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Worth knowing about Kenya

Useful informations about kenya. This category will be extended from time to time.

Getting There
flugzeug.jpgFrom Europe, direct flights are available from London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Madrid, Moscow, Athens, Rome, and Zurich. Some of the airlines flying to Nairobi include British Airways, Air France, Sabena, SAS, Lufthansa, Iberia, Aeroflot, Olympic Airways, Alitalia, and Swiss Air. Kenya Airways flies from Paris, London, Zurich, Athens, Frankfurt, Rome, and Cairo. From the United States and Canada, you will have to change planes in Europe. Over thirty international airlines provide scheduled flights to Kenya.

Flying time from Europe to Nairobi is approximately 8 hours and from North America 16 hours. The two main points of entry are Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Moi International Airport in Mombasa. On the way home the Nairobi airport has an exit tax on flights out of the country. Our directory includes a listing of airports in Kenya.
Books - Travel Guides
.....will follow soon.
Currency and Exchange
Kenya ShillingThe official currency is the Kenya Shilling.The written abbreviation is either KSh or using /= after the amount (ie 500/=)

Available Notes are 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings. Available coins are 5, 10 and 20 shillings.

Visitors to Kenya should change foreign currency at banks, bureaux de change or authorized hotels. The easiest currencies to exchange are US Dollars, Pounds sterling and EURO.

Travellers Cheques are widely accepted, and many hotels, travel agencies, safari companies and restaurants accept Credit Cards. Credit cards are accepted at many hotels. American Express, Diner's Club, Visa and Mastercard all have local agents in Nairobi and Mombasa.

There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Kenya.

Before departure, travellers are advised to convert any excess Kenya shillings into foreign currency at a bank or bureau de change before departure. Departure taxes can be paid in local or foreign currency.

Anyone wishing to take more than 500,000 Kenya Shillings out of the country will require written authorization from the Central Bank.
For current currency rate click here.
Entry requirements
Entry requirements for....

usa.gif  Americans:
United States citizens require a valid passport and a visa.
uk.gif  UK nationals: British citizens require a valid passport and a visa.
canada.gif  Canadians: Canadians require a valid passport and a visa.
australia.gif  Australians: Australians require a valid passport and a visa.
south_africa.gif  South Africans: South Africans must have a valid passport. No visa is required for a stay of up to three months.
new_zealand.gif  New Zealanders: New Zealand citizens require a valid passport and a visa.
ireland.gif  Irish nationals: Irish nationals require a valid passport and a visa.

Passport/Visa Note:

Visas can be obtained on arrival for a fee of US$50, which is valid for a period of three months and must be paid in a convertible currency. This may result in passenger delays and it is preferable to arrange a visa in the country of origin. Required by all passengers are onward or return tickets, documents needed for next destination and sufficient funds for length of intended stay (at least US$500). Passports must be valid for at least the period of stay. 
powerplugElectricity is 220-240 volt, 50 cycles. Outlets may be two or three pronged. In some cases you need an adapter for your electrical appliances. These adatpters can be purchased at hardware stores or borrowed at some hotels. On request you can get an adapter also in our office.

Remote lodges and camps get their electricity from generators. Often the generators are only operated at specific times of day. Most of them will be shut down at midnight.
Food & Drink
EssenThe multicultural heritage of Kenya is the basis for a wide range of gourmet foods. Traditional African dishes are supplemented by English and Indian fare. Kenya offers an assortment of quality beef and seafood dishes, supplemented by an array of tropical fruits and vegetables.

Portions tend to be generous, and elaborate buffets are common at hotels and lodges. Even the more expensive restaurants are reasonable by American and European standards. 

Kenyan Public holidays include:

1st January New Years Day
February/March Idd il Fitr *
March/April Good Friday**
March/April Easter Monday**
1st May Labour Day
1st June Madaraka Day
10th October Moi Day
20th October Kenyatta Day
12th December Jamhuri Day
25th December Christmas Day
26th December Boxing Day

*The Muslim Festival of Idd il Fitr celebrates the end of Ramadhan. The date varies each year depending on the sighting of a new moon in Mecca.

** Dates for the Christian festival of Easter vary from year to year.
Vaccine recommendations

When to see a doctor
Vaccination recommended 10 days before travel
Hepatitis A Vaccination recommended 2 weeks before travel
Vaccination recommended 3 months before travel
Tuberculosis *Vaccination sometimes recommended 3 months before travel
Hepatitis B *Vaccination sometimes recommended 2 months before travel
Rabies *Vaccination sometimes recommended 1 month before travel
Meningococcal meningitis *Vaccination sometimes recommended 2-3 weeks before travel
Yellow fever Vaccination recommended 10 days before travel

* Recommendations that are marked "Vaccination sometimes recommended" should be considered as "Vaccination strongly recommended" if a person is travelling frequently or spending extended time in that country.

Malaria is always a serious disease. Humans get malaria from the bite of a mosquito infected with the parasite. Prevent this serious disease by seeing your health-care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites.

Tropical Institutes:

Netherlands: http://www.kit.nl
What to Wear
what to wearDress is casual in most situations. Comfort should be your key motivation for what to bring. Light, wash and wear clothes will give you the most use. A warm sweater or pullover may be helpful.

While the coast is hot year round, Nairobi and the western highlands can be cool at night in July and August. A light rain coat is advisable. On safari, long pants and long sleeves can help for those sensitive to strong sun. on safari Dust is prevalent, fortunately many camps offer laundry service. Some hotels have pools, so you may want to include a swimsuit.

Good, comfortable walking shoes are adequate for most situations, hiking boots for trekking in mountain areas. Many travelers pack more than they really need. Try to bring only the minimum clothes necessary.
sonneKenya is generally a dry country; over 75% of its area is classed as arid of semi-arid with only around 20% being viable for agriculture. Inland,rainfall and temperatures are closely related to altitude changes, with variations induced by local topography. Generally the climate is warm and humid at the coast, cool and humid in the central highlands, and hot and dry in the north and east.

Across most of the country, rainfall is strongly seasonal,although its pattern, timing and extent vary greatly from place to place and from year to year. The relatively wet coastal belt along the Indian Ocean receives 1,000 mm or more rain per year. Most rain falls from April to July as a result of the southeasterly monsoon. Another moist belt occurs in the Lake Victoria basin and its surrounding scarps and uplands, mainly due to moist westerly winds originating over the Atlantic Ocean and Congo Basin. Except immediately adjacent to the Lake, rainfall occurs reliably from March to November. The upland plateaux adjacent to this area are less influenced by the lake, and rain falls mainly in March-May and July-September. In much of the central highlands, there is also a bimodal rainfall pattern, with rainy seasons in March-May and October-December. The remaining 70% or so of the land area falls into the 'arid lowlands' zone (NRI 1996), with rainfall averaging less than 500 mm and varying greatly from year to
year. Rainfall peaks in most areas are in November and April. Some 30% of this zone can be classed as semi-desert, with rainfall averaging less than 300 mm per year and evaporation often greater that 3,000 mm.

Except for the coast and Lake Victoria region, altitude is the main determinant of precipitation. The high-attitude areas (over c. 1,500 m) in the central Kenya highlands usually have substantial rainfall, reaching
over 2,000 mm per year in parts of the Mau Escarpment. However,topography also has a major influence, with strong rain-shadow effects east of Mt. Kenya and the Aberdare mountains. Here, even areas higher than 1,800 m may be relatively dry. In the arid lowlands the peaks of isolated mountains attract cloud and mist, and may support very different vegetation to that of the surrounding plains.

Differences in temperature vary predictably with altitude. Frost occurs regularly at 3,000 m and occasionally down to at least 2,400 m, and there is permanent snow and ice on top of Mt. Kenya at 5,200 m. The hottest areas are in the arid northeast, and west of Lake Turkana, where mena maximum temperatures average over 34 C.

Kenya has a good postal service for both local and international post. There are post offices and post boxes in most towns. Many shops in tourist lodges and hotels sell stamps.

There are different rates for letters by weight, airletters, and postcards by size. Parcel services are available from larger post offices.

There are post restante services in Nairobi and Mombasa.
Shopping in Kenya is dominated by souvenir sellers. Handmade items may be purchased at market stalls, roadside stands, and from street peddlers. Tourists are easily identified, and a walk down the street can bring the attention of groups of salesmen.

Be prepared for a strong sales pitch, offering bargain prices on handcrafts. Prices are initially determined based on what these sellers believe you will pay, but can generally be bargained down to a low price. Chances are you will get a fair price, and the vendor will still walk away with a good profit. Don’t be intimidated by the number of peddlers offering similar goods, or you may end up with more souvenirs than you can easily carry home. If quality is an issue you may want to make your purchases at some of the more established shops in the larger cities, but be prepared to pay higher prices.
When calling Kenya, the International code is 254+ local area code. Kenya has a good network of telephone, cellular and satellite connections. Work is under way to expand this network and introduce fibre optic cables.

Most hotels and lodges offer International telephone and fax services. But the rates for telephone and fax services are mainly high.  In larger towns, private telecommunication centres also offer international services.

If you have a mobile phone with a roaming connection, then you can make use of Kenya's excellent cellular networks, which covers most larger towns and tourist areas.
Tipping is not mandatory in Kenya. Guides, drivers, waiters and hotel staff can be tipped at your discretion.
Drinking water
Local tap water is not potable. Sealed/bottled bottled water is safe to drink and can be purchased in hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores. In most of the camps and lodges is bottled water in the rooms included.

If you are on game drive we offer bottled water also for free.
taxi.jpgTaxis are available in Mombasa and Nairobi. Prices are usually reasonable, but ask about the fare to your destination first.

Buses offer transportation throughout Kenya, with the exception of parks and reserves. Private vehicles known as matatus also serve as bus services in many areas. Prices are cheap, but that’s where the advantages end. They tend to be overcrowded, and are not known for their safety.

Driving in Kenya is on the left, giving way to traffic from the right at intersections. driver National drivers licenses are valid for 90 days. International drivers licenses are recommended. Once you get out of the cities and off the major highways, be prepared for roads in poor conditions. Upgrades to roads can be many years apart, and the rainy seasons have a tendency to wash out large sections. Be prepared for drives to be slow and tiring when you hit these bad sections.

Kenya has a single time zone- which is GMT+3. For the current local time and information about the time for sunrise and sunset pls click here.
customs.jpgMoving through customs is a relatively painless formality. Travelers over 16 years of age may import duty-free 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars of eight and three quarter ounces of tobacco, one liter of alcoholic beverage and ¼ liter of perfume. Importing any fruit, plants, seeds or animals is prohibited. Domestic dogs or cats may be admitted with an entry permit obtained at the same office as your visa. Personal effects, including cameras and film, are generally duty free. Check with the nearest Kenya Tourist Office about customs restrictions on video cameras and recorders. Some electronic devices may require a refundable deposit.

Export of any live animal, bird or reptile is prohibited without a special permit. Anatomical relics of animals cannot be exported, particularly ivory, rhinoceros horns, game skins and trophies.