Kenya Travel Information
About Kenya, Africa
Lions and leopards are just part of the landscape in Kenya, East Africa’s favorite safari destination. More than 40 national parks and nature reserves are scattered between Lake Victoria and the India Ocean, covering every imaginable landscape and featuring just about every animal in Africa: from aardvarks to zebras.
As you might expect, wildlife safaris are the lifeblood of Kenyan tourism, and the infrastructure for travelers is impressive. Jeeps, buses, and light aircraft fan out daily across the country to safari lodges and tented camps, some simple and rustic, others lavish and opulent. Refreshingly, you can enjoy close encounters with nature even on a budget, with walking safaris run by tribal guides and economic tented camps that scrimp on creature comforts, but not on creatures.
Most people start the journey in Nairobi, but few linger when there are more attractive cities strung out along the sun-kissed Kenyan coast and dotted around the Great Rift Valley. Whether you pick the interior or the coast, with its beach resorts and Islamic ruins, you can be sure to find a national park or reserve close at hand – Nairobi even has a national park within the city limits, with zebras and giraffes just a stone’s throw from the suburbs.
Kenya is also a great place for cultural encounters, with more than 40 different tribal groups, each following its own unique way of life. The semi-nomadic Maasai, with their rainbow-coloured, bead-covered adornments, are perhaps the most obvious group, but visiting any tribal village is a fascinating experience.
On appearances, Kenya would seem like the perfect holiday destination, but tourism has had its ups and downs in recent years, with political upheaval during elections and a string of high-profile militant attacks in Nairobi and along the coast.
These setbacks have made a noticeable dent in Kenya’s tourist industry, yet travellers still flock to the teeming plains of the Maasai Mara and trek the slopes of Mount Kenya, and the biggest decision for most is not whether to go to Kenya, but instead, which wild animal to search for first.
Kenya weather, climate and geography
Best Time To Visit
Throughout the country, the hottest months are December to March. The coastal areas are tropical, with particularly high humidity in April and May, but tempered by monsoon winds. The lowlands are hot but mainly dry, while the highlands are more temperate with four seasons. Nairobi has a very pleasant climate throughout the year due to its altitude. Near Lake Victoria, the temperatures are much higher and rainfall can be heavy.
Lightweight cottons and linens with rainwear are advised for the coast and lakeside. Warmer clothing is needed in June and July and for the cooler mornings on the coast. Lightweight layers are needed for much of the year in the highlands. Rainwear is advisable between March and June, and October and December.
Kenya covers 580,367 sq km (224,000 sq miles) and sits astride the equator. It shares borders with Ethiopia in the north, Sudan in the northwest, Uganda in the west, Tanzania in the south and Somalia in the northeast. To the east lies the 480 km (300 mile) Indian Ocean coastline. The country is divided into four regions: the arid deserts of the north; the savannah lands of the south; the fertile lowlands along the coast; and highlands in the west, where the capital Nairobi is situated.
Northwest of Nairobi runs the Rift Valley, dotted with lakes and containing the town of Nakuru, while further west the Aberdare National Park is overlooked by Kenya’s highest peak, and Africa’s second tallest mountain after Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya (5,200m/17,000ft), which also is a national park. In the far northwest is Lake Turkana (formerly Lake Rudolph), and in the southwest is Kenya’s share of Lake Victoria.
Kenya Passport And Visa Requirements
|Passport Required||Visa Required||Return Ticket Required|
To enter Kenya, a passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry, and with at least two blank pages, is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.
Visas for Kenya are required by the nationals referred to in the chart above, except (1) nationals of Cyprus, who do not need a visa.
You can obtain your visa on entry; passport photos are not required. However, to save time at the airport, it’s a good idea to obtain one in advance, either online or from the embassy/high commission. If you require a multiple-entry visa, you’re advised to obtain this in advance.
Travelers who are also visiting Rwanda and Uganda may find it more useful to apply for an East Africa cross-border joint visa which allows entry into all three countries on a single visa.
Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Kenya.
Kenya has an agreement with Tanzania and Uganda to waiver visa re-entry fees if traveling between the three countries as long as single-entry visas remain valid for each country. This means multiple-entry visas are not required if going from Kenya to Tanzania or Uganda and back to Kenya. The same applies for travel from Uganda and Tanzania.
Types And Costs
Transit eVisa/visa on arrival: US$21; single-entry eVisa/visa on arrival: US$51.
East Africa tourist visa: US$100.
Transit visa: £10; single-entry visa: £30; multiple-entry visa: £60; East Africa visa: £65. These fees are for visas obtained in advance from the embassy/high commission.
Transit: valid for a short stopover or overnight only; single-entry visa: three months; multiple-entry visa: one year; East Africa tourist visa: multiple entries within 90 days.
On arrival, online (evisa.go.ke) or at the consulate (or consular section at embassy or high commission).
Allow two days for eVisa processing and three days if applying via the embassy/high commission.
Kenya Health Care & Vaccinations
|Vaccination identifier||Special precautions|
* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age arriving from infected areas; those countries formerly classified as endemic zones are considered to be still infected by the Kenyan authorities. Travellers arriving from non-endemic zones should note that vaccination is strongly recommended for travel outside the urban areas, even if an outbreak of the disease has not been reported and they would normally not require a vaccination certificate to enter the country.
Health insurance is essential, and should include medical repatriation. Part of the African Medical and Research Foundation, the Flying Doctor Service have introduced a special Tourist Membership, which guarantees that any member injured or ill while on safari can call on a flying doctor for free air transport (www.amref.org). There are excellent medical facilities in Nairobi and Mombasa, but they are of a varying standard in the rest of the country.
Bottled water is available and is advised for the first few weeks of the stay. When buying bottled water, check the seal of the bottle is intact. Avoid ice and washed salads and fruit except in top hotels and restaurants. Milk is pasteurized and dairy products are safe for consumption. Food prepared by unlicensed vendors should be avoided at all times.
Diarrhoeal diseases are common. Hepatitis B is hyperendemic; hepatitis E is widespread. Meningococcal meningitis is a risk, particularly during the dry season. Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is present; avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water. Avoid insect fly bites and wear shoes to protect against hookworm. Dengue fever and rabies are present. There is a high incidence of HIV/AIDS.