Kenya Travel Guide
With its iconic landscapes and an abundance of game in national parks, community-run and private reserves, Kenya is a classic safari destination. Not just that, Nairobi, the capital city is a melting pot of cultural influences thanks to Kenya’s long and diverse history, from indigenous communities like the Maasai and Samburu to colonial heritage and immigration.
To help you navigate this beautiful navigation, we have put together a list of all the essential information you may need in this Kenya travel guide.
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Visa and Entry
All visitors to Kenya (except East African citizens) require a visa, irrespective of their nationality. The cost of a tourist visa is currently $50 USD per person (please ensure you have USD notes from 2013 onwards). You can also obtain a transit visa which costs $ 21 if you are not staying more than 72 hours in Nairobi.
You may obtain your visa upon arrival, or should you wish to obtain a visa prior to your arrival, you can apply for an electronic visa through this link: http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html.
The Government Of Kenya has waived visa fees for all children aged 16 years and below who are accompanying their parents to Kenya.
Visitors to Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda arriving from any country with risk of yellow fever (see www.who.int/ith/2016-ith-annex1.pdf?ua=1) need to have proof of yellow fever Vaccination. Yellow fever vaccination must be obtained at least 10 days before your trip.
Visitors to East Africa arriving from any country with a risk of yellow fever are required to carry proof of yellow fever vaccination. The risk of malaria exists throughout the year. Anti-malaria prophylactics are strongly recommended, especially if you are visiting the coast and during the wet season when malaria is more prolific. In order to avoid getting bitten, bring a good insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts, trousers and socks in the evening and early mornings.
You can purchase medication in pharmacies that are located in various areas – towns, some petrol stations, shopping malls and hospitals.
Remember to bring sunscreen of at least SPF 30 ́- 50 to prevent sunburn and sunstroke. You should bring this from your home country. Dark sunglasses and a hat or cap that shades the face, are also essential.
For those who are unwell, we provide an evacuation service throughout East Africa whereby guests can be evacuated from remote areas to the nearest high-quality hospital. Please Note: This is only for emergencies. There are high-quality hospitals in the cities with very professional and well-trained medical personnel and guests may pay a visit for any ailments.
Language and Religion
Kenya, like Tanzania, has English as the official language and Swahili as the national language. These two are the primary languages of interaction in schools, commerce and government. There are about 42 ethnic languages spoken in Kenya, especially in rural areas. The majority of people learn and speak these languages at a young age or in preschool. However, this may not be the case for children brought up in urban areas. Kenya’s local languages are rooted in Bantu & Nilo-Saharan languages. Among the Bantu languages are Kikuyu, Kamba and Kimeru while Dholuo, Kalenjin and Maasai are a few of the Nilotic languages.
Money and Currency
US dollars are the most accepted currency at most establishments in the big cities and towns although for the small shops, you will need the local currency. In order to get up-to-date FX rates, we recommend that you check www.oanda.com/currency/converter. ATMs are available in all major towns and cities such as Nairobi and Mombasa. International credit cards, mainly Visa and Mastercard, are accepted at most upmarket lodges, hotels and restaurants, at most national park headquarters and increasingly, also by retailers – a surcharge of 10% is usually applied.
Note – it is important when carrying US cash, to ensure you have newer bills (ie. Notes from 2013 onwards).
• Use or exchange your local currency before leaving, as it will be difficult to change once overseas.
• Notify your credit card company and bank that you will be traveling and using your card abroad.
• Make sure you know your Credit Card PIN as you will need this for credit card payments and for withdrawing money from ATMs.
• Ask your bank about the charges for withdrawing from ATMs abroad.
• Most banks only allow ATM withdrawals up to a certain daily limit. Please consult your bank regarding these limitations.
Most city hotels offer internet, telephone and fax facilities although these are usually subject to a charge. Having a SIM card and mobile phone does not constitute a guarantee of being reachable or being able to make phone calls as some of the places you will be traveling to still have limited network coverage. European and American mobile phones with a roaming agreement will work although the billing amount is much higher than on a local SIM Card.
Kenya’s country code is +254. The country is 3 hours ahead of GMT.
Getting Around Kenya
For safety and space reasons, the baggage allowances for flights with smaller bush planes are significantly lower than those of international airlines. Air Kenya allows 15 kgs of luggage per passenger, inclusive of hand luggage. Kenya Airways allows 1 piece of checked luggage per person (23 kilos each). Soft bags are recommended as hard shell suitcases may not fit through the luggage hold of light aircraft. Please get in touch with us for exact luggage restrictions imposed by your airline.
Safari lodges and camps in Africa offer daily laundry service, in many cases free of charge. This means you won’t have to pack as much, making it easier to stick to the following luggage limits.
If your luggage is overweight or in too large bags to fit into the luggage hold of light safari aircraft, you will be asked to re-pack and/or you may have to book additional seats or a private charter at an extra cost to accommodate your luggage.
Road conditions in the cities and major towns of East Africa are generally good and are tarmacked. Most roads leading from the cities to national parks and reserves are also paved. However, one can’t expect the same kind of roads while in the bush, where most are murram (gravel) roads. Driving on off-roads can be a little bumpy but in most national parks these are well maintained.
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Enchanting Travels custom-designed our African Adventure to include all the specific locations and activities we were interested in. We did not have to worry about any details and were free to enjoy the most extraordinary adventure that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our first visit to Africa, including activities at Victoria Falls, safari adventures with great guides, and all the accommodations were fantastic.
We were recommended by friends to use Enchanting travel to help plan our Africa Experience. From first contact to the conclusion of the trip Enchanting travel supported our every need and looked after every detail. Our trip was absolutely flawless and an experience of a life time. I would be happy to discuss our trip with any potential customers as we feel our agenda gave us the perfect overview of sights, culture and safari activities. We came home and feel we missed nothing.
This was truly an “Enchanting” adventure! The value and service was beyond excellent! The entire team ensured every detail was taken care of and went out of their way to welcome us! And every hotel and excursion was amazing, and we were greeted with welcoming open arms every where we stayed! Nothing was left to chance…and we felt so secure knowing Enchanting Travels had everything lined up for us! Even our lodges said Enchanting Travels was a top-notch company!
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