Kenya Travel Tips And Advice
SINGLE ENTRY VISA
Single Entry Visa is issued for Single Entry to persons whose Nationalities require Visa to enter Kenya either for Business, Tourism or Medical reasons. Single Entry Visa allows visitors to enter, exit and re-enter Kenya after visiting either Tanzania or Uganda, without having to purchase a Multiple-Entry Visa.
Electronic Visa Application for Kenya: Use the Kenyan website http://www.evisa.go.ke to apply for an Electronic eVisa. Online eVisa application process involves uploading your Passport picture along with your Passport photograph. You may pay by Credit Card. eVisa processing fee is $50, and there is a service charge of $1. Your Online eVisa shall be issued approximately five days after you register but we recommend that online eVisa Applications should be made at least 7 working days prior to travel to give plenty of time for the application process to be completed.
You shall be required to print a copy of your Electronic Visa, bring it with you for presentation along with your Valid Passport on arrival at Passport Control desk set up at arrival Terminals in Kenya.
Kenya has an agreement with Tanzania and Uganda to waiver Visa re-entry fees if travelling 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. If you are travelling back into Kenya from other East African Countries (e.g Tanzania or Uganda) on the same trip within the 90 days validity, then you do not require an additional Visa to re-enter and the Single-Entry Visa will be accepted. Please note that Single-Entry Visas are valid only for 90 days after date of issue, so you should not apply until less than 90 days before date of arrival and departure from Kenya.
Things you need to bear in mind with regard to your Visa:
- When entering Kenya, you shall be required to complete a Landing Card that will be issued to you on the Plane, or at the Airport Visa desk.
- During your departure from Kenya, you shall be required to complete an Exit Card, which will be provided to you at the Airport Departure Terminal.
However, since Visa requirements may change, it is advisable for visitors to check the current Visa requirements through Kenyan Embassies in their Country or Region.
Customs regulations are quite straightforward. The usual one bottle of Spirit, 200 Cigarettes, Camera Equipment, Film and one Tape Recorder are allowed to enter Kenya Duty Free.
WEATHER AND KENYA SAFARI SEASONS
Kenya enjoys a tropical climate. It is Hot and Humid at the Coast, Temperate Inland and very dry in the North and Northeast parts of the country. Every month in Kenya is a safari month. You can book a safari in Kenya throughout the year.
Kenya’s Calendar Year is categorized into Safari Seasons.
High Season – January, February and March; The three months are good for safari, the period is just after the short rain season, you may catch some bird species that are winter visitors from Europe. The grass is not so high enough to hinders your view of the animals. There shall be great opportunities to encounter large elephant herds.
Low Season – April, May and June; This is the long rainy season where you can still enjoy your safari during this period. Tropical rain comes in bursts and lasts a few hours, mostly in the mornings and afternoons. The rains freshen up the nature and often enhance the safari experience. June is a good month to experience safari after the long rainy season. The large zebra herds crosses from Serengeti Tanzania to Masai Mara Naataional Reserve ahead of the great-migration which happens from mid July.
Peak Season – July, August, September and October; Very huge herds of Wildebeest enter Masai Mara National Park from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Due to evolving climatic changes, it may be a little difficult to give specific time for the start of great migration. It is however safe to state that the great Wildebeest migration is active at the Masai Mara by the middle of July. Wildebeest start their return journey to Serengeti Tanzania around September/October.
Shoulder Season – November and December; This is the short rainy season in Kenya. The short rain freshen the pastures and grass start to grow. The national parks and game reserves regain their vegetation.
Baggage space on safari is restricted to one medium suitcase per person, plus hand baggage (private safaris where there are less than 7 persons in the vehicle are not subject to this restriction).
Hotels will normally store baggage at no extra cost. Baggage can also be stored at Acquire Adventures Safaris offices.
For domestic air services, baggage allowance is STRICTLY limited to 15 kgs per person, inclusive of hand baggage, in soft bags.
Where very small aircraft is used this may be reduced to 10 kg.
If you are carrying cash US Dollars notes, please take bills dated 2006 or later as old notes (USD series 2005 and older) can be very difficult to change and may not be accepted neither will the banks (as well as torn and dirty bills – the crisper the better!).
You will get a better exchange rate for $50 or $100 US Dollars bills. A number of low denomination US Dollars bills are useful for tipping although some locals in remote areas may prefer Kenyan Shillings, as sometimes it is difficult for them to exchange US Dollars.
Hard currencies can be exchanged in cash at banks all over the country, at forex bureaus in Nairobi and at most large hotels.
US Dollars and Sterling Pounds are most acceptable and will cause the least delay.
As a norm, always ask what commission and charges will be deducted first and prior to transaction.
Banks are usually open Mondays through Fridays from 08.30Hrs to 16.00Hrs, and Saturdays from 08.30Hrs to 12.00Hrs.
Banks remain closed on Sundays and public holidays
VISA and MASTERCARD are widely accepted for tourist services. Payment by credit card both online and locally attracts 3.5% bank transaction surcharge
Since rules concerning disease prevention change from time to time, a check should be made with the nearest Kenyan High Commission, Kenya Tourist Office or any airline flying scheduled services into Kenya.
Malaria is endemic to most parts of East Africa and intending visitors should start taking anti-malarial tablets before departure and continue taking them for the prescribed time after their return.
Insect repellents should be used after dusk and suitable cover up clothes should be worn in the evenings.
Passengers are advised to travel with their yellow fever cards if they come from countries that are required to take the vaccine, otherwise they will not be allowed in the country.
There is a vaccination center at Kenyan Airport – Port health desks to provide such services.
The Port health team ensures a healthy atmosphere within the airport and its environs. They also check the spread of communicable diseases.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL EVACUATION COVER
Membership of the Flying Doctors Society is strongly recommended. In event of accident or sickness while on safari, the society will fly patients by air ambulance and ground ambulance to Nairobi.
AMREF Flying Doctors can assist in arranging hospital accommodation but are NOT responsible for any hospital bills.
Visitors are advised to acquire International health insurance cover from their countries.
Contact us for Flying Doctors Service for – Emergency Evacuation Cover, charged at small fee for entire booked safari.
Drinking water from the tap must be considered risky. Hotels and lodges usually keep safe water in a thermos flask in guest rooms.
Bottled mineral water is available in every hotel / lodge and supermarkets.
Normal precautions as in any other destination world-wide should be taken.
Visitors are advised not to leave cash and valuables in their hotel rooms but to make use of safe deposit boxes and safes.
One should never carry large sums in cash and women should keep a tight grip on handbags in crowds or busy streets. Jewellery snatching is quite common in city streets.
As in all major cities walking alone or in small groups at night should be considered a hazard and avoided. Reliable taxis are available at all the principal hotels.
Taking photographs at airports, near military installations, of policeman, the president, the national flag, the State House, state lodges, soldiers, prisons and prisoners etc. is prohibited.
Before photographing local people, permission should be obtained first and a fixed price agreed. Seek the assistance of your driver/guide on this matter.
Both mains electricity and generated supply in lodges provide 240 volts AC 50 cycles.
Most large hotels and some Game lodges provide shaving points with 110v 50 cycles. Sockets are normally three pins and of the ‘square’ variety
TIPPING AND PORTAGE
Although hotels and lodges include a service charge, it is customary to tip porters, waiters, taxi drivers and safari drivers/guides.
Kiswahili is the local common language in East Africa while English is the official language. In addition, most tribes have their own languages.
POST AND TELEPHONES
Keeping in touch by mail and telephone is generally easy. Direct overseas dialling is possible from major centers and increasingly from remote places such as Game lodges.
Call Home Bureaus are plenty in Nairobi as well as Cyber Cafe for E-mail and Internet access.
ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES
Kenya has two main ports of entry by air: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. Located 16 km from the city center. Moi International Airport, Mombasa. Located 12 km from the town center. Mombasa is the main port of entry by sea.
AIRPORT DEPARTURE TAX
International Airport departure tax is payable on departure from the International Airports. A local airport service charge is also payable on departure for domestic flights. As this varies from country to country, please check with us on the prevailing amounts payable prior to your flight departure.
SHOPPING OPENING HOURS
Major stores, tourist services, offices and museums open from 8.00 am to 5.00 PM in large towns. In rural areas and out in the bush small shops can open at almost any hour. Souvenirs to take back home can include wood and soap stone sculptures and carvings, ciondos (sisal baskets), beadwork and tribal regalia, masks, textiles and gemstones set in unique jewellery pieces.