Thursday, 2 March 2017

Why moving houses in Nairobi is hard

A view of Nairobi's CBD. Moving houses in the city is difficult for most tenants
as they lack enough information on what the different neighbourhoods offer. 

Moving in Nairobi is hard. The hardest bit about moving isn’t even finding houses or finding a mover, but getting the courage to move.

Most of us are already used to our current neighbourhoods and know its insides outs- where to get the mbogas, the butcher with the meanest cut, neighbourhood crushes, where all the potholes are, water and power outage schedules, what time we can come in at night.

Having to move to a new neighbourhood, relearn all these and the fear that something may not fit into our established lifestyles makes us baulk at the prospect of moving. Change, after all, has never been easy.

Should you, however, get the courage to move, one then needs to audition different neighbourhoods to find one that fits their expectations in security, location, utility reliability, price, schools and much more. 

The next challenge with moving is finding a house. There’s a mismatch of information between landlords seeking tenants and tenants seeking landlord. We all wish there were a Tinder for houses - Hinder? - where we could swipe left and right. 

For now, we have to contend with the agent, who ranges from the scrupulous one who is out to defraud us with no houses to offer, to those who actually have houses, but ones which don’t fit what we are looking for.

It is for this reason that most people rely on their friends and relatives to find houses. In a low-information low-trust economy like Kenya, referrals matter a lot. You are likely to find a reliable agent through referrals, and you are more likely to identify the characteristics of a neighbourhood through referrals.

All these challenges are what primarily contribute to many Nairobi residents living far away from their places of work, and having to commute and crisscross the city. Those who live around Mombasa Road commute through the CBD to Westlands and Ngong Road; those from Ngong Road commute to Mombasa Road; those from Waiyaki Way commute to Mombasa Road and Thika Road; those from Thika Road commute to Mombasa Road, Waiyaki Way and Ngong Road…

The result, our commutes, especially the evening commute where we all leave work in the shorter 5 PM - 7 PM window is hell as we criss-cross the city. It doesn’t help that we are still working on ring roads that connect one bit of the city to the other without needing to pass through the city centre.

Should you find a house, the next obstacle is finding a mover. There have been some developments in this area with the emergence of professional movers. The challenge, again, is that their pricing is high for a majority of the city residents.


Among the highest recommended movers is Senga, Armstrong, Cube and Dasambi in that order.

These are just but a few players, whose criteria here is based on recommendations. As I mentioned, business in Nairobi depends heavily on referrals.

Armstrong has costs that begin at about Kshs. 13,000 including packing and unpacking. For all these firms, all you have to do is book, and wait to be moved. You can enquire about costs by calling each of them.

Meanwhile, which neighbourhoods should you consider? Well, I wish I had a ready answer.

However, you can contribute to the search of an answer by filling in the questionnaire on this link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfTMyn7bQDC2IXQ6Bo0zzmDjywIk2SmtOSB19cNNxJQpv8qsA/viewform . The results will be published on this blog, and hopefully, should provide us with enough information in the search for the perfect home in Nairobi.

Next Post - 83% of Kenyan Job Seekers have a work experience of less than 5 years.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Fuzu - Banks were second highest employers in 2016 after NGOs

On Fuzu's platform, 7 out of 10 job seekers are based out of Nairobi
The good guys over at Fuzu shared a report that they prepared based on data gathered on their platform. In case you have not heard of them, they are an internet firm that connects job seekers to jobs, and of course employers to job seekers.

The data they shared covered the period between September 2015 and November 2016, where the platform handled about 4,000 open positions, with job seekers making 140,000 applications for these positions.

Of these open positions, the most, 1 in every 5 vacancies (5 in every 25), were in the NGO and social world, followed by banking and insurance which fielded 16%, or about 4 for every 25% vacancies.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

What Kenyan media houses can do to survive the internet

US Newspaper advertising revenues as depicted on Wikipedia

The first time I read a newspaper was about 25 years ago; I wasn’t even literate. But there’s that photo of me as a cute,  plump baby holding a newspaper almost my height. It was the Daily Nation, my father’s paper of choice and Kenya’s leading daily to date.

A lot has changed since that photo. I still enjoy reading the news. Thanks to the internet, it,  however, not only comes from the Daily Nation but The Standard, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, Reuters, Economic Times, Techweez and much more.

The internet has changed the media in many countries and is only beginning to make its mark in Kenya.

In the US, advertising revenues peaked in 2000 as news reading moved to the internet. In print, newspapers are paid to show adverts to readers. Online, Google is paid to show adverts to newspaper readers.

Google not only serves adverts to online newspaper readers, but to Gmail and YouTube users, and to people visiting millions of other sites - virtually the entire internet. The effect, inventory to serve adverts has increased, and now those buying adverts have more information on what they are buying. The result, advert prices have hit rock bottom.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

How Jambojet's Pricing Works

Jambo Jet's pricing is driven by a goal to sell all seats at the highest price passengers are willing to pay
Jambojet's pricing is driven by a goal to sell all seats at the highest price passengers are willing to pay
Just how much does a Jambojet flight cost?

For many, the launch of Jambojet came with great expectations, that it would now cost the price of a bus ticket to fly.

Jambojet’s introductory prices were not far off,  at about KSh. 3,000 - KSh. 4,000,  which comes to about double to thrice what you would pay for a bus.

Many people, however, feel that Jambojet has not made flying any more affordable, with some stating that even Kenya Airways is cheaper at times.

What’s the truth? Both cases are true. This is how.

Friday, 9 December 2016

A guide to Holidaying in Watamu's Paradise


Taking your first walk on a Watamu Beach in a November afternoon can be a bit misleading. The beaches may look as white as they did on the photos you Googled, but you immediately notice the collection of dead, brown seaweeds that line the water edge.

At times, the weeds can be so numerous so as to require a swept-up-path to the water’s edge. Still, these are not enough to spoil the scenic view of the ocean as you prop yourself to a sunbed under a coconut tree. The sea breeze will waft through with the real ocean smell, not that manufactured "ocean fragrance" that you find in air fresheners, toilet cleaners and laundry softeners.

There are three bays in Watamu, including Watamu Beach, which is the middle bay. In case you need a primer on your Geography lessons, a bay is a bit of the ocean that indents into the land. In fact, the Watamu ones may be referred to as coves, seeing that they may be much smaller than bays.

The names of the various hotels and resorts by the beach are an apt description of the different coves.

Turtle Bay Beach is located on the deepest of the bays and the one most open to the ocean. It’s also where a lot of sailing vessels launch,  and where the Watamu Marine Park is located.

The Marine Park side also hosts the English, or British side of Watamu, with the British preferring the Turtle Bay, Hemmingways and Ocean Sports resorts. The famous Medina Resort is also located here.

The rest of Watamu is dominated by Italians, with their Italian language battling Kiswahili for the title of the most spoken language in Watamu. English comes a distant third, or even fourth after the local languages.

Blue Bay Cove is located along Watamu Beach and is more sheltered than the Marine Park,  meaning the water is calmer.

Crystal Bay, the morning after 
Crystal Bay and Seven Islands Resorts are located on the so-called Crystal Bay and the most scenic and calm of the three. The seven islands refer to a number of small islands, remnants of where the beach once stood hundreds of years ago before giving way to the relentless ocean.

During the low tide, the ocean recedes to the reef and will leave pools of shallow, crystal clear, pale blue and dark blue water, which lends the name to Crystal Bay. Not only is this phenomenal breathtaking, but you have the opportunity to play and swim in the shallow pools left by the ocean in “crystal bay”.