classic safaris

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General travel information for visitors to Kenya

Arrivals & Departures

Kenya is readily accessed by air from Europe, the USA, Southern America, the Middle East and Australasia to two main ports of entry by air.

Jomo Kenyatta international airport - Nairobi. Located 16 km from the city center.

Moi International Airport - Mombasa. Located 12 km from the town center.

Our own National carrier; Kenya Airways, is highly regarded international carrier, with a modern fleet of aircraft. Mombasa is the main port of entry by sea.

Airport Departure Tax

International Airport departure tax equivalent to US$ 40 per person is payable on departure from the International airports. A local airport service charge is also payable on departure for domestic flights. As this varies from country to country, please check with us on the prevailing amounts payable prior to your flight departure.

Visa & Immigration

Tourist visas are required by some nationals.  Please visit for further details.


Since rules concerning disease prevention change from time to time, a check should be made with the nearest Kenyan High Commission, Kenya Tourist Office or any airline flying scheduled services into Kenya. Malaria is endemic to most parts of Kenya and intending visitors should start taking anti-malarial tablets before departure and continue taking them for the prescribed time after their return. Insect repellants should be made use of after dusk and suitable cover up clothes should be worn in the evenings.


Baggage space on safari is restricted to one medium suitcase or holdall per person, plus hand baggage (private safaris where there are less than 7 persons in the vehicle are not subject to this restriction). Small duffel bags are however comfortable to travel with. Visitors to Treetops and the Ark are asked to take overnight bags only; suitcases can be left at the base hotel.

Hotels will normally store baggage at no extra cost. Baggage can also be stored at Safaris in Style offices. A baggage weight restriction of 15 kg per person applies on air safaris. Where very small aircraft are used this may be reduced to 10kg.


The official currency is the Kenya Shilling. Visitors to Kenya should change foreign currency at banks, bureau de change or authorized hotels. US Dollars and Sterling Pounds are most acceptable and will cause the least delay. Traveller’s cheques are widely accepted, and many hotels, travel agencies, safari companies and restaurants accept visa and master credit cards. As a norm, always ask what commission and charges will be deducted first and prior to transaction.


Banks are open from 0900hrs to 1500hrs Monday to Friday.  Some branches open on Saturdays from 0900hrs to 1100hrs. Many banks are now equipped with 24 hour ATM machines. The bank branches at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Nairobi) and Moi International Airport (Mombasa) both run 24 hour Forex services.

Credit Cards

VISA and MASTERCARD are widely accepted for tourist services. There's usually a 5% mark-up on top of the price as establishments are charged a fixed percentage of their transactions.

Hotels & Accommodation

All over the country, we have accommodation that can cater for any possible budget, taste, interest or preference.  Hotels, hostels, luxury tented camps, guesthouses, resorts, campsites, backpacker lodges, village home-stays and more can be found in Kenya.


Kenya has a single time zone which is GMT +3.


Kiswahili is the lingua franca while English is the official language. In addition, most Kenyan tribes have their own language.



Kenya has a good postal service for both local and international post.  Many shops in tourist lodges and hotels sell stamps


Kenya has a good network of telephone. Cellular and satellite connections.  Most hotels and lodges offer international telephone and fax services.  In larger towns, private telecommunication centres also offer international services.  If you have a mobile phone with roaming connection, then you make use of Kenya’s excellent cellular networks which cover most larger towns and tourist areas. When dialing Kenya, the international code is 254 + local area code.


Kenya has good internet service providers.  Many hotels and lodges offer email and internet services.  In most towns, there are plenty of private business centres and cyber-cafes offering email and internet access.


The electricity supply in Kenya is 220/240 v 50hz.  Plugs are 3 point square.  If you are planning to bring a video camera charger or any other electrical device, please bring voltage and plug adaptors where appropriate.

Flying Doctors Society

Membership of the Flying Doctors Society is strongly recommended. In event of accident or sickness while on safari, the society will fly patients by air ambulance to Nairobi for admittance to hospital.

Drinking Water

Drinking water from the tap must be considered risky. Hotels and lodges usually furnish safe water in a thermos flask in guest rooms. Bottled mineral water is available in every hotel and supermarkets.


The multicultural nature of the population is reflected in the international cuisine and any dietary needs are easily accommodated.


Normal precautions as in any other destination worldwide should be taken. Visitors are advised not to leave cash and valuables in their hotel rooms but to make use of safe deposit boxes and safes. One should never carry large sums in cash and women should keep a tight grip on handbags in crowds or busy streets. Jewelry snatching is quite common in city streets.

As in all major cities walking alone or in small groups at night should be considered a hazard and avoided. Reliable taxis are available at all the principal hotels. Taking photographs at airports, near military installations, of policeman, the president, the national flag, the State House, state lodges, soldiers, prisons and prisoners etc., is prohibited. Before photographing local people, permission should be obtained and a fixed price agreed. Seek the assistance of your driver/guide in this matter.

Opening hours and Shopping

Major stores, tourist services, offices and museums open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm in large towns though offices often break for lunch. In rural areas and out in the bush small shops can be open at almost any hour. Souvenirs to take back home can include wood and soap stone sculptures and carvings, ciondos (sisal baskets), beadwork and tribal regalia, masks, textiles and gemstones set in unique jewellery pieces.

Tipping and Porterage

Although hotels and lodges include a service charge, it is customary to tip porters, waiters, taxi drivers and safari drivers/guides.

Public Holidays

January 01                  (New Year)

April                                (Good Friday and Easter Monday)

May 01                  (Labour Day)

June 01                  (Madaraka Day)

October 10                  (Moi Day)

October 20                  (Kenyatta Day)

December 12               (Independence Day)

December 25               (Christmas Day)

December 26               (Boxing Day)

Idd ul Fitr                  (The Muslim festival)

Common Swahili Phrases

A Few Words and Phrases in Swahili

Swahili is a language that may have originated thousands of years ago as a

traders' language to promote international commerce. The correct word to

describe the language is actually Kiswahili. Swahili is basically a mixture

of Bantu and Arabic but there are also words in Swahili that have been

derived from English, German and Portuguese. Although it is the most widely

spoken language in East Africa and along with English, an official language

of Kenya, Swahili is not a first language for most people. In addition to

Swahili and English, most also speak one or more tribal languages.

Swahili is a relatively easy language to learn. Every letter in a word is

pronounced, and the accent is always on the second-to-the-last syllable. For

example, asante (thank you) is pronounced "ah-SAN-tay." Several Swahili

words begin with the letter N followed by a consonant. The N is pronounced

briefly, not as "Na," but more like an abbreviated "in." Try saying "No"

very slowly and stop before saying the whole word. Notice the "n" sound you

make, and that is the pronunciation in Swahili. For example, "yes" in

Swahili is ndiyo, pronounced "n-DEE-o." Here are some common words and

phrases in Swahili:  

To Learn more Swahili Words and Phrases :
Please visit the Swahili website (

Greetings (Salamu)

    Hello? - Hujambo?

    How are you? - Habari?

    I am well (good, fine) - Mzuri?

    Very much - Sana

    Goodbye - Kwaheri


    Hotel - Hoteli

    Room - Chumba

    Bed - Kitanda

    Food - Chakula

    Coffee - Kahawa

    Beer - Pombe

    Cold - Baridi

    Warm - Moto

    Hot - Moto sana

    Tea - Chai

    Water - Maji

    Meat - Nyama

    Fish - Samaki

    Bread - Mkate

    Bad - Mbaya

Time (Saa)

    Today - Leo

    Tomorrow - Kesho

    Now - Sawa

    Quickly - Upesi

    Slowly - Polepole


    Hospital - Hospitali

    Police - Polisi

    Street/road - Barabara

    Airport - Uwanja wa ndege

    Shop - Duka

    Money - Pesa

People (Watu)

    Mister - Bwana

    Mrs. - Bibi

    Miss - Bi

    I - Mimi

    You - Wewe

    He, She - Yeye

    We - Sisi

    They - Wao

Questions (Maswali)

    What? - Nini?

    Who? - Nani?

    Where? (place) - Mahali gani?

    Where? (direction) - Wapi?

    When? - Lini?

    How? - Namna gani?

    Why? - Kwa nini?

    Which? - Ipi?

    Yes - Ndio

    No - Hapana

    To eat - Kula

    To drink - Kunywa

    To go - Kwenda

    To stop - Kusimama

Numbers (Nambari)

    One - Moja

    Two - Mbili

    Three - Tatu

    Four - Nne

    Five - Tano

    Six - Sita

    Seven - Saba

    Eigh - Nane

    Nine - Tisa

    Ten - Kumi

Phrases commonly used

    Where is the hotel? - Hoteli iko wapi?

    Good morning? - Habari ya asubuhi?

    Good afternoon? - Habari ya mchana?

    Good evening? - Habari ya jioni?

    You’re welcome - Karibu, Una karibishwa

    Where do you come from? - Umetoka wapi?

    I come from... - Nimetoka...

    What is your name? - Jina lako ni?

    My name is... - Jina langu ni...

    Can you speak Swahili? - Unaweza kuongea Kiswahili?

    Only a little - Kidogo tu

    Where are you going? - Unakwenda wapi?

    I am going - Nakwenda

    How much? - Pesa ngapi?

    Wait a minute - Ngoja kidogo

    Excuse me - Samahani

    Where is the toilet? - Choo kiko wapi?

    Where can I get a drink? - Naweza kupata kinywaji wapi?

    One cup of... - Kikombe kimoja cha...