Planning and Packing

It is often said that Kenya is a cold country with a hot sun, as the blend of high altitudes and tropical sun make for a unique and variable climate. This should be kept in mind when packing for a visit.

Both temperatures and climate vary drastically from region to region and even throughout a single day. Basically the traveller should come prepared for hot, cold, wet and dusty conditions. Packing for a trip to Kenya requires some careful thought and consideration. 

Ultimately your packing should be dictated by the activities you are planning to undertake. If you are travelling extensively throughout the country make sure that you bring suitable luggage. Suitcases and bags should be able to withstand plenty of handling and dusty conditions. Hard suitcases are ideal, but can take up a lot of space.

If you are travelling by domestic/chartered flights within Kenya, remember that there are luggage restrictions, particularly on smaller aircraft. Check in advance with your Charter airline or Safari/Tour operator. For those planning a lot of travel by public transport or trekkers, a backpack is advisable. Bring a sturdy, well constructed pack with orthopaedic support and lockable zips and catches. A small daypack is ideal for carrying cameras, travel documents and basic everyday items.

Equal consideration should be paid to what you bring with you. Casual, lightweight, and comfortable clothing is usually the best. For walking safaris or game viewing on foot clothing should be of neutral colour, and white, bright or vividly patterned clothing avoided. Studies have proven that most African game animals are able to see bright blue over any other colour.

Strong footwear is advisable if you are planning to do any walking. For serious climbers and trekkers a good pair of hiking boots should be brought with you. Remember that the tropical/Equatorial sun is strong and burns quickly. Wide brimmed hats are preferable to baseball caps for sun protection. Both sunglasses and a good quality sunscreen (rated SPF15 or higher) should be used. A good quality insect repellent is worth bringing.

In some areas, mostly coastal, it is considered inappropriate for women (and in some cases men) to wear shorts or short sleeved shirts. It is always best to seek local advice. For some up-market lodges and nights out in Nairobi you may wish to bring some more formal evening wear. You should bring your own Toiletries with you. Basic toiletry items are widely available.

Kenya Visa Information

A visa is required prior to entry into Kenya. A single Entry Visa (valid for three months from date of issue) will cost US$ 50. A transit visa will cost US$ 20 (You can also pay using Euros, GBP or SwissFrancs).

Citizens of the following countries need to have a visa prior to arrival in Kenya;

1. Afghanistan
2. Libya
3. Senegal
4. Azerbaijan
5. Lebanon
6. Somali
7. Armenia
8. Mali
9. Syria
10. Cameroon
11. North Korea
12. Tadjikistan
13. Iraq
14. Eritrea
15. Stateless Persons

For those whose country doesn't appear in the list above, visas can be obtained at the Airport upon arrival. It's advisable to obtain the visa from the Kenyan Embassy/High Commission in your country prior to departure. 

Note: The list of countries shown above is subject to change - For more information please check http://www.immigration.go.ke

Kenya Immigration Information

IMPORTANT NOTICE: REVISION OF VISA RATES 

For those who will be arriving in Kenya on and after July 1st 2011, the new Visa rates will be as follows:

  • -Single Journey Visa (SJV)- $50.
    -Multiple Journey Visa (MJV)-$100.
    -Transit Visa (TV)-$20.
    -Referral Visa-$20

Or the equivalent amount in Euros, GBP and SwissFrancs
Kenya has three international airports; Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Moi International Airport, Mombasa and Moi International Airport, Eldoret.
These airports service numerous international carriers including the national airline Kenya Airways Kenya has good connections to destinations throughout Europe, the Asia- Pacific region, USA and Africa.

Kenya can be accessed by road from Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia. Immigration should be processed at land border stations. Entry by sea is possible, and immigration should be processed at a port facility.

Health Information

It is advisable to travel with a small medical kit that includes any basic remedies you may need, such as antacids, painkillers, anti-histamines and cold remedies. You will also need anti-diarrhoeal medication such as Imodium (adults only); and oral rehydration sachets such as Electrolade, especially if travelling with children...
Vaccines commonly recommended for travellers to Africa include those against;

Tetanus
Diphtheria
Polio
Typhoid
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Yellow fever*
Rabies
Meningitis

* Certificate required for entry into, or travel between, some African countries. Several of these vaccines require more than one dose, or take time to become effective. It is always best to seek advice on immunisation well in advance, if possible around 6 weeks before departure.

What to Pack - It is advisable to travel with a small medical kit that includes any basic remedies you may need, such as antacids, painkillers, anti-histamines and cold remedies. You will also need anti-diarrhoeal medication such as Imodium (adults only); and oral rehydration sachets such as Electrolade, especially if travelling with children. 

Currency

The official currency is the Kenya Shilling. The written abbreviation is either KSh or using /= after the amount (ie 500/=)

Available Notes are 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings. Available coins are 1, 5, 10, 20 and 40 shillings. Visitors to Kenya should change foreign currency at banks, bureaux de change or authorized hotels. The easiest currencies to exchange are US Dollars, Pounds sterling and EURO.

Travellers Cheques are widely accepted, and many hotels, travel agencies, safari companies and restaurants accept Credit Cards. Most Banks in Kenya are equipped to advance cash on credit cards. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Kenya.

Before departure, travellers are advised to convert any excess Kenya shillings into foreign currency at a bank or bureau de change before departure. Departure taxes can be paid in local or foreign currency. Anyone wishing to take more than 500,000 Kenya Shillings out of the country will require written authorization from the Central Bank.

Public Holidays and Business Hours

Kenya has a single time zone- which is GMT+3. Most businesses in Kenya are open from Monday to Friday, though some also trade on Saturday. Business hours are generally 9:00am to 5:00pm, closing for an hour over lunch (1:00pm - 2:00pm).
Kenyan Public holidays include:

1st January - New Years Day
Idd il Fitr
March/April Good Friday
March/April Easter Monday

1st May - Labour Day
1st June - Madaraka Day
20th October - Mashujaa Day
12th December - Jamhuri Day

25th December Christmas Day
26th December Boxing Day

Communication

Telecommunications - Kenya has a good network of telephone, cellular and satellite connections. Work is under way to expand this network and introduce fibre optic cables.

Most hotels and lodges offer International telephone and fax services. In larger towns, private telecommunication centres also offer international services. If you have a mobile phone with a roaming connection, then you can make use of Kenya's excellent cellular networks, which covers most larger towns and tourist areas.

When calling Kenya, the International code is +254.

Internet - Kenya has good Internet Service Providers. Email and Internet services are offered by many hotels and lodges. In most towns, there are plenty of private business centres and cyber cafes offering email and internet access.