If you like elephants, go to Amboseli. There are hundreds all over the place.
Treetops or the Ark in Aberdares Park (near Mt Kenya and the equator) are both fun – they are built near waterholes/salt licks so there are lots of animals around most of the time.
The island of Lamu off the coast is beautiful – there are no cars so you either walk, take a boat, or ride a donkey.
I agree that the cost of living is high. That is one of the major downsides. And we lived right in the District, so grocery shopping was a hassle since there were no stores within walking distance to our apartment and we did not have a car. We sometimes lugged groceries on the metro until we found a place that delivered.
The public transportation is excellent. I lived there for 3 years and did not have a car the entire time. I was a member of Zipcar, which lets you rent cars by the hour, so if I ever needed one I got it through them. It was no trouble at all.
The biggest pro is that there always seemed to be something to do. Museums (a large number of which are free), parks, great restaurants, interesting day trips – I don’t think I was ever bored while I was there.
Living in Nairobi now, I miss the museums and the public transportation. I look forward to our eventual return to DC for those reasons.
We were there about a year ago for about 8 days and we hired a driver and a car (very affordable) to take us to Andasibe and it was awesome. It’s about a 3 hour drive from Tana and they have lots of lemurs, if that’s what you are looking for. The lodge at which we stayed (Vakona) has a lemur santuary where you can feed them and they will climb onto your head and shoulders (as you can see in my photo). There is also a national park there that has indris, the biggest of the lemurs. You can track them in the mornings and listen to them call each other-which should like a person shrieking. I would definitely recommend Andasibe! We also went to Diego Suarez in the north. It’s a sleepy little town. The resorts and beaches of Nosy Be are supposed to be great, but we didn’t have time to get there. I hope this helps!