Your Kenya posting

A families’ guide to living in BATUK

Overview

Kenya is beautiful and diverse country, and a posting here can offer tremendous opportunities for travel, adventure and safaris. The locals mostly live a very simple and resourceful life, which can prove to be very humbling at times. With English as one of the official languages, communication is not generally an issue. It is a unique posting, and with opportunity comes challenge; however, there is a huge amount of support provided and what seems daunting at first soon becomes second nature.

This page will give an overview of what a posting to Kenya can offer. Once you have received your assignment order you will then receive a more in-depth information pack from the welfare office, and information from Abbey Wood.

If you have any further questions, or wish to receive a copy of the latest pre-arrival information for Kenya, please contact the AFF Kenya Co-ordinator.

Contents

01   Day to day living

The weather in Kenya is variable. Nairobi seldom gets too warm and can sometimes feel quite chilly, even cold. Nanyuki is slightly higher and in the lea of Mount Kenya, so generally experiences warmer day time temperatures, but is cooler at night than Nairobi.

Top tip: when it rains, it really rains! So do not banish all your winter clothes to storage, bring some warm clothes and wellies.

02   Shopping

Nanyuki is a surprisingly large town and most things can be bought here. Some things may cost more than in the UK, but other things are very cheap, so overall it balances out.

There is a large mall, with various shops and restaurants, a large supermarket and a few smaller independent stores. However, clothes shopping is limited.

Kenya’s Capital, Nairobi, has an abundance of malls and supermarkets, which offer a larger choice than Nanuyuki. There are also many clothes shops in Nairobi.

A large part of shopping is done online from the UK.

03   Pre-screening

All Service personnel and accompanying family members will be required to have had a medical prior to arriving in BATUK.

You are advised to start the vaccination process as early as possible, as some courses of vaccinations can take weeks to complete. For up-to-date advice on vaccinations needed for Kenya, go to www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk

04   Housing

There is no MOD owned Service Family Accommodation (SFA) in Kenya and all SSFA (hiring) is rented from local landlords. Housing stock is limited, so there is no luxury of choosing. The housing provided varies, from individual houses in a compound to estates of multiple houses in a compound. Security is a high priority and all SSFA will have alarms and contracted security officers on the property night and day.

Most housing allocated is above entitlement and is of good standard. All SSFA comes fully furnished with basic furniture and white goods including fridge, chest freezer, washing machine, tumble drier, cooker and vacuum cleaner. Dishwashers are not provided and there is no plumbing to allow for one. A Get You in Pack (GYIP) is provided to cater for the period before your personal effects arrive in Kenya.

Top tip: bring things to make your house a home, the furniture is plain and pictures and ornaments can transform the place you live.

Top tip: if you are travelling with young children, bring toys and games in your luggage to keep them entertained in the first few weeks as it can often take over a month for your personal effects to arrive.

05   Spousal employment opportunities

Employment and volunteering opportunities are very restricted in Kenya and currently the educational/training facilities for spouses are limited, so you are advised to consider how you will use your time and bridge this gap in your CV. Consider some distance learning opportunities.

06   Education

The BATUK approved schools in Kenya are both private and offer high standards of education and a wide range of extra-curricular activities.

There is only limited special needs provision in Kenya. Any family who has a child with Special Educational Needs (SEN) must contact CEAS before accepting an assignment to Kenya.

Nairobi – BATUK children living in Nairobi will go to Braeburn Garden Estate School. This means that all children from the age of 2.5 to 16 years will attend either the nursery, primary or senior school.

Nanyuki – BATUK children living in Nanyuki will attend Braeburn Nanyuki International School from the age of 2.5 to 11 years, and then weekly board at Braeburn Garden Estate School in Nairobi from the age of 11 to 16 years.

There are no secondary schools in Nanyuki that are CEAS approved; all senior school children board in Nairobi Monday to Friday.

Transport is provided, but parents need to be aware this is a minimum three-hour journey on Kenyan roads.

For this reason, some parents choose to place their children into a UK boarding school instead. UK boarders are entitled to six Service Children’s Visits (SCV) per year. The MOD also use the Unaccompanied Minor (UM) Scheme to ensure children are escorted throughout their journey.

There are a couple of local childcare providers both in Nairobi and Nanyuki.

You are responsible for ensuring that the education in Kenya would be appropriate for your child/children before accepting a posting to Kenya. In 2017, DCYP produced an Education Suitability Report for BATUK.

07   Medical & dental

The main medical centre is in BATUK Main (Nanyuki) and there is a smaller unit in Nairobi. The recommended hospital is the Aga Khan in Nairobi, approx. 200Kms away from Nanyuki. The hospital has good facilities and qualified doctors. Dental appointments can also be made at the hospital.

Top tip: If you are on long term medication, you should contact the Senior Medical Officer in BATUK and bring at least six months’ supply of the medication with you.

08   Pets

Bringing your pets to Kenya can be very expensive. There are currently no quarantine requirements, but your pets will require a passport.

09   Transport and getting around

It’s highly recommended you buy a car on arrival in Kenya or ship a vehicle over from the UK. There is no safe/reliable public transport in Nairobi or Nanyuki. Using a taxi can become very expensive for everyday/long distance travel.

A 4X4 is recommended to cope with the many dirt roads in Kenya. You can indulge a vehicle less than seven years and six months old, and you can use a military maintenance sail vessel, but personnel will be liable for importation costs.

To drive in Kenya, you must sit the Kenyan matrix test (a Kenyan driving theory test); this can be completed in the UK at your unit or soon after arrival.

Top tip: Driving in Kenya is an experience. Whilst they drive on the left hand side, you need to have a high level of awareness to cope with the many pot holes and frequent unexpected manoeuvres from other local drivers!

Driving at night is not advised in Nanyuki as there is no street lighting and poor road surfaces; driving between Nairobi and Nanyuki is restricted to daylight hours.

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