems, you'll have the opportunity to witness the majestic Big 5 and experience breathtaking sunsets in the Kenyan wilderness. To learn more about the Great Wildebeest Migration in Kenya, consider checking out a comprehensive guide.

Beach Getaways

Kenya's extensive coastline boasts numerous pristine white sandy beaches, charming coastal towns, and serene islands. These locations offer stunning natural beauty, tranquility, a blend of diverse cultures, and reliable internet connectivity. Notable destinations include:

  • Diani: A perfect blend of beach life and convenience with a variety of activities and plenty of cafes for remote work.
  • Kilifi: A smaller, hip beach town known for its beauty and popularity among young Nairobians.
  • Lamu: A place to truly disconnect, primarily due to limited internet connectivity.


Mount Kenya, Africa's second-highest peak, offers breathtaking landscapes for experienced hikers. Additionally, numerous smaller mountains and hiking trails can be found in national parks, including accessible options like Ngong Hills and Karura Forest, which are close to Nairobi.

Getting Around Kenya

Kenya is a vast country, and driving yourself is not recommended due to reckless driving and road safety concerns. Instead, consider the following transportation options:

Budget Airlines in Kenya

Flights between Nairobi and coastal destinations start at just $30 one-way and take under 90 minutes. 

This is the most efficient way to cover long distances in Kenya while enjoying a generous luggage allowance. Most budget Kenyan airlines can be found on Skyscanner, but double-check their websites for accurate information.

Overland Travel by Bus

Overland Travel by Bus

Intercity coach travel in Kenya can be cost-effective but time-consuming, especially for coastal journeys. For instance, a bus trip from Nairobi to Mombasa can take over 12 hours. 

The train is a faster alternative, completing the same journey in about 5 hours. Be cautious about traffic and accidents, particularly on the Nairobi-Mombasa route. Bus travel is better suited for shorter journeys within Central Kenya, while minibusses (matatus) are a common choice.

The Nairobi-Mombasa SGR Train

The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train offers an affordable and comfortable overland route between Nairobi and Mombasa. While cheaper than flying, it takes around 5-8 hours due to station locations and security checks. 

Traveling to Diani or Kilifi from the SGR station can take up to 10 hours. Fortunately, there's 4G+ coverage along most of the route, allowing for productive work during the journey.

Hiring a Car & Driver

For newcomers to Kenya, hiring a car and driver is a recommended option. Drivers are familiar with local traffic, can guide you, and often provide tour services. 

Most car rental companies offer driver services, starting from $70 per day. If you travel overnight, you might need to cover the driver's accommodation costs.


Self-driving in Kenya is best reserved for experienced drivers accustomed to the chaotic traffic, aggressive driving, and occasional lawlessness on the roads. 

Night driving between towns or in rural areas is strongly discouraged due to safety concerns. In case of an accident, be prepared for a crowd to gather, as police assistance may be limited.

Money in Kenya

The currency in Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KES), with an approximate exchange rate of 10 KES = $0.80-1.00 USD.

ATM Withdrawals

I&M Bank and Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) ATMs generally do not charge fees for foreign bank card withdrawals. Other banks may charge up to $5 per transaction. Be cautious when withdrawing cash, especially outside shopping malls, and keep it secure to avoid pickpockets.

Card Payments

Card payments are widely accepted in Kenya and are generally secure. Monitoring your account for suspicious activity and freezing your card when not in use is advisable. High-end restaurants, hotels, and malls are reliable places for card payments.

Cost of Living in Kenya

Cost of Living in Kenya

Living expenses in Kenya, particularly in Nairobi, can be comparable to many European cities. Nairobi, as the capital, tends to be the most expensive. If you plan to live elsewhere in Kenya, expect costs to be roughly 30% lower. Key factors contributing to the cost of living in Kenya include:

  • Overpriced rent in desirable neighborhoods.
  • The need for transportation services such as Uber, Bolt, and private car hires.
  • Import duties on some groceries.
  • High entrance fees for non-citizens at national parks.
  • Limited street food culture in Nairobi, resulting in higher dining costs.

Based on experience, budgeting $2,000-2,500 per month should cover living, working, and travel expenses in Nairobi. However, costs may be lower in other Kenyan cities.

M-PESA Mobile Money

M-PESA is a revolutionary mobile money technology invented in Kenya in 2007. It allows users to conduct transactions, pay for goods and services, and transfer money using their phone's SIM card. 

M-PESA has made physical cash nearly obsolete in Kenya, and it's widely accepted for various transactions, including shopping, transportation, and bill payments. To use M-PESA, you'll need a Safaricom SIM card, the dominant mobile network in Kenya.

Travel Debit Cards for Kenya

Card payments are generally safe and widely accepted in Kenya. Travel debit cards, such as Wise, N26, and Revolut, offer convenient options for managing your finances while traveling in Kenya. 

Wise, in particular, allows you to top up your M-PESA wallet directly from your account, simplifying transactions and ensuring you always have sufficient funds.

Withdrawing Money From ATMs

ATMs in Nairobi's shopping malls are a reliable option for cash withdrawals. These ATMs are generally safe to use, with rare incidents of tampering. Security guards often monitor ATMs located outside shopping malls for added safety. 

Keep your cash secure and avoid displaying it after withdrawing to prevent theft. I&M Bank and Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) are recommended options for fee-free foreign bank card withdrawals in Kenya.

Travel Insurance in Kenya

Traveling in Kenya without medical insurance is risky due to the high cost of private healthcare. Recommended travel insurance options include SafetyWing, True Traveller (for UK and Europe residents), and World Nomads.

Money Matters

  • Kenya primarily uses the Kenyan Shilling (KES).
  • ATMs in shopping malls are safe, with I&M Bank and Diamond Trust Bank offering fee-free withdrawals for foreign cards.
  • Card payments are widely accepted, and travel debit cards like Wise, N26, and Revolut are convenient.
  • Wise allows topping up M-PESA wallets directly from your account.

Cost of Travel in Kenya

  • Safaris are a significant expense, but group tours or skipping safaris can reduce costs.
  • National parks, beaches, and cultural experiences offer alternative activities.
  • Accommodation costs vary, with budget hostels, mid-range hotels, and Airbnb options.
  • Budget for safari costs, entrance fees, and domestic flights.
  • Nairobi tends to be more expensive than other Kenyan cities.

Kenya Tourist Visas

  • Kenya no longer offers visas on arrival; apply online for e-Visa.
  • Various visa options, including 90-Day Single Entry, 12-Month Multiple Entry, East Africa Tourist Visa, Visa Exemption, and Embassy Application.

Travel Etiquette and Safety

  • Avoid being flashy, especially in areas with a high poverty rate.
  • Dress and behave conservatively in most parts of Kenya.
  • LGBTQ+ community acceptance varies; be cautious.
  • Be sensitive to issues related to racism.
  • Tipping is generally accepted and appreciated.
  • Kenya is generally safe, with violence against tourists being rare.
  • Exercise caution in crowded areas to prevent theft and pickpocketing.
  • Avoid walking around at night; use ride-hailing apps or taxis.
  • Terrorism is a low but existing threat, with security measures in place.

This comprehensive guide provides essential information for a safe and enjoyable trip to Kenya. Digital nomads and travelers can use this as a valuable reference when planning their stay in the country.


What is a digital nomad?

A digital nomad is a person who uses technology to work remotely and is not tied to a specific location. They often travel while working, relying on the internet to maintain their job or business.

How do I become a digital nomad?

To become a digital nomad, you'll need skills or a job that can be done remotely, a reliable internet connection, and the desire to travel. Start by finding remote job opportunities or freelancing gigs and plan your travels accordingly.

What are some popular destinations for digital nomads?

Popular destinations for digital nomads include Bali (Indonesia), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Lisbon (Portugal), Medellín (Colombia), and Tbilisi (Georgia). These places offer affordability, a good quality of life, and a strong community of remote workers.

How do I manage my finances as a digital nomad?

Managing finances as a digital nomad involves using online banking, travel-friendly debit or credit cards, budgeting apps, and keeping track of expenses. It's also wise to have travel insurance and an emergency fund.

What is coworking, and why do digital nomads use coworking spaces?

Coworking spaces are shared work environments where individuals can work alongside others. Digital nomads use these spaces for several reasons, including access to a productive work environment, networking opportunities, and a break from the isolation of working alone.

How do I find accommodation as a digital nomad?

Digital nomads often use accommodation booking platforms like Airbnb,, or Nomad List to find places to stay. Some also opt for long-term rentals or coliving spaces, depending on their preferences and budget.

What skills are in demand for remote work?

In-demand skills for remote work include programming, digital marketing, graphic design, content writing, customer support, and project management. Technical and digital skills are highly sought after in the remote job market.

How do I stay productive while traveling as a digital nomad?

Staying productive as a digital nomad involves creating a routine, setting clear work hours, minimizing distractions, and using productivity tools like task managers or project management software.

What are some challenges of the digital nomad lifestyle?

Challenges include loneliness and isolation, time zone differences, visa and legal issues, inconsistent income, and the need for self-discipline. Adaptability and problem-solving skills are essential for overcoming these challenges.

Is the digital nomad lifestyle sustainable in the long term?

The sustainability of the digital nomad lifestyle depends on various factors, including your income stability, ability to adapt to changing circumstances, and personal preferences. Some digital nomads continue this lifestyle for years, while others may choose to settle in one location eventually.




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  • Step1: Apply on-line Provide the information from your passport to eTA application.
  • Step2: Make an online payment Payment Methods: Credit Card
  • Step3: Check your e-mail address If your payment is confirmed, your eTA will be sent to your e-mail
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