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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 https://www.ecitizen.go.ke/ 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.
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 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.
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:
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
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
Mister - Bwana
Mrs. - Bibi
Miss - Bi
I - Mimi
You - Wewe
He, She - Yeye
We - Sisi
They - Wao
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
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...