Kenya has become one of the most popular destinations for the world’s richest people looking for second homes.  East Africa’s biggest economy has beaten global cities like London, Rome, and Paris, which have always attracted rich people in search of that home away from home.

The French call it a pied-à-terre, which means a small living unit usually located in a large city some distance away from an individual’s primary residence.

According to a new report by Knight Franck, more wealthy buyers from places like the UK, America and Italy, are looking to buy vacation property in Kenya, one of the leading travel destinations for African safari.

Foreign interest in Kenya follows the growth of the real estate industry over the past decade. As the property business boomed, regional and international investors have been streaming the capital into high-end retail and office spaces. As Kenya pitches itself as a regional financial hub, new business districts have sprung up in Nairobi. By 2019, the city will be home to Africa’s tallest building, The Pinnacle.

Kenya’s 19 game reserves and vast Indian Ocean coastline drew more than 1.4 million tourists to the country last year, according to Kenya Tourism Board, majority of them from Africa.

But some of the wealthiest tourists are actually buying property, says Knight Frank, the London-based real estate consultant with offices in Kenya.

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While the market for beachfront vacation homes is dominated by rich families from Nairobi, about 4% of the global high-net-worth population has interest in owning a home in Kenya.

Britons represent the largest group of potential buyers interested in Kenyan property, followed by 16% of wealthy South Africans, and 11% of Spanish, Mauritian, and Americans.

7  things attracting foreigners to Kenya

  • Nairobi is a melting pot and a regional hub for the technology and hotel industries, but many visitors are eager to spend time outside the bustling city.
  • Coastal areas and countryside regions in Kenya are popular spots for vacationers.
  • Kenya’s tourist season last about 40 weeks out of the year, one of the longest of any beach locale. Plus, there’s no typhoon season or extreme weather conditions.
  • Known for its white-sand beaches, the Malindi region is home to luxury beachfront resorts and a growing community of Italian ex-pats.
  • Watamu is another idyllic beach town just south of the Malindi region. There’s plenty to explore at the nearby Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve and Arabuko Sokoke National Park.
  • While the beaches are beautiful and serene, visitors need to travel inland for Kenya’s greatest treasure: safari parks. Nanyuki is the gateway to Mount Kenya National Park and also offers easy access to smaller parks and reserves in the area.
  • Maasai Mara National Reserve shares a border with Tanzania, and is one of the top destinations in Kenya. It’s home to cheetahs, leopards, lions, elephants, and zebras. There are also private game conservancies within the park and surrounding it, which are popular among wealthy travellers.

READ ALSO: Kenya’s real estate industry bounces back in 2018

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