Kenya Travel Info
Important Information on the Country and Traveling in Kenya
Name The Republic of Kenya
Time Zone GMT + 3
Capital City Nairobi
Independence gained on 12 December 1963 (from Great Britain)
National Language Kiswahili
Official Language English
Land Area Kenya covers an area of about 586,600km sq
• On the equator on the eastern coast of Africa.
• Kenya is bordered by - Tanzania to the south Uganda to the west, Somalia and the Indian ocean to the east, Ethiopia to the north and Sudan to the northwest.
Population & People
• The population is estimated at 34 million (There were 28.7 million people in the 1999 census)
• There are about 52 tribes in Kenya.
Vegetation & Special Natural Features
• Kenya is home to the famous Masai Mara game reserve, Mt Kenya and Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake).
• The Great Rift Valley, which runs from northern Syria in Southwest Asia to central Mozambique in East Africa, bisects the country from North to South and is dotted with lakes and extinct volcanoes, is one of Kenya's fascinating physical features.
• Kenya’s natural vegetation is diverse. Truly a ‘world within one country’. Tropical rain forests, sandy beaches, snow-capped mountains, desert, wide savannah plains teeming with wildlife, freshwater lakes and salt lakes.
• Kenya enjoys an equatorial to a tropical climate experiencing moderate temperatures averaging about 22C throughout the year. It is hotter and more humid at the coast, temperate inland and dry in the north and northeast parts of the country.
• There are two wet seasons: short rains (October to December) and long rains (March to June). Our hottest season is from January to March.
• Kenya shilling (Ksh) & cents.
• There is no limit to the amount of currency or traveller’s cheques that you may bring into the country. Traveller’s cheques are also recommended; please always carry your passports when you would like to change them though.
• Most of the hotels, lodges and shops in Kenya will take the major credit cards.
• Reverting your Kenyan shillings into hard currency is easily done at the airport, hotels and banks. It is recommended that visitors DO NOT change money on the black market as they are more likely to receive a lower rate of exchange or fake notes
• It is illegal to destroy Kenyan currency.
Passport / Visa
• A valid passport is required.
• Visitors require a visa to enter Kenya, which they can obtain at the Kenyan embassy in their own country, or at the airport on arrival. It is USD 50 per visa, and we recommend you have the exact change.
• There is no national welfare scheme and visitors to Kenya are responsible for their own medical expenses. We insist on our clients being covered by the Flying Doctors’ Service.
• Please can you leave a copy of your travel insurance with us at the beginning of your holiday, along with copies of your airline tickets and passports.
• Kenya is considered a generally healthy place to travel. The Safari Company’s clients automatically become members of the Flying Doctors Rescue Service for emergency evacuation. However, you should carry your own complete holiday/medical insurance.
• In Kenya, we do have good medical facilities and a good hospital.
• Malaria, protection is imperative. We recommend Malarone as a prophylactic.
• There are no mandatory inoculations required for Kenya but please contact your doctor or a specialised travel clinic for further advice.
• Voltage is 220-240 A.C.
• Most of the safari vehicles have a cigarette lighter socket operation on a 12-volt system.
• Please bring sufficient batteries for photographic equipment, many lodges have limited power supply, but all are capable of re-charging your electrical goods for you.
• Please also bring adapter plugs (square pin, English standard).
• All camps and lodges have radio communication with Nairobi.
• Most lodges do have a mobile phone signal (Safaricom and / or Zain) in the lodge or nearby (under a tree or on a hill) which sometimes can be weak, so please do not always rely on it.
• Safaricom generally has the widest coverage.
• Most lodges and hotels also have internet access in case of emergencies.
• Please respect the local people with regards to photography and only use cameras if they have permission by “the models” to do so.
• Never try to “steal” a photo against the will of the person concerned. Let your guide help negotiate terms before you start shooting!
Food & Water
• Although tap water can be reasonably safe, whenever possible, we recommend you drink bottled water; this is available in all lodges and camps.
• Please advise us of any allergies, likes or dislikes before you embark on your holiday.
• Please ensure that baggage is packed in soft bags and should weigh no more than 15 kg per person.
• It is possible to store luggage not required during the safari with us at The Safari Company or at your hotel if you are returning there after your trip. Please see our recommended packing list.
Kenya offers a treasure of experiences, ecosystems, wildlife and cultures. The Safari Company encourages our guests to support our guides by learning and honoring their policies which helps preserve our precious environment. In order to promote responsible tourism, we ask that you join us in observing the following tips.
Whilst on a game drive
• Please do not interfere with animal behavior.
• No more than 5 vehicles around an animal at one time (please accept the decision of your guide to leave an animal if he feels it is becoming overcrowded).
• Please do not get too close to the animals, this may distress them.
• Please do not get out of the vehicle without consulting your guide.
• Please try to be as quiet as possible when viewing wildlife close up. Your guide will turn off the vehicle’s engine whenever possible.
• Please minimize off road driving.
• No speeding! Limit in parks is 40 km per hour.
Protect the Environment
• Please do not litter, even cigarette butts.
• Please do not collect bones, feathers, stones or plants etc. they are all mini eco-systems.
• Please do not buy bones, stones, feather displays or plants etc.
• Please do not take photographs of the local people without asking their permission first.
• Please do not encourage trade or give personal items away to the local people (if we support begging we promote begging).
• If you have brought gifts to give to the local people, please give them to your guide for proper distribution.
• Beware of anyone asking you for gifts or money, do not feel obliged to donate anything.
• Please report back to us if you are harassed.
Television & Music
• Most places do not have either and some safari vehicles do not have radios.
• The sounds of the ‘bush’ are so special, unique and memorable, we advise against either, but if you are a ‘music addict’, we suggest you bring your Ipod and sufficient power supply.
• The first thing most visitors notice is that Kenyan’s as a whole are extremely friendly, helpful people. Much of Kenya’s population is extremely poor though so take good care of your valuables, especially money and travelers cheques. Please do not leave money and travelers cheques in your room or unattended in a safari vehicle.
• If you are walking around Nairobi, please do not wear flashy jewelry, and hold on tight to your bags.
• We cannot accept responsibility for theft and all hotels and lodges have a security box for valuables and lock-up rooms for excess luggage storage.
Guide to Tipping
• Although tipping is a safari tradition, it is never compulsory and should only be done if you feel you have received good service.
• The staff very much appreciates receiving gratuity from you, our guests, because it is one way of assuring them they are doing a good job.
• Most lodges have a staff tip box located at reception, or in a central location. We recommend $5 per client per day in the tip box. These tips will be divided among all lodge staff.
• If you are particularly satisfied with assistance received from someone in particular, a personal tip is also acceptable.
• In most lodges the driver/guide is tipped individually.