Kenya Country Highlights
• See the Great Serengeti Migration and game view at Kenya’s most popular reserve — the Maasai Mara.
• Sunrise balloon safari across the Maasai Mara.
• Checking off the “Big Five” game viewing.
• Sundowners in Amboseli or at ol Donyo Lodge or Campi ya Kanzi with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background.
• Nature walks with Maasai or Samburu guides.
• Get up close and personal with a baby elephant at Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi.
A visa is required for US citizens and must be obtained online. ($51.00 per person for a single-entry visa / $21.00 per person for a transit visa - stay less than 72hrs. Visas for children under 16yrs of age are free.) You can apply online at www.ecitizen.go.ke (valid for 3 months from date of issue).
**If you arrive at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at any terminal other than Terminal A1 (Kenya Airways, KLM, Precision Airlines or any SkyTeam Partner airline) and you are transiting to a connecting flight, you might be required to obtain a transit visa ($20.00 per person).
- Kenya - Please note you do NOT need a multiple entry visa for Kenya in order to travel between Kenya and Tanzania and Uganda and Rwanda multiple times during the course of a single East African Safari.
- Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda (East Africa Tourist Visa) - The visa (US$100.00 per US citizen) will allow 90 days uninterrupted travel between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. (If you leave the ‘zone’ and enter another country, eg Tanzania, the visa becomes invalid and you must apply for a separate visa.) This multi country visa must be applied for from the first country of arrival. (Visa valid for 3 months from date of issue) If visiting Rwanda or Uganda first, the visa must be applied for prior to arrival. If visiting Kenya first, the visa is only obtained on arrival.
Kenya: on arrival
Uganda: https://visas.immigration.go.ug/. Vaccination Certificate (Yellow Fever) is required for the online application.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR TRAVELERS - PASSPORT PAGES
PLEASE NOTE: The passports of all travelers to Kenya must contain at least two blank (unstamped) VISA pages. (*NOT the endorsement/amendment pages at the back of the passport.) Otherwise, the traveler, even when in possession of a valid visa, may be refused entry into the country, fined and returned to their point of origin at the traveler’s expense or detained for up to several days until extra visa pages are obtained. As a general precaution, all travelers are advised to carry a photocopy of the photo/bio information page of their passport and keep it in a location separate from the passport.
**This requirement is over and above pages that may be required for entry into other countries. If needed, a new passport should be obtained well in advance of your trip.
All visa information is provided in good faith and is believed to be correct; however, requirements/recommendations can change at very short notice. Visa requirements may vary depending on Passport Nationality and your originating country. We keep our visa information up-to-date as much as possible, but rules do change so it is very important that you also check with your local embassy.
- All passports must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended stay.
- Please make sure that you have sufficient blank VISA pages for entry into each country. Most African countries require a minimum of 2 blank VISA pages.
- Visas obtained on arrival must be paid in US Dollars cash using new bills dated year 2007 or later (large President’s head) and in good condition (no marks or tears). No change will be given; therefore exact amount must be paid per person.
For getting or renewing a US Passport, please visit: https://www.usa.gov/passport
Banking and Currency
The currency of Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KES; symbol KSh) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of KSh1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 50. Coins are in denominations of KSh20, 10 and 5. Residents may import up to KES 500,000 and must declare if currencies exceeding US $10,000. Non-residents may import local and foreign currencies without restrictions but amounts exceeding US $10,000 must be declared.
Banking hours: Monday -Friday 09h00-15h00, and Saturdays 09h00-12h00. Banks in Mombasa and the coastal areas open and close half an hour earlier. Banks in airports tend to open earlier and close later; typical hours are 07h00-19h00.
ATMs are common especially in major tourist destinations.
Mastercard and Visa Credit Cards are widely accepted; American Express and Diners Club less so. Major hotels accept payment by credit card, as do major safari companies, travel agencies and restaurants.
Very few banks or foreign exchange bureaus accept travellers cheques; when they do, they charge high commissions.
Travel, Transport and Getting Around
Nairobi has two airports for domestic and regional flights: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Wilson Airport. Kenya has over 150 domestic airports and airstrips and there are daily flights to the most popular destinations. In addition to the scheduled airlines, several private charter companies operate out of Wilson Airport.
Kenya Airways, Air Kenya, Fly 540, Mombasa Air Safari, and Safarilink serve the most popular safari destinations, plus many others such as Lake Victoria.
All other types of transport are good and efficient. Quality on trains can differ depending on which ‘class’ you buy.
Drive on the left side of the road.
Road conditions vary, and are improving.
Health and Medical Information
Anti-malaria tablets are recommended.
Yellow fever is a risk in certain parts of Kenya, so the CDC recommends the yellow fever vaccine for travelers; however it is not a requirement by the country.
If you are visiting multiple countries, the order of travel is important. (eg. The vaccination is not required to enter Kenya; however as Kenya is a low risk endemic country, you will be required to show proof of the vaccination on entry into another African country, such as Tanzania or South Africa.)
**Please contact your safari consultant with any questions on your itinerary/routing.
Should you require the yellow fever vaccine, please note the following:
You should receive a ‘yellow card’ called the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) to prove that you have had the yellow fever vaccine. Proof of vaccination is not valid until 10 days after you get the vaccine, so plan to get the vaccine early if you need it.
A single dose of the vaccine is sufficient for life-long immunity for most travelers and therefore extends the validity of all properly issued vaccination certificates to the life of the person vaccinated. All countries were to abide by the new International Health Regulations when it entered into force on July 11, 2016.
Some travelers might require a booster dose based on when you were last vaccinated, where you are travelling to, duration, season, etc. Please speak to your doctor.
Because of a total depletion of YF-Vax, the manufacturer (Sanofi Pasteur) has worked with CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration to make an alternative yellow fever vaccine, Stamaril, available at select locations until YF-Vax supply returns. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/search-for-stamaril-clinics
Additionally, should a clinician decide to grant a medical waiver, the back of the yellow card must be completed and the CDC suggests that the clinician provide the patient with a signed and dated exemption letter on letterhead stationery, clearly stating that the vaccine is contraindicated on medical grounds. This letter should also display the center's official yellow fever vaccination stamp. Medical exemption letters should be written for the current trip only.
**Please contact the CDC (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ or 1-800-232-4636) or your local travel clinic for up-to-date health information.
Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice
Meat in Kenya is generally outstandingly good, and ‘nyam achoma’ (barbecued meat) is ubiquitous at any major feasts or popular dining spots. Beef and chicken are readily available, but goat is the most-widely eaten among locals and certainly a must try for carnivorous visitors. Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine is also popular, as are fresh-water fish inland, and sea fish along the coast.
Drinking the tap water is not recommended as the supply is not reliable, but bottled water is available in most places. When buying bottled water, check the seal of the bottle is intact. Alternatively, bring your own reusable water bottle with a filter or use water purification tablets. Avoid ice and washed salads and fruit except in top hotels and restaurants. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Food prepared by unlicensed vendors should be avoided at all times.
Tipping is optional. Most hotels and restaurants include a 10% service charge in the bill. If they don't, a small tip is customary for good service.
Climate and Weather
Kenya has three types of climate: temperate subtropical climate in the west and southwest highlands (where Nairobi is located), hot and humid along the coast, and hot and dry in the north and east.
Clothing and Dress Recommendations
For Nairobi and the coast: lightweight cotton and linens are advised. Warmer clothing is needed in June and July, while rainwear is advisable between March and June, and October and December.
For safari: loose-fitting and light neutral tones are recommended. If you are visiting a luxury lodge, pack a nice set of clothes for dinner is recommended.
Wi-Fi is readily available in major cities and hotels, as well as in luxury game lodges.
Electricity and Plug Standards
Electrical sockets in Kenya are of the ‘Type G (BS-1363)’. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all types.
Electrical sockets in Kenya usually supply electricity at 220-240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your appliance isn’t compatible with 220-240 volts, a voltage converter will be necessary.
Ban on Plastic Bags
In the global fight against plastic waste, many countries have implemented a ban on plastic bags, including plastic bags from airports/duty free. (*Carry-in/carry-out Ziploc bags are still permitted.) There are many alternatives to plastic bags varying in size and cost and waterproof, if needed. Countries with the ban include Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. With the pressure on to make an environmental difference, other countries will soon join the fight.