Your Guide to Everything Kenyan
Located in the Heart of Africa, Kenya shares borders with Ethiopia in the north, Sudan in the Northwest, Uganda in the West and Tanzania in the south. The Indian Ocean lies to the East. The Rift Valley runs through the country north to south. There are four primary regions:
- The northern deserts, including Lake Turkana and the Laikipia Plateau.
- The southern savannah, including the Masai Mara and the Great Rift Valley.
- The coastal lowlands, including Mombasa and the Watamu National Marine Park.
- The highlands, including Nairobi and Mount Kenya.
Kiswahili is the official language, although English is widely spoken in commercial areas. In remote areas, the majority of people will only speak their tribal language.
Getting to Kenya
Kenya is well served by major international airlines, which fly into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Nairobi) or Moi International Airport (Mombasa). Mombasa is a popular charter destination from most major European cities. We strongly recommend you check with the nearest Kenya Embassy or Tourist Office to ensure you have the most up to date visa information. Yellow Fever and Cholera are required only for visitors arriving from countries where these diseases are endemic. Check with your Embassy and/or local heath office for more details.
An airport departure tax of US$40 per person, or its equivalent, is payable when leaving Kenya. This fee is often included in your international airfare, unless stated otherwise. Please check with your agent when purchasing your international tickets. A local departure tax of Kshs 200 (approx. US$2.50) per person, per flight is payable for internal flights.
Kenya offers warm days and cool, early mornings and evenings throughout most of the country. At altitude the temperatures are moderate. The Coast is often humid and tropical. There are two primary rainy seasons: the long rains roughly from April to June and the short rains during October and November.
Informal, lightweight clothing is recommended. Mornings and evenings can be cool at altitude, so bring a sweater or cardigan. A hat is highly recommended due to the sun. On the Kenya coast, ladies are expected to dress modestly in public. Nude or topless sunbathing is not only illegal, but also affects the sensibilities of the Muslim community.
Internet access: Most hotels will offer internet access of some sort in Kenya, with some coffee bars and hotels now offering fast Internet Wi-Fi connectivity (Java house and the Serena Hotels being among them). Internet café’s are available in the main urban centres.Telephone, fax and some email services are available, though prone to difficulties. Most resorts, lodges and camps will have at least a radio link with their primary offices. In the major cities and on the Coast, international direct dialing should be available, if a little costly
Telephones: Many people prefer to carry their own mobile phones. ‘Pay as you go’ SIM cards may be purchased on arrival and this may be necessary if your phone doesn’t have a roaming facility. Many overseas phones are locked and won’t work in Kenya even if you put in a different sim card. It may be possible to buy a phone at the airport depending on what time your flight arrives, but you will more likely have to search out a shop that sells them once you’ve arrived. There are four main local operators: safaricom, Zain, Orange and Yu whose networks work very efficiently throughout Kenya. Local calls are not particularly expensive. The international dialing code for the Kenya is +254. Landlines and Public phones are available in most hotels.
The Kenyan shilling (written as KSh) is the official currency and is known as bob more often than not (i.e. KSh100/- is known as 100 bob!) US dollars being accepted in some outlets and hotels.
Cash is accepted everywhere and all major credit and debit cards may be used in most large establishments. Cheques however, are not. ATM’s can be found in all the main urban areas in Kenya, and money exchange booths (Forex bureaus) are also found. Banks tend to be the usual places where you can exchange hard currency.
Most Kenyans drive on the left hand side of the road. It is recommended that you travel with an international driving license if you plan to drive in Kenya.
Anti-malarial prophylactics should be taken before, during and after your visit to Kenya, especially if you visit the Coast. Good medical facilities are available in the major cities. Membership with groups such as the Flying Doctors is also recommended; Best of Kenya includes Flying Doctor emergency evacuation coverage in all of our safaris, unless otherwise stated. Hotels, camps and lodges should provide either bottled water, or filtered water for drinking. Please do not drink the tap water.
Common sense precautions should be taken at all times. Please also check the travel advisories from the US State Department and the British Foreign Office.
220 / 240 volts AC. Plugs are the UK-type, round 2-pin or flat 3 pin.
Kenya Visa Requirements
NB * This is a general summary of visa requirements. This information is regularly updated so we recommended you obtain a complete and up-to-date official information from the Embassy or Consulate before making any travel plans.
Passports: Passport valid from date of entry required by all.