When traveling to another country, there are some things that you need to know. We have tried to come up with a list of the most essential travel facts and information you will need to have a wonderful and safe stay in Kenya.
A valid passport, not expiring for at least six months, is required for entry into Kenya. A valid entry visa is also required and may be obtained in advance from the Kenyan Embassy or High Commission in your country of origin, or upon arrival in Kenya.
Kiswahili is the national language while English is the official language. In addition, most tribes have their own language.
Kenya maintains an almost constant 12 hours of daylight. Sunrise is typically 06.30 and sunset at 18.45.
220-240 volts AC, with standard 13-amp three square-pin plugs.
Opening hours are 08.00 to 17.00 weekdays and 09.00 to 12.00 on Saturdays. Stamps can be purchased at post offices, stationery and souvenir
shops and hotels.
International telephone code: +254. Dial 000 followed by the required country code to dial out of the country.
It is considered courteous to ask people if you may take their picture before doing so, particularly in the more far-flung rural areas. A small (token) payment for the photograph may be expected, rather more as a form of polite appreciation than anything else
Map of Kenya Game Reserves and National Parks
Bottled water is readily available. Hotels and lodges supply clean drinking water but whenever in doubt, please drink only bottled mineral water (which is available in hotels and safari
camps). Drinking water from the tap is not encouraged.
Shopping and business hours
Shopping and business hours
08.30 to 12.30 and 14.00 to 17.30 Mon-Sat. Many businesses work Saturday mornings.
GMT +3 all year-round.
Kenya Currency: Kenya shillings (Kshs)
visa card, mastercard and american express are widely accepted for tourist services. There’s usually a 5% mark-up on top of the price as establishments are charged a fixed percentage of their transactions.
Arrivals & Departures
Kenya has two main ports of entry by air:
• Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. Located 16 km from the city center.
• Moi International Airport, Mombasa. Located 12 km from the town center.
Kenya’s climate varies across the country, from the tropical humidity of the coast, the dry heat of the savannah or semi-arid areas and the cool air of the highlands. Temperatures in these areas are fairly constant year round with an average of 27°C (80°F) at the coast, 21°C to 27°C (70°F to 80°F) in the hinterland, while in Nairobi and the highlands over 5,000 ft, the daytime temperatures normally range between 19°C and 24°C (66°F to 75°F).
Most parts of the country experience two rainy seasons: the ‘long rains’ falling over a ten week period between April and June, and the ‘short rains’ over a five week period between November and December. The rain tends to fall mainly at night and is usually a short and heavy tropical downpour.
Rain may occasionally fall outside of the normal rainy seasons. In the highland areas north of Nairobi it may get chilly at night or in the early mornings – especially June, July, August when temperatures are cooler – so it is recommended that visitors pack some items of warm clothing.
Average Monthly Temperatures – Kenya
Average Monthly Temperatures °C
Security in Kenya
The tourism industry in Kenya takes visitor safety very seriously and considers all aspects of the tourist’s stay in Kenya. For this reason, the industry created a Safety and Communication Centre under the auspices of the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF), which is operated 24hrs a day to monitor visitor safety. The Kenya Tourism Federation represents the leading tourism trade associations comprising the Kenya Associations of: Tour Operators (KATO), Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC), Travel Agents (KATA), Budget hotels (KBHA), Air Operators (KAAO), Ecotourism Society of Kenya (ESOK), as well as Mombasa and Coast Tourism Association (MCTA).
The KTF Safety Centre is the brainchild of these Associations.
The Safety and Communication Centre is manned by well-trained staff who are at hand to attend to any issues of concern to tourists. These include security, health, road conditions, travel advisories and updates etc.
There is a 24hr TOURIST HELPLINE (020 – 604767) where one can seek assistance in case of need.
The recommended vaccinations are Typhoid, Hepatitis, Polio and Yellow Fever while anti-malarial medication is essential. Anti-malarial drugs should be taken prior to arrival and should be continued for 4 weeks after leaving Kenya. It is also advisable to try and avoid mosquito bites by using repellent and by wearing suitable cover-up clothes in the evening.
There are no compulsory vaccination certificates required for entry to Kenya unless you are arriving from an area infected with Yellow Fever, in which case a Certificate of Inoculation against Yellow Fever is required from travellers older than one year. Visitors coming from other countries in Africa where Yellow Fever may occur, including Tanzania and Zanzibar, require a Yellow Fever certificate.
There are good hospitals in the main towns of Kenya while the rural areas have small health centres where one can get basic first aid.
Medical / Travel insurance
It is absolutely essential that all visitors carry some form of medical insurance to cater for any eventualities. There is an excellent Flying Doctor service in Kenya in the event of a medical emergency, while on safari away from the urban centres.