Cost of Living in Nairobi, Kenya

Like in most places, and especially in gorgeous Africa, Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is heaven on earth if you have money and it worsens as your account empties.

The cost of living varies greatly and the amount of money you spend depends on where you live and do your shopping.

For instance, grocery could go for up to 3 times the standard cost in the high end residential areas.

But the main rule of thumb here is that – if you want to really enjoy Nairobi, you must have a well paid job!



When it comes to restaurants, everything really depends on you and how much you want to spend on food. But, for the most part, restaurants are cheap in Nairobi. For example, a meal in a good restaurant per person would cost less than 9$, but if you want to save even more money, you can always eat street food.



If you’re in Nairobi and get homesick about food, imported goods are sold in common supermarkets like Nakumatt, Uchumi, etc. where you can find them and buy them at higher prices than domestic groceries. Local groceries are delicious, cheap and mostly consist of very fresh and exotic fruit and vegetables.



In Nairobi, transportation is reasonably cheap. It’s mostly reliable though it probably isn’t as organized as you’d want it to be. You can catch a bus anytime, and taxis are even cheap. One-way ticket to wherever you want to go is less than a dollar, while a monthly ticket is around 30$. For the service you’re getting it isn’t cheap enough, but at least you can always catch a bus.



Monthly utilities are also relatively cheap. For an apartment that is a bit larger, of about 85m2, all the basic utilities including water, gas, cooling, electricity and garbage services will cost you around 50$. At least you won’t have to worry during “winter” – the good thing is that the bill doesn’t double – no need for heating!

Sports and leisure


However cheap everything else in Nairobi is, practicing sports definitely isn’t among those cheap things. Being a member of a gym or a fitness club in Nairobi will cost you more than being one in any of the less popular countries in Europe or America – prepare to spill out 60$. Cinema tickets cost 7$ each – a rather expensive pastime.

Clothing and shoes


Now, shopping is definitely more affordable and with that, more appealing to tourists and expats alike! If you’re thinking about going to a mall in Kenya and shop till you drop – it might be a good idea, because clothing there is very cheap. A pair of quality jeans will cost less than 30$, while good sneakers of brands like Nike will cost you only about 50$.

Rent per month


Rent is, admittedly, very expensive for a citizen of Nairobi, though compared to the rest of the world, it would be considered pretty low. However, for the residents of Nairobi, paying rent is a difficult job, since their salaries are also pretty low. An apartment in the center of the city will cost you around 450$.

Cost of Living Averages Table for Nairobi

Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant) $4.91
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter) $1.98
Water (0.33 Liter) $0.46
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter) $1.02
Loaf Bread (500g) $0.53
Eggs (12) $1.54
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket $0.79
Monthly Pass $29.47
Gasoline $1.06
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling) $52.26
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local $0.03
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) $65.58
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult $65.32
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour) $6.39
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release $7.86
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable) $30.76
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...) $31.76
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range) $56.34
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center $437.62
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center $200.67
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center $916.83

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Nairobi?

Food is definitely the biggest expense for anyone living in Nairobi – you have to eat if you want to survive on a day-to-day basis, don’t you?

The next on the list of expenses is the rent, which may not be high when you look at the price alone, but is definitely very high compared to the people’s incomes in Nairobi.

Restaurants and transportation have almost the same percentage on the expense pie chart, and they are followed by sports which, in Nairobi, is extremely expensive.

Utilities (Monthly)
Sports & Leisure
Clothing & Shoes
Rent Per Month

Nairobi: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

High rents are a huge problem in Nairobi, and low salaries are the main reason why.

If an average person receives an average salary of about 350$, they can barely afford to rent a normal-sized apartment in a city center.

Minimum wage in Nairobi is also pretty low: just a bit above 120$, which is even less than Kenya’s average.

This is barely enough to make ends meet even while living in pretty bad conditions.

If you want to spend a month in Nairobi, 500$ would suffice and 700$ would be plenty enough if you really want to splurge.

Average Salary$353.63
Minimum Wage$127.10
Mortgage Interest Rate14.00%

Cost of Living by City in Kenya

*Click the name of the city for more information.

City Cost of Living Index
Nairobi 41.76

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