Kenya Travel Information: Kenya is a country in East Africa with coastline on the Indian Ocean. It encompasses savannah, lakelands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley and mountain highlands.
It’s also home to wildlife like lions, elephants and rhinos. From Nairobi, the capital, safaris visit the Maasai Mara Reserve, known for its annual wildebeest migrations, and Amboseli National Park, offering views of Tanzania’s 5,895m Mt. Kilimanjaro.
1 00 N, 38 00 E
582,650 sq km
land: 569,250 sq km
water: 13,400 sq km
total: 3,446 km
border countries: Ethiopia 830 km, Somalia 682 km, Sudan 232 km, Tanzania 769 km, Uganda 933 km
Coastline 536 km
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200nm
territorial sea: 12nm
Climate: varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior
Terrain: low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Kenya 5,199m
gold, limestone, soda ash, salt barites, rubies, fluorspar, garnets, wildlife, hydropower
Land use arable land: 7%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 37%
forests and woodland: 30%
other: 25% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 660 sq km (1993 est.)
Environment – Current issues; water pollution from urban and industrial wastes; degradation of water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilizers; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; poaching
Environment – International agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands and Whaling
Throughout the year, Standard Time in Kenya is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, two hours ahead of Central European Winter Time, and eight hours ahead of Eastern Standard Winter Time in the U.S.
Although Kenya is considered to fall in the tropics, climate and temperature varies depending on altitude and proximity to the ocean. Coastal regions are hot and humid while the central plateaus are warm and dry, with cool nights.
Money and Payments
Kenya shilling is the country currency but foreign currency e.g. US Dollars, Euros and Great Britain Pounds are widely accepted. Most businesses accept credit cards but paying by credit card will incure a of 5% surcharge (Bank commission) on top of the price agreed in some businesses.
Health and first aid
the quality of the health service in Kenya is no consistent. In Nairobi the medical facilities are good. We advice you to contact your local health service to get advised about the precautions you will have to take before your journey. In general it is advisable to have the following vaccinations:
At least 10 days before your departure you should get a yellow fever vaccination, it will give you 10 years of protection.
Polio Tetanus Diphtheria
If you had this vaccination earlier (i.e. as a child) one vaccination every 15 years should be enough. For the details we advice you to contact your local health services.
A Vaccination for Hepatitis A gives you one year of protection. After a second vaccination you are protected against Hepatitis A for 10 years.
Malaria is spreading more and more over the world and is getting more resistant against medicines. It is important that you have the last up-to-date information about malaria.
Besides taking medication against malaria you can wear clothes covering your body around and after sunset.
It is also good to use a mosquito bed net. Uncovered body parts can be protected by using repellents that contains DEET (diethyltoluamide). This provides you from getting stung by mosquitoes.
Taking an emergency treatment with you against malaria is only necessary if you plan on staying in a risk area for longer than a month. In that case, ask your local health service for advice.
If you get a fever during or after your stay please consult a physician.
Besides the above it is important that you know about these facts:
Bilharzias is a human disease caused by parasitic worms called Schistosomes. Bilharzias are common in the tropics where ponds, streams and irrigation canals harbor bilharzias-transmitting snails. Avoid swimming or bathing in these waters.
In most cases Diarrhea disappears by eating light food like white rice, toast and biscuits with tea without sugar and bouillon. Do not forget to drink against dehydration! If diarrhea continues use an Imodium or contact a physician.
The risk of getting cholera is close to zero. Besides that a vaccination is not very effective.
In every country you should be careful for diseases that can be transmitted through sex and blood, like hepatitis B and AIDS. Please abstain from sex from strangers or use condom if need be. Do not get a piercing or tattoo.
Insects & snakes:
Nothing to worry about, but the bites from the female flee can be annoying. Using repellents with DEET usually also protect you against flee bites. If you are bitten, use a sterile needle to remove the dark spot and treat the bite with podium.
If you are unsure if the flee was removed or the wound gets infected you are advised to visit your doctor when you get home.
If you should encounter snakes near your hotel; they mostly are harmless house snakes. Yes, some of the snakes are very and most dangerous, Do not try to catch them and do not make any sudden movements. If you get bitten please contact a local doctor.
It is advised to take a first aid kit with you. Women should take tampons with them since they are difficult to get in some areas.
During the safari it is common to wear casual clothing, preferable cotton and in safari colors. During the day shorts are ideal, and after sunset we advice you to wear long trousers, because of mosquito’s.
Take a sweater or jacket with you for the early mornings and cool evenings. Besides that comfortable shoes are recommended. Women are advised to wear a supporting bra. The roads are not that good everywhere so this will give you better comfort.
Almost every lodge has a swimming pool, so do not forget your swimming wear. Since Kenya is close to the equator, the sun is very strong. Take a hat or a cap with you as well as a protective sun lotion and sunglasses.
The driver and or the guide will be doing their best to show you the true taste of safari and making your safari enjoyable by showing you animals and explaining. It is therefore recommended to give your driver/guide a tip at the end of the safari, mostly around US$.5 for the guide and US$.10 for the driver, – per person per day.
There is little room for luggage in the vehicles when traveling in groups; to avoid overload the maximum weight per person is 15 kilos, your foto equipment not included.
If possible, put your belongings in a soft bag, these are easier to manage, especially on inland flights. Take some plastic bags to protect your clothes from dust and moisture.
Food and water
You can not always rely on the quality of food and water in Kenya. Use these guidelines to prevent yourself from getting infected: –
Always wash your hands with water and soap before your meal and after visiting a toilet.
– Avoid drinking water from the water tap and be careful using ice cubes. You can drink boiled water and water that is sold in sealed water bottles.
– Drink enough water in dry and hot areas.
– It is always NOT safe to eat fruit and vegetables that are already peeled, unboiled milk, ice and cheese.
– Fish and meat must be well cooked or grilled. Food that has been standing for a longer time can be infected by bacteria.
Photo and video
when traveling in Africa you will meet other cultures and people. Off course you would like to get this on photo or video. Sometimes the local population finds this disturbing.
Showing respect and asking if a picture can be taken creates goodwill, contact with the locals is more than just taking pictures. Take enough photo material with you since this sometimes is difficult to buy in Kenya.
Een tele lens or zoom lens (i.e. 300mm) is advisable for photographing the wildlife. Charging your batteries is mostly possible but bear in mind that some lodges only have power between 18.00 and 22.00 from a generator and that the voltage may fluctuate.
The hotels in Kenya have a voltage of 220-240 volt. You will need a type G plug. Please take an adapter and/or transformer with you.
You will notice that many children, but also merchants, will ask for ballpoints, magazines and more. For us a ballpoint is not worth much but for them it means a lot.
Of course we can not forbid you anything on this matter, but we ask you not to answer the begging. If the begging is successful, the local population will never learn to take care for themselves.
This is especially important for the begging children.
What you need to take with you
Besides your usual travel equipment we advise you to take the following with you:
A copy of you passport
A money belt for your money and documents
Warm sweater and trousers
Spare batteries for your camera
Enough film or videotape
Rubber sandals for bathing and showering
A hat or cap
First aid kit
A torch with spare bulb and batteries
Plastic bags for your laundry