Visitors from commonwealth countries (except Nigeria, Australia, Sri Lanka and British Passport holders who are subject to control under the Migration Act 1971), Denmark, Ethiopia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Uruguay DO NOT require visas to enter Kenya. Nationals of countries other than these should obtain visas from a Kenyan Embassy or Consulate in their country or from a British Embassy where there is no Kenyan Diplomatic representation. If in doubt, please check with the nearest Kenyan diplomatic Mission. Visa applications should be made at least thirty days prior to the date of departure. On arrival in Kenya passports are stamped with a visitors pass for a specified period, extendable (if there is no objection) from the Immigration Department, Nyayo House, Kenyatta Avenue, P.O. Box 30191, Nairobi (Tel 332110) or in Mombasa at P.O. Box 90284 (Tel 311745). Visitors are not allowed to engage in any paid or unpaid employment during their stay in Kenya except with written permission from the Department of Immigration.
Visitors to Kenya arriving from yellow fever and cholera infested areas must have valid vaccination certificates. Malaria is rare in Nairobi and the highlands but prevalent in the hot and humid low altitude areas around the Coast, Lake Victoria and the Savannah. Prescribed doses of Malaria Prophylactics should be taken two weeks before travel, during your stay in Kenya and continued for two more weeks after your departure. It is safe to swim in the sea and swimming pools but it is not recommended to do so in lakes, rivers and open reservoirs as they may not be infested with bilharzia parasites. Drinking water from these places is also not advisable. Bottled water is widely available.
An independent cover from the Flying Doctor Service can be arranged through our office.
Kenya has excellent medical facilities which include Nairobi Hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital, Aga Khan Hospital, Pandya Memorial Hospital as well as Air Ambulance Services offered by Africa Medical Research Foundation Flying Doctor Service (AMREF), Africa Air Rescue (AAR) and EAR – Medivac Ltd.
At the coast during the day time, beach wear is acceptable while in the hotel or on the beach. Light cotton dresses or shirts are recommended when walking around the city. While on safari, “Safari Suits” are the most suitable attire and in the evenings if in the highlands, warm clothing is essential. For Nairobi and the highlands lightweight clothing and dresses are suitable throughout the year except during the cooler months of June to August when warmer clothing is advisable. A wide brimmed hat, sun tan oil and sun glasses are recommended for a sun bathing holiday at the coast while a rain coat and insect repellent can be handy during a safari. Some establishments insist on evening wear and we will be able to advise you on this based on your chosen itinerary. Please do not walk away from the hotel oe off the beach in your beach wear as it may offend the cultural and religious sensibilities of the local people.
Apart from personal effects, you may bring:
(1) Cameras (still and movie), films and binoculars which must not be sold during your stay in Kenya
(2) Non consumable provisions and non-alcoholic beverages in such quantities as are in the opinion of the authorities, consistent with the visit
(3) Cigarettes, cigars, cheroots, tobacco and snuff not exceeding in all 250 grams in weight, spirits, (including liqueurs) or wine not exceeding in all one litre, perfume and eau de toilette in all one half litre, of which not more than a quarter may be perfume (these duty free allowances are granted only to passengers of seventeen years and over)
(4) Live animals, provided they have a veterinary certificate. Gifts are dutiable while firearms, illicit drugs and obscene literature are prohibited.
Kenya is a photographer’s dream country since there is abundant wildlife and birdlife in their natural habitats, magnificent scenery, captivating avifauna, colorful people, reliable as well as unlimited. It is therefore, not difficult to take memorable photographs even if you are not a professional photographer. When you are on safari please always remember that the animals you encounter are not tame and as such it is advisable not to get out of your vehicle. Please avoid photographing the local people you meet while on safari before seeking their permission. A UV or skylight filter is necessary everywhere and lens hood helps reduce the glare. You may require a good telephoto lens for shooting dramatic close-ups of animals as well as a camera bag to protect your photographic equipment form dust.
Short stay drivers require only their own valid driving licenses which have to be endorsed at the Road Transport Office, Income Tax House. An International Driving License is the most convenient. Driving is on the left and drivers approaching from the right at roundabouts are given priority. Petrol is sold in liters while distances are measured in kilometers.
There are no restrictions on the foreign exchange you may bring into the country. Defacement of the Kenya currency is an indictable offence. The unit of currency is the Kenya Shilling. Notes come in denominations of Ksh 10, Ksh 20, Ksh 50, Ksh 100, Ksh 200, Ksh 500 and Ksh 1,000. It is recommended that you change your foreign currency only in banks, bureau de change or authorized hotels.
Major international credit cards are acceptable in most establishments.
Advance booking is advisable if you are planning to visit Kenya during the high season (December to March and July to September). Accommodation tariffs are lower in the low season (April to June).
Kenya Railways operates services to Mombasa and Kisumu.
Domestic Air Service
Kenya Airways, Air Kenya, British Airways and East African Safari Air operate flights to the major tourist centers. In addition some of these carriers have daily services to the National Parks and Game Reserves.
In keeping with the acceptable practice elsewhere in the world visitors are advised not to leave cash and valuables in their hotel rooms but to make use of hotel safe deposit boxes or safes. You should not carry large sums of cash on your person while walking in the streets. Ladies are advised to be careful with their bags in crowded places, while jewellery and necklaces should be left at home or kept in hotel custody with other valuables.
As in all major cities walking alone at night should be avoided. Kenya has an efficient police force as well a special Tourist Police Unit with highly trained officers. In addition most hotels employ experienced security personnel. However it is advisable to always take those precautions you would take anywhere else in the world.
Business and Banking Hours
Most banks in the major urban centres have a Bureau de change, while hotels are authorized to transact in foreign exchange. Banks are open between 9.00 am. and 3.00 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 9.00 am and 11.00 am. On the first and last Saturday of the month. Branches of banks and Bureau de change at the International Airports run 24 hour services.
Offices in Kenya are generally open between 8.00 am. And 5.00 pm. Monday through Fridays.
Telephone and Postal Services
Kenya has an excellent telecommunication network for both domestic and international services. International STD system is fully operational in all major urban centers. There are excellent Telex and Fax facilities in hotels. Radio call equipment is available in most lodges and camps where telephone service may not be always reliable.
International as well as local newspapers are available. Kenya has several local Television and Radio stations. Other International Television and Radio stations are received via satellite.
On departure, an international Airport Departure Tax is payable for both international and local flights. There are duty free shops at International Airports but purchases are made only in convertible currencies. Customs officials may require inspection of outgoing baggage. All baggage is weighed and subjected to X-ray inspection before loading.
Most hotels and game lodges feature a boutique or two, stocking a wide variety of Kenyan souvenirs. However, the real test is in the art of bargaining at market stalls, wayside outlets and bazaars.
The choice of products include practical accessories such as safari suits and hats, kiondos (sisal bags), mats, baskets and containers made from indigenous fibres as well as hand crafted jewellery in precious or semi precious stones. Kenya coffee an dtea make thoughtful presents to take back home. Available gemstines include rubies, Malaya garnets, amethysts, tsavorite, malachite, bluelace agates, fluorspar, haematite and jasper.
The world famous Akamba wood carvings and Kisii soapstone carvings, batiks, bead tapestry and local artwork make for good ornamental souvenirs.
Our driver guides offer useful tips on shopping.
Kenya has only one Time Zone. Local time is G.M.T. +3 (plus three hours.)
Appropriate insurance cover is recommended.
Most hotels, game lodges and tented camps include a service charge in their tariff as do most restaurants and in such cases tipping is not necessary unless exceptional service inspires a desire to express extra appreciation. We are happy to make some suggestion regarding suitable amounts which vary according to the value of service rendered.
It is recommended that you do not give money to street urchins and instead donate to established charitable organizations. It is also recommended that you avoid street salesmen and beach hawkers as not all of them are reliable.