The Republic of Kenya is located in East Africa. It covers 224,081 square miles (580,367 square kilometres)
Its terrain rises from a low coastal plain on the Indian Ocean to mountains and plateaus at its centre. Most Kenyans live in the highlands, where Nairobi, the capital, sits at an altitude of 5,500 feet (1,700 meters).
West of Nairobi the land descends to the Great Rift Valley, a 4,000-mile (6,400-kilometer) tear in the Earth’s crust. Within this valley in the deserts of northern Kenya are the jade-green waters of the famous Lake Turkana.
Kenya’s location between the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria means that people from all over Africa and the Middle East have travelled and traded across it for centuries. This has created a diverse culture with many ethnic groups and languages.
Scientists think Northern Kenya and Tanzania may have been the original birthplace of humans. The bones of one of the earliest human ancestors ever found were discovered in Kenya’s Turkana Basin.
Capital City: Nairobi
Currency & banking
Current exchange rate: $1USD = 153.30 Shilling
In some big hotels, credit cards are accepted, but it is still not very common in Kenya
Charges are normally around 3% to 6%. Don’t use credit cards as your primary method of paying.
ATM machines & Banks
The Kenyan shilling (KSh) trades against most international currencies at a favourable rate. There’s no need to bring large amounts of hard currency cash or to buy shillings in advance. Major international credit/debit cards (for instance Master and Visa) can be used to draw local currency at 24-hour ATMs in most cities and beach resorts, but not in national parks and other safari destinations). Many vendors do not accept cards, however, so it’s a good idea to carry a few hundred dollars worth of hard currency cash as a fallback.
Generally, traveller’s cheques don’t offer a great deal for people visiting Kenya. You’ll have a limited choice of places you can change them and the rates and fees applied to make them a poor deal. Usually, you’ll have to visit a bank branch – which might well mean waiting in a long line – to access your cash.
Tipping is very important and culturally accepted, however, it always remains voluntary. The tip is accepted in both local currency (KES) and USD.
Driver guide: Tipping in Kenya is like the USA system. Tips for drivers are not included in the safari cost. We suggest at least $10-$15 US per person (client) per day. If the service is good give more, if not adjust your tip accordingly. Generally, tips are given at the end of the safari after unpacking the 4WD.
- Transfer Driver: $5-10 per group for drivers doing airport or mountain transfers.
- Porter/waiters: $2-$5 US per group upon checking in and while checking out.
Good to take passports with you as you will sometimes be asked for them on arrival at lodges. Be prepared to also fill out hotel registration forms-especially at the big commercial lodges.
When you check into your lodge, ask the receptionist to organize a staff member to spray your room for mosquitoes whilst you are at dinner. All lodges either do it already or can do it for you on request.
You can charge your cameras, phones and other electric items in most accommodations. If you bring more than a couple of chargeable items you might consider bringing an extension with extra outlets since the amount of outlets is often limited. We advise bringing extra batteries for your camera since many lodges generate power with solar or generators and power cuts might occur. Solar-generated lodges will often only have power available in the rooms at certain hours of the day, but you can always use the charging ports in the main lodge area.
To get access to the internet on your phone, you can buy internet bundles via a local SIM card by using pre-paid airtime. The procedure of getting the SIM card is as described above (“Phone Network Providers”), and your guide can assist you. Using the internet on your phone is relatively cheap and fast, with speed depending on your location.
In a lot of lodges, WIFI is provided, however, the speed will not be what you are used to at home and the lodges are often remote and do not get a reliable signal. If you don’t want to use this opportunity to completely disconnect, we advise that you get a local SIM with a data bundle or wireless internet stick as mentioned above.
What to pack?
- Take your own toilet paper as many public toilets don’t have any.
- Good quality sunglasses; if you wear contact lenses,
- Sun hat
- Small torch /headlamp
- Good binoculars
- Camera with a zoom lens
Waterproof/dustproof bags to cover your cameras
- Swimsuit as some of the lodges have swimming pools
- A small daypack to keep with you in the car during the day
- Insect repellent
- Sunscreen, moisturiser and lip balm
- Basic first aid kit.
- Clothing should be lightweight, loose-fitting and of “breathable” fabrics, such as cotton
The US Center For Disease Control maintains an updated list of medical advice for those travelling to Kenya
The CDC recommends being up to date with all your regular shots. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot
They also suggest being vaccinated for hepatitis A. There is also some advice about protection for hepatitis B and rabies – but this depends to some degree on where you are heading and what you are doing.
Additionally, malaria, yellow fever, zika virus, chikungunya virus and dengue fever are a risk in Kenya so avoiding being bitten by mosquitos is advised. Also, ticks can carry diseases so when going through forested areas or long grass protect yourself by wearing long trousers and shirts. Tsetse flies carry diseases and there are no effective repellents so the same precautions as for ticks are the best prevention.
Access to medical care in Kenya is very limited, especially outside of Nairobi, the capital city. The health care provided by the country’s medical facilities remains of poor quality.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, first deal with the emergency with first aid skills if possible and then move on to the nearest, largest Accident and Emergency department. In Nairobi, this is either Nairobi Hospital or the Aga Khan University Hospital.
Pharmacies are few in the country and they only sell basic medicines, not always of reliable quality. Be sure to bring your own medical supplies in sufficient quantities when travelling to Kenya, especially if you require specific treatments.
Only eat food that is cooked and served hot. Eat fruits and vegetables that you have personally washed in clean water or peeled yourself. Never eat food sold by street vendors. Only drink boiled water that is sealed and has been filtered and disinfected. Prefer carbonated drinks, hot coffee or tea, and pasteurized milk.
Bag snatching is common in transport hubs like bus stations, railway stations and airports. Mugging, kidnapping, car-jacking and armed robbery occur regularly, particularly in Nairobi, Mombasa and other large cities. Although uncommon, incidents of violent crime have resulted in the death of several British nationals. Crime rates are higher in slum areas of Nairobi, the Old Town of Mombasa and on and around the Likoni Ferry (which links Mombasa and the southern resorts). Gun attacks in Kwale County on the south coast resulted in fatalities in September and October 2017.
You should be vigilant at all times and take into account any security advice given by your hotel, employer or your hosts. If you’re attacked, don’t resist. Avoid walking around after dark, especially in isolated areas like empty beaches. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and don’t wear expensive watches, jewellery or items of sentimental value.
Beware of thieves posing as police officers or private Security Guards. Always ask to see identification. Don’t accept food or drink from strangers as it may be drugged.
Only stay in tourist camps with good perimeter security. If in any doubt, seek advice from your tour operator or the Kenya Tourism Federation (telephone: + 254 20 800100).
Don’t leave items such as laptops and briefcases in unattended vehicles
- Don’t display jewellery or electronics when walking
- Remain vigilant when using public transportation or walking along deserted streets
- Avoid walking and driving at night
- Taxi and minibus operators have robbed their passengers and stranded them far from their destination. Avoid taking taxis or minibuses that have only one or two passengers, and ensure that your personal belongings are secure at all times when using public transportation.
Current Weather Forecasts
One of the best times to visit Kenya is from July to September, during the country’s dry season, which also coincides with the Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra.
The rainy seasons are also good times to travel, as there are fewer visitors and you can admire the striking emerald vegetation. December, in particular, is a great time to travel to Kenya, since the rains are short and you have the chance to see newborn animals and migratory bird species. Only the peak of the ‘long rains’ in March, April and May are very wet.
Kenya – Month-by-Month
The height of summer is an excellent time to spot wildlife, both on the ground and in the air. Temperatures are hot but there will be the odd shower to cool things down, while the landscape is lush with long grass from the ‘short rains’ that fall in November and December. Down on the coast, the days are hot and sunny and the sea is at its clearest.
Another great month for spotting wildlife, both on the ground and in the air. Temperatures remain high and the odd shower may fall, while there should still be long grass covering the landscape from the ‘short rains’ that fall in November and December.
The weather gets wetter as Kenya approaches the ‘long rains’, but game viewing is still good.
The ‘long rains’ of April and May can turn the tracks through the parks into quagmires and make the beaches along the Indian Ocean coastline hot and very wet, so this isn’t the best time to travel.
The ‘long rains’ of April and May can turn the tracks through the parks into quagmires and the beaches along the Indian Ocean coastline hot and very wet, so this isn’t the best time to travel
The rains have finished for the most part, although some light showers are still possible, and the nights can be cool at altitude. The long dry season is on the horizon, and while grasses are high, making game harder to spot at times, it is a beautiful time to visit. People start anticipating the arrival of the Great Migration into the Masai Mara.
The weather is temperate and dry but not too dusty, with occasional showers still possible, making this a good time to visit overall. The first herds arrive into the Masai Mara from Tanzania and peak travel and game viewing season is just around the corner.
The temperatures are pleasant and it’s mostly dry, making it one of the peak times to visit. Fantastic game viewing can be enjoyed now, with the Great Migration at its height in the Masai Mara providing lots of action at the river crossings as countless wildebeest and zebra gather and cross the Mara and Talek Rivers.
The weather is generally dry. The game viewing action continues in the Mara, and it is still excellent throughout Kenya for wildlife.
As the mercury slowly starts to rise, a few showers are possible. However, it’s a lovely time to travel if you want to avoid the crowds but still have excellent game viewing opportunities. The migratory herds are leaving the Mara now, but excellent resident populations remain. All other Kenya destinations are great at this time of year.
The short rains are starting and the temperature is hotter, but the Mara, along with most other destinations, remains open. However, on the Laikipia Plateau many camps are closed. There is still good game viewing under the heavier skies and activities continue. Crowds dissipate and you can often make the most of some good deals.
The end of the year can be hot and potentially wet — it’s the middle of the short rains, with some camps closed (particularly in the north) and some open. Where camps are open, wildlife viewing remains very good, with high bird numbers present.
You have to apply for your Kenyan e-visa or East Africa Visa (Uganda, Kenya and
Rwanda) online, through the Kenyan e-visa System via the following link: https://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html
- Category 1 – Nationals and Persons who do not require visas to enter Kenya.
- Category 2 – Nationals issued with Visas on application. Issued within 48 hours.
- Category 3 – Countries and Persons who require referred Visas.
Category 2 Single Entry Visa is valid for travel within 3 months from the date of issue. Category 3 Single Entry Visa is valid for travel within 1 month from the date of issue.
Check this link to find out about your country’s eligibility
The standard voltage is 240 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Which power plugs and sockets in Kenya?
In Kenya, the power plugs and sockets are of type G. Check out the following pictures.
Type G: this type is of British origin. This socket only works with plug G.
|Type G: This socket has no alternative plugs|