Welcome to Kenya!

From hand feeding Giraffes, to adopting orphaned elephants to taking breathtaking balloon safaris at dawn. There is a lot to do in Kenya. Kenya is an African country with friendly welcoming people. Visitors to Kenya can experience and see completely different things. In a single trip to Kenya, you can visit tropical forests, beautiful beaches, and deserts, climb mountains and explore the wild. In Kenya, it is possible to plan a safari that blends adventure and relaxation, luxury and natural simplicity, social experiences and solitude.

There are 42 ethnic groups in Kenya and most famous ones are Kikuyu and Maasai. Africa offers many top vacation activities and a Kenya safari includes the best of these from hot-air ballooning to walk safaris and photographic safaris. Kenya manages more than 20 national parks and national game reserves.

QUICK FACTS

Official Name:Republic of Kenya
Capital:Nairobi
Location:Kenya’s territory lies on the equator and overlies the East African Rift covering a diverse and expansive terrain that extends roughly from Lake Victoria to Lake Turkana, Lake Rudolf and further south-east to the Indian Ocean. Kenya borders Somalia to the east, Ethiopia to the north, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, and Sudan to the northwest.
Goverment:Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Dialing Code:+254
Time Zone:GMT +03.00
Climate Weather:Dry & humid
Population:48 million
Land Area:581,309 km2
Official Language:English, Kiswahili
Currency:Kenyan Shilling (KES)
Foreign Currency Accepted:USD ($), EUR (€) British Pounds (£) Safe to carry US dollars printed after 2006
Entry requirement:You need a visa to enter Kenya. You can either get a visa on arrival at the airport or before you travel. It is advisable get a visa before you travel. Visas are valid for 90 days. 43 countries can visit Kenya with no visa and stay up to 90 days (Mainly African nations and the Caribbean countries).

All visitors must hold a passport with at least two blank pages valid for at least 06 months beyond the date of your arrival. If your passport does not meet these requirements, you will be denied entry.

Health Tips:Cholera, malaria and dengue fever occur in Kenya. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

General information

Kenya is a country in Africa. Kenya’s territory lies on the equator and overlies the East African Rift covering a diverse and expansive terrain that extends roughly from Lake Victoria to Lake Turkana and further south-east to the Indian Ocean. It is bordered by Tanzania to the south and southwest, Uganda to the west, South Sudan to the north-west, Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the north-east. Kenya covers 581,309 Km2, and has a population of approximately 48 million people.

Kenya is a popular tourism destination throughout the year and it is a land of contrast – highlands and plains, wet and dry rural and urban and people of all races. This offers many opportunities to citizens, foreigners and visitors alike. Tourist attractions range from the white sandy beaches at the coast to scenic landscapes, memorable mountain expeditions and the majestic beauty of a wide variety of flora and fauna. The month of August is known for the great wildebeest migration in the Savannahs of the Maasai Mara –also one of the wonders of the world. Its capital and largest city is Nairobi. Nairobi is also the only city in the world that boasts of a National Park within its proximity.

Time defference

GMT +03:00
Compare to Indonesia, Kenya is 4:0 hours behind compare to local time.
When it is 01:00pm in Jakarta is 09:00am in Nairobi.

Compare to France, Kenya is 5:0 hours behind of France.
When it is 09:00 am in Paris France, it is 02:00 pm in Nairobi, Kenya.

When to visit

Kenya enjoys a tropical climate. Through out the country the hottest months are December to March. The weather in August is usually cool, with average highs of 24 degrees Celsius and lows of 14 degrees. It is also not unusual to experience some rain during this month. Nairobi has a very pleasant climate throughout the year due to its altitude.

Wet Season – November to May.
The heaviest rain usually lasts from March through May, and this entire season features high humidity.

Dry Season – June to October.
Kenya’s dry season is its coldest season. The biggest influxes of visitors are in December–January and July–August. Dry-season travel has a number of advantages, not least of which is the greater visibility of wildlife as animals are concentrated along the diminishing watercourses. July to September is probably the best period, overall, for game viewing, with early September almost certain to coincide with the annual wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara. October, November and March are the months with the clearest seas for snorkelling and diving.

Money and currency

US$1 = 103.28 Kes (currency rate can be varied depending the day you search)
Euro€1 = 122.08 Kes 01Kes = IDR 128

The currency unit in Kenya is the Kenya shilling (KES) comprising 100 cents. The currency code for Shillings is KES, and the currency symbol is KSh. Coins that are currently used for trade are available in denominations of 50c and 1Shs, 10Shs, 20Shs and 40 shillings. Bank notes (bills) are available in denominations of 50,100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings. Currency and traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at the major banks, exchange bureaus, and some hotels. Airports in Nairobi, Mombasa and Dar es Salaam have 24-hour exchange services.

All banks change US dollars, Euros and UK pounds into Kenyan shillings. ATMs are found in medium-sized towns, so you can bring cash and a debit or credit card. However, remember that in remote regions, they are few and far between. If you are carrying credit cards, make sure one of your cards is a Visa or MasterCard, as these are most commonly accepted. Diners Club is unheard of, and American Express is accepted at only a few establishments. Do not change money on the black market; it is illegal and you risk going to a jail or being swindled. The easiest and best way to get cash away from home is from an ATM (automated teller machine). Banking hours are from 09.00am to 04.00pm on weekdays and from 09.00am to 12.00 noon on Saturdays. Most banks have Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) accepting various international debit and credit cards.

Electricity

In Kenya the standard voltage is 240V. However, electric appliances from countries whose standard voltage is between 220V – 240V can be used. The power sockets that are used are three-pin, square, type G.

Telephone and how to call

Kenya country code +254 and Seoul city code is 20. Mobile telephone services are quite efficient in Kenya. Some of the main mobile telephone service providers are: Safaricom, AirTel, Orange and Equitel mobile. Mobile telephone service providers also provide gateway to internet using 3G and 4G.

Cellphone SIM cards are easily available at the cost of approximately 1 USD. Registration is required for activation. Fixed telephone services are also available at hotels and other facilities. Phone number Fixed – 6 – 9 digits including area code Cell phones – 9 digits.

Visa requirement

Citizens of 43 countries (mainly African nations and few other nations) can visit Kenya with no visa for stays up to 90 days. Citizens of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya can travel freely between their respective nations by using the National Identification Cards. EU citizens and Indonesian citizens should require a visa to enter Kenya for up to 90 days. Kenya introduced an e-Visa system from 2 July 2015. According to the government, an application should be done at least 7 days in advance and visitors can stay for up to 90 days with e-visa. Visa on arrival is still available and visitors can stay for up to 90 days with this visa.

Vaccines and Travel insurance

Some vaccines are recommended or required for Kenya. The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccines for Kenya: typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, cholera, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, and influenza. The risk of contracting malaria is considered moderate in Kenya. Travellers should consult a travel medicine specialist to determine the best antimalarial for their trip. Dengue is also present in the country. Be sure to bring and use mosquito repellents and netting.

How to go to Kenya

Indonesia to Kenya

Distance between Nairobi and Jakarta is 7750 Km.

Flight between Jakarta and Nairobi takes close to 11 hours 36 minutes. Apparently, connecting flights and direct flights with stopover take longer time.

Airlines operated from Indonesia to Nairobi
Garuda Indonesia, KLM, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways.

France to Kenya

Distance between Paris and Nairobi is 6500 Km.
Non-stop flights could take up to 08 hours 15 minutes.

Quickest one-stop flight takes close to 11 hours. However, some airlines could take as long as 35 hours based on the stopover destination and waiting duration.

Airlines operated from Paris to Nairobi
Kenya Airways, Turkish airlines, Qatar Airways, Air France.

 

Transportation in Kenya

Taxi

The best mode of road transport available for tourists moving around towns is by taxi. Taxis are readily available, including State-controlled KENATCO and London-style cabs, which work on a fixed rate and charge per kilometre travelled. Car rentals are a convenient option for people who prefer self drive. Tours and travel companies offer experienced chauffer driven tour guides.

Taxi Apps

With advanced technology, one can now get a taxi by using mobile applications such as: Easy Taxi, which connects taxi drivers and passengers. The application is available for Android, iOS, Blackberry, and Windows Phone devices.

By Bike Taxis

Sometimes you will find bicycle outfitted with a seat on the bike rack (rear side of the bicycle) that operates as taxis.

By Boda-Bodas (Motorcycles Taxis)

Similar to bike taxis, these motorcycle taxis have a driver and can fit 1 – 2 passengers.

By Matattus (Minibus)

Matatus are privately operated minibuses, typically for between 14 and 25 passengers, operating over short and medium distances. Matatus provide a cheap and quick method of transport in all the major towns and rural areas. Matatus provide a cheap and quick method of transport in all the major towns and rural areas.

By Bus

Kenya has a network of long-distance bus lines. Speed is limited to 80km an hour. Local buses are run by private companies such as the green and yellow Citi Hoppa, which charges an inexpensive fee. They have regular services in and out of the Nairobi city suburbs. They usually seat 20-35 passengers (no standing passengers allowed by law) and are cleaner and less hectic than matatus.

By Train

Kenya train travel is one of the most scenic ways to travel. Trains are not as common in Kenya as they are in Europe or even North America but there is one train line in Kenya that runs between Kisumu – Nairobi – Mombasa three times per week. Kenya railways provides the classic and very enjoyable way to travel between Nairobi and Mombasa. The night train from Nairobi – Mombasa is the best regular train in entire Africa, well maintained, safe sleeping compartments, three – course dinner and English breakfast. Highly recommended. Try the sleeper train Journey which is easy, comfortable at the lowest fares in East Africa rail travel. Kenya has opened a major new railway between the port city of Mombasa and the capital, Nairobi which is 470 Km long. The Mombasa-Nairobi line is the first phase of a 840km line linking the port city of Mombasa to the western border town of Malaba.

Domestic flights

Air Kenya, Kenya Airways and Jumbojet are main domestic airlines within Kenya. You can catch domestic flights to 39 different locations throughout the country. Kenya Airways (KQ) offers scheduled connections from JKIA and regular daily flights to Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu and Kisumu. A return flight from Nairobi to Mombasa will cost about Sh11,000 ($137.5). Online booking is available. Wilson Airport is a major hub for local flights to the nature reserves in Kenya and to cities in neighboring countries.

Special food and drinks

Communities within Kenya have different menus that reflect the different regions and livelihoods. Despite this, some dishes made in Kenya reflect Indian, Arab and European influences. Swahili dishes tend to use a combination of ginger, chili, coconut, cream, lime and crushed tamarind seeds. The people of Kenya like to use locally sourced ingredients and tend to barbecue meat, especially beef and goat.

Popular dishes include:

  • Githeri : This dish is a mixture of boiled maize and beans. It is a popular dish in the Central Province among the Kikuyu community.
  • Kachumbari : This consists of a mixture of chopped tomatoes, onions and peppers. An uncooked salad dish, it is usually paired with Nyama Choma (roasted meat – usually beef).
  • Ugali : This dish is made up of ground maize flour and water that is boiled in water until it reaches a dough-like consistency. Ugali is usually rolled into a ball and then is dipped into a sauce or stew made with vegetables and meat. It is used as a scoop in the same way that flatbreads are used in other cultures. This is a favourite meal particularly with the Luos in Nyanza Province, but is enjoyed throughout Kenya. Fish, cooked in a variety of ways, is also quite popular in the Nyanza Province due to its location near Lake Victoria and the Indian Ocean coast.

Drinks Coffee and tea are of excellent quality in Kenya due to the ideal growing climate. Kenyan coffee is world-renowned and is one of the country’s main exports. With tropical fruits like mangoes, watermelon, pineapple, papaya among others readily available, it is not surprising that fresh fruit juices are incredibly popular throughout the country. Coca Cola is the nation’s most popular soft drink company and soft drinks are widely available. Tusker and White Cap are popular beers with premium and export versions available. While in Kenya, it is advisable to avoid tap water. Bottled water is best and is relatively inexpensive.

Places to go and things to do

Beyond the world-famous safari parks lies a trove of coastal treasures. Visitors can snorkel and dive fish-rich coral reefs, relax on pearly beaches, experience the melting pot of cultures and cuisines in Mombasa and Malindi, and explore tropical islands steeped in Swahili history

 

Maasai Mara National Reserve

Maasai Mara is one of the world’s most magnificent game reserves. Bordering Tanzania. The park is famous for the Great Migration when thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle travel to and from the Serengeti, from July through October. In the Mara River, throngs of hippos and crocodiles lurk. The park is also known for providing excellent predator sightings thanks to its relatively large populations of lion, cheetah, and leopard – especially in the dry months from December through February. Due to the parks altitude, the weather here is mild and gentle year round.

Amboseli National Reserve

Amboseli National Reserve is one of Kenya’s most popular tourist parks home to mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. The reserve is one of the best places in Africa to view large herds of elephants up close. Other wildlife commonly spotted in the park includes big cats such as lion and cheetah as well as giraffe, impala, eland, waterbuck, gazelle, and more than 600 species of birds. Nature lovers can explore five different habitats here ranging from the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli, wetlands with sulfur springs, savannah, and woodlands. Look for the local Maasai people who live in the area around the park.

Tsavo National Park

Kenya’s largest park, Tsavo, is sliced in two; Tsavo West and Tsavo East. Together these parks comprise four percent of the country’s total area and encompass rivers, waterfalls, savannah, volcanic hills, a massive lava-rock plateau, and an impressive diversity of wildlife. Midway between Nairobi and Mombasa, Tsavo East is famous for photo-worthy sightings of large elephant herds rolling and bathing in red dust. The palm-fringed Galana River twists through the park providing excellent game viewing and a lush counterpoint to the arid plains. Other highlights here include the Yatta Plateau, the world’s longest lava flow, Mudanda Rock, and the Lugard Falls, which spill into rapids and crocodile-filled pools. Tsavo West is wetter and topographically more varied with some of the most beautiful scenery in the northern reaches of the park. Highlights here are Mzima Springs, a series of natural springs with large populations of hippos and crocodiles, Chaimu Crater, a great spot for spotting birds of prey, and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary. Wildlife is not as easy to see in Tsavo West because of the denser vegetation, but the beautiful scenery more than compensates.

Sambaru, Buffalo springs and Shaba National Reserves

Samburu, Buffalo Springs, and Shaba Reserves lie in an arid region in the remote north of Kenya. A top attraction in Samburu National Reserve is the Sarara Singing Wells, local watering holes where Samburu warriors sing traditional songs while hauling water for their cattle to drink. Tourists here may also be rewarded with sightings of big cats and wild dogs.

Lake Nakaru National Park

Lake Nakuru National Park, in Central Kenya, is famous for its huge flocks of pink flamingoes. More than 450 species of birds have been recorded here as well as a rich diversity of other wildlife. Lions, leopards, warthogs, waterbucks, pythons, and white rhinos are just some of the animals visitors might see, and the landscapes range from sweeping grasslands bordering the lake to rocky cliffs and woodland.

Malindi

North of Mombasa on the Kenyan coast, Malindi is a beach resort popular with European visitors. Thanks to its rich trading history, it too is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, and also sports a split personality. Part historic old town, part modern tourist hub, Malindi is where travelers come to sun on the white sands of Watamu Beach, dive the coral reefs of the Malindi and Watamu Marine National Parks, and soak up a dose of Swahili history in the historic town, dating from the 12th century. Here tourists can visit the Jami Mosque, two pillar tombs from the 14th century, and the Church of St Francis Xavier, one of East Africa’s oldest churches. On the promontory, the Vasco De Gama Cross is one of the oldest standing monuments in Africa.

Mount Kenya national Park

In the Central Highlands, east of the Great Rift Valley, Mount Kenya National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site encompassing the country’s namesake highest mountain at 5,199 m and providing the rare sight of equatorial snow. Formed by a series of volcanic eruptions, Mount Kenya is actually comprised of three glacier-cloaked peaks. Scenery varies from glaciers, lakes, and mineral springs to alpine forest and dense pockets of bamboo. The diversity of flora and fauna provides rewarding opportunities for safaris. Among the wildlife here visitors may spot black and white Colobus monkeys, buffalo, elephant, tree hyrax, leopard, and hyena.

Hell’s Gata National Park

A hotspot for climbers, Hell’s Gate National Park is one of the few parks in Kenya that allows camping and enables visitors to explore on foot or bicycle. Hell’s Gate offers excellent climbing and hiking opportunities with two extinct volcanoes, the red cliffs of Hell’s Gate Gorge, Obsidian Caves, and the pointed column of rock known as Fischer’s Tower, a former volcanic plug.

Lamu

The small island of Lamu, northeast of Mombasa, oozes old world charm. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lamu Old Town is Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited settlement with origins dating back to the 12th century. Strolling the labyrinthine streets, visitors will see the island’s rich trading history reflected in the buildings. Architectural features from the Arab world, Europe, and India are evident, yet with a discernible Swahili technique. Intricately carved wooden doors, coral stone buildings, hidden courtyards, verandas, and rooftop patios are common features. Visiting here is like stepping back in time. Dhows plow the harbor, few if any motorized vehicles exist here, and donkeys still rule the streets as they have done for centuries.

Lake Naivasha

A haven for birders, Lake Naivasha lies at the highest point of the Great Rift Valley and has been known to shrink considerably in times of extreme drought. One of the best ways to view the wildlife is by boat. More than 400 species of birds have been spotted here, including African fish eagles. Hippos slosh in the water, and giraffes, zebra, buffalo, and eland graze around the edges of the lake. Keep a lookout for Colobus monkeys in the canopies too.

Nairobi

Kenya’s capital and largest city, Nairobi, is legendary for its colourful colonial history. It was once the capital of British East Africa, luring settlers who came here to stake their fortune in the coffee and tea industries. Today, tourists can explore the city’s famous historic sites as well as some excellent wildlife-related attractions. The Nairobi National Museum is a great one-stop spot to see exhibits on Kenya’s history, nature, culture, and contemporary art. You can also enjoy the botanic gardens on the grounds. To see wildlife without venturing far from the city centre, visit Nairobi National Park, now a black rhino sanctuary and also home to a host of other classic safari stars including lions, leopards, buffalo, zebras, wildebeest, and cheetahs.

Mombasa

Kenya’s second largest city and biggest port, Mombasa is a multicultural tourist magnet. British, Portuguese, Arab, Indian, and Asian immigrants add to the rich cultural mix and their influence is evident in the architecture as well as the many different types of cuisine. Mombasa is actually an island connected to its mushrooming development on the mainland by a causeway, bridges, and ferries. Coral reefs fringe the coast for 480 km providing fantastic snorkeling and diving opportunities, especially at Mombasa Marine National Park and around Wasini Island. Dolphin watching and deep-sea fishing are also popular.