Frequently asked Questions
For those who are planning to visit East Africa you need to prepare in some reasonable way for you to enjoy your safari at its fullest. Some of the travel preparation includes:
Visitors wishing to go to Kenya need to have valid passport along with visas. Visas are mandatory for all those visitors who are not the commonwealth countries citizens. Visitors from countries like Norway, San Marino, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Eritrea, Spain, Finland, Ethiopia, Uruguay and Turkey do not require visas to visit Kenya. However, visa requirements often changed with time to time so the visitors planning a trip to Kenya must check with the current visa requirements in order to avoid any problems at the later stage of the trip.
Visitors can check for the current visa requirements either through Kenya Tourist Offices, Kenya tour operators, Kenya Embassies or High Commissions appointed in their country or through airlines. Visa processing usually takes up six weeks and travel visa is valid for the period of three months.
The climate of Kenya varies from tropical along the coast and temperate inland and it is extremely dry in the north and northeast parts of the country. Good sunshine is received by Kenya all through the year and summer clothes are worn throughout the year. The night and early morning are usually cool in Kenya at higher elevations. The long rainy season occurs from March to April and from May to June and the short rainy season occurs from October to November or December. There is sometimes heavy rainfall that often falls in the evenings
and afternoons. In the months of tropical rains the temperature is usually high and the hottest period in Kenya is February and March and coldest is July and August.
The average annual temperature of the Mombasa coastal town is maximum 30.30 Celsius and minimum is 22.40 Celsius, Nairobi has maximum of 25.20 Celsius and minimum of 9.50 Celsius and the temperature of drier north plain lands is maximum 34.80 Celsius and minimum of 23.70 Celsius.
You are allowed to carry one medium suitcase along with a hand bag. However, people opting for private safaris where they have less than seven persons in the vehicle are not liable to these restrictions. Treetops and the Ark visitors are allowed to carry only overnight bags and they are advised to leave the suitcase at the base hotel. No extra cost is charged by the hotels for keeping the baggage. Tourists opting for air safaris are allow to carry 15 kg baggage and if the small air crafts are used, the weight of the baggage reduced to 10kg.
Currency used in Kenya is the Kenyan shilling or KES that comprises of 100 cents. Visitors can find the coins in the denominations of 5c, 10c, 50c and 1 and 5 shillings and bank notes in the denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 shillings. Visitors can bring currency with themselves and they don’t have to declare it on arrival. Visitors can exchange the hard currencies in cash either at Forex Bureaus without any commission or at the banks or large hotels. From the year 2000, U.S dollars, Euros and Sterling Pound are also commonly acceptable. Tourists are always advised to ask about the deducted commission and charges before proceeding with the transaction. Usually banks are open from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm on weekdays and from 9.00 to 11.00 am on Saturdays.
For tourist services the most widely accepted credit cards are Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Usually 5% mark-up on top of the price as establishments are charged a fixed percentage of their credit card transactions.
Malaria is endemic in most part of the Kenya and therefore the intending visitors must start with anti-malarial tablets before the start of their Kenya trip and should continue taking them till they return from Kenya. Disease prevention rules change from time to time, therefore tourists must check with Kenyan High Commission, Kenya Tourist Office or with any airline services operating in Kenya. The visitors are also recommended to carry insect repellents and must make its use especially after dusk and must prefer wearing cover-up clothes in the evenings.
Flying Doctors Society:
Tourists visiting Kenya are strongly recommended to take the membership of the Flying Doctors Society so that in case of sickness or accident during the Kenyan safari the tourists get immediate medical attention. The society will take the patients by air ambulance to Nairobi for providing treatment at hospitals. The cost of membership of the Flying Doctors Society is currently US$ 40 per person.
Visitors need to be extremely cautious of water during their trip of Kenya as tap water is quite risky and must be strictly avoided. However, hotels and lodges provide safe and pure drinking water and visitors can even avail bottled mineral water in supermarket and hotels.
Tourists are advised to take common precautions while visiting Kenya as they would take in any other world-wide destinations. Cash and valuables should not be left in the rooms of the hotels and all the valuables must be kept in safe deposit boxes. Visitors should also avoid carrying large sum of money and women should be particulars about their handbags in the busy streets as jewelery snatching is common in the streets of Kenya. Like any other prime cities wandering in late nights alone or with a small group of people can also prove devastating. Visitors must depend upon the reliable taxi services offered by the major hotels of the Kenya. Taking photographs at local and public places are strictly prohibited.
In hotels and lodges mains and generated electric supply is 240 volts AC 50 cycles. Sockets at hotels and lodges usually have three and four pin sockets.
Tipping and Porterage:
Visitors must know that paying tips to porters, waiters, taxi drivers and safari drivers and guides are customary.
Kenya is known as a multilingual country and the Bantu Swahili language and English are the two official language and are widely spoken as lingua franca. There are about 69 languages spoken in Kenya due to the fact that country has diverse population that speaks their own language.
Post and Telephones:
Tourists can keep in touch with their friends and relatives by mail and telephones as both are easily accessible. Overseas dialing is possible from both prime and remote centers and can mail from Cyber café having Internet access.
Arrivals and Departures:
Kenya primarily has two major airports, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, which is 18 km from the city center and Moi International Airport in Mombasa, which is 12 km from the town center. Mombasa is also the main port of entry by sea. Most of the airports charges airport departure tax in the tickets that the tourists need to clarify with their travel agent.
Airport Departure Tax:
Most of the airlines include the airport departure tax in the tickets. However, you need to ascertain with your travel Agent.
Opening and Shopping Hours:
Kenya’s major stores, museums, parks are open from 8.00 am to 5.00 PM in large towns with usual lunch breaks. In rural areas the shops can be open almost any time and tourists usually prefer souvenirs like wood and soap stone sculptures and carvings, bead work and tribal regalia, masks, textiles and gemstones set in unique jewelery pieces.