Visa and Health Regulation:
Visa requirements vary from time to time and should be checked with nearest tourist office of diplomatic mission. Health certificates are required but these vary with country of origin and should be checked with relevant authorities. Yellow fever and cholera vaccinations are recommended. Anti malaria medication should be started prior to arrival.
Films and batteries are available at most lodges but in restricted stocks and sizes so it is suggested you bring your own supply. A 200 mm to 300 mm telephoto lens is recommended for game and bird photography.
Much of East Africa is generally warm, minimal humidity and cool evenings. Temperatures vary with altitude.
Cotton, linen dresses, light slacks and short sleeved shirts are recommended. Bring a warm sweater, as nights can be chilly at high altitudes. Comfortable walking shoes, swim suit, sun glasses, suntan lotion, flashlight and an alarm clock will complement your safari gear.
Hotel Check in/check out:
Check out time is usually 1000 hours. Hence check in cannot be guaranteed before 1100 hours unless room is reserved from night before. Day rooms up to 1800 hours are usually available.
Accommodation and Meals on Safari
Rooms are singles, doubles, triples and suites. Lodge facilities include lounges/bars with log fires, dinning rooms and viewing platforms. Most lodges have outdoor swimming pools.
These range from simple luxurious and provide spacious twin beds with mosquito netting, private bathrooms and verandas.
On safari, meals are provided on full board basis. There is full English breakfast. Lunch is often buffet style set out with salads, cold and hot starters and hot main dishes. Dinner is 3-5 courses with a combination of dishes.
There are local buses and minibuses which are likely to be uncomfortable, overcrowded and potentially dangerous.
Better hotels generally have a superior selection of taxis available, and it is suggested that you obtain one of these, particularly for longer journeys.
Domestic air services operate between the major airports:
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi (NBO)
Moi International, Mombasa (MBA) A number of airlines operate between Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu,Eldoret, Nanyuki, Malindi, Lamu and the national parks/reserves of Amboseli, Masai Mara and Samburu.
Passports and Visas:
This is a guide only – please check with your nearest Kenyan Consulate for up to date information. All visitors are required to carry a passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. There should be sufficient blank pages for entry stamps upon arrival.
Nationals of some countries may obtain visas upon arrival. Check with the Kenyan Consulate beforehand. Those wishing to enter Kenya on business or for longer than 30 days, should obtain a visa from their nearest Kenyan Consulate.
Requirements for this are:
» visa application form,
» business letter (for business visa),
» one passport photograph,
» proof of sufficient funds and onward travel / return ticket.
Visas cost about US$50 and are valid for three months. All visitors may be requested to show proof of sufficient funds and onward travel / return ticket.
Medical services in Kenya are good in urban areas and in the vicinity of game parks and beaches, but are limited elsewhere. Doctors and hospitals often require immediate cash payment, but usually accept major credit cards. It is advisable to secure medical cover on your medical insurance before arriving in the country. Note that major hotels have contracts with physicians and dentists. Visitors are however advised to bring along supplies of specialised medication they may require. Otherwise, medicine may be purchased at pharmacies and emergency pharmacies are open all night.
It is recommended to drink only bottled mineral water which is available everywhere.
Seasons and Climate:
SUMMER: December – March
WINTER: July – August
Kenya is divided by the equator and enjoys a tropical climate. It is hot and humid at the coast, temperate inland and very dry in the north and north-eastern parts of the country. The hottest time is in January,February and March and the coldest in July and August.
The average annual temperatures in the main areas are:
Max 30ºC, Min 22ºC
Nairobi: Max 25ºC, Min 13ºC
North Plainlands: Max 34ºC, Min 23ºC
The long rains occur from April to June and short rains from October to December. Rainfall is sometimes heavy and tends to fall in the afternoon and evenings.
WHAT TO PACK:
Generally, casual comfortable clothing is suitable throughout the year. The most practical items to pack for safari are:
» Khaki, green, beige and neutral colours
» Blouses and shirts with long sleeves (even in summer, they will protect you from the sun and from mosquitoes)
» T shirts
» Shorts or a light skirt
» Jeans or safari trousers for evenings and cooler days
» Some hotels and country clubs require gentlemen to wear a jacket and tie and women to be suitably attired for dinner
» A jacket and sweater are recommended for early morning and evening game drives
» Swimwear and beach apparel
» Comfortable walking shoes
» Sun block, sunglasses, hat, insect repellent, moisturiser and lip salve are all essentials
Good quality, locally made clothing and shoes for safaris are available in Nairobi and Mombasa shops at reasonable prices.
If you are travelling with an organised safari, it is important to check what your weight limit is. Generally you will need to restrict your luggage to 10-12 kg (packed in a soft bag) plus a reasonable amount of camera equipment.
When to go:
Kenya is a year round destination with excellent game viewing. One of Kenya’s greatest attractions is the annual wildebeest migration between Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. This takes place between July and September,this the best time to travel and bookings must be made in advance at least 4 to 5 months.
The Best Season for Safari
Any single month of a year is interesting for safari.
However, the best seasons are:
- from mid December to March
- from July to October
Please contact us for details.
The Great Migration
Between January and February wildebeest and zebras give birth and gather in south Serengeti in Tanzania. From March the large herds start to move north and west in search of fresh grazing through Serengeti towards Masai Mara in Kenya, and remain there for 3 months (July – October). Then, they return to south Serengeti in November.
The unit of currency is the Kenya Shilling (KSh), which is divided into 100 cents. Notes are in KSh1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are KSH20, 10 ,5,1 and 50cents.
The exchange rate is based on the inter bank rate of the day. Generally, you will find that fine cuisine, wine and entertainment cost a fraction of the tariff charged by equivalent establishments elsewhere in the world.
Banking hours: Mon – Fri 09:00 – 16:00
First Sat of each month 09:00 – 12:00
National and international banks have branches in Mombasa, Nairobi, Kisumu, Thika, Eldoret, Kericho and Nyeri and in most other major towns. Banks in Mombasa and the coastal areas open and close half an hour earlier. Banks and bureaux de change at international airports are open 24 hours a day
All major credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, Diners Club and American Express) are widely accepted.
This is not required but, unlike in some other African countries, is not forbidden either. A tip of USD2 for hotel porter in every hotel/lodge you visit while your driver/guide USD10 per person per day is commendable,although the amount is entirely at the visitor’s discretion.
As in most African countries, there is a huge range of good quality and cheap souvenirs to be purchased along the roadside. These are handmade, but mass produced so always check the quality before buying. Materials include ebony, soapstone and ivory. Note that it is illegal to export products that contain any elements of elephant, rhino or sea turtle. Tribal souvenirs are available, including Maasai beaded jewellery, kiondos (woven sisal baskets) and natural or decorated calabashes (dried gourds). Bright sarongs (kangas or kikois) make good wearable souvenirs.