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Travel Tips for Kenya Visitors
Travel Tips for Visitors to Kenya
Best time to Visit Kenya
Kenya is a country containing a variety of ecosystems like cool forests and beautiful lakes and coastlines. Many people who travel to Kenya for the first time are amazed by the county's geographic diversity and travel possibilities. The climate around the country varies from location to location depending on the time of year but overall, Kenya is considered a year-round travel destination. April and May are rainy season, rain falls heavy but brief. The game parks lie at an altitude of 5,000 to 7,000 feet and have a pleasant climate with warm days and cooler evenings year round.
Masai Mara Game Reserve is the Kenyan part of a large Ecosystem that extends past Kenya's border in to Tanzania's Serengeti, together they are the site of the famous Migration, an annual mass movement of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras. Herds begin to cross into Masai Mara in July and continue through August. They remain in the region until the beginning of December when they follow the rains southward back into Serengeti National Park. But the Park has excellent abundant wildlife year round.
Passport and Visa Requirements
When entering Kenya, you need a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry, and must have at least two blank pages. Please note even a few days difference will deny you boarding.
American and Canadian Passport Holders require a Tourist Visa to be obtained on line www.ecitizen.go.ke
Visa fee $51 USD per person please note fees can change without prior notice.
Airline Fees
Airline seat assignment. Advance seat selection is subject to airline fees, paid directly to the airline at the time you select your seats.
Please note that airlines reserve the right to change/cancel the pre-selected seats due to schedule changes or Flight equipment change.
Note that there also some airlines that they do not allow advance seat selection.
Checked Baggage Fees. Many airlines have checked baggage fees; once you receive your tickets contact the airline with your airline reservation code for specific charges + terms and conditions.
You can also visit the airline's website, for more details: Click Here >>
Airline tickets are 100% non-refundable/ unchangeable. If the airline allows a change, the change is always subject to change fees that vary from USD250 and up + the difference in fare; charges are per ticket, and every airline has specific policies and fees.
Airline flight schedules are always subject to change, we will always try our best to accommodate to these changes, but we are not responsible for any losses incurred due to missed-connections, flight cancellations or flight schedule changes. Is strongly recommended you purchase Travel insurance to cover these circumstances.
Health Regulations and Medical Requirements
When planning your trip to Kenya ensure that you check with your Doctor your particular health situation. There is presence of malaria in some parts of Kenya and it is advised that visitors take anti-malarial drugs two weeks before traveling to Kenya. Yellow fever is also a risk in certain parts of Kenya, therefore Yellow Fever vaccination is highly recommended.
Kenya requires that arriving persons carry proof of a valid yellow fever vaccination when they are arriving from an endemic area. This includes those who have first visited Tanzania and/or Zanzibar which are considered endemic. The vaccination must be administered 14 days before arrival.
Some Tips to keep you healthy while travelling in Kenya
Before travelling to Kenya, it is important to learn the proper precautions to take in order to keep healthy on your trip and after you return home. Visit your doctor and make sure you get the proper vaccinations, including anti-malarial meds and yellow fever.
It is important to eat and drink safely. You should always make sure you are eating food that is cooked and served hot, Stay away from food from street vendors, raw or undercooked meat or fish, unwashed fruit and vegetables, and "bushmeat" (monkeys, bats, or other wild game). The quality of food in Kenya is generally good, however please eat and drink sensibly in the first day or two of your holiday. If you keep a special diet back home continue while on your trip.
Drink only bottled water that is sealed, ice made from bottled or disinfected water, carbonated drinks, and pasteurized milk. Do not drink tap or well water. Drink more water than you usually do at home specially while outdoors.
Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Kenya. As many of the diseases cannot be prevented by a vaccine or medicine, you take the following precautions to prevent bug bites: cover exposed skin, use insect repellent that contains 20% or more DEET (for ticks and mosquitoes). Always pack the proper bug repellent and sunscreen on outdoor trips or safari's to protect yourself.
Wash your hands often and especially before eating and bring hand sanitizer wherever you go. Do not touch any stray animals.
Bring a small medic kit with headache tablets, allergy and stomach medication, etc. Public hospitals are available at most major Cities and are open to tourist most doctors speak English, but you will be asked to pay for your treatment, medical travel insurance that covers hospital bills and repatriation to your Country is strongly recommended.
Bring sun block with you, especially if you are fair skinned, SPF lip balm is also a good idea.
Language
Kenya is a multilingual country with the two official languages being Swahili and English.
Currency
The currency in Kenya is the Shilling (KES). But most goods and services are priced and paid in USD dollars, USD is widely accepted.
Clothing and other suggested items
It's all about wearing light comfortable and not too brightly colored clothes while traveling in Kenya. Natural fabrics like cotton that will keep you cool in the hot sun are recommended. Wearing camouflage or military clothing is not permitted in Kenya. The Kenyan roads are dusty and uneven so make sure you pack comfortable walking shoes. A light jacket or sweater may be needed in the evenings in some areas. A good sturdy sun hat is essential. Sunglasses and a spare pair of prescription glasses is suggested. Bringing a swimming suit is a good idea most lodges have a Swimming Pool.
Other suggested items to bring: Flashlight, Binoculars, and insect repellent.
Suitcases are unsuitable for road safaris, passengers should bring only soft sided bags, not exceeding 15kg - 65 x 46 cm.
Electricity - Time Zone
The Voltage in Kenya is 220-240 Volts. The primary socket type is British BS – 1363. You will need a voltage convertor and a plug adapter.
The East African Time Zone (UTC + 03:00) is 7 hours ahead of Toronto.
Telephone and Internet
International phone calls service is very expensive and unreliable.
There are Internet cafes in the cities as well as provided in hotels. There is generally no internet access in parks and reserves.
Mail
Most towns and cities have post offices run by the Postal Corporation of Kenya. Airmail to the USA takes about 10 days.
Shopping
There are so many diverse and beautiful things to buy when visiting Kenya; especially handmade from local artists. There are traditional artifacts and unique jewelry, wood carvings of all kinds, and some of the world's best coffee. Although Kenyan cities have shopping malls, it is not hard to find markets, if you are in the mood for a bargain. Nairobi holds giant open air markets each week. Visitors should not be afraid to bargain. Lodges have gift shops with great selection of crafts such as interesting woodcarvings and paintings.
Bringing children on a Kenyan Safari
Kenyan people love kids and are very accommodating to the needs of families. An African Safari is an experience that will stay with your children forever. Safaris in Kenya is something the whole family can enjoy, as you can interact with incredible wildlife and tribal cultures. Our Safaris require Children to be 7 years old and older. Please note on most safaris there are quite long trips on rough roads, and these cannot really be recommended for babies and very young children. Some luxury small capacity tented camps do not allow children younger than 12 years old.
If you wish to take a Safari with children younger than 7 years old, we could organize a private Safari Tour, quotes are available upon request. It is recommended to keep children hydrated and with proper sun protection, dress them comfortable wearing sturdy shoes. Making sure they get proper nourishment and plenty of sleep is definitely necessary.
Cuisine
Kenya has a diverse and beautiful variety of dishes that are as unique as the country is. Because of the country's British colonization, many outside influences have found their way into traditional Kenyan cooking, especially from countries like India, Europe, and Pakistan. Some popular ethnic Kenyan foods include Ugali, which is a semi-hard corn cake often served with fish, meat stews, or greens. Sukuma Wiki is a vegetable stew of leafy green vegetables including collards and kale. The most popular dish in Kenya is Nyama Choma; a roasted beef or goat meat meal that is cooked over an open fire and served with mixed vegetables.
Photography
If there's one opportunity to take great pictures while you're visiting Kenya, it will be on a safari. Since most of the animals will be fairly far from the path, you might want to consider bringing a camera with a good zoom lens. If you're planning on taking some good quality photos with a DSRL, make sure you bring a zoom lens that goes up to 400mm. Remember that the best photographs of the animals will be at dusk or dawn, so make sure your camera can shoot well in low light.
Like anywhere in the world, be respectful of others when photographing in streets or when strangers will be in the frame. Remember: when on safari, never leave the vehicle, as your driver knows how far is a safe distance to be from the animals.
Tour Guides
Game drives provided with a qualified English Speaking Driver Guide.
Always stay with your tour guide, especially on safari. It is very dangerous to leave your tour vehicle, as wild African animals are very unpredictable and can act threatened if you get too close.
Travel Insurance
It is essential to ensure you get travel insurance before you travel. Once purchased our packages are 100% non refundable, no one expects to have a medical emergency away from home, or to have to cancel a trip due to an emergency. But these events happen and they can be disruptive and expensive. Medical emergencies while on vacation can be very costly.
Tipping Guidelines
Drivers/Driver Guides/Trackers From $8 to $12 USD per day.
Boat excursion Driver/Guide: $2 USD.
Balloon Safari Pilot: From $5 to $10 USD per person.
Transfer Drivers: $3 USD per transfer.
Hotel Staff:
Porters: $1 USD - Food servers $1 USD per meal - Room Maids $1 USD per night.
10% tip is customary when you have to add gratuities to a restaurant or bar bill.
Other:
Small tip is expected when visiting the Maasai Village.
Should you wish to photograph the local people always ask for permission and include a tip of $2 USD.
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