Traveling to Kenya involves finding out about visas, health, safety, weather, the best time to go, currency and getting to and around Kenya. People are extremely friendly in Kenya and you will be humbled by their hospitality
US passport holders need a visa to enter Kenya, but they can get it at the airport or border crossing when they arrive in Kenya. If you want to plan ahead then you can apply for a visa in the US. Details and forms can be found on the Kenyan Embassy website. Nationals from Commonwealth countries (including Canada and the UK) do not need a visa. Tourist visas are valid for 30 days. For up to date information see the Kenyan Embassy website.
A single-entry visa costs USD50 and a multiple entry visa USD100. If you are planning on visiting just Kenya, then a single-entry is all you need. If your plans include crossing over to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or visit the Serengeti, then you’ll need a multiple-entry visa if you wish to re-enter Kenya again.
Health and Immunizations
No immunizations are required by law to enter Kenya if you are traveling directly from Europe or the US. If you are traveling from a country where Yellow Fever is present you will need to prove you have had the inoculation.
Several vaccinations are highly recommended, they include:
- Yellow Fever
- Hepatitis A
It is also recommended that you are up to date with your polio and tetanus vaccinations.
There’s a risk of catching malaria pretty much everywhere you travel in Kenya. The highlands used to be a low-risk area, but even there you have to be careful and take precautions. Kenya is home to the chloroquine-resistant strain of malaria as well as several others. Make sure you have anti-malarial medication..
Basic Safety Rules for Travelers to Kenya
- Make a copy of your passport and keep it in your luggage.
- Don’t walk on your own at night in the major cities or on empty beaches.
- Don’t wear jewelry.
- Don’t carry too much cash with you.
- Don’t carry a lot of camera equipment especially in the major cities.
- Beware of thieves posing as police officers.
When looking into a safari in Kenya, your choices of flying versus driving is a key factor in deciding on what places to visit.
When to Go
There are two rainy seasons in Kenya. A short rainy season in November and a longer one that usually lasts from the end of March into May. It doesn’t necessarily get cold, but the roads can become impassable.
If you are on safari you can usually see more animals during the dry season as they congregate around the waterholes. If you wish to plan your trip around the annual migration of the wildebeest you should go between the end of July – September.
Getting Around Kenya
There are several small airline companies that offer domestic flights as well as the national airline, Kenya Airways. Destinations include Amboseli, Kisumu, Lamu, Malindi, Masai Mara, Mombasa,. The smaller domestic airlines operate out of Nairobi’s Wilson Airport. Some routes get booked up quickly, especially to the coast, so book at least a few weeks in advance.
The most popular train route is from Nairobi to Mombasa..
By Taxi, Matatu, Uber
Taxi’s and Uber are numerous in the main cities and towns. Matatus are mini-buses that operate on set routes.