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Kenya Travel Information, Tips and More

The Big Five

The "Big Five" is the leopard, lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo and a must see for most safari-goers.

Visa:

Visas are required for all visitors to Kenya, EXCEPT for Nationals of the following countries who do NOT
need a Kenya visa:

Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei-Darussalam, Cyprus, Dominica, Ethiopia, Fiji Islands, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Maldives, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda.

Visas can be obtained at the airport upon arrival in Kenya, or from the Kenyan Embassies prior to departure. Currently the visa fee is $50. If you obtain the visa on arrival at the airport, payment must be made in US dollars, the immigration officers do not accept credit cards or travelers' cheques, so you will need to have the exact amount in cash. The visa is valid for three months, allowing return into Kenya from Tanzania or Uganda at no extra fee.

Money:

Kenyan Shilling (KES; symbol KSh) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of KSh1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 50. Coins are in denominations of KSh 20, 10 and 5. Currency can be exchanged at the major banks, bureaux de change or authorised hotels. The banks at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport have 24-hour exchange services. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted.

Time:

Kenya is on EAT (East Africa Time)
7 hours ahead of EST / 10 hours ahead of PST

Electric Plugs:

Electrical outlets in Kenya are the "Type G " British BS-1363 type, three-prong plugs and usually supply electricity at 220 AC. If you're carrying an appliance that was built for 120 or 220-240 volt electrical input then an adapter is all you need.

North American’s will need an electrical converter that not only changes the currency but also has the correct Kenya plugs.

Weather:

During Migration Season, the temperature will vary from the low 50’s to the low 80’s with little to no rain at all.

What to Pack for Your African Safari

This is a very casual trip – comfortable clothes are recommended. Pack as lightly as possible, but be prepared for climates that change from region to region. Temperatures will also change between midday heat to evening cool, so plan to dress in layers.
The worst possible colors to pack on safari are white and black. Neutrally toned colors are the order of the day. The aim of any safari is to blend in as much as possible, so that you do not disturb the wildlife you are viewing. This ensures that you are able to watch animals behaving naturally, and not running away from you (or towards you, which is certainly not ideal!). White is the most conspicuous color on safari, and you will be seen from a mile away. This is most true while walking! White clothing should be avoided as it stands out against the muted browns and green tones of Africa. Please also do not pack safari clothing that is blue or black in color, they attract flies. The ideal colors for safari travel include Olive, Stone, Khaki and Mushroom. For the majority of African countries please do not pack camouflage safari clothing as camouflage clothing is illegal attire for civilians, and this law is strictly enforced.

Some travellers have asked why color is such an issue, when African tribesmen (for example the Masaai) wear bright colors in the bush. The answer is simple - they are not looking to view and photograph wildlife. Their main concern is protecting their cattle from attack by predators, and so they want to stand out as much as possible when in the bush (this assists them in chasing wild animals away from their precious livestock).

All suitcases need to go on the top of jeep when traveling between game parks, so only one small to medium suitcase and an overnight bag are allowed.

* Comfortable shoes, tennis shoes with plenty of tread, sandals
* Pants/Shorts/Skirts/ long and short sleeved shirts – good for layering – hot days – cooler nights
* Tank Tops, Underwear, socks
* Bathing suit and cover up
* Light jacket or sweaters – great for cooler evenings.
* Travel-size shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush and paste. Moisturizer – remember to pack in your suitcase – only 3 ounces or less allowed in carry-ons
* Contact lenses and/or extra pair of sunglasses
* Sunblock of at least 15 SPF – don’t forget the lips
* Hat for the sun
* Camera and charger – batteries – extra memory cards (be prepared to take hundreds of photos)
* Binoculars
* Flashlight
* Cell Phone - computer chargers/adaptors
* Hair Dryers – flat irons – don’t count on all hotels having them available when you want to use them
* Chargers and Adaptors for all your electronics
* Personal medications / Anti-itch cream for insects bites
* Pepto-Bismol for diarrhea, Throat lozenges, Aspirin/Ibuprofen, Antacid tablets
* Ear plugs, Eye Mask (for light sleepers)
* Plastic bags (zip lock bags and a larger trash bag) to store wet things.
* Travel alarm clock or can use cell phone
* Books, movies on you Ipad... the River Lodge has wifi but no tv’s in your room

Depending on the time of year you go on safari depends on whether you will need mosquito repellent as well as anti-histamine and lotion for insect bites. If you are taking anti-malaria's, don't forget to bring them too!

Please note: Domestic airlines do impose restrictions on checked baggage at approx 45lbs maximum, so travel lightly where possible.

For what to pack on all singles vacations and more tips - Click Here

Phones:

Nowadays it’s relatively easy to use your own mobile phone in Africa, however, the costs of both making and receiving phone calls can be high. Texting is a more economical way to contact others. Please check with your carrier for availability and rates.

While in Kenya, if you would like to use your phone for the internet, only when there is free internet, turn your phone to airplane mode.

Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. The main network providers are Airtel ( www.africa.airtel.com ), and Safaricom ( www.safaricom.co.ke ). Local SIM cards and top-up cards are available to buy everywhere. Wide areas around Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa, as well as the whole coast region, the popular safari parks and the road between Nairobi and Mombasa, have good network
coverage. Outside of these areas coverage is limited.

Shopping:

The city and town centers usually have markets that sell curios such as African drums, old brass and copper, batiks, soapstone knick-knacks, carved chess sets, and large wooden carvings of animals or salad bowls carved from a single piece of teak, mninga or ebony.

Masai items such as beaded jewellery, decorated gourds and the distinctive red-checked blankets worn by all Masai men make good souvenirs. Khanga, kitenge and kikoi cloths are ideal to use as sarongs (common in East Africa for both men and women), and Kenyan baskets made from sisal and leather are also popular. Most of the tourist areas have abundant stalls and markets selling these items; you will be expected to haggle good-natured over prices.

Local Foods:

Meat in Kenya is outstandingly good, as are tropical fruit and vegetables. Inland, a local freshwater fish, tilapia is popular and tasty. On the coast Swahili cuisine features fragrant rice, grilled fish and seafood curries with coconut milk. Indian and Middle Eastern food is available in most areas, and there is a wide range of international restaurants in Nairobi and Mombasa. Tourist hotels provide buffet meals. Hotels in
smaller towns offer a dish of the day, such as chicken and chips or stew and rice.

Very Important:

* Do not carry a lot of cash, you will not need it and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere
* Money – Debit/Credit cards - be sure to have your PIN numbers.
* Call your banks and credit companies and let them know you are traveling
* We do not advise to take Travelers Checks, they are hard to exchange
* A copy of your passport is always a good idea to leave with your emergency contacts
* Best Single Travel suggests that you visit your Doctor before your trip.

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Don’t Leave Home without your Passport!