All visitors to Kenya
are required to have valid passports. Visas are also required for visitors
who are not citizens of the commonwealth countries in order to enter Kenya.
At present visitors from Germany, Denmark, Norway, San Marino, Sweden,
Ethiopia, Eritrea, Finland, Spain, Turkey and Uruguay do not require visas.
However, since visa requirements may change, it is advisable for the visitors
to check the current visa requirements through airlines, tour operators
or Kenya Tourist Offices, Kenya Embassies or High Commissions in their
countries before coming, to avoid embarrassment. Visas normally take up
to six weeks to process and are valid for up to a three month period.
Those visitors with proper documents and who also possess onward or return
tickets may be given visitor's passes free of charge on arrival at any
Kenyan point of entry.
During the three months
period, the visitors' pass holders are not allowed to engage themselves
in any form of work or business in the country without authority from
the Principal Immigration officer. Visitors without proper documents will
be required to pay a refundable deposit of Kshs. 5,000/= before they are
issued with visitor passes.
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.
The average annual
temperature for the coastal town of Mombasa (altitude 17 metres) is 30.30
Celsius maximum and 22.40 Celsius minimum, the capital city, Nairobi (altitude
1,661 metres) 25.20 Celsius maximum and 13.60 Celsius minimum, Eldoret
(altitude 3,085) 23.60 Celsius maximum and 9.50 Celsius minimum, Lodwar
(altitude) 506 metres) and the drier north plainlands 34.80 Celsius maximum
and 23.70 Celsius minimum.
There is plenty of
sunshine all the year round and summer clothes are worn throughout the
year. However, it is usually cool at night and early in the morning.
The long rains occur
from April to June and short rains from October to December. The rainfall
is sometimes heavy and when it does come it often falls in the afternoons
and evenings. The hottest period is from February to March and coldest
in July to August.
The annual migration
of wildlife between Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara
National Park in Kenya takes place between June and September. The migration
of almost two million wildebeest, zebras and other species is nature's
greatest spectacle on earth. The animal trek has been captured by filmmakers
Baggage space on safari is restricted to one medium suitcase or holdall
per person, plus hand baggage (private safaris where there are less than
7 persons in the vehicle are not subject to this restriction). Visitors
to Treetops and the Ark are asked to take overnight bags only; suitcases
can be left at the base hotel. Hotels will normally store baggage at no
extra cost. Baggage can also be stored at Alefran Tours & Safaris
offices. A baggage weight restriction of 15 kg per person applies on air
safaris. Where very small aircraft are used this maybe reduced to 10kg.
Hard currencies can be exchanged in cash or travellers cheques 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 from 9.00
am to 3.00 pm, Mondays through Fridays and from 9.00 am and 11.00 am on
and AMERICAN EXPRESS
are widely accepted for tourist services. There's
usually a 5% mark-up on top of the price as establishments
are charged a fixed percentage of their transactions.
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 Kenya 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 made use
of after dusk and suitable cover up clothes should be worn in the evenings.
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 to Nairobi for admittance to hospital. The current cost
for 1-month membership is US$ 25 per person.
Drinking water from the tap must be considered risky. Hotels and lodges
usually furnish safe water in a thermos flask in guest rooms. Bottled
mineral water is available in every hotel and supermarket.
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 and a fixed price agreed.
Seek the assistance of your driver/guide in 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 pin and of the 'square'
Although hotels and lodges include a service charge, it is customary to
tip porters, waiters, taxi drivers and safari drivers/guides.
Kiswahili is the lingua franca while English is the official language.
In addition, most tribes have their own language.
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