10 Of The Cheapest Kenyan Towns To Live In

Nairobi, Kenya’s beautiful capital, has gained a reputation as one of the most expensive cities in Africa. Last year, a survey placed Nairobi as the most expensive city in Africa. However, just because Nairobi is a full of luxury does not mean that the cost of living in Kenya is high. Many towns in this country have very affordable, from cheap housing to low cost of living standards. Most of these are country side towns that are home to a majority of the Kenyan population.

Large population of these towns depend on farming, fishing and in some cases, tourism for their local economy to grow. These are the most laid back, beautiful places in magical Kenya. With that in mind, we have compiled a simple list featuring 10 of the cheapest Kenyan towns to live in, for locals and visitors alike, in no particular order.

1. Nakuru


Photo Source: Nailbuzz.com

Although Nakuru has somewhat become a ‘go-to’ destination for ‘Nairobians’ looking to have a great weekend away from the big city, this Rift Valley town has managed to keep the cost of living tamed. Statistics show that food or eating out in Nakuru is 43% cheaper than in Nairobi. Other factors such as housing, transportation, education and electricity are very affordable. If you want to have a good life; a life that mimics life in the big city, then Nakuru should be one of the towns at the top of your list. Not only is the cost of living in Nakuru much cheaper, but the town is an entertainment hub for both locals and foreign tourists alike.

2. Kitale


Photo Source: Heartodarkness Blog

Kitale is a major town in Western Kenya. It is a huge agricultural center that produces quite a bit of maize, dairy products and a host of other produce. Being that Kitale is not as big a town as many others in Kenya, the population here is mostly farm owners and locals who are native to this region. This means that housing, food and even transport within this area is very affordable. Mostly due to low demand. There is plenty of food and fresh produce, which has kind of tamed the price of groceries in Kitale and its immediate environs.

3. Kabarnet


Photo Source: Ordinarydaisy Blog

Kabarnet, which is in Baringo County in the former Rift Valley province, is one of the most interesting destinations in Kenya. For starters, it has Lake Baringo nearby, which is a huge Flamingo hub. It also has countless other attractions including beautiful resorts, guest houses and a museum. Life in Kabarnet is a lot cheaper than life in most of Kenya. From accommodation, to restaurants, transport and entertainment. The food here is good and so are the people.

4. Kakamega


Photo Source: Joeandkathyinafrica Blog

Yet another agricultural hub in Western Kenya, Kakamega is a town that enjoys great weather, a good atmosphere and some hidden tourist attractions that bring foreign life to this quaint, little town. Since many residents produce their own food here, grocery prices in Kakamega are a little lower than they are in most towns. Housing is also very affordable and so is transportation.

5. Eldoret


Photo Source: Ds-Land.com

Eldoret is one of the biggest towns in Kenya. In fact, Eldoret might just be the next town to get promoted to being a city. It has an international airport nearby, tracks and tracks of farmland, good infrastructure and a pseudo-stable economy. Life in Eldoret is a lot like life in any of the other big Kenyan towns; semi-fast, always moving forward and headed towards ultimate modernization. The nightlife is something that most residents in Eldoret really enjoy. The cost of living here is a bit higher than most towns but it is still very affordable. With all that farmland, food in Eldoret is very cheap. Housing is generally cheap, but this depends on which part of town you want to live. There are some high-rise areas where the prices are almost as high as they are in Nairobi.

6. Nanyuki


Nanyuki is synonymous with soldiers, coffee houses and quite a bit of dust. The town enjoys quite a bit of rain and an outstanding view of Mt. Kenya. Thanks to the predominantly cold weather, there is almost never any food shortage in this area. This means that the cost of food is very friendly. Housing is also rather cheap and entertainment is affordable depending on where you go. It attracts tourists looking to scale Mt. Kenya, which means there are some facilities that charge a lot more than the regions average. All in all, the cost of living here isn’t too high. It is a comfortable standard.

7. Sagana


Just like Nanyuki, Sagana has quite a number of facilities that cater for the local and international tourists that this region gets. It is also a predominantly farming region, which means it has a lot of food. The cost of living here is not as high as the nearby Thika town or even Nairobi. Food is very affordable here; housing is cheap and transport is tamed. Sagana is the place to be if you do not mind that quite, country feel.

8. Kisumu City


Photo Source: Boulderkisumu.org

Being one of the big Cities in the country, you would expect life to be expensive in Kisumu. You would be right…in part. The night life in Kisumu very closely mimics that in Nairobi. So does the transport, the housing and general facilities. This doesn’t mean that Kisumu is like Nairobi, it just means it is yet another fast paced city. Surprisingly enough housing in Kisumu is very cheap compared to other towns. Food is not as cheap, but that deficit is recouped via transport and cost of entertainment. Most amenities such as water and electricity are very affordable as well and the weather is just perfect (if you like it hot!)

9. Mombasa City


Yes, Mombasa can be very expensive, depending on where you are staying. South Coast in particular is not as affordable as most people would think. Mombasa itself is quite affordable. From housing, to transport and general amenities, Mombasa just welcomes you with open arms. The weather is perfect, the landscape is heavenly and the people are just the best. The cost of living here is not as cheap as it is in most of the towns we have mentioned, but it is very affordable considering this is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.

10. Naivasha


Photo Source: Dgulotta Blog

This is of the most sort after destinations in the country. Being a mostly ‘touristic’ town, most people who live and work here revolve around that industry. This means they work in hotels, resorts, flower firms and a handful of other locally and internationally owned businesses. Food is very cheap here and so is housing. When it comes to transport, it is generally cheap, but it depends on the season. High seasons such as December often command higher transport costs because of the increase in demand, otherwise, it is very affordable.

Aside from Nairobi, most of Kenya is very affordable. The country presents a wonderfully attractive package; it is warm here, life is affordable, the people are friendly, the sights are mesmerizing and we all speak more than one language from childhood making communication more fluid. If you are looking for a tropical destination that will not break the bank, then Kenya is your country.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Poor work. Nanyuki is a very expensive town

    • i agree with you anne

  2. Nanyuki is a very expensive town

  3. Mombasa is the most expensive town in Kenya. Food is expensive so is public transport with fares hitting 100 sh during rush hours. Housing is expensive too with a two bedroom house costing anywhere between 25,000 – 38,000. Eating out will will cost you an arm and a leg. Replace it with Malindi or Kilifi. I have lived in Meru and i can tell you there is nothing affordable in Mombasa.

    • Shiekha try Nairobi.I get 55k for 1br, 80k for 2br & 300k for 3br.
      southcoast is expensive bcoz ALL local pple are used to overcharging mzungus

    • I second Sheikha Mombasa is damn expensive for nothing. Housing, public transport, food, clothing. Everything is almost not easily accessible
      actually Mombasa is the most expensive town in Kenya

  4. in mombasa is everiting wat mzungu eat expensive,chease,porc,ect

  5. Kabarnet, Nanyuki, and Naivasha are very expensive. Its like 10 places have just been picked randomly

    • I concur……Naivasha is a very expensive twn to live in! Especially the housing.

  6. Am glad to say av set a foot or two in all these places…Kenya sure is beautiful:-)

  7. The cheapest book in Kenya:

  8. Kakamega seems cheap from outside get there and feel the heat infact i think its the most expensive tpwn in Kenya

  9. Okay I am just in love with Nanyuki, If I can find a job there I would really appreciate. Currently in South Coast Mombasa

  10. Beautiful! But could do with a modern better photo of Sagana Town. I can volunteer…..

    • Hi Muiruri, Thanks a bunch. We will appreciate. Kindly send photo to [email protected].

  11. How is EmbuTown? what is it’s position in living life & it’s Environ?

  12. We would love to hear your take on the cost of living in different Kenyan towns. How expensive or cheap is your home town??

    @Benson..Embu is among the most fertile and richest parts of Kenya. The environment is generally lush. It is not as fast paced, and being a generally agricultural town, food isn’t so expensive. All in all, it is a wonderful town to settle in if you prefer the relative quiet that comes with the countryside. Just like Sagana.

  13. Kisumu is one of the most expensive towns in Kenya. The houses are neither cheap nor available. The only cheap thing in Kisumu is transport.

  14. Good work.mombasa is the most expensive toen in kenya housing, fresh water,tranport etc.

  15. This article has not been well researched as Nanyuki is now very expensive, housing rent and building costs are also high and rising all the time. Land prices are ridiculously in certain areas, particularly near the town centre itself.

  16. Mombasa is one of the most expensive towns in Kenya apart from a place called Likoni. The rest of Mombasa is expensive in terms of housing & everything

  17. What about Kisii town and Narok?

    • Malindi or small Italy is a beautiful destination to think about, most of the things are relatively priced also depending on your budget,
      Well endowed with historical sites, the famous Vasco Dagama pillars, the historical chapel n the gede ruins to name just but a few.

  18. Mombasa sucks the heat,no fresh water,the affordable housing is a nightmare infested with bedbug….hasslers suffer.

  19. even the no so fresh water is expensive

  20. Not well researched.do you want to say a place like Nyeri town is more expensive than mombasa? or what are you implying? i don’t agree.

  21. isiolo town is da cheapest buana

    • you can get cheap house but food and vegetables are expensive

  22. Mombasa isnt much expensive as its expressed here by some of us, infact msa has got one of the most favourable transport tarrif. Life in kakamega is cheap in terms of food but extremely expensive when the cost of transportation is factored. A journey of 15km will cost 200-250ksh in kakamega while the same distance will cost only 70-100ksh during rush hour in msa

  23. Please tell us which particular places of the towns you have mentioned are affordable.For example where can I get nice accomodation at low rates in Nairobi.

  24. where do you draw the facts…..housing in kakamega is terrible,uncontrolled prices since everyone seems to get into hostel business.I know of places in Nairobi that are way cheaper

  25. Nakuru is the place to be, at all costs

    • Hi Stano. I am thinking of moving to Nakuru, how much does a one bedroom house cost in a safe estate?

  26. I agree with Nakuru being a cheap town in terms of cost of living. However, am currently in kabarnet and the likes of accommodation and transport are not cheap. Kisumu is quite expensive…..housing is expensive. All in all, good work.

  27. Kisumu is the most expensive city in kenya.it seems you know very little about this towns.kindly do more research and consinder towns like meru,machakos,maua kericho,nanyuki,busia and embu.up your game please.

  28. Mombasa is extemely expensive. Amongst other things the price of vegetables is much more than up country. Nairobi visitors are amazed at the price of a cabbage. Even fruit is very expensive, whereas we used to think mangoes from the coast were cheap and carry them back to Nairobi , you can now buy mangoes in Nairobi much cheaper; some grow in Meru. Of course the author is right to say South Coast is expensive, that is because there are too many resident and tourist mzungus around and rents and prices of everything are automatically inflated.

  29. Any town list above can be expensive or cheap, depending on how a person define those two terms. There are a lot of variables: size of family, income level, budget, shopping habits, physical location among many other things.

  30. not a comprehensive article please do give figures to substantiate

  31. Leave Sagana out of this List. its not a town you can classify among the towns to live in. Its soo small that the radar should not pick it.

  32. Eldoret . Ngesach Kosachi Gaa. Beautiful small town and is Centrally placed for access of major town. Student economy is the most ideal in this town. Growth is evident in major part of this town. Key contributors being security,

  33. It’s true, some of the towns mentioned here a little more expensive that other towns not mentioned. That is why we value your feedback so much. You are the people on the ground and we would love to hear about the cost of living in different towns across Kenya, no matter how small.

    Your thoughts and comments are highly appreciated.

  34. Kisumu cheap?fir Gods sake kisumy is hell housing and food is so extremely exoensive….I support Nwkuru and Eldoret.

  35. Kisumu is so expensive in that housing and food is so stressful that one just gets a headache…..The only cheap thing in Kisumu is transport…..I love Nakuru and Eldoret….infact they deserve being in top five….

  36. Research wasn’t well done on your article. Embu should be on the list. Nyahururu? Mombasa certainly ain’t cheap. Good job though.

  37. I think Thika is cheaper compared to some of towns mentioned here considering it’s proximity to Nairobi, it’s one of the towns i would love to work in.

  38. you right about Nax and Ktl though I think you’d do good to replace Msa n Ksm with…. Kisii n bgm respectively

  39. What about meru

  40. Nice article,,Nakuru is quite expensive.Mombasa it depends with your lifestyle,Nairobi expensive.Kitale is in the North rift region in the Rift Valley province,life aint that expensive

  41. Nakuru is the best town…. it’s just cool n affordable

  42. Kisii is the most easiest town to live in but I wonder why it’s not among the list of cheapest towns, where does it lie?

  43. I think you would do Kisii town justice by placing it at number 2 if not no. 1. Infact I happened stay in the town for 4 months n I can tell you I really enjoyed from cheap food to a really vibrant night life. conside narok too.

  44. Nairobi is the cheapest city for those who know how to survive. This because Nairobi has options. 1bdr in the suburbs can cost up to 70k and 3bdr can go up to 500k. But in places like kasarani, umoja,donholm etc 1bdr cost as low as 10k 2bdr 15k . food is also relatively affordable. Just visit retail market or muthurwa, Wangige, githurai and chances are you can get free veges. Transport also very affordable especially the hoods with rail transport. So Nairobi for me is the real deal!

  45. I’m from South Africa I will be in Nakuru for a week monthend of May, so I’m looking for nice Kenyan traditional food restaurant.

  46. I love the life in Kenya, Nairobi is full of vibrancy and excitement but as an Irish man for me its got to be Malindi along the beautiful coast ,friendly locals , mnazi and white sandy beaches and its just a 3hr journey away by matatu from Mombasa Island, Malindi is where I want to end my days on this planet.

    Mimi napenda sana Kenya. God bless Kenya.

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