COUNTRY INFORMATION: KENYA 

Located halfway down the east coast of Africa, astride the equator, Kenya is the most accessible country in the region. Kenya is the home of the safari and one of the world’s top holiday destinations. The words Jambo and Karibu, meaning hello and welcome are traditionally the first words to greet visitors to Africa. Kenya offers a world of attractions, much more than any other destination.  It has stunning landscapes, cultural diversity, adventure sports, beautiful beaches and its unique wildlife. 

What makes Kenya fascinating as a wildlife destination is the sheer diversity of its many game parks. One of the greatest sights is the annual migration of two million wildebeests – together with half a million zebras and thousands of gazelles across the endless savannah. From the small Shimba Hills National Park, down to the coast, to the bleak wilderness of Lake Turkana in the north, the rolling hills of the Masai Mara – home of the migration, the enormous Tsavo, Kenya has an entire world of amazing parks to see and experience. 

At the same time, Kenya has maintained its exclusivity. In any case the country has such a wide array of game parks that most are not crowded and some are rarely visited except on the most dedicated wildlife enthusiasts. 

After the wonders of the safari experience, Kenya’s beaches offer the ultimate in relaxation. For those in search of adventure and sports, Kenya is the perfect destination with over 480 km of beach, big game fishing off Mombasa, mountain climbing, rapid rivers for water rafting, or playing golf at one of the nearly 40 courses. 

Visitors to Kenya are exposed to vibrant and various and cultures of Kenya as we have over forty local tribes. You will share in their ancient musical traditions and experience a unique kind of hospitality.     

GENERAL INFORMATION: 

Kenya Major Towns

  • Nairobi (Capital City)
  • Mombasa
  • Kisumu
  • Nakuru

Language

While the national language of Kenya is Kiswahili, English is the official language and is widely spoken and understood across the country and the East Africa region at large. 

Climate

Climate and temperature varies depending on altitude and proximity to the ocean, although Kenya is considered to fall in the tropics. Coastal regions are hot and humid while the central plateaus are warm and dry, with cool nights. The short rains occur from late October through November and the long rains from late March through to early June. Rain usually falls in the late afternoon. Dry periods can occur during the rainy seasons and sunny spells are often experienced even on rainy days. 

Health

It is advisable to take out emergency medical insurance prior to entering Kenya.  Malaria is virulent in Kenya. Take prophylactics two weeks before arrival and continue two weeks after leaving. Seek advice from your chemist or doctor on the most suitable drug available as certain drugs lose their effectiveness.   It’s advisable not to drink water from the taps. Bottled water is readily available. 

It is advisable to buy travel insurance covering accidents, illness or hospitalization or repatriation for the period of your stay. Temporary membership in East African Flying Doctors’ Service is also recommended for safari goers. Members who require emergency medical attention on safari are flown to Nairobi for the best medical attention available in the country. 

Chemists / pharmacies

Chemists / pharmacies Travelers should carry adequate supply of medicines and first aid accessories with them although most supplies are available in Kenya.  

Electricity

Electricity Power supply is 240 volts 50 cycles. Plugs are usually 13-amp 3 pin square (British type) 

Banks

There are numerous banks in the major towns as well as many Forex (foreign exchange) bureau. Hours of business vary from bank to bank, but most are open from 9h00 to 14h30, Mondays to Fridays, and 9h00 – 11h30 on Saturdays. Hotels and lodges change money outside these hours. Banking services are also available at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and at Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

Currency  

Currency unit is the shilling, comprising 100 cents. Coins are in denominations of 5c, 10c, 50c and 1 and 5 shillings. Bank notes are in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 shillings. Importation of foreign currency is unlimited and does not have to be declared on arrival. The importation and exportation of Kenyan currency, however, is illegal. Travelers checks are highly recommended.  

Tipping

Tipping is not mandatory in Kenya. Guides, drivers, waiters and hotel staff can be tipped at your discretion. 

VAT (Value Added Tax)

A VAT (tax currently 16% on most items) is levied and visitors cannot claim a refund on goods purchased. 

Credit Cards, Cash and Traveler’s Checks

 International credit cards are accepted by most restaurants, stores, hotels, lodges, camps, car rental firms, etc. However, many small shops in rural areas will not accept them. American Express, Thomas Cook, Visa and MasterCard Traveler’s Checks are widely accepted.  

Communications

Postal services are fairly well organized in Kenya and you should have no problem sending or receiving letters. Telegrams are less certain.  Most Hotels and lodges have fax, email and internet facilities which can be utilized by guest. Telephone directories will list all the international dialing codes.  

Roaming facilities are available from the three mobile phone companies Safaricom, Airtel, and Telcom. 

Clothing

 Lightweight casual clothes can be worn all year round, with a jacket or sweater for early winter mornings and evenings. On safari keep clothes to a minimum and mostly of neutral coloring – khakis, browns and greens. A sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellant are a must. Bring a hat, good walking shoes and sun screen. Don’t forget swim wear and binoculars. Some city restaurants and clubs have dress codes – casual jacket for men, informal dresses for women. 

Customs Requirements

All visitors must have Passports valid for 3 months from date of entry and are subject to clearance through customs. In addition, all non-Commonwealth citizens require a visa, to be obtained from Kenyan Missions abroad or at the post of entry. Personal effects, including cameras, binoculars and film are allowed into the country duty free. 

Airport visas are available although this may result in delays upon arrival. It is advisable to obtain visa’s in advance from Kenyan Embassies and High. Visa requirements may vary from time to time and you are advised to check on prevailing status before travelling.   

Time Differences +3 GMT  

Kenya Travel Guide

Kenya Toursit Map
Kenya Tourist MapKenya Tourist MapKenya Travel Guide

 Passport RequiredReturn ticket requiredVisa Required
USAYesYesYes
BritishYesYesYes
CanadianYesYesYes
Other EUYesYesYes
AustralianYesYesYes

Passports: 
To enter Kenya, a passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry, and with at least one blank page, is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.

Visas: 
Visas for Kenya are required by the nationals referred to in the chart above, except (1) nationals of Cyprus, who do not need a visa.

You can obtain your visa on entry; passport photos are not required. However, multiple-entry visas cannot be issued at the point of entry, and must be obtained in advance through Kenya’s embassies.

Visa note: 
Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Kenya.

Kenya has an agreement with Tanzania and Uganda to waiver visa re-entry fees if travelling between the three countries as long as single-entry visas remain valid for each country. This means multiple-entry visas are not required if going from Kenya to Tanzania or Uganda and back to Kenya. The same applies for travel from Uganda and Tanzania.

Types and cost: 
Single-entry visa on arrival: US$50, payable in US Dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling or Swiss Francs.

Transit visa: £10; single-entry visa: £30; multiple-entry visa: £60. These fees are for visas obtained in advance from the embassy/high commission.

Validity: 
Single-entry visas are valid for three months from the date of issue.

Transit: 
Transit visas are available to air passengers with connections in Kenya and for those travelling through Kenya to other destinations within a three-day period; an onward ticket or tour itinerary/confirmation is required.

Application to: 
Consulate (or consular section at embassy or high commission).

Working days: 
For visa processing, allow three days if applying in person or one week from the date of receipt if applying by post. If the visa has to be referred to Nairobi, it can take up to six weeks or, in some cases, longer.

Sufficient funds: 
You may be required to show proof of funds, such as a credit card.

Extension of stay: 
You can extend visas (three months at a time and up to six months) at the immigration department.

Entry with pets: 
If bringing a pet into Kenya, you must obtain an import license from the embassy/high commission.

Click To View Kenya Tourist Map

Kenya Tourist Map

 

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