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Travel Tips for Kenya Visitors
Kenya's Travel Information
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 Canadian or American Passport; Valid for at least six to eight months from the date of your return date. Passport must have least two blank pages. Please note even a day difference will deny you boarding. Having insufficient blank pages on your passport will also deny you boarding.
American and Canadian Passport Holders require a Tourist Visa to be obtained on line www.ecitizen.go.ke
Other Passport Holders please consult your local Consulate.
Visa fee $51 USD per person please note fees can change without prior notice.
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.
Please note you are required a yellow fever vaccination certificate for entry in to Kenya, or Tanzania if coming from/or recently visited: Angola, Argentina, Benin, Brazil, Burkina, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Guinea-Bissau, Congo, Cote d Ivoire, Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, French Guyana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Tanzania, Venezuela. Please note this list is subject to last minute changes, please consult your local Kenyan Consulate for further information.
If you are traveling to another Country after your Kenya, such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Dubai, Turkey or Israel, you will need a yellow fever certificate to enter those Countries.
A yellow fever inoculation certificate only becomes valid ten days after vaccination - after which it remains valid for ten years.
Some Tips to keep you healthy while travelling in Kenya
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 holidays. 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 safaris 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.
Please note you will not require a great deal of clothing; Laundry Service is available at most hotels and Safari Lodges and is generally inexpensive.
Suitcases are unsuitable for road safaris, passengers should bring only soft sided bags, not exceeding 15kg - 65 x 46 cm.
If you add a domestic flight to your itinerary Please note Domestic flights within Kenya and short flights within Africa have strict limits for checked- in luggage; on average only one piece of luggage is allowed + one piece of carry-on; please contact your airline with your airline reservation code for complete information and fees.
You can also visit the airline's website, for more details: Click Here >>
Suggested Travel Essentials
- Valid Passport for six months past your return date with blank pages (blank two sided), please note insufficient blank pages will deny you boarding.
- Travel Insurance/numbers who to call for emergency assistance.
- Flight Tickets.
- Trip invoice confirmation.
- Photocopy of passport.
- Money (cash / debit / credit cards).
- Money belt or pouch.
- Pens.
Suggested Packing:
- Two T-Shirts and one long sleeved cotton shirt.
- Two Pairs of Shorts or Two Skirts.
- Two Pairs of long pants.
- Underwear and socks.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sandals.
- Lightweight jacket.
- Warm sweater or jacket for early mornings or evenings.
- Hat/wind proof, and brimmed hat.
- Swimsuit/cover up.
- Sunscreen.
- Toiletries including moisturizer.
- Insect repellent that contains DEET for safari areas.
- Good Quality Sunglasses.
- Sleepwear.
- Personal medication/prescriptions copy in case of need to refill.
- First aid kit / over-counter essentials.
- Extra Eye glasses/contact lenses.
- Antibacterial gels/wipes.
- Batteries / Charger / USB chord.
- Small Binoculars.
- Electrical adapter.
Safari Game Lodges
The Masai Mara is a Game Reserve and not a National Park; undoubtedly the best known of all the Kenya Game Reserves, lies along Kenya's south west border with Tanzania bisected by the Mara River and bordered on the west by a spectacular escarpment. It is also the northern extension of Tanzania's famous Serengeti national Park. Masai Mara is located six hours drive from Nairobi.
Safari Lodges offer comfortable accommodations with en-suite bathrooms. Safari Game Lodges include all your meals, but drinks included bottled water are paid locally. There are two Safari Game Drives a Day Morning/Afternoon.
You depart before sunrise so you can track the nocturnal hunters before the heat of the day kicks in. Meet at the Lobby for some warm refreshments and them embark on a three to four-hour Game Drive accompanied by an experienced Guide. Return to your Lodge for breakfast.
After Lunch, you take a nap or relax by the pool. Then following afternoon tea, you are off on an afternoon Safari Game Drive. Return back to your Lodge to enjoy dinner.
Safari Safety Tips
Always follow the Ranger's instructions and guidelines. Stay in the car during game drives except at designated areas where you are allowed to get out of the vehicle. Don't stand up in the car, hang out of the window or sit on the roof. Don't talk or laugh too loud. Never run or jog in a wildlife area as it entices predators to attack. Most lodges do not have fences; the staff will often escort the guests to their rooms.
Cover your arms and legs in the evening and use insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes. The repellant should contain at least 20-30% DEET. Wear a hat, use sunscreen, and drink plenty of water. Don't wear clothes that are too bright and colorful or too much perfume.
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
Game Lodges offer Internet at an extra cost, but please note most of the time is unreliable. WIFI is available only in public areas. Hotels in Nairobi do offer high speed internet at an extra cost and WIFI available in public areas. Long distance calls are offered, but service is very expensive.
Mail
Regular mail will take over a week to reach USA or Canada.
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.
Travel Insurance
Travel Insurance Having Travel insurance is essential for any vacation, and Kenya is not an exception, the cost of medical emergencies or home repatriation can be extremely high, make sure you read your policy carefully and understand all the applicable exclusions and limitations. Usually, you pay for small medical bills while on destination and claim upon arrival, but in the case of a significant emergency you must call the insurance company immediately (or have someone call on your behalf), not doing so affects the eligibility of your claim. Is always a good idea to give details of your policy to a close relative back home and your travel companion.
Protect your investment by also having trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
The total amount of your reservation will be charged to your credit card provided during the booking process. Your purchase is 100% nonrefundable; If you do choose to cancel you will not be refunded any of the payment. PLEASE NOTE that expenses incurred due to flight delays or flight cancellations are not included in the package price, and may have to be paid locally.
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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