General Well-Being Living in Nairobi... (Water, Mozzies etc... )

Dear Expats, Jambo!

I have few questions:

1) I am just wondering if we need to use bottled water or can just use the tap water for brushing teeth, eating washed apples etc....

2) Even if we are vaccinated before coming over to Nairobi. Any other precautions to be aware of?

3) How bad is the mosquito situation there, do we need to always be sprayed with insect repellent?

Asanta Sana.

Have a fabulous weekend.....


Water:  I have always used tap water for rinsing after brushing teeth.  For drinking we boil tap water, as bottled water works out to be a costly long term option.  When we lived in Nairobi though, we had water rationing, so also had one of those water dispensers, to provide drinking water all through.  For washing fruits and vegetables, you can add a small amount of vinegar to tap water.  This is pretty effective at getting rid of germs.  Incidentally, when looking for a place to rent, asking about the reliability of the water supply/storage capacity within the building is sensible - water shortages and rationing are not uncommon in the city.

Precautions:  the one that springs to mind is to avoid eating raw salads/foods, at restaurants.

Mosquitoes:  these are present, more so when it has rained and Malaria is present in Nairobi, but due to the altitude of the city, isn't as prevalent as it is in some parts of Kenya.  At dusk, close windows and doors.    Consider using a mosquito net on the beds.  There is an effective, but pricey insecticide, called "Doom" on the market.  You can use it to spray bedrooms an hour or two before going to bed.  If out in the evening, wearing long sleeves and trousers really helps.  I don't tend to use insect repellants and I don't like covering myself with chemicals, but these are an option, if you find you are bothered by mosquitos.

May i ask Longonot are you a local or an expat?

Wow, that is really helpful information out there... Rationing of water oh oh, i have never been in such situation in my life, it will definetely be something i need to be adjusting.

Likely area: Kileleshwa.

Mozzies seems to be alot from the way you described it............Hmmm. Doom is pricey? Oh maybe let me find some in my country before going over.......


I am an expat from the UK, married to a Kenyan, but resident here. 

The issue with the water supply is this:  areas in Nairobi, such as Kileleshwa used to be largely single houses and bungalows set in their own plots and indeed, the street that we lived on in Kileleshwa (in 2004) was like that.  However, these single properties have mainly been demolished to make way for apartments, but the water infrastructure hasn't been upgraded, so suddenly many more properties are being served by a network not designed for  this.  Developers often include large storage tanks to mitigate the problem.  Another plus, is solar water heating - it drastically cuts the power bills.

One of the advantages of living out here, in Nyeri is that we don't have any problems with water supply!

Mozzies can vary with the time of year (more when it rains).  They are active by night, so its relatively easy to keep them out without resorting to lots of insecticide.  Doom costs around Ksh 600 - 700 per large can.  We have so e for back up, but rarely have to use it.  Personally, I dislike using chemicals such as insecticide, I don't think that they benefit the environment, or ourselves.  If you are worried, far better just to use a mosquito net.  I think that it would be pointless to take up space in your baggage with insecticide sprays!

In nairobi most of area where expats reside have tap water, some they have borehole, generally speaking, there is no problem of using the water fir raisin. I used to drink water direct from the tap when I used to stay in Nyeri town.

I don't think that the quality of the drinking water in Nyeri has much to do with that of Nairobi. 

All I am recommending here is for the question to be asked as part of seeking suitable accommodation, in order to minimise any possibility of water shortages, or rationing.

Dear Longonot,

Oh i see. Thank you so much.... 

One question where's ngeri? Or whats ngeri?

Hahaha true that luggage shouldn't be wasted with the insecticides.


Expat Longonot,

Thank you so much for taking time to address concerns raised by Nairobi/Kenya visitors.

In regards to Nori's concern about protection from Mozzies, I live in Nairobi and use Mortein Doom Power Gard (liquid mosquito repellent). Could you kinldy share your views about it?

I just don't like using chemicals extensively and that includes air fresheners etc.  I don't believe that filling the house with a cocktail of chemicals is very good for the long term health.  These chemicals weren't around when we evolved.  There are enough used on plants etc, so why voluntarily introduce more of them?

I particularly don't like using the plug in mosquito killer, as it is giving off vapours the whole time, which you are then breathing in.  Insecticides are neurotoxins - do we really know what these do to you in low levels, over a long time?  I don't use 'Doom' very often, but when I do, I will spray a bedroom several hours before bed, then make sure that windows and door are kept closed.  By bedtime the chemical has dispersed, but the mosquitos have gone.  Because the windows are closed, more can't get in!

This is just my personal view on this, by the way.

Thanks for the email. Your views are so important.. it does gives me a much clearer view and understanding on the whole situation...

I used doom while I was living in Dar es salaam because there were too many mosquitoes.  Personally advice, some people would be allergic to it.

Water: bottled water and boiling water are both expensive alternatives to using a simple water treatment like Water Guard or Aqua Guard. These are basically bleach, but one uses tiny amounts to purify large amounts of water -- very cheap, and available in all major shops.

Mosquitoes: I have never really understood why mosquito nets are so popular. We've always installed window screens on our windows and doors to make the entire house mosquito-free, not just the beds.  Many parts of Kenya are too hot to sleep comfortably with windows and doors closed. Somewhat more expensive and troublesome than installing bed nets -- but much nicer in the long run.

7nyerik; I imagine that the reason mosquito nets are so popular is down to price and convenience.  Window and door screens are expensive and financially beyond the reach of many.   Personally, I have no problem sleeping with the windows closed, but with a mosquito net you can have the window open can you not?

Regarding water. I get your point about Water Guard BUT being basically bleach, the water has an odd taste and I am not convinced that they are a good long term option, health wise.  Chlorine not being particularly beneficial. 

Nori_A:  Nyeri is a town near Mt Kenya.  It's where I live.

Oh ic ... Mt kenya.. Thanks Longonot

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