African travel advice when visiting Kenya
Kenya is the land that gave birth to Africa’s most popular activity for tourists, the safaris, and it’s easy to see why. Kenya is blessed with immense topographical diversity spanning four climatic zones and features coral reefs, desert landscapes, volcanoes and snow-capped mountains.
Populating these diverse landscapes and wilderness areas is Kenya’s world-famous wildlife, which can be viewed from horseback, 4×4, veranda, or on foot. There are over 1,000 species of birds and huge colonies of colorful butterflies. Also attractive is the rich history, dating back to the Stone Age, and the different cultures expressed through sought-after arts and crafts.
So whether you are lazing on the white sandy beaches of exotic Mombasa or gazing at the world’s greatest wildlife spectacle, the annual wildebeest migration, you are sure to enjoy a world-class experience.
There are four climatic zones: equatorial, tropical, semi-desert and desert. Only two seasons have been identified, namely dry and rainy. Due to the altitude and topographical differences of different regions, these seasons and temperatures are not uniform and vary greatly. But the climate is generally warm and wet on the coast, cool and wet in the central highlands, and hot and dry in the north and east.
The official currency is the Kenya shilling. Traveler’s checks are widely accepted and many hotels, travel agencies, safari companies and restaurants accept credit cards. Foreign currencies such as US dollars, British pounds and German marks can be exchanged at licensed banks, exchange offices and hotels. There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Kenya, but taking out more than 500,000 Kenyan shillings requires written authorization from the Central Bank. Before departure, travelers are advised to convert any excess Kenyan shillings into foreign currency at a bank or exchange office. Exit taxes can be paid in local or foreign currency.
220/240 volts, 50 Hz. Sockets are 3-pin square.
Yellow fever vaccination is recommended if the traveler is coming from an infected country or area. Visitors are also advised to take pre-arrival precautions against typhoid, hepatitis A, polio, malaria, and meningitis depending on the area visited and the time of year. Other health concerns include cholera, rabies, the Nairobi beetle (don’t touch, threaten, or kill), dysentery, and diarrhoea.
English is the official language, but Kiswahili is the national language.
New Year’s Day (January 1); Good Friday (09 April); Easter Monday (12 April); Labor Day (May 1); Madaraka Day (01 June); Moi Day (October 10); Kenyatta Day (20 October); the end of Ramadan (November 14); Independence Day (December 12); Christmas Day (December 25); Boxing Day (26 December)
Traditional Handicrafts, Beaded Jewelry, Decorative Articles, Animal Wood and Soapstone Carvings, Furniture, Coffee, Gemstones, Furniture, Khanga and Kikoy Fabrics, Musical Instruments, Modern Art, Basketwork such as Kiondoo/Chondo Baskets for Sisal, Blankets Maasai Shukka, “thousand” Miler sandals, and “elephant hair” bracelets.
The culture here is a mixture of the modern and the traditional, with European customs prevalent throughout the country. Kenyans are a very friendly nation and you can dress casually on most occasions.
Not mandatory. Guides, drivers, waiters and hotel staff can be informed at your discretion.
Description of the main attractions:
National Reserve: The most famous game reserve in the world due to the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle over this vast plain that offers breathtaking scenery; home to an abundance of wild animals and birds; Activities include excellent game viewing throughout the year, balloon rides, and bird watching.
Tsavo East and West:
Tsavo’s dual national parks, totaling 10 million acres of wilderness, make up Kenya’s largest national park, making it ideal for those who enjoy solitude; Of the two, Tsavo West has been visited the most; Apart from wildlife and birds, visit Lugard Falls, Mzima volcanic springs, and a unique underwater observatory.
One of the most exotic tropical ports in the world with a turbulent history. Visit Fort Jesus and the impressive harbour, see Arabic architecture in the old city and smell the aroma of spices. Many wonderful temples and mosques can be explored such as Shiva Temple, Baloch Mosque and Dawoodi Bohra Mosque. Don’t miss Mombasa Marine National Park, Moi Avenue Gateway Arch, cruises and beaches.
Amboseli National Park:
One of the most popular national parks in Kenya with a wide range of accommodations; Mount Kilimanjaro dominates the landscape and the park is known for its big game and scenic beauty; Bird life is abundant.
Lake Nakuru National Park:
It is famous for its flamingos and is very popular with bird watchers and other nature lovers. Take full advantage of the view and visit Euphobia Forest.
Mount Kenya National Park:
The country is named after Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa. For mountain climbers and trekkers, it offers easy and challenging ascents with great scenic beauty. Local tribes believe it to be the home of Ngai (God). A number of unique, rare and endangered species can be found here and there is abundant bird life.
A tranquil tropical island with a fascinating history, which can be explored in the winding streets of its medieval stone town, a World Heritage Site due in part to it being the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa.
Lake Turkana National Parks:
The three national parks are a stopover for migratory waterfowl and are prime breeding grounds for Nile crocodiles, hippos, and a variety of venomous snakes. Turkana is an outstanding place in the study of plant and animal communities, the Koobi Fora fossil deposits have contributed more to the understanding of paleoenvironments than any other site in Africa, and it is Africa’s most saline large lake and a World Heritage Site.
Aberdare National Park:
A must for landscape lovers, as one can witness breathtaking mountains, waterfalls, rainforests, trout streams, swamps, thickets of giant weeds, caves, abundant bird life, Duikers, black rhinos and the elusive rare Bongo – It is an antelope forest. This area is ideal for hiking, picnicking, trout fishing, camping, and night game viewing.
Mount Elgon National Park:
One of Kenya’s most beautiful and pristine regions where you can find giant trees, around 400 animals, over 240 species of birds and ‘cave elephants’ that venture deep into the four caves at night to feed on the salt-rich sediments. Mount Elgon is also a popular botanical area with a great wealth of Afro-Alpine flowers. Hot springs occur and sport fishing is popular on the Suam River.