Travel essentials

Located in the heart of Africa, Kenya shares borders with the Indian Ocean to the east and five countries, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. The Great Rift Valley runs through the country from north to south.

The country is named after Mount Kenya, Africa’s second-highest peak. It is also home to Lake Victoria, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. The national parks of Kenya are home to thousands of animal species. The Great Migration of millions of wildebeest from the Serengeti in Tanzania into the Maasai Mara in Kenya, across the pulsing Mara River, is one of the greatest spectacles on earth.

The predominant religion in Kenya is Christianity. However, other faiths practised include Baha’i, Hinduism, Islam and traditional African religions. Swahili and English are the official languages of the country. Although, many indigenous languages are still spoken widely. Throughout the country, old cultures meld with new. Ancient traditions sit alongside modern customs in a country that truly is a thriving multi-cultural centre.

 

PLASTIC BAGS

Kenya has made it illegal to produce, sell and use plastic bags. Please pack eco-friendly bags for your trip.

Please note, if you are planning to travel to Tanzania from Kenya, Tanzania has also implemented a plastic bag ban.

 

Entry Requirements

A visa required for UK citizens and generally cost between US$50 and US$100. As of 1 January 2021, all passengers requiring a visa to enter Kenya will need to apply and obtain an e-visa. It will no longer be possible to obtain a visa on arrival, and e-visas will need to be secured prior to departure.

Please check all visa requirements carefully before you travel as regulations change frequently.

Entry requirements:

  • a passport that is valid for a minimum of six months beyond your intended departure date and with two blank consecutive pages
  • onward travel documents

 

Malaria

Malaria is present in Kenya and it is strongly advisable to take malaria prophylactics before, during and after your visit. Please consult a medical professional regarding which prophylactics will be suitable for you. In addition, please take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. Use insect repellent, sleep under a mosquito net and wear long-sleeved shirt and long trousers with closed shoes in the evenings.

 

Vaccinations and Yellow Fever

For all vaccinations, please consult a medical professional at least six weeks before your date of departure.

 

Medical Facilities

Good medical facilities and pharmacies are available in the major cities. However, we advise that you bring your own small medical kit as camps and lodges may have limited supplies (painkillers, cough drops etc).

 

Food & Water

Hotels, camps and lodges should provide either bottled water or filtered water for drinking. Please do not drink the tap water. Avoid food and drink from backstreet vendors. Under no circumstances should you bathe in rivers or lakes.

 

Money

The currency in Kenya is the Kenya Shilling (Ksh), however US$ can be used as a currency as well. Please note that dollars printed before 2006 are not accepted. You can convert money to Shillings at a bank or Forex Bureau, or withdraw from an ATM. All found in the larger airports and towns. Please check with your bank for charges and advice when using international ATMs. Major credit cards are widely accepted in most hotels and establishments, however there may be a surcharge levied. It is advisable to have some cash for smaller shops and stalls.

Banks are available throughout Kenya, operating business hours of 9 am to 3 pm, Monday to Friday.

 

Climate

Kenya offers warm days and cool mornings and evenings year-round, throughout most of the country. At altitude, the temperatures are moderate and 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. Kenya can be visited

 

Dresscode

Modest clothing is advisable in the bigger towns and cities in Kenya, however in the lodges and camps and on the beaches at the coast, it is perfectly fine to wear shorts and shirts or beachwear. Generally speaking, light layers of clothing in neutral safari colours of green, khaki and beige are the best items to bring with you, as well as a warmer jacket or fleece for the colder evenings. A hat is also a must have. Dark colours such as navy or black can attract tsetse flies and are best avoided, as are bright colours like yellow, red and purple if you are going on safari.

 

What to pack

  • Layers — long and short sleeve shirts and trousers
  • Warm fleece or jumper
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Comfortable but sturdy shoes
  • Flip-flops
  • Swimming costume
  • Hat or baseball cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen — a must
  • Toiletries — most camps will provide shampoo, shower gel and soap
  • Small torch
  • Spare batteries, plug adaptors and charging equipment
  • Good pair of binoculars
  • Books or a fully loaded Kindle/iPad for siesta time

 

Keeping in touch

Email, internet and fax facilities are available in the bigger towns and at major hotels. City hotels will also have an international dialling service. Some of the lodges and camps may have limited internet access but this is not always guaranteed, and most will not have cell phone signal.

If you intend to stay for a longer period of time in Kenya, our advice would be to buy a local sim card, which you can top up with local currency. These cards can be bought almost everywhere and we recommend Safaricom or Zain as providers. However, we also recommend that you enjoy the bush and forget about time and all modern ways of communication.

 

Electricity

Electricity is available at 220/240 volts AC, 50 Hz. Primary Socket Type: British BS-1363 (British Standard). Adaptor plugs will be available in some lodges but we advise that you bring at least one with you. Please be aware that the power supply is subject to cuts and voltage fluctuation even in major cities.

On safari, most of the lodges are powered by generators or solar panels and these are often turned off during parts of the day and night to reduce noise and fuel consumption. Due to the high-power usage, many safari camps do not allow use of hairdryers.

Please also note that in some camps and lodges, power sockets for charging are only available in the main area. Please ask if you require more details on this.

 

Tipping & Gratuitees

We must stress that tipping is not compulsory or expected; rather it is an extra reward for excellent service. If you are pleased with the service you receive you are more than welcome to tip your guide or the staff in the various lodges and camps. As a guideline for tipping your guide and the staff, you can leave between US$10 to US$15 per traveller per day.

Tipping is usually done at the end of your safari and most lodges and camps have a tip box in the main area. You may tip the staff individually, place a tip for all the staff in the box, or do both. Tips can be made in Kenyan Shillings, US$, Euros or Pound Sterling.