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Kenya Travel Advisory

Travel advisory july 31, 2023, kenya - level 2: exercise increased caution.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise increased caution in Kenya due to  crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping .  Some areas have increased risk.  Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do Not Travel to: Kenya-Somalia border counties and some coastal areas, due to terrorism and kidnapping .

Areas of Turkana County, due to crime .

Reconsider Travel to: Nairobi neighborhoods of Eastleigh and Kibera, due to crime and kidnapping .

Certain areas of Laikipia County, due to criminal incursions and security operations , reconsider travel through Nyahururu, Laikipia West, and Laikipia North Sub-counties.

Country Summary :  Violent crime, such as armed carjacking, mugging, home invasion, and kidnapping, can occur at any time.  Local police often lack the capability to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents and terrorist attacks.  Emergency medical and fire service is also limited. Be especially careful when traveling after dark anywhere in Kenya due to crime.

Terrorist attacks have occurred with little or no warning, targeting Kenyan and foreign government facilities, tourist locations, transportation hubs, hotels, resorts, markets/shopping malls, and places of worship. Terrorist acts have included armed assaults, suicide operations, bomb/grenade attacks, and kidnappings.

Demonstrations may occur, blocking key intersections and resulting in widespread traffic jams.  Strikes and other protest activity related to political and economic conditions occur regularly, particularly in periods near elections.  Violence associated with demonstrations, ranging from rock throwing to police using deadly force, occurs around the country; it is mostly notable in western Kenya and Nairobi.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating in the vicinity of the Kenyan-Somali border, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM).  For more information, U.S. citizens should consult  Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Notice .

Some schools and other facilities acting as cultural rehabilitation centers are operating in Kenya with inadequate or nonexistent licensing and oversight.  Reports of minors and young adults being held in these facilities against their will and physically abused are common.

Read the  country information page  for additional information about travel to Kenya.

If you decide to travel to Kenya:

  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Make contingency plans to leave the country. in case of an emergency Review the  Traveler’s Checklist ..
  • Always carry a copy of your U.S. passport and visa (if applicable).  Keep original documents in a secure location.
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Kenya.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest  Travel Health Information  related to your travel.

Specified Areas - Level 4: Do Not Travel U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to the below areas.

Kenya-Somalia Border Counties:

  • Mandera due to kidnapping and terrorism.
  • Wajir due to kidnapping and terrorism.
  • Garissa due to kidnapping and terrorism.

Coastal Areas:

  • Tana River county due to kidnapping and terrorism.
  • Lamu county due to kidnapping and terrorism.
  • Areas of Kilifi County north of Malindi due to kidnapping and terrorism.

Turkana County:

  • Road from Kainuk to Lodwar due to crime and armed robbery, which occur frequently.

Specified Areas - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Nairobi neighborhoods of Eastleigh and Kibera:

  • Violent crime, such as armed carjacking, mugging, home invasion, and kidnapping, can occur at any time.  Street crime can involve multiple armed assailants.  Local police often lack the resources and training to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

Laikipia County:

  • Certain areas of Laikipia County, due to criminal incursions and security operations, reconsider travel through Nyahururu, Laikipia West, and Laikipia North Sub-counties.

Consider carefully whether to use the Likoni ferry in Mombasa due to safety concerns.

Visit our website for  Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Travel Advisory Levels

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The 8 most unmissable places in Kenya

Wendy  Watta

Nov 28, 2023 • 8 min read

Maasai in the Grass

Here are the best places to add to your Kenya itinerary © Chris Minihane / Getty Images

A trip to Kenya is synonymous with safari, and rightfully so. Its national parks teem with wildlife, with the most famous being the Masai Mara Game Reserve, famous for the Big Five – lion, leopard, black rhino, elephant and buffalo – and the Nilotic Maasai tribe with their distinct red traditional shuka (checkered cloth).

But Kenya has much more to offer than national parks . There are forested mountains begging to be clambered up and sprawling cities teeming with vibrant social and cultural scenes. You can relax on pristine beaches, dive into underwater wonderlands in the Indian Ocean, or go on a thrilling off-road adventure. 

No matter what type of trip you seek, Kenya will provide it. Here are the best places to add to your itinerary.

Fruits stacked at a local fruit and vegetable market in bustling Nairobi, Kenya

Best place for culture and nightlife

A city at the center of it all, Kenya’s capital is a great stopover if you’re looking to head off on safari, hit the beach or visit incredible restaurants.

Unpack your bags and spend a couple of days eating and drinking your way across the array of bars and restaurants in Nairobi  – buzzy spots such as Cultiva , where the chef’s South American roots can be tasted in each farm-to-table dish, or  Unseen Nairobi , an independent art house and rooftop bar, where signature sandwiches serve as the perfect side to indie films.

With art galleries, open-air cinemas showcasing African films, shopping, stand-up comedy shows and museums, Nairobi is rich in cultural experiences. 

Planning tip: Even in the capital, you can get up close with wildlife. Options include seeing orphaned baby elephants at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust , feeding Rothschild giraffes at the  Giraffe Centre  and spotting four of the Big Five (not elephants) at Nairobi National Park against an unlikely backdrop of billboards, traffic and skyscrapers.

Best place for rugged exploration

Remote, inhospitable and historically drought-stricken, Turkana looks like a vast empty area on a map of Kenya, but it’s a big draw for adventurers who thrive on challenge. Although the region has an airport, the thrill is in driving, which requires a reliable 4x4 to navigate the craggy roads. 

Given how hot and arid the region is, jade-blue Lake Turkana, the largest desert lake in the world, is a wonderful surprise. Visit Eliye Springs with its sandy beaches and towering green palm trees, and you'll think you’re on Diani Beach on the Kenyan coast, or rent a speedboat and zip to Central Island , where a short hike leads up to a volcanic crater lake. Don’t forget your swimming trunks, and be wary of Nile crocodiles camouflaged on the rocks.

Fast-developing Lodwar town bursts with lively nightlife and also features its own replica of Brazil’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue. For a real glimpse into the past, drive 129km (80 miles) west to see a replica of the archeological fossil remains of Turkana Boy, which is how this region came to be known as the “cradle of mankind.”  

Planning tip: Time your visit with the annual Lake Turkana Cultural Festival in June for better insight into northern tribes such as the Borana, Rendille, Turkana and Samburu. Drive east of Lake Turkana, and you’ll get to the Chalbi Desert, which has salt pans that spread to the Ethiopian border. You can sandboard the dunes and meet villagers at North Horr to gain an insight into their culture.

Cheetah interacts with a safari vehicle in Maasai Mara, Kenya

3. Masai Mara

Best place for safari

One of Africa’s great bucket-list safari destinations, Masai Mara lies in Kenya’s southwestern region and stretches for 1510 sq km (583 sq miles) into Tanzania’s Serengeti. Spot all the Big Five and other wildlife here, as well as more than 450 species of birds.

Choose your own adventure and observe wildlife from a safari vehicle, aboard a hot air balloon with a champagne breakfast, on horseback or on a guided walking safari.

You can also visit Maasai villages for a first-hand insight into this legendary tribe’s way of life and their historical and spiritual bond with the land.

Planning tip:   The best time to visit  is between July and October when millions of wildebeest migrate across the Serengeti–Mara ecosystem in search of verdant pasture and to calve, an action-packed scene that often involves them being hunted down by crocodiles and big cats.

Best place for birdwatching

Kisumu is the gateway into western Kenya and boasts an idyllic proximity to one of the African Great Lakes, Lake Victoria .

Boat rides and bird-watching are the big draws here. Head to Le Pearl or Dunga Hill Camp to try tilapia, either deep-fried or slathered in a thick and delicious fried tomato and onion base, served with ugali (a local staple similar to a thick porridge).

The sunsets over the water in Kisumu are worth the trip, but you can also dance until morning to popular ohangla music at various spots in town, explore the  Impala Sanctuary or visit out-of-town caves and rock formations, such as Kit-Mikayi and the lesser-known Abindu Caves.

Zip down to the lake’s most popular islands: Mbita, Rusinga and Takawiri, where the beaches are powder white and the sunsets glow. As the sun sets, you'll see the “ghost cities” formed by hundreds of lanterns hoisted on wooden canoes by fishermen heading off to fish by night.

Planning tip:  Getting here from Nairobi requires either a 45-minute flight or at least six hours on the road, but your best bet is the passenger train service .

The sand of Shela beach in Lamu, Kenya

5. Lamu Island

Best place for relaxing beach breaks

If you’re looking for a laid-back destination with gorgeous beaches in Kenya, the Lamu archipelago is the place.

History buffs should head to ancient Lamu Town – as the oldest Swahili settlement along East Africa’s coastline, everything from the architecture to the food is storied. The streets are so narrow that it’s inaccessible by car; donkeys or walking were once the only mode of transport, but in recent years, motorbike taxis called boda-boda  have changed the vibe of the town, whizzing through the corridors blasting the latest hits. 

Hop on a speedboat and explore other spots across the archipelago, such as Kiwayu Island. Sitting in Kiunga Marine National Reserve, it’s ideal for diving or sport fishing. In Shela village, holiday homes with infinity pools that gaze out to the sea are the norm. The annual Lamu Yoga Festival in October draws students from across the world. 

An evening sunset cruise aboard a traditional Mozambican-style dhow (wooden boat) is a must. The island has lots of great restaurants, such as those at Peponi Hotel and Kijani Hotel, or have a drink at the Floating Bar. 

Planning tip: Clothing that covers shoulders and chests is expected; Lamu is a largely Muslim town.

6. Amboseli National Park

Best place to see elephants up close

With miles of dusty semi-arid grassland unexpectedly dotted with acacia trees and green marsh fed by underground water sources, Amboseli National Park features large herds of elephants wallowing in the shallows, dust-bathing or coming so close to your vehicle that you can see their eyelashes. 

Africa’s tallest mountain might be in Tanzania, but the best views of Mt Kilimanjaro are undoubtedly from Kenya. On a clear day, you can see its snowcapped peak jutting out into the sky, making an incredible shot for photographers. Come evening, kick back with a sundowner and enjoy the views, which are even better at sunrise from the vantage point of a hot air balloon. 

Wildlife use the neighboring Kimana Sanctuary as a corridor to move from the park to the Chyulu Hills and Tsavo , and your visit supports a community-owned conservancy – Kenya’s first, set up in 1996. To champion the shift from hunting to conservation in a community where killing lions was once a rite of passage, they also host a fun biennial Maasai Olympics, in which young men compete in club- and spear-throwing, high jumping and sprinting races.

7. Matthews Range

Best place for hiking

Getting to the far-flung Matthews Range in Samburu is no easy feat. Hikers can choose from various scenic routes , each just as serene as the next, but for the best experience, pick a trail that leads through a canopy of trees with emerald undergrowth so thick you'll need a machete to clear the pathway, emerging at an icy cold rock pool on River Ngeng. 

The highest peak in these mountains is 2688m (8819ft), and temperatures get as low as 10ºC (50ºF). You can camp or stay at remote lodges, like Kitich Forest Camp , where you'll be paired up with a Samburu guide who will help you navigate the area and point out wildlife by their tracks and sounds.

On your way down from the peak, try to spot Hartlaub's turaco, a bird that may as well be the Kenyan mascot because it has the same colors as the flag, and De Brazza’s monkey, a master at camouflage.

Three camels walking on the beach in Diani Beach, Kenya

Best place for marine life

Watamu is a great hub for exploring the north coast, and the culture has such a distinct Italian influence that several locals speak the language; improbably, Italians first came here in the 1960s to work at the nearby Luigi Broglio Space Center. Many restaurants offer pasta, pizza and gelato, and even some street signs are in Italian.

Go diving or snorkeling in the marine park , join the Saturday evening parties at Papa Remo Beach , visit the striking canyons at Marafa Hell’s Kitchen (just not in the middle of the day because you might pass out from the heat), sign up for boozy sunset cruises down Mida Creek or kite surf at Che Shale .

Planning tip: If you’re here in October, watch huge humpback whales launch themselves into the air before landing back in the sea a few feet away from your boat.

This article was first published April 2022 and updated November 2023

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11 Must-Know KENYA TIPS for First-Time Visitors (Ultimate Guide for Unforgettable Adventure)

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Kenya is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking adventure, breathtaking scenery, and unforgettable wildlife encounters. However, planning a trip to Kenya as a first-time visitor can be overwhelming. To help you make the most of your trip, here are 11 must-know Kenya tips for first-time visitors .

From the stunning beaches along the coast to the rolling savannas of the Masai Mara, Kenya offers something for everyone. Whether you’re planning a safari or a beach vacation, these tips will help you navigate the country and enjoy an unforgettable experience. So, let’s dive in and discover what Kenya has to offer!

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Best Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

  • 1. 11 Must-Know Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors
  • 1.1. Get a Kenyan Visa Online And Prepare Required Documents
  • 1.2. Get Vaccinated to Protect Your Heath
  • 1.3. Take Necessary Health Precautions While Visiting Kenya
  • 1.4. Packing Tips for Traveling to Kenya
  • 1.5. Essential Tips on What to Wear in Kenya
  • 1.6. Learn Basic Swahili Phrases
  • 1.7. Tipping Practices in Kenya
  • 1.8. Carry Your Passport With You
  • 1.9. Leave All Your Plastic Bags at Home
  • 1.10. Take It Easy in Kenya (Pole Pole)
  • 1.11. Ask Permission Before Taking Photos of People or Infrastructure
  • 2. Intrepid Scout's Tips for First-Time Travelers to Kenya

11 Must-Know Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

Get a kenyan visa online and prepare required documents.

To enter Kenya, most foreign visitors need to obtain a visa . Here’s what you need to know:

  • The easiest way to get a Kenyan visa is to apply online for an e-visa . This can be done through the Republic of Kenya Electronic Visa Application System and the process usually takes a few days.
  • IMPORTANT: T ravelers can no longer get a visa on arrival in Kenya . Passengers on international flights to any Kenyan airport need to have a valid e-visa. Visa-on-arrival facilities at Kenyan airports, including Nairobi, have been discontinued.
  • Apply for your visa at least 30 days in advance of your trip.
  • The application is quite detailed . You will need to provide addresses, phone numbers, and websites for all your accommodations. You also need to provide a travel itinerary, proof of a return air ticket, and a recent color photograph.

Kenya Tips for First-Time Travelers

  Gamewatchers Safaris Porini Mara Camp within the Ol Kinyei Wildlife Conservancy / Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

  • To obtain a Kenyan visa , you will typically need to provide a valid passport, a passport photo, proof of onward travel (such as a return flight ticket), addresses, phone numbers, and websites for all your accommodations, and a travel itinerary. Depending on your country of origin, you may also need to provide additional documents or undergo a medical examination.
  • The cost of a Kenyan visa varies depending on your nationality and the type of visa you require. As of 2023, the cost of a single-entry tourist visa is $51 USD for most countries, while a multiple-entry visa costs $100 USD.
  • A single-entry tourist visa is usually valid for 90 days from the date of issuance, while a multiple-entry visa is valid for up to one year . Be sure to check the validity of your visa before traveling to Kenya, and make sure to renew it if necessary.
  • It is always a good idea to check with your local Kenyan embassy or consulate to confirm the latest visa requirements and fees before you travel.

Get Vaccinated to Protect Your Heath

When traveling to Kenya, take steps to protect your health and prevent illnesses. Here are some key vaccinations:

A yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers entering Kenya from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission . The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains a list of countries at risk of yellow fever transmission, which is updated regularly. Some of the countries on the list include parts of Africa, South America, and Central America. However, the list can change, so it is best to check the latest information with the Kenya embassy or consulate in your country before traveling.

Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

Cheetah at Gamewatchers Safaris Porini Mara Camp within the Ol Kinyei Wildlife Conservancy / Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

In addition, the following vaccinations are also recommended for most travelers to Kenya :

  • Hepatitis A: This vaccination is recommended for all travelers to Kenya, as the disease can be contracted through contaminated food or water.
  • Typhoid: Typhoid is another bacterial infection that can be contracted through contaminated food and water. The vaccination is recommended for most travelers to Kenya.
  • Hepatitis B: This vaccination is recommended for travelers who may have sexual contact with local people, need medical treatment while in Kenya, or engage in any activities that may expose them to blood or bodily fluids.
  • Meningococcal: This vaccination is recommended for travelers who plan to have prolonged contact with locals or stay in crowded areas.
  • Rabies: Rabies can be contracted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal, and is prevalent in Kenya. The vaccination is recommended for travelers who plan to spend a lot of time outdoors or have close contact with animals.

Oryx in Kenya

Oryx at Gamewatchers Safaris Porini Mara Camp within the Ol Kinyei Wildlife Conservancy / Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

These recommendations may vary based on your health status and travel plans, so it is best to consult with a travel health specialist or your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate vaccinations for your trip.

My healthcare provider recommended the following vaccinations based on my age and destination: typhoid fever, and meningitis. Also, because I was also visiting Uganda on the same trip, I had to get the yellow fever vaccination which was a requirement.

In addition, I was also given a prescription for anti-malaria pills to begin taking a day before entering the country and continue for 2 weeks after leaving.

Take Necessary Health Precautions While Visiting Kenya

When traveling to Kenya, take some basic health precautions to protect yourself from illness and injury.

  • Tap water is not safe to drink in Kenya due to the risk of waterborne illnesses such as cholera and typhoid fever. Stick to bottled or boiled water and avoid ice cubes or drinks made with tap water. If you must drink tap water, use a water filtration system or water purification tablets.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Carry hand sanitizer for times when you do not have access to soap and water. This can help prevent the spread of germs and illness.
  • It is important to practice good hygiene habits while traveling in Kenya. This includes showering regularly and brushing your teeth with bottled or boiled water.
  • Protect yourself from mosquitoes . Mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria and dengue fever are common in Kenya. Use insect repellent with DEET. Wear long sleeve shirts and pants. Sleep under a mosquito net to reduce your risk of getting bitten. It is also a good idea to take antimalarial medication as recommended by your doctor.

Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

Lion at Gamewatchers Safaris Porini Rhino Camp within the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy / Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

  • Get travel insurance . Medical care can be expensive in Kenya, so have travel insurance that covers medical expenses, as well as emergency evacuation in case of serious illness or injury. Make sure to review your policy and understand what is and is not covered.
  • While the wildlife in Kenya is a major draw for most travelers, it is wise to remember that wild animals are unpredictable and can be dangerous . Follow the advice of your guide or park rangers, and keep a safe distance from animals at all times. Never attempt to feed or touch wildlife, and avoid walking alone at night or in areas where wildlife may be present.
  • In addition to waterborne illnesses, foodborne illnesses can also be a risk in Kenya. To avoid getting sick, it is recommended to avoid raw or undercooked meats and seafood , as well as fruits and vegetables that have not been washed or peeled.
  • Protect yourself from the sun . Kenya is located near the equator, and the sun can be intense. To avoid sunburn and heatstroke, wear sunscreen with a high SPF, a hat, and sunglasses. It is also a good idea to stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade during the hottest parts of the day.
  • While you hope that nothing goes wrong during your trip, be prepared for emergencies . Make sure to carry a first aid kit with basic supplies like bandages and antiseptic, as well as any prescription medications you may need. It is also a good idea to have a plan in case of an emergency, including the contact information for local hospitals and emergency services.

Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

Giraffes at Gamewatchers Safaris Porini Rhino Camp within the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy / Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

Packing Tips for Traveling to Kenya

  • With the tropical climate in Kenya, the sun can be quite strong . Sunscreen is a must when traveling to Kenya. Look for a high SPF and apply it liberally throughout the day. You’ll also want to pack a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the sun’s rays.
  • Mosquitoes can be a problem in some parts of Kenya, especially during the rainy season. They can carry diseases like malaria and dengue fever, so protect yourself from bites. You can buy insect repellent in Kenya, but it is a good idea to bring your own as well. Look for a repellent that contains DEET, and be sure to apply it frequently, especially during the evening hours.
  • If you take any prescription medications , be sure to bring enough to last for the entire trip. You’ll also want to pack a small first-aid kit with items like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
  • Kenya uses Type G electrical outlets , which are different from those used in the US and other parts of the world. Be sure to pack a power adapter if you plan on using any electronics like cameras, phones, or laptops.
  • Kenya is known for its wildlife and stunning natural landscapes, so you’ll want to capture all the amazing sights. Be sure to pack a camera with a zoom lens and binoculars for wildlife viewing.
  • While most places in Kenya do accept credit cards, it is always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller purchases or in case of emergencies.

Essential Tips on What to Wear in Kenya

Kenya can have varying weather conditions depending on the time of year and location within the country.

If you are planning to go on a safari , make sure to bring clothes that can keep you warm during chilly morning game drives, such as a jacket or sweater. If you are planning to visit the coastal regions, pack clothes that are lightweight and breathable for the hot and humid weather.

Before you start packing, be sure to check the weather forecast for the time of year and location you’ll be visiting. This can give you an idea of what to expect in terms of temperatures and weather conditions, and help you pack accordingly.

Kenya Travel Tips for First-Time Visitors

Hippos at Gamewatchers Safaris Porini Mara Camp within the Ol Kinyei Wildlife Conservancy / Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

Here are essential tips on what to wear in Kenya when you go on a safari:

  • When going on safari, the mornings can be quite chilly while the afternoons can be quite hot. To stay comfortable throughout the day, it is best to dress in layers . This way, you can easily remove or add clothing as needed.
  •  If you’re traveling during the rainy season (which varies depending on the region), be sure to bring a waterproof jacket or poncho. This will keep you dry during any unexpected rain showers.
  • When it comes to color, it is best to stick to neutral and muted colors such as khaki, beige, brown, and green. These colors blend in with the natural surroundings and do not disturb the wildlife.
  • Depending on the activities you have planned, be sure to bring appropriate footwear. Bring comfortable, closed-toe sturdy shoes .
  • When packing your clothing, consider the cultural norms in Kenya . Generally, it is best to dress modestly and avoid clothing that is too revealing or provocative.

Learn Basic Swahili Phrases

While English is widely spoken in Kenya, learning some basic Swahili phrases can go a long way in helping you communicate with locals and make a good impression.

Here are some words and phrases to learn:

  • Hello: Jambo
  • Welcome: Karibu
  • Goodbye: Kwaheri
  • Thank you: Asante
  • Please: Tafadhali
  • Excuse me: Samahani
  • How are you?: Habari gani?
  • I’m fine, thank you: Nzuri, asante
  • What is your name?: Jina lako nani?
  • My name is ___: Jina langu ni ___
  • Have a good journey: Safari njema
  • Good night/sleep well: Lala salama
  • Take it easy: Pole pole

Even if you only know a few phrases, using them can show locals that you respect their culture and are making an effort to communicate with them. Don’t be afraid to practice and make mistakes – most people will appreciate your effort and may even help you improve your Swahili.

Tipping Practices in Kenya

It is a good idea to bring some cash when traveling to Kenya. Especially small denominations of $1, $5, and $10 bills for tipping and small purchase.

US dollars and euros are widely accepted.

Tipping is customary in Kenya, especially in the tourism industry. Below are just general guidelines, and you should always tip based on the level of service provided. Tipping is not mandatory, but it is a way to show appreciation for good service and support the local economy.

  • Safari guides and drivers: In addition to the standard 10-15% of the cost of the service, you can also tip based on the level of service provided. For example, if your guide goes above and beyond to make your safari experience memorable, you can consider tipping more generously.
  • Hotel staff: In addition to housekeeping and baggage handlers, you can also tip other hotel staff, such as the concierge or restaurant servers. If a service charge is not included in the bill, a tip of around 10% of the total bill is appropriate.
  • Transportation services: If you use a taxi or ride-sharing service, a tip of around 10% is appropriate. You can also round up the fare to the nearest whole number.
  • Cultural experiences: If you participate in a cultural experience, such as a traditional dance performance or a visit to a local village, it is appropriate to tip the performers or guides. A tip of around 100-200 Kenyan shillings (equivalent to 1-2 USD) is appropriate.

Carry Your Passport With You

It is a good idea to carry a form of identification with you when traveling in Kenya, and your passport is the best form of identification to carry.

Also, keep your passport safe and secure, as losing it or having it stolen can be a major hassle.

Here are some tips for carrying your passport in Kenya:

  • Keep it in a secure place: When you’re not using your passport, keep it in a secure place, such as a hotel safe or a hidden money belt. Avoid carrying it in your back pocket or leaving it unattended in your hotel room.
  • Carry a photocopy: Make a photocopy of your passport and carry it with you. This can be useful if you need to show identification but don’t want to risk losing your actual passport.
  • Be aware of local laws: In Kenya, it is technically required to carry your passport with you at all times. However, in practice, you may not be asked to show your passport unless you’re stopped by the police or other authorities. If you are not comfortable carrying your passport with you, consider carrying a copy or another form of identification.
  • Use a passport holder: If you do carry your passport with you, consider using a passport holder or cover to protect it from damage and wear.

Baby White Rhino in Kenya

Baby White Rhino at Gamewatchers Safaris Porini Rhino Camp within the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy / Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

Leave All Your Plastic Bags at Home

The plastic bag ban in Kenya was implemented in August 2017, making it illegal to produce, sell, or even use plastic bags in the country. The ban is aimed at reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the environment, particularly in oceans and waterways.

The ban applies to all plastic bags, including those used for carrying groceries, as well as plastic packaging used for items like electronics and clothes. Violators of the ban can face fines of up to $38,000 or up to four years in jail.

Since the ban’s implementation, Kenya has seen a significant reduction in the amount of plastic waste generated, and other countries in the region, such as Tanzania and Rwanda, have followed suit with similar bans.

As a traveler to Kenya, be aware of the plastic bag ban and its implications. While it may be tempting to bring plastic bags or other single-use plastic items with you for convenience, doing so can result in penalties and harm the environment.

Instead, consider bringing your own reusable bags, water bottles, and utensils with you to reduce your reliance on single-use plastics. Many hotels and restaurants in Kenya have also started providing alternatives to single-use plastics, such as refillable water stations and metal straws.

By being conscious of your plastic use and making small changes to your habits, you can help support Kenya’s efforts to reduce plastic waste and protect the environment.

Take It Easy in Kenya (Pole Pole)

The phrase “pole pole” is deeply ingrained in Kenyan culture and reflects the country’s values of patience, hospitality, and community.

It means “slowly” or “gently” in Swahili, and it is often used to encourage someone to take their time or to be patient. It can also be used to convey a sense of relaxation or calmness.

In Kenya, the phrase “pole pole” is often used in a variety of contexts, such as when giving directions, offering advice, or just greeting someone. It is a friendly and informal way to encourage someone to relax and take things at a slower pace .

So, if you hear someone say “pole pole” to you while in Kenya, it is likely that they are encouraging you to slow down and take it easy.

Kenya Travel Tips for First-Time Visitors

Giraffe at Gamewatchers Safaris Porini Rhino Camp within the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy / Kenya Tips for First-Time Visitors

Ask Permission Before Taking Photos of People or Infrastructure

Ask for permission before taking photos of people or infrastructure in Kenya.

When taking photos of people in Kenya, it is important to obtain their consent first. Taking photos without permission can be considered intrusive and disrespectful.

Also, anyone taking photos of infrastructure, airports, and the military may come under suspicion.

Intrepid Scout's Tips for First-Time Travelers to Kenya

  • Check your passport to be sure it is valid for at least 6 months after your trip. Kenya requires at least one clear page in your passport.
  • Kenya has a rich and diverse culture, be respectful of local customs and traditions . Dress modestly when visiting religious or cultural sites, and ask for permission before taking photos of people or sensitive locations.
  • While Kenya is generally a safe destination for travelers, take precautions to protect your safety. Avoid walking alone at night, keep your valuables secured, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • One of the best ways to experience the culture and traditions of Kenya is to support local businesses and communities!
  • Kenya has made great strides in reducing plastic waste , and as a traveler, you can do your part by avoiding single-use plastics and supporting businesses that prioritize sustainability.

Have fun and embrace new experiences: Kenya is a beautiful and diverse country, with plenty of opportunities for adventure and exploration. Be open to new experiences, try new foods, and connect with the local people to make the most of your trip.

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16 Things To Know Before Your First Visit To Kenya

kenya for travel

  • Destinations

Kenya is an East African country that straddles the equator and is approximately the size of France. The land has several distinct zones, including semi-desert, savannah, moorland, wetlands, and rainforests. In these habitats live over 25,000 species of animals, 1,000 species of birds, and 7,000 species of plants and trees. As such, Kenya is a popular destination for an African Safari in search of the “Big Five”: Cape buffalo, black rhinos, leopards, lions, and elephants.

Recently, I spent two weeks in Kenya . The first week, I lived with a family in Nairobi, and the second week, I went on a six-day safari .

On your first trip to Kenya, there are some “crucial things to know” and some “nice things to know.” From a ban on single-use plastics to where not to take photos, here are the 11 crucial things to know before your first trip to Kenya followed by the five that are nice to know.

1. Kenya Requires A Visa

Apply for your visa at least 30 days in advance of your trip. The application is available online and is quite detailed. For example, you need addresses, phone numbers, and websites for all your accommodations. You also need to provide a travel itinerary, proof of a return air ticket, and a recent color photograph. Kenya’s visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.

Check your passport to be sure it is valid for at least 6 months after your trip. Kenya requires at least one clear page in your passport.

I also registered with the U.S. State Department travel site. While in Kenya, I received a notification of a planned demonstration the next day. We chose to avoid that area.

2. Kenya Has A Ban On Single-Use Plastics

Kenya has been a leader on the environmental issue of banning single-use plastics . Prohibited items include plastic bags, water bottles, and straws. Arriving at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, your luggage is x-rayed and possibly hand-searched. You can be fined if you have any single-use plastics. I recommend you purchase convenient reusable mesh bags for packing.

kenya for travel

2. Carefully Check Your Safari Itinerary

Our 6-day safari included four parks: Amboseli, Aberdare, Lake Nakuru, and Masai Mara. That is far too much driving — there were several days when we were in the vehicle for 6 to 8 hours just to reach one of the parks. I recommend on a 6-day safari to visit two parks and stay at each for 2 to 3 days. Of the four that we visited, I recommend two. These are the places we saw the most animals. My first recommendation is Sarova Mara Game Camp at Masai Mara Game Reserve. The site has 73 tents, a restaurant, a spacious bar and lounge, a swimming pool, and a great gift shop. The food is fabulous! My second recommendation is The Ark at Aberdare National Park , which overlooks a waterhole and salt lick. This location, of course, draws much wildlife to the area. The Ark has four viewing areas and several lounges for supreme viewing opportunities. If you wish, the night guard will announce sightings of unusual animals. 

Pro Tip: Parts of the road from Lake Nakuru to Masai Mara National Reserve are brutal! I would never travel that road again. In places, the road was non-existent, accessible only by four-wheel drive. We were stopped three times by a makeshift roadblock and paid a fee to continue. In other parts, the roadway was under construction, and we traveled on dirt roads alongside. Although the temperature was sweltering in the vehicle, we couldn’t open any windows because of the dust. It was not a pleasant journey! I recommend flying from Nairobi to Masai Mara. 

4. Plan For Your Vaccinations And Anti-Malaria Pills

8 weeks in advance of your departure, check with your health care provider for recommendations for vaccines. My provider recommended six vaccinations based on my age and destination. Three vaccinations were specific to Kenya: typhoid fever, yellow fever, and meningitis.

I was also given a prescription for anti-malaria pills to begin taking a day before entering the country and continue for 2 weeks after leaving.

kenya for travel

5. Best Times To Visit Kenya On Safari

Kenya has such a diversity of plants and wildlife partly due to the fact that there are two rainy seasons annually. Although safaris are offered year-round, game viewing is best in the dry winter months from June through August and in the warm months of September through mid-November. “Short rains” begin at the end of November. During the “Long Rains” of March to May, some roads may be impassable.

6. Plan For Protection Against Insects

It would be best if you planned to deal with insects and bugs. Bring insect repellant and use it often. At night, always use the netting around your bed. Several of my friends also purchased mosquito jackets.  

It is also recommended that you wear long sleeves and long pants for protection against mosquitoes.

7. Safety Tip On Safari

One important tip is never to leave the safari vehicle unless you have armed guards. If your hat flies away in the open vehicle, kiss the hat goodbye. For that reason, be sure that your sunhat has an adjustable drawstring to keep it on your head.

8. Where Not To Take Photos

Do not take any photos of government or military buildings. At the least, you may have your camera confiscated, and you could be detained and questioned.

9. You Might Need Portable Power Source For Medical Equipment

One of the safari camps we stayed at shut off all power for 4-6 hours every night. Each tent had a portable flashlight, but power can be critical for medical equipment such as a CPAP machine. You might consider bringing a portable battery.

10. Pack Light & Plan Your Clothing

The safari vehicles have very little space for luggage, and there will probably be six to eight other passengers in the vehicle. Bring a weekend bag or carry-on for the safari. If you are extending your trip, check with the safari company to secure your larger bags for you.

It is best to choose clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton or linen. Avoid clothing made from synthetic fabric as they don’t “breathe,” and you will be uncomfortably hot and sticky. It is also suggested that you wear muted colors or khaki colors as they are less disturbing to the animals. Bring a collapsable large brim hat, sunscreen, and collapsable water bottles. Plan for day-time clothing and night-time clothing. After a long day on safari, once you return to the lodge or camp, it is refreshing to have fresh clothing to change into. Early morning safaris can be chilly, so it is best to dress in layers.

kenya for travel

11. Bring Face Masks For Dust

Bring a supply of face masks. The dusty roads and trails will make a face mask a necessity at times. The dust might be difficult for contact lens wearers, so consider bringing along glasses.

Here are five more suggestions for “nice things to know” before your first trip to Kenya.

12. Bring A Good Pair Of Binoculars

Some safari companies provide a few binoculars for folks to share. There were none on my safari. I also prefer to have my own equipment.

13. Bring An Animal Guidebook For Reference

I recommend Wildlife Of East Africa by M.B. Withers and D. Hosking. It was great fun each evening to track all the animals and birds that we had seen.

14. Arriving By Air

I flew through London and spent 3 days there to break up the long flight. I chose to fly the national carrier Kenya Airways. Although the international airport, Jomo Kenyatta International, is a mere 9 miles from Nairobi, traffic in the city can be backed up for miles. Be sure to leave plenty of time to reach your destination.

Also, note that there is no waiting inside the airport on your arrival. All “paths” lead to one route, which puts you immediately outside. Rather than inconvenience my hosts with my early 5 a.m. arrival, I had planned to go to a restaurant for breakfast. I ended up waiting outside for 2 hours. Luckily, it was not raining!

15. Currency

The currency in Kenya is the Kenyan shilling. One shilling equals 100 Kenyan cents. Banks and bureaux de change are plentiful and easy to locate. Your hotel, lodge, or camp may change money; however, the rate may not be the best. 

kenya for travel

16. Travel Insurance

I always have insurance whenever I travel. I purchase a yearly plan which is more cost-effective than separate policies for each trip. I look for a policy that covers health requirements and, in case of emergency, medical transportation back home. 

The medical system in Kenya is superb! I had to see a doctor in Nairobi and was surprised to learn that every pharmacy has a doctor on staff. The cost of my doctor consultation and two prescriptions was 650 shillings (approximately $7)!

A wildlife safari in Kenya is an incredible experience. We did see the “Big Five” as well as baboons, monkeys, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, ostriches, hippos, blue monkeys, hyenas, and gazelles. It was a fantastic experience! I hope these suggestions will help to make your experience a wonderful memory.

Image of Jo-Anne Bowen

Jo-Anne Bowen is a freelance writer currently residing in the Pacific Northwest. As a young professional, she made her first overseas trip for a six-week university class in Italy. That ignited her love of traveling! Since then, she has traveled extensively to Europe, Asia, Africa, the South Pacific, Central America, Mexico, as well as most states and provinces in the United States and Canada. Follow along with her travels at Travels With Jo-Anne .

The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

Kenya Travel Guide

Your ultimate kenya travel guide, with tips, things to do, and best things to see in kenya. great for first-time and returning travelers..

I Dream of Africa.  Travel in Kenya is exactly what one hopes for when going on safari in Africa.

The people are friendly, the scenery is spectacular and even though the country is progressing at a rapid pace, it still feels as if you have stepped back in time. 

This Kenya travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.

Popular Guides

  • Lake Nakuru
  • Amboseli National Park

Our Highlight

kenya cheetah

Table of contents

Table of Contents

Fast Facts about Kenya

  • Kenyan power voltage is 240 V 50 Hz;  Plug G.
  • The Kenyan currency is the shilling and is around 86 shillings for 1 USD
  • Virtually all banks in Kenya now have ATMs at most branches. Barclays Bank has easily the most reliable machines for international withdrawals. Standard Chartered and Kenya Commercial Bank ATMs also accept Visa but not the other major providers and are more likely to decline transactions.
  • The best place to change money are a foreign exchange or “forex”  bureaus as they do not charge commission. The exchange rates are published in the  Daily Nation  newspaper.
  • The water is not potable ; drink only bottled water. Or bring a Steripen to purify your water and save the environment.
  • SIM Cards:  If you are planning on staying in Kenya for longer than a week, you can get a SIM Card Safaricom, Airtel and Telcom are good choices. You can get them in Nairobi or at the airport arrivals.
  • Only select stores sell SIM cards but you can buy refill cards almost anywhere!
  • SIM Cards : You can get a local sim card from Vodafone or Orange in Cairo. We suggest getting a SIM card at the airport when you arrive.

Things to See and Do in Kenya

  • Champagne and a Hot Air Balloon  – travel in style over the Masai Mara
  • Go on a Safari in the Masai Mara  – not only will you see all the big animals of Africa but you’ll witness some of the most beautiful sunsets on the planet.
  • Visit Kenya’s Amboseli National Park  – to see the magnificent population of elephants and witness the extraordinary view of Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • Meet the Maasai People of Selenkay  – a camp where travelers can learn about the Maasai culture while giving back to the community
  • Fairmont The Norfolk: A Part of Kenyan History  – stay at the Fairmont, a hotel that played a critical role in Kenyan history.
  • Lake Nakuru  – meaning “dust” or “dusty place” in the Maasai language, Lake Nakuru National Park is famous for wildlife including the thousands of flamingos nesting along the shores.
  • Born Free Lives on in Kenya  – In the 60s a movie was released named Born Free based on the lives of Joy and George Adamson. The Elsamere Home in Kenya still lives on and focuses specifically on conservation.

Kenya Travel Guides

Incredible Kenya Pictures an Amazing Visual Journey

  • Hot Air Balloon Masai Mara – Flying High in Kenya
  • Kenya Village Visit – Empowering People


Budget:  You can find hostels in the range of 1,250-2,800 shillings per night. Stay in centrally located hostels and enjoy free Wi-Fi, security lockers, complimentary breakfast, hot showers, and your choice of a dorm or private room. 

Mid-Range:  For mid-range hotels, expect to pay around 2,800-11,500 shillings per night. Enjoy private rooms and suites with TVs and minibars, a fitness center, a pool, a hotel restaurant and bar, and free Wi-Fi. 

High-End:  Five-star hotels will cost around 13,000-53,000 shillings per night. These hotels come with room service, elegant hotel restaurants and polished bars, private suites with living rooms, spa services, a pool, and a sauna.

The cuisine of Kenya varies depending on the region. Popular staples include cereals like maize and millet, meats, and vegetables. Seafood is eaten frequently in coastal regions.

Ugali (cornmeal porridge) served with sukuma wiki (collard greens with onions and spices), kachumbari (tomato and onion salad), and maharagwe (bean stew) is a popular dish. Kenya has a variety of street vendors.

When out and about, look for Mahindi (grilled maize) or Mshikaki (skewered and grilled beef or goat meat on a stick). There are restaurants where you can try more Kenyan cuisine. In total, expect to pay around 2,550 shillings per day for food.

The Best Ways to Get Around Kenya

Getting to kenya:.

Flights:  The main airport to fly into is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, located 9 miles from Nairobi. Other airports include Moi International Airport (5.5 miles from downtown Mombasa) and Kisumu International Airport (5.5 miles from the city center). You can check for the best flights to Kenya on  Skyscanner .


Buses : Buses are a cheap way to get around, especially in major areas like Nairobi. You can find buses for both shorter and longer distances. A typical fare for a local bus is 150 shillings, while going between cities can cost about 600 shillings. If you are traveling long-distance, it helps to book a ticket at least a day in advance.

Taxis:  Taxis are another way to get around. A typical taxi ride will cost 400 shillings. Since they are usually not metered, make sure to agree on the price before starting your trip.

Car Rental:  To rent a car, you need to be at least 23-25 years old and have a U.S. driver’s license. An International Driving Permit is recommended, but not required. Prices start at 6,000 shillings per day.

Uber:  Uber is available throughout Kenya, especially in major cities. Little and Taxify are also popular services that operate like Uber.

When to go To Kenya

The best time to visit Kenya is during the dry season (end of June to October). During this time, zebras and wildebeests migrate, which makes for great wildlife viewing.

The dry season also means better weather for outdoor activities. March through May is the low season for tourists, which might bring better hotel rates and fewer crowds, but there is also heavy rainfall during this time, to the point where some camps will close down.

Where to Stay in Kenya

Nairobi Norfolk Hotel – beautiful historic hotel located in the heart of Nairobi by Fairmont. Hemingway stayed here. See our full review.

Hilton Nairobi:  Stay right in the middle of downtown Nairobi at this four-star hotel. Right near the city square and Hilton Park, this hotel comes with soundproof rooms with flat-screen TVs and minibars, 24/7 room service, a rooftop pool, a ballroom, and three hotel restaurants. 

CityBlue Creekside Hotel and Suites :  When in Mombasa, come stay at this hotel. Just a quick drive to Nyali Beach, the hotel overlooks Tudor Creek and comes with numerous amenities, including private rooms with balconies and creek views (suites come with kitchenettes and living areas), complimentary breakfast, free airport shuttle, a hotel restaurant with a wine bar, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool. 

Acacia Hotel Kisumu :  Just a mile from Lwang’ni Beach and the Kenya Wildlife Impala Park, this four-star hotel is popular for a reason. See Lake Victoria from your hotel room (upgrade to a suite for whirlpool tubs in your room), swim in the pool, workout at the fitness center, relax on the terrace, or dine at the restaurant or café. If you want to explore more of Kenya, the Kisumu Railway Station is 10 minutes away by foot.

Check out our favorite booking platforms  Booking.com ,  Tripadvisor  and VRBO   for the best deals on accommodation.

What to Pack for Kenya

Kenya is a tropical country  is characterized by a warm climate that often changes to cold in the night-time, but does not fall below sub-zero.

When packing for Kenya it is important that you keep your lodgings and planned activities in mind.

Travelers should pack transitional clothing items that can carry you from day to night or from city sightseeing to safari adventures.

  • Waterproof bag  – the bag has two functions, protecting your stuff from the rain and also from the dust, especially if you’re travelling to drier regions.
  • Footwear  – especially important if going you are heading on a safari! Pack a pair of lightweight, durable, waterproof and comfortable shoes and also a pair of flip-flops or sandals that you can change into after a long day of sight-seeing.
  • The protection basics  – Travelers should stock up on the essentials: sunblock, mosquito/insect repellant containing DEET or a pyrethroid insecticide, sunglasses and a hat.
  • Warm clothes – it does cool off at night, especially in Nairobi and the Highlands around July and August. Make sure to pack a light-weight sweater, cardigan or a pashmina scarf to keep you warm on those chilly nights.
  • Cover up – in Muslim areas, including the coast, shorts, and t-shirts can be frowned upon. Try and dress modestly; wear trousers or knee-length skirts with tops that cover your shoulders.

See our packing tips:  packing list for smart travel  &  How to Pack for a Safari

Kenya Travel Guide: Best Booking Resources

Whenever we travel to we make sure to start with these companies. We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices.

We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.

  • Booking.com : This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It usually has the cheapest prices, especially in Europe and we love their interface. Not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
  • Trip Advisor :  What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation. TripAdvisor is where we go when we want to compare prices with multiple accommodation providers.
  • VRBO : is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It can sometimes be cheaper than hotels and it is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
  • Hostelworld :  With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
  • Skyscanner : This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
  • Rome 2 Rio :  If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs.I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
  • Get Your Guide:  For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world’s largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
  • World Nomads Insurance:  When traveling to Italy you should always have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.

Kenya Travel Guide: Related Articles

To browse all our articles and guides about Kenya  click here.

Incredible Kenya Pictures an Amazing Visual Journey

Kenya Safari – The Masai Mara Experience

Hot Air Balloon Masai Mara – Flying High in Kenya

Hot Air Balloon Masai Mara – Flying High in Kenya

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Kenya Traveler View

Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

  • Packing List

After Your Trip

Map - Kenya

Be aware of current health issues in Kenya. Learn how to protect yourself.

Level 2 Practice Enhanced Precautions

  • Global Polio January 05, 2024 Some international destinations have circulating poliovirus. Before any international travel, make sure you are up to date on your polio vaccines. Destination List: Afghanistan, Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Guinea, Indonesia, Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, including Zanzibar, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

⇧ Top

Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines


Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Areas of active cholera transmission are  localized  to to the counties of Busia (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Garissa (last case reported 3-6 months ago), Homa Bay (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Isiolo (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Kajiado (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Kiambu (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Kirinyaga (last case reported 9-12 months ago), Kisumu (last case reported 9-12 months ago), Kwale (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Lamu (last case reported in the past 3 months), Machakos (last case reported 9-12 months ago), Mandera (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Marsabit (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Meru (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Migori (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Mombasa (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Murang’a (last case reported 9-12 months ago), Nairobi (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Nakuru (last case reported 9-12 months ago), Samburu (last case reported 9-12 months ago), Siaya (last case reported 6-9 months ago), Tana River (last case reported in the past 3 months), and Wajir (last case reported 6-9 months ago) in Kenya. Cholera is rare in travelers.  Certain factors  may increase the risk of getting cholera or having severe disease ( more information ). Avoiding unsafe food and water and washing your hands can also help prevent cholera.

Vaccination may be considered for children and adults who are traveling to areas of active cholera transmission.

Cholera - CDC Yellow Book

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to Kenya.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers younger than 60 years old traveling to Kenya. Unvaccinated travelers 60 years and older may get vaccinated before traveling to Kenya.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of Kenya take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find  country-specific information  about malaria.

Malaria - CDC Yellow Book

Considerations when choosing a drug for malaria prophylaxis (CDC Yellow Book)

Malaria information for Kenya.

Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. Travelers are at risk of measles if they have not been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure, or have not had measles in the past, and travel internationally to areas where measles is spreading.

All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for infants 6–11 months, according to  CDC’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travel .

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

Meningitis (Meningococcal disease)

Recommended for travelers 2 months old or older traveling to  areas of Kenya  that are part of the meningitis belt during the dry season.

Meningococcal disease - CDC Yellow Book

Meningitis Belt Map

In Kenya poliovirus has been identified in the past year.

Travelers to Kenya are at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus.

Vaccine recommendations : Adults traveling to Kenya who received a complete polio vaccination series as children may receive a single lifetime booster dose of inactivated polio vaccine; travelers who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated should receive a complete polio vaccination series before travel. Children who are not fully vaccinated will be considered for an  accelerated vaccination schedule .

Polio - CDC Yellow Book

Polio: For Travelers

Rabid dogs are commonly found in Kenya. If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other mammal while in Kenya, there may be limited or no rabies treatment available. 

Consider rabies vaccination before your trip if your activities mean you will be around dogs or wildlife.

Travelers more likely to encounter rabid animals include

  • Campers, adventure travelers, or cave explorers (spelunkers)
  • Veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers handling animal specimens
  • Visitors to rural areas

Since children are more likely to be bitten or scratched by a dog or other animals, consider rabies vaccination for children traveling to Kenya. 

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

Yellow Fever

Required for travelers ≥1 year old arriving from countries with risk for YF virus transmission. 1

Recommended for all travelers ≥9 months old except as follows. Generally not recommended for travel limited to: the city of Nairobi (the capital); the counties of the former North Eastern Province (Mandera, Wajir, and Garissa); or the counties (except Taita-Taveta) of the former Coast Province (Kilifi, including the city of Malindi; Kwale; Lamu; Mombasa, including the city of Mombasa; Tana River) .

Yellow Fever - CDC Yellow Book

  • Avoid contaminated water


How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil

Clinical Guidance


  • Wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in contaminated freshwater streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.

Avoid bug bites

African tick-bite fever.

  • Avoid Bug Bites

African Tick-bite fever


  • Mosquito bite

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever

  • Tick bite 
  • Touching the body fluids of a person or animal infected with CCHF
  • Mosquito bite


  • Sand fly bite
  • Avoid animals

Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever

  • Touching infected animals (including bats and primates) or their body fluids
  • Touching body fluids (blood or sweat) from an infected person
  • Touching objects contaminated with the body fluids of a person infected with Ebola or Marburg virus
  • Avoid sick people
  • Avoid animals and areas where they live

Marburg virus

Rift Valley Fever

  • Touching blood, body fluids, or tissue of infected livestock

Rift Valley fever

Airborne & droplet

  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Kenya, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the Department of State Country Information Pages for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Kenya. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Kenya include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Kenya. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call Kenya’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( www.jointcommissioninternational.org ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Malaria is a risk in Kenya. Fill your malaria prescription before you leave and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.


Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Kenya may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Kenya, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

For information traffic safety and road conditions in Kenya, see Travel and Transportation on US Department of State's country-specific information for Kenya .

Traffic flows on the left side of the road in Kenya.

  • Always pay close attention to the flow of traffic, especially when crossing the street.
  • LOOK RIGHT for approaching traffic.

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Kenya for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

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33 Things to Know Before Traveling to Kenya

kenya for travel

Kenya is undoubtedly one of the most magical and achingly beautiful countries in the world thanks to its diverse landscapes, a spectacular variety of wild animals, pristine beaches, fantastic hiking trails, friendly people and of course world-class safari opportunities. 

Yes! I definitely recommending you to visit Kenya! But I also know how challenging it is visiting a new country. Therefore I wrote this guide for visiting Kenya with all my travel tips and things to know before you go.

Africa Sunset Widlife Giraffes Wildebeest

This travel blog is aimed at making your trip to Kenya much easier. So here is a complete guide with everything you need to know when you travel to Kenya.

1. Is it safe to travel to Kenya

Kenya Maasai Mara Lion feeding on pray

Kenya is pretty safe for tourists! Even though it is one of the most popular places to visit in Africa and used to tourists, you should always be beware of your surroundings and practice general common-sense safety rules. 

For example, you should avoid high poverty places like slums where you could be a target for theft or getting mugged. At any time you should avoid wearing flashy jewellery or showing off expensive electronics while in public. If you’re inside a car keep the windows rolled up except for when you’re on one of those amazing Kenya safaris of course.

Also dressing down minimizes attention to yourself, but more about that later in what to wear in Kenya. Due to the high poverty rate in Kenya, tourists can be viewed as targets by opportunistic individuals. But I never had any big issues on all my Kenya trips!

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In the main tourist destinations in Kenya , you may find yourself surrounded by vendors trying to sell you their merchandise. Although that’s not much of a safety concern, they can be slightly annoying. A polite but firm “no thank you” will mostly help get rid of them.

Above all don’t be an ignorant tourist! Always check the latest safety conditions and report. Please use your common sense, be respectful to the local culture and habits and you will be totally fine on your Kenya trip.

2. Best time to visit Kenya

Leopard Masai Mara Kenya Frontview

Kenya is an all-year-round tourist destination. The question about when is the best time to visit Kenya largely depends on for what reason you travel to Kenya for. Safari, beaches, hiking all have a different best time to visit.

Since Kenya is located on the Equator, there are no real 4 seasons. Generally speaking, the seasons are broadly categorized into four periodes: 

  • hot and dry from January to March
  • hot and wet from April to June
  • warm and dry from July to October
  • warm and wet in November and December.

However, the country’s weather pattern has seen drastic changes over the last 10 years and became rather unpredictable. The impact of climate change has been noticed throughout the years in Kenya.

Temperature in Kenya

Temperatures, on the other hand, are relatively consistent and highly influenced by the altitude only. For example, the temperatures at the coastal towns like Mombasa barely ever drop below 20° celsius (68 F). When it gets too hot during the day the cool ocean breeze helps to make it bearable.

In Nairobi temperatures can go as low as 5° celsius (41 F) around July in the cold season and as high as 26° celsius (79 F) around March and September which are the hottest months in Kenya.

The best time for safari in Kenya

Even though you can visit Kenya’s wildlife parks throughout the year, the best time is during one of the two dry seasons (January, February and March and from July till October).

The second dry season from July till October coincides with the Great Wildebeest Migration in Maasai Mara and therefore this is making it arguably the best time to visit Kenya after all.

During this breathtaking wildlife spectacle, millions of wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes make their way into Kenya’s Maasai Mara from Tanzania’s Serengeti. They cross the crocodile-infested Mara River.

Wildebeest Migration Masai Mara Kenya

One of the best times to visit Kenya for safari is during the dry seasons because then the animals are easier to spot. Animals keep moving in search of water which is quite scarce and the bushes are less dense.

If you don’t want to bump into lots of other tourists on your Kenya safari, the best time for you to visit would be around December during the short rains. Then you’ll get to admire the beautiful green vegetation and hopefully see many newborn animals on your Kenya safari as well as migratory birds that take advantage of the abundance of insects.

The best time for a beach holiday in Kenya

The weather in the coastal regions of Kenya like Diani, Mombasa, Malindi, and Lamu remains hot and humid throughout the year. Even though it rains sometimes during the dry season, the rainfall is at its highest from March to May. So are you planning a Kenya beach holiday you should consider visiting the Kenya beaches outside of these months.

If your plan is to combine your trip to the beach with your safari, the best time to travel to Kenya is between August and September.

The best time to go hiking in Kenya

The safest time for hiking and climbing around Mount Kenya is during the two dry seasons. The hiking trails can get quite slippery during the rainy season. If you plan on combining your Kenya hiking trip with the Kenya beaches, the best time to visit Kenya would be January or February.

3. Visa for Kenya

Big Cats Kenya Lion

When visiting Kenya you will need a visa. The Kenya visa will cost you between $30 and $50 and can be obtained on the internet. Click here for the official site to apply for the Kenya visa .

Make sure that you apply online at least three days in advance. If you’re planning on visiting other countries like Tanzania, Uganda, etc then the greater East Africa visa will be something for you. This one costs $100 for most nationalities. 

Just like many other destinations, your passport needs to be valid for at least six months beyond your departure date out of Kenya. You also need at least two consecutive unstamped blank pages.

4. Travel insurance for Kenya

It’s also highly recommended that you purchase travel insurance for evacuation and medical emergencies. This offers you emergency treatment and an air ambulance to a hospital in Nairobi. Since a lot of things to do in Kenya are in fairly remote areas I strongly recommend you to get a good travel insurance.

I am using World Nomads for all my trips around the world. Get your free quotation below in case you don’t have travel insurance for Kenya yet. 

5. Vaccinations and Health Requirements for Kenya

Baboons Lake Nakuru National Park

There are several vaccinations that you need to protect your health on your trip to Kenya. Some are mandatory while others aren’t. The compulsory vaccination is Yellow Fever and you will be required to show a certificate of inoculation on entry. So put your vaccinations book on your Kenya packing list.

There are several diseases that you could be exposed to when you travel to Kenya, so it is strongly recommended that you also get the following vaccines: diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis A & B, typhoid, rabies, polio, and cholera.

Is there malaria in Kenya? Yes there is, but not everywhere. Nairobi and other highlands are low-risk malaria zones, but in the valleys and low lands it is recommended to take anti-malarial medication. The most commonly prescribed anti malaria medication for Kenya is Malarone. Although it is adviced, I did NOT take any malaria pills. It is totally up to you.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to pack some medication for headaches, stomach upsets, or any allergies that you may have. The supplies should be enough to last your entire trip.

6. What to pack for Kenya

To take the stress out of packing and to make sure that you bring everything you need on your trip, here’s a list of all the essentials that you need to pack:

  • Comfortable clothes (including a swimming costume) and shoes
  • Toiletries 
  • Passport and a valid driver’s license if you’ll be doing some driving 
  • A camera plus extra batteries ( see my travel gear list for more tips)
  • A wide-brimmed hat or cap
  • Sunglasses 
  • Reef SAFE Sunscreen and lip balm

kenya for travel

  • Credit cards and a small amount of cash in low denominations
  • Malaria pills and other necessary medication
  • Strong insect repellent
  • Reading material and an iPod with downloaded music or podcasts

7. What to Wear

Ensure that you keep your clothing a bit conservative. Wearing hot pants, crop tops, and other clothes that show too much skin is not a good look especially in rural Kenya. 

Make sure that the fabric comfortable especially in hot weather. Bring a sweater, jacket, or warm fleece blanket for the chilly morning and evenings.

8. Carry a copy of your passport

African Wildlife Masai Mara Kenya

Always make sure that you carry a copy of your passport with you at all times. This is required by law in Kenya. If the police stop you, you’ll be expected to present it upon request. It happened to me several times, as I recommend you to leave your original passport in the safe in your hotel.

Nowadays a photo on your phone will often do the job, but still I recommend you bring a hard copy. It is a small effort to easily get you out of trouble.

9. Do some Kenya travel tips research

Baby Elephant African Wildlife

Take time to read a guidebook before you visit Kenya. Read about the area you’ll be staying at and get pointers about the area. This helps you know about all the designated tourist destinations in Kenya like hotels and markets in advance and also lets you know if there are areas that need to be avoided. I can also recommend you my other Kenya travel blogs:

  • 23 Amazing Things to do in Kenya
  • Kenya Itinerary for 10 days

Reading ahead helps you plan accordingly for your trip by coming up with a proper to-do-list. This ensures that you have plenty of time between activities and time to rest in-between days.

However, if you didn’t have enough time I recommend you to order a Kenya Travel Guide online, like the Kenya Lonely Planet . Back in the days I always used them, nowadays I think they are a little outdated, but still a good source for Kenya travel tips.

10. Getting around Kenya

Some people prefer to rent a jeep or van and use it to drive themselves around. Yes, can’t deny that this sounds like lots of fun and is a lot cheaper than hiring a tour guide but driving around especially in the parks is no joke – you could easily get lost too. If you’re a first-timer who loves your freedom and care about your safety, hire a 4x4 land cruiser (this will make the ride less bumpy) and a driver.

For all my tips of how to get around Kenya  read my extensive article in the link, where I explain everything about busses, trains, domestic flights and local transport.

 When moving from one part of the country to another e.g. from Nairobi to Mombasa, find a budget airline that operates that route or take the train. Other cheaper options to move around include taxis, matatus, boda-bodas, or tuk-tuks.

11. Driving in Kenya - DIY

In Kenya they drive on the left. This is very important for you to know if you plan on renting a car on go on a road trip in Kenya.

You should also expect to be held up in traffic around the major towns during rush hours. The traffic in Nairobi is horrendous! If you want to get anywhere around the city especially to the airport, factor in a huge amount of time that you’re going to spend in traffic. My Kenya itinerary for 10 days is a great start for planning your self driving trip to Kenya.

12. Safaris, hiking, mountains and lakes

Safaris allow you to take a drive on the wild side. There are lots of safaris and multiple different national parks and reserves for you to choose from. On top of that there is some excellent hiking, and amazing lakes. If you’re confused and can’t choose between them, here is a list of some of the best places in to visit in Kenya :

  • Maasai Mara
  • Hell’s Gate
  • Lake Nakuru
  • Lake Turkana
  • Mount Kenya
  • Nairobi National Park

13. Currency

The currency used in Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling abbreviated as KSH. Don’t be confused when you hear people using the word “bob” it’s slang for shilling.

The exchange rate for the KSH to the USD varies of course, but in general you can easily say that $1 = 100 KSH. You can exchange your Euros, GBP, USD everywhere around major tourist destinations in Kenya. Banks and Forex Bureau are obviously the safest places to exchange money, but I never had a problem doing it random places either.

Always make sure to have some Kenyan Shilling on you especially of you are on a road trip in Kenya. For local markets, to tip people, local restaurants, souvenirs, etc.

14. ATMs and credit cards

Note that you can only withdraw Kenyan shillings at the ATMs which are widely available throughout the country. Beware of suspicious people hanging around the bank or following you if you come out of the bank. A valuable Kenya travel tip is to use ATMs inside shopping malls. The maximum amount ATMs in Kenya will let you withdraw is KSH 50,000 = approximately 500 USD.

Most lodges and restaurants accept MasterCard and Visa cards as a form of payment. Some international hotels accept Euros and US dollars in cash but their exchange rate is mostly pretty bad, so I would not recommend this to you. Always check beforehand because some places do not accept foreign cash or cards.

15. How much does a trip to Kenya cost?

Kenya is not the best backpack destination in the world and neither is it overly expensive. 

Most tour companies are all-inclusive meaning that your meals, accommodation, and transportation are catered for. However, you still need money for other purposes like purchasing souvenirs and tipping. Budget for about $250-$300 for extra expenses.

The national park entrance fee in Kenya varies between $25 and $100 per day,  a 3-course meal at an international restaurant will cost around $30 per person, and between for places to stay in Kenya you will mostly between $50 and $200 per night depending on your level of required luxury.

16. Travel to Kenya on a budget

Elephants Plains of Masai Mara Kenya

There’s a growing backpacker trail in Kenya and hostels catering for budget travelers are growing in number and popularity. Airbnb also has a lot of hidden gems, especially at the coast.

The travel options in Kenya are limitless. If you want someone to show you around throughout your trip you can find numerous travel and tours companies to take you on an off-the-shelf or a tailor-made itinerary. You can arrange it yourself on arrival in Nairobi or book them in advanced. Here are some options of Kenya tours for all budgets.

Alternatively, if you want more independence you can definitely backpack in Kenya. Many travelers have been there before you and you will surely not be alone. It is fairly easy to travel to Kenya on a budget. Major cities are well connected by reasonable coaches and long distance busses or you could even opt to take a train from Nairobi to Mombassa. 

Don’t forget that even in Kenya there are taxi apps. Thank god for Uber in Kenya! It makes traveling around so much easier, convenient, safer and reliable.

You can also find loads of campgrounds around Kenya. Most lodges charge about $20 for you to pitch your tent. On the other hand, camping inside national parks, reserves, and conservancies could cost you up to $50 per person per night. I wouldn’t recommend camping in wild and unsafe places. If you’re looking to save a little, you can cook the meals yourself outside your tent.

17. Tipping in Kenya

Giraffes Sunset Masai Mara Kenya

Tipping guides, drivers, and staff is normal in Kenya. It shows that you appreciate the services offered and locals love to go the extra mile for it. Tipping may either be done in USD or KSH. Here are some general tipping guidelines:

  • Ranger or guide: $10 to $20 per day
  • Butler: $5 to $15 per day
  • Transfers: $5 per transfer
  • Porters: $1 per bag
  • Restaurants: 10% of the bill

18. Visit a Shopping Mall

Malls are also popular hangouts for locals and you can easily spend a day getting lost in one of the dozens of huge, state-of-the-art shopping malls. I am not a fan of shopping malls in general, but it is fun to walk around for sure. There are food courts as well where you can find cheap dining options.

Visiting a shopping mall in Kenya is another way of seeing a slice of the Kenyan culture and its people rather than safaris, wildlife, beautiful beaches and amazing landscapes. Trust me they are an experience!

19. Get a Kenya sim card on arrival

If you want to stay connected to the internet than get yourself a Kenya sim card on arrival. It is pretty easy and can be done in 5 minutes. You will get them everywhere around the big cities, but the easiest is to buy a Kenya sim card at Nairobi Airport .

Have your passport ready and get your some GB to keep your friends up to date on Instagram about your amazing trip to Kenya.

Safaricom is the leading telecommunication company in Kenya and it offers great call and data packages. For everything you need to know about getting connected in Kenya read my complete guide for buying a sim card for Kenya .

20. WiFi in Kenya

Most upscale hotels offer WiFi free of charge, but it is definitely not always good. Often it can be nerve-racking slow and that is another reason to buy a Kenya sim card. Nothing beats a 4G and even 5G connection nowadays, which is usually widely available!

It is also recommended to use a VPN service for extra privacy may you use any public WiFi in Kenya, like in shopping malls, hotels, lodges, etc.

21. Drinking water

The tap water in Kenya is safe for brushing your teeth and for taking a bath, but it is not recommend to drink the water from the tap in Kenya. This doesn’t mean that tap water is necessarily contaminated but your body may not be used to it.

It is advices that you drink bottled water at all times during your Kenya trip. Most hotels, lodges, and safari camps provide clean, filtered, sterilized, or boiled drinking water for their guests. 

22. Electricity plugs in Kenya

Kenya has reliable electricity. To charge your phone, camera, or other electronics, you should have an adapter at hand though. The Kenya power plugs are comparable to the ones in the UK and are 240 V.

I always advice people to bring a universal travel adapter with them, they are cheap and worth it.

Lodges located in remote areas use solar energy or diesel generators to provide power for lighting and charging. Therefore when traveling to remote areas in Kenya use the electricity responsible.

23. Buying souvenirs - what to buy in Kenya

Kenya, just like other African countries is known for its cultural wealth which also means that the souvenir buying opportunities are numerous. You can buy them from specific markets that deal in these souvenirs or from the tribesmen and women who make a living by vending their beautiful artefacts along the side of the road.

Some common items that you could buy are local wood carvings, maasai beads, kiondo (beautiful hand-woven handbags), kikoy/shuka (a colorful local piece of fabric that may be used as a blanket or table cloth), leather products, as well as traditional artifacts like swords, bows, arrows, spears, shields, etc. 

At all times remember that bargaining is key when buying souvenirs on your Kenya trip.

24. Delicious Kenya food you should try

The national dish in Kenya is “ugali”. This is a hard porridge mash made from maize flour and is usually served with a portion of fried green vegetables with “nyama choma” – something that you definitely need to try out.

Nyama choma is Kenya’s signature roast meat dish that has now gained global significance. The ugali is best enjoyed without any cutlery. Dig in using your hands, roll the ugali into a ball, dip it into your place, scoop the accompaniment, and eat. 

In the coastal region, they have a wide selection of mouthwatering Swahili dishes like samosas, biryani, pilau, mahamri, and chapattis. 

Ooh, another craving-satisfying dish that you totally need to try when visiting Kenya is the mayai (eggs) pasua and smokie pasua. Pasua means split open. They are eggs or smokies that have been cut open and filled with “kachumbari” which is the local name for salsa containing a mixture of chopped onions, tomatoes, and coriander and sometimes chilies. These are easily found in almost any street in major towns.

Don’t be afraid to try street food in Kenya, it is delicious, worth trying, cheap and safe to eat.

25. Kenya Politics is a hot topic everywhere

Kenyans are quite political and more often than not you’ll bump into a group of people discussing “siasa” which is the Swahili word for politics. Such talks are quite lively and often tense, especially around the electioneering period. 

Despite the claims that Kenya is unsafe due to ethnic tension caused by politics, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Nothing serious ever happens such that the stability of the country is put in jeopardy.

26. Heaven for photographers

Wildlife Kenya Elephants

When traveling to Kenya make sure to bring a good camera and lens. Of course our modern smartphones make things a lot easier nowadays, but you will see they are not that useful on safaris.

Curious which cameras and lenses I carry around? Check out my travel gear list here.

Be aware though that it is not allowed to take pictures or videos at railway stations, airports, military barracks, police posts and government buildings.

Also, if you like to take pictures of a local or with them, ALWAYS ask first. Show some respect!   

27. Religion

Although Kenya is predominantly a Christian state, the country embraces spiritual diversity. There are many churches, mosques, and Hindu temples to be found across the country as well.

28. Cultural Events

As a multi-ethnic nation, Kenya’s different tribes hold interesting cultural festivals every now and then in different parts of the country. Some of the most popular festivals include the Mombasa Carnival, Lamu Cultural Festival, Maralal Camel Derby and the Lake Turkana Cultural Festival.

29. Nightlife in Kenya

If you are the type who like to party, there are many popular joints where you can go to enjoy your “Furahi-day” as they like to call Friday in Kenya. In Nairobi there is Westlands and in Mombasa there is Mtwapa. ‘Furahi’ is a Swahili word for ‘be happy’. Afterwards, order an Uber to drop you back home.

Through the major beach destinations in Kenya you will find nightlife as well. Diani is probably the most popular place for parties on the beach.

There are many local beers that you need to try out including Tusker, Tusker Malt, Tusker Lite, and Tusker Cider. Tusker is Kenya’s most-loved beer and the golden premium lager is best served chilled – “baridi.”

30. Plastic bags are banned

Cheetahs Elephants Maasai Mara Kenya

Plastic bags are banned in Kenya so make sure you only use reusable bags to hold your shopping and personal items. The ban was put in place to reduce the plastic pollution that was becoming an environmental nuisance. Violators have to pay hefty fines or face possible jail time. Something Western countries could learn from I would say! Well done Kenya.

31. Bribing is illegal

Giving bribes is very much illegal. You might sometimes think it is a good idea to get you quickly out of trouble but instead it could get you into a lot of trouble. Think twice!

32. Language in Kenya

Kenya is a multilingual country with English and Swahili being the official languages. Many locals speak both languages fluently. Learning a few Swahili words will look good and impress the Kenyan people. Your effort regardless of whether you you are pronouncing it the right way will be received with a big smile.

Here are some words to get you started:

  • Hujambo or simply Jambo = means Hello
  • Habari = Hello, how are you? (a common way of greeting)
  • Poa sana or mzuri sana = I’m good/fine 
  • Hakuna Matata = It’s alright / no problem
  • Asante (sana) = thank you (very much)
  • Karibu = welcome
  • Hatari = danger
  • Pole =  sorry
  • Hapana = no

Besides English and Swahili, there are lots of local languages and dialects in rural areas.

33. People of Kenya

Last but not least let’s talk about the magnificent people of Kenya!

Kenyans are incredibly friendly. From my experience, I found out that the people of this beautiful nation have beautiful hearts and they’re very open, hospitable and delighted to welcome tourists to Kenya.you into their country.

Do not shy away from getting in touch with locals, meeting, greeting, talking, and getting to know them during your visit to Kenya. They are more than willing to help you enormously and will be delighted if you share your passion for their beautiful nation.

kenyan people

Enjoy your trip to Kenya

Africa is a magical continent with mountains, beaches, and beautiful wild animals like elephants, lions, and wildebeests and you can find it all when visiting Kenya. If you have always wanted to experience this unbelievable setting in a single hit, then this country is the place to go.

However, before your first trip to Kenya all the above mentioned Kenya tips are great to know to make the most of this incredible travel destination in Africa.

I hope that my tips and recommendations help to make things a lot easier. I also hope that you get to love Kenya, just as I did. Its diversity is unrivalled.

Also thanks to  Traveltomtom writer Kim Paffen , who contributed with the beautiful pictures of Kenya. Her countless trips to Kenya were another valuable source creating this Kenya travel blog.

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kenya for travel

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Warnings and insurance

kenya for travel

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ( FCDO ) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice .

Areas where FCDO advises against all but essential travel

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice.

Kenya-Somalia border

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to areas within 60km of Kenya’s border with Somalia.

Eastern Garissa County

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to eastern Garissa County, up to 20km north-west of the A3.

Mandera County

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Mandera County, excluding Mandera West subcounty.

Lamu County

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Lamu County, excluding Lamu Island and Manda Island.

Tana River County

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to areas of Tana River County north of the Tana River, up to 20km north-west of the A3.

Coast between the Tana River and Galana River

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to within 15km of the coast between the Tana River and the Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) River.

Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel .

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you: 

  • disabled people  
  • LGBT+ people

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram . You can also sign up to get email notifications for Kenya when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance . Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

Kenya travel advice

Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)

Last updated: April 17, 2024 11:52 ET

On this page

Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, kenya - exercise a high degree of caution.

Exercise a high degree of caution in Kenya due to the threat of terrorism and a high crime rate.

Border with Somalia - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Lamu counties bordering Somalia, due to a risk of kidnapping and attacks.

Border with South Sudan and Ethiopia - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to Turkana and Marsabit counties, within 110 km of the borders with South Sudan and Ethiopia, due to armed banditry and cross-border violence.

Regional advisory - Avoid all travel

  • within 50 km of the coast of Tana River County
  • within 50 km of the coast of Kilifi County (from north of the city of Malindi to the Tana River County limits)

Neighbourhoods of Nairobi - Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to the neighbourhoods of Eastleigh, Kibera and Pangani, in Nairobi, due to the high crime rate.

Back to top

There is a threat of terrorism. Credible information indicates that foreigners may be targeted by extremists in the following areas:

  • the coastal areas of Kenya

There is an increased risk of terrorist attacks in the following counties:

Terrorist attacks have occurred:

  • in the coastal region, including in Mombasa and Malindi
  • in the Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties, near the border with Somalia

Foreigners have been targeted in some attacks. Further attacks cannot be ruled out.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Be particularly alert during religious holidays, sporting events and public celebrations. Terrorists have carried out attacks during these events.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places
  • Stay at hotels that have robust security measures, but keep in mind that even the most secure locations cannot be considered completely free of risk

Areas bordering Somalia and portion of the Coast region

Kenya’s border with Somalia is closed, but it is porous and Somali militias and bandit groups have carried out cross-border attacks against foreigners and humanitarian workers in this region. Some incidents involved the use of improvised explosive devices and have resulted in injuries and deaths, including at the Dadaab refugee camp, 80 km from the Somali border. The risk of such attacks in the region remains high.

Disputes between Somali clans also make the region unstable and dangerous. There is an increased military and police presence and frequent roadblocks due to the Government of Kenya’s efforts to limit Somali incursions and gun-running in the border area.

There is also an increased risk of kidnapping in the northeastern Kenyan counties of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa bordering Somalia and the coastal areas of Lamu County. Groups based in Somalia and northeastern Kenya have targeted humanitarian workers, tourists and residents in the past and deaths have occurred.

Beachfront accommodations on the coastal area are vulnerable to criminal activity, such as armed robbery, break-ins and carjacking.

Areas bordering South Sudan and Ethiopia

There is an extreme threat of kidnapping, terrorism and cross-border violence in the northern counties of Marsabit and Turkana within 110 km of Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Neighbourhoods of Nairobi

Criminal activity remains high in several neighbourhoods and areas of Nairobi. Police capacity to respond to crime and other incidents is very limited.

Northern and Western Kenya

Some areas located in Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo, Wajir and Mandera counties are considered unsafe. The ongoing threat posed by terrorism is joined by various regional, tribal or clan-based conflicts involving land, cattle and water. Consider using armed escorts when travelling within these counties; escorts can often be arranged through local police stations.

  • Avoid venturing away from tourist areas
  • Do not travel after dark

Tribal conflicts have occurred in the Mount Elgon area in the western counties of Trans-Nzoia and Bungoma. If you decide to travel to that region:

  • Remain vigilant at all times
  • Monitor local media

There is a high crime rate in most regions of Kenya, particularly in major cities such as Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, and at coastal beach resorts. Traditionally, crimes increase in the weeks before Christmas.

Be aware that there have been incidents of “mob justice” in which a crowd lynches suspected criminals prior to the arrival of police.

Violent Crime

Carjacking, home invasions, kidnappings and robberies occur, including during daylight hours and in neighbourhoods normally considered safe.

Tourists have been the target of carjacking, robberies and kidnappings while travelling to or from the international airports in Nairobi and Mombasa.

  • Only use transportation organized by reputable tour companies or well-marked taxis
  • Be particularly vigilant if you are commuting alone

In Nairobi, exercise extreme caution in informal settlement communities, such as Kasarani, Kibera and Mathare, due to the high level of crime and limited capacity of police to respond to incidents.

The Old Town of Fort Jesus in Mombasa has a similar crime rate to other areas of the city during the day. However, there is a greatly increased risk of criminal activity at night, including robberies, attacks and other street crimes. Crime rates are also high on and around the Likoni Ferry (which links Mombasa and the southern resorts).

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times, particularly on roads linking a city centre to residential areas
  • Do not walk outdoors at night, particularly in isolated areas
  • Exercise caution while walking during daylight hours and if travelling after dark
  • When confronted by robbers, comply and do not offer resistance

Petty Crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs.

  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence or carrying large sums of money
  • Ensure that your credit and debit cards, cash and any other financial resources are not all kept in the same place
  • Store your belongings in safekeeping facilities
  • Never leave your bags unsupervised at a ticket office or a registration desk
  • When you leave your hotel room, ensure that the door is locked and the “do not disturb” sign is displayed

Thieves travelling on scooters or on foot have targeted the bags of car or scooter passengers.

  • Keep your windows closed, doors locked and valuables out of reach and sight
  • Be especially vigilant when stopped at traffic lights

Incidents of passport theft have occurred in the departure area of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. There have also been cases where checked luggage has been pilfered.

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all airports
  • Store your valuables in locked hand-luggage
  • Do not exchange currency in the public areas of the airport


Demonstrations take place regularly. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Curfews can be imposed without notice.

Always comply with the directives issued by local authorities.

Power outages 

Power outages occur regularly across the country. Blackouts may increase the risk of criminal activity in affected areas, which could in turn lead to opportunistic theft during prolonged outages.

Power outages could affect your ability to purchase basic necessisties and impact essential services, such as: 

  • public transportation, including flights 
  • medical services  
  • water supply 
  • telecommunications 

Not all buildings are equipped with generators.   

  • Plan accordingly  
  • Keep a supply of water, food and fuel on hand  
  • Make sure you always have an emergency kit on hand
  • Monitor local media for the latest updates

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

Criminals have been known to impersonate hotel employees, police officers or government officials in attempts to get money from tourists.

If you are approached by someone claiming to be a government official or police officer and they fine you for an alleged offence, ask for an official government receipt.

Police officers are required to identify themselves. There is a complaint process through the Kenyan Police Service to investigate allegations of corruption and abuse.

Exercise caution if you are travelling to Kenya to meet someone with whom you have developed a relationship on the Internet (friendship, business or romance). Foreigners are often lured to Kenya, especially during the holiday season (Christmas and New Year), to meet their online contact in person. Once there, they become victims of crime. Some have lost thousands of dollars and some have been arrested for failing to pay debts accrued locally or exorbitant bills racked up as a result of scams.

Overseas fraud

Non-governmental organizations

Foreigners volunteering with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have sometimes reported incidents of fraud, threats and mistreatment by local personnel.

If you are contemplating volunteering with NGOs in Kenya, you should contact the National Bureau of NGOs before making any commitment and before departing Canada, to confirm that the organization you wish to work with is legitimate. All NGOs in Kenya are required by law to be registered with the National Council of NGOs, a self-regulating, non-partisan body.

National Bureau of NGOs

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Attacks involving sexual assault have occurred.

Advice for women travellers

Forced Marriages

Forced marriage affecting foreigners occur. It sometimes occurs without the affected person’s prior knowledge or consent.

General information and advice about forced marriage

Road travel

Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country.

Major highways are generally in good condition but minor roads are poorly maintained. Drivers do not respect traffic laws, and drinking and driving is prevalent, especially at night.

Keep this in mind when planning travel by road, as driving at night can be risky. Excessive speeds, poorly maintained vehicles, poor lighting and inadequate signage pose hazards.

During the rainy season, some unpaved roads become impassable, even with four-wheel drive vehicles. You should drive defensively and always be aware of your surroundings.

Serious traffic delays are common. The road from Nairobi to Mombasa is particularly congested and can be dangerous for tourists unfamiliar with local driving conditions. You should travel by air or train if possible.

Use authorized border crossings when travelling by vehicle between Kenya and Tanzania.

Overland travel

Visitors travelling overland to certain game parks and reserves have been attacked by armed bandits. Exercise caution on the roads between the following regions due to attacks, robberies and vehicle hijackings:

  • Malindi to Lamu
  • Nairobi and the Amboseli, Masai Mara, Nakuru and Tsavo game parks/reserves
  • Nairobi and the Mount Kenya/Aberdare area

Public transportation

Public transportation is unsafe.

Inter city buses

Long-distance buses have been involved in serious accidents.

Intra City travel

Local mini buses (matatus) and motorbike taxis (boda-bodas) are generally poorly maintained, recklessly driven and not adequately insured. Matatu hijackings and incidents of passengers being robbed have occurred.

Use reliable taxi companies, and confirm the fare in advance.

The Madaraka Express Railway line between Nairobi and Mombasa is reliable and safe. Other passenger train lines are not safe and are routinely late.

Local assistance

The Kenya Tourism Federation operates a 24-hour Safety and Communication Centre, which provides information on tourism and road conditions, and has information about regional assistance in an emergency.

Safety Centre  - Kenya Tourism Federation

National parks, safaris and reserves

Tourists have been victims of crime, sometimes involving violence, in national parks and reserves, as well as on safaris.

  • Remain aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Avoid camping alone or without expert local assistance

Wildlife viewing

Wildlife viewing poses risks, particularly on foot or at close range.

  • Always maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife
  • Only exit a vehicle when a professional guide or warden says it’s safe to do so
  • Only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators
  • Closely follow park regulations and wardens’ advice

Maritime transportation

The Likoni Ferry (from Mombasa to Likoni) is unsafe due to a combination of high crime rates, uncontrolled crowds, limited safety training, frequent breakdowns and inconsistent maintenance. Stampedes and overcrowding on the ferry have resulted in multiple injuries.

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report  - International Maritime Bureau

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from Kenyan authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the  Foreign Representatives in Canada .

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry into Kenya.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada
  • Canadian passports

Tourist visa: not required Transit visa: not required if you have a connecting flight and are not leaving the airport  Business visa: required Student visa: required Work Permit: required

As of January 1, 2024, tourists are required to apply and pay for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) prior to their travel. You can still use issued valid tourist visas until they expire.

You must obtain your visa or eTA online prior to your departure. Be sure to check the visa validity immediately after issuance.

If you don’t have a valid visa, you could be detained, taken to court and charged for being in Kenya illegally. You could be subject to a fine or deportation.

Useful links :

Apply for an eTA  – Government of Kenya Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority  – Government of Kenya eVisa  – Kenyan Department of Immigration Services

Visa extension

Kenyan Immigration authorities may extend your visa for one month at a time, for a maximum of three months. Each extension costs KSH 1000, and must be requested while the visa is still valid.

To extend your visa, contact immigration authorities once you are in the country.

You must pay all visa fees in exact cash and only in U.S. dollars, British pound sterling or euros. You can’t pay for a visa with a credit card.

There is no fee for visas for children under 16 years.

East African tourist visa

The East African Tourist Visa allows for multiple entries to Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.

This visa is valid for 90 days and cannot be extended.

You must obtain this visa from the authorities of the country that is your first entry point. If you plan to begin your trip in Kenya, you must obtain it from the High Commission for the Republic of Kenya or on arrival.

Work Permits

You must have a valid work permit to work or volunteer in Kenya. It is illegal to work or volunteer in Kenya with any other type of visa.

As a foreign worker in Kenya, you must carry the necessary work permits and documentation with you at all times, even when volunteering. Strict actions will be taken if you don’t comply, including deportation.

To obtain an electronic working permit, apply online with the Department of Immigration Services. You must visit the Kenya Immigration headquarters (Nyayo House in the Central Business District of Nairobi) after completing the online application to obtain your permit.

Apply for a work permit  - Kenyan Department of Immigration Services

NGO workers

Canadians planning to work or volunteer (including, temporarily or part-time) in Kenya for any period are required to have a work permit.

The National Council of NGOs can provide assistance in obtaining a work permit for individuals planning to work for a local NGO if contacted in advance.

If an employee moves from one organization to another, the first permit becomes void and the individual must apply for a new permit to work with the subsequent organization.

Consult with the NGO with whom you are planning to volunteer, as well as with the Kenya Immigration Foreign Nationals Services for full information and requirements.

More information about Kenyan work permits  - High commission of Kenya

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children .

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

The Kenyan authorities regularly carry out spot checks for proof of yellow fever vaccinations. Carry a copy of your proof of vaccination with you at all times.

Relevant Travel Health Notices

  • Global Measles Notice - 13 March, 2024
  • Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 31 August, 2023
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 13 March, 2024
  • Polio: Advice for travellers - 17 April, 2024

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your  routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow fever   is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country   where yellow fever occurs.


  • Vaccination is recommended depending on your itinerary.
  • Contact a designated  Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre  well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites .

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada * It is important to note that   country entry requirements   may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest   diplomatic or consular office   of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

Practise  safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

  Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

This destination is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area which has the highest rates of meningococcal disease in the world. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. 

Travellers who are at higher risk should discuss vaccination with a health care provider. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.

Malaria  is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.   There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination. 

Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving.    Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times:  • Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin.  • Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows. • Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area.  • Wear permethrin-treated clothing.    If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions , including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment.  

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Polio (poliomyelitis) is an infectious disease that can be prevented by vaccination. It is caused by poliovirus type 1, 2 or 3. Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus 2 (cVDPV2) is present in this country. Polio is spread from person to person and through contaminated food and water. Infection with the polio virus can cause paralysis and death in individuals of any age who are not immune.


  • Be sure that your polio vaccinations are up to date before travelling. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
  • One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult .

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.

To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions .

Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:

  • visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
  • visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring

Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid   is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

There is a risk of schistosomiasis in this destination. Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by tiny worms (blood flukes) which can be found in freshwater (lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands). The worms can break the skin, and their eggs can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, or urinary problems. Schistosomiasis mostly affects underdeveloped and r ural communities, particularly agricultural and fishing communities.

Most travellers are at low risk. Travellers should avoid contact with untreated freshwater such as lakes, rivers, and ponds (e.g., swimming, bathing, wading, ingesting). There is no vaccine or medication available to prevent infection.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Rift Valley fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can be fatal. It is spread to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, from the bite of an infected mosquito, or eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from insect bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock, and unpasteurized dairy. There is no vaccine available for Rift Valley fever.

Visceral  leishmaniasis   (or kala azar) affects the bone marrow and internal organs. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sharing contaminated needles. If left untreated it can cause death. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.

  • In this country,   dengue  is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites . There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by bacteria. People can get sick with anthrax if they come into contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products. Anthrax can cause severe illness in both humans and animals. Travellers to areas where anthrax is common or where an outbreak is occurring in animals can get sick with anthrax if:

  • they have contact with infected animal carcasses or eat meat from animals that were sick when slaughtered
  • they handle animal parts, such as hides, wool or hair, or products made from those animal parts, such as animal hide drums.

If you are visiting these areas, do not eat raw or undercooked meat and avoid contact with livestock, wildlife, animal products, and animal carcasses.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •   washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)   is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.

Medical services and facilities

Good medical facilities are available in Nairobi, but health-care standards in other parts of the country vary and can be very limited. Medical facilities may require proof of insurance or up-front payment before starting treatment.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a   travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad .


You must carry photo identification or a copy of your passport at all times. Police and immigration officials have the right to demand proof of your identification, residency or valid visas. You should cooperate with authorities if you are asked for identification. Failure to present proof of residence or a valid visa to authorities when requested to do so could result in fines or arrest. Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it's lost or confiscated.


It is illegal to work or volunteer in Kenya without a valid work permit. Kenyan authorities strictly enforce this law. Convicted offenders could face heavy fines, jail sentences of up to five years and deportation.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment and heavy fines. You could also face fines and jail time if you are convicted of being in a location where there are illegal drugs, even if they are not yours.

There are strict restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages and on consuming alcohol in public places.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Smoking is prohibited in all public places. Convicted offenders could pay heavy fines or face a jail sentence.

Possession of ivory or other banned wildlife items, even if purchased outside of Kenya, is strictly prohibited. Killing, buying, selling or trading any protected wild animal or any of its parts is illegal. Offenders can be arrested and given lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines.


Photography of government buildings, foreign embassies and missions (including the Canadian High Commission), airports, military facilities or other sensitive locations is prohibited and may lead to arrest or detention.

Illegal and restricted items

Plastic bags.

The use, manufacture or importation of plastic bags, including garbage bags and shopping bags, is illegal. Convicted offenders, including tourists, can face very heavy fines (up to USD 40,000), imprisonment for up to two years, or both.

Plastic bag ban

The recreational and commercial flying of drones is strictly regulated.

You must seek the permission from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority prior to your arrival. If you don't comply, you may be fined and your drone may be confiscated.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) - Kenya Civil Aviation Authority

To carry firearms, you must obtain permission from local authorities prior to entering the country. Firearms are strictly forbidden in wildlife reserves and national parks.

Pornographic material

Possession of pornographic material is forbidden.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Kenyan law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can face lengthy prison sentences.

Even though there are few convictions, 2SLGBTQI+ persons are routinely harassed by the police, and societal discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Kenya.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Kenya.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Kenya, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements .

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Kenya.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Kenya by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Kenya to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

  • International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
  • Travelling with children
  • Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
  • Emergency Watch and Response Centre

Traffic drives on the left.

While driving, drivers must always carry:

  • a valid driver's licence
  • vehicle registration documents
  • proof of valid insurance
  • a valid vehicle inspection certificate

These documents must be produced on demand by a police officer.

You must be at least 18 years old to drive a private motor vehicle in Kenya.

You may drive using a Canadian driver's licence for up to 90 days from the date of entry into Kenya.

An International Driving Permit is accepted, if presented with your original Canadian licence.

Residents of Kenya may apply for a Kenyan driver's licence with proof of a valid Canadian driver's licence.

If using a Canadian licence for any of the above cases, it must be in English or a certified translation must accompany it and be presented on demand.

Private motor vehicles must have 2 emergency triangles.

If you are stopped due to a traffic violation, the police officer may ask you to pay an on-the spot fine. Police, however, are not permitted to accept cash on the spot without issuing an official receipt. If you disagree with the traffic ticket, you have the right to ask for due process. The officer should provide you with information on when and where you can go to be properly charged, and then you may pursue that process.

International Driving Permit

Exercise common sense and discretion in your dress and behaviour, particularly in the coast region, where the majority of the population is Muslim.

To avoid offending local sensitivities:

  • dress conservatively
  • behave discreetly
  • respect religious and social traditions

In 2025, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around February 28.

In public, between sunrise and sunset, be discreet when:

The currency is the Kenyan shilling (KES).

ATMs are widely available.

Credit cards are widely accepted at major hotels, but not always in more remote locations.

Many banks and hotels exchange foreign currency. It is also possible to convert Kenyan shillings into foreign currency at the airport upon departure.

M-PESA is a common form of electronic funds transfer accepted across Kenya, including at national parks. National parks do not accept cash and generally accept credit cards, but at times, due to technical difficulties, only payment via M-PESA is accepted.

Travellers who import the equivalent of U.S. $5,000 or more must provide documentation stating the source and purpose of the funds.

Rainy seasons and droughts

Drought is the most prevalent natural hazard in Kenya affecting mainly the eastern, north eastern and coast area, as well as parts of the Rift Valley.

There are normally two rainy seasons in Kenya: from October to November, and from late March to mid-June. Seasonal flooding and mudslides can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.

If you reside in or are travelling to affected areas:

  • exercise caution
  • monitor local news and weather reports
  • follow the advice of local authorities

Volcanoes and earthquakes

Natural disasters are possible due to regional volcanic and seismic activity. While there have not been any recent incidents, pay careful attention to all warnings issued.

Local services

There is no reliable centralized number to reach emergency services. Research and carry contact information for local police and medical facilities.

Consular assistance

For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Kenya, in Nairobi, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the  Emergency Watch and Response Centre  in Ottawa.

Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda

For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Kenya, in Nairobi, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services .

Risk Levels

  take normal security precautions.

Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.

  Exercise a high degree of caution

There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.

  Avoid non-essential travel

Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.

  Avoid all travel

You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.

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Exercise a high degree of caution in Kenya overall due to the threat of terrorism and violent crime.

Higher levels apply in some areas.

Kenya map Oct 2023

Kenya (PDF 885.66 KB)

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Local emergency contacts

Fire and rescue services, medical emergencies.

Call 999 or go to the nearest hospital.

Call 999 or visit the nearest police station.

Advice levels

Exercise a high degree of caution in Kenya overall.

See Safety .

Do not travel to border regions with Somalia.

Do not travel to border regions with Somalia due to the high risk of terrorist attack and kidnapping,  including all of Mandera and Garissa counties and the part of Wajir county extending from the town of Wajir eastwards to the border with Somalia.

Reconsider your need to travel to border regions with South Sudan and Ethiopia (except Mandera County where we continue to advise Do Not Travel), Lamu County and  areas within Tana River and Kilifi Counties.

Reconsider your need to travel to South Sudan and Ethiopia (except Mandera County where we continue to advise Do Not Travel), Lamu County and areas within Tana River and Kilifi Counties, extending 50km inland in Tana River County, and 50km inland in Kilifi County north of the Galana-Sabaki River, due to the high risk of terrorist attack and kidnapping.

  • Terrorist attacks are possible and could happen at any time, including in locations popular with foreigners and tourists. Be alert in public places. Avoid areas prone to attack.  Religious and festive holidays have historically seen an upsurge in terrorist activities and heightened threat warnings. Remain vigilant if visiting public areas.
  • The borders with Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan are high-risk areas. Armed groups from Somalia kidnap and target foreigners in Kenya, particularly along the Somalia border region. If despite our advice you plan to travel to these areas, get professional security advice.
  • Violent crime occurs, including carjackings, kidnapping and home invasions. Don't walk around after dark. If you live in Kenya, invest in strong personal security measures.
  • Protests can be expected across Kenya.  Avoid protests and political gatherings. Follow the advice of local authorities. 
  • Scams are common. Criminals often use fake police, hotel or government identification to extort money from travellers. Be wary of anyone asking for money or information, even if they seem official. 
  • Kenya can experience natural disasters and severe weather. Know the warning signs and safety measures for earthquakes, floods and tsunamis.

Full travel advice: Safety

  • Malaria is widespread, except in Nairobi and places higher than 2500 meters above sea level. Consider taking anti-malarial medication. Other insect-borne diseases including dengue, Rift Valley fever, filariasis and African sleeping sickness are common. Ensure your accommodation is insect-proof. Use insect repellent.
  • Yellow Fever is widespread. Get Vaccinated before you travel and bring your vaccination certificate with you.
  • HIV/AIDS infection rates are high. Take precautions if you're taking part in high-risk activities.
  • You may be exposed to foodborne, waterborne and other infectious diseases include hepatitis, meningococcal disease, measles and cholera. Drink only boiled or bottled water. Avoid raw or undercooked food.

Full travel advice: Health

  • It's illegal to work or volunteer without a valid work permit. To work in the charity sector, get a valid work permit through the Directorate of Immigration Services .
  • Know and follow local laws. It's illegal to have same-sex relationships.
  • It's illegal to take photos of official buildings, get advice before taking photos. It's also illegal to destroy the local currency, smoke outside designated areas, possess ivory, and use single-use plastic bags. 
  • Kenya recognises dual nationality but hasn't fully enacted laws around it. If you're a dual national, always travel on your Australian passport.
  • Foreign journalists seeking to work in Kenya must apply for accreditation through the Media Council of Kenya portal .

Full travel advice: Local laws

  • You now need to apply online for an electronic travel authorisation prior to travel. Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. You should contact the nearest high commission/embassy or consulate of Kenya for the latest details.
  • If you have a valid visa, you can continue to travel using this visa until its expiry.
  • If you enter Kenya with flu-like symptoms, you may need to take a COVID-19 test at your own expense. If your test is positive, you may need to isolate. For more information on COVID-19 travel requirements, see  Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority  website.
  • If you're a foreign resident, always carry your alien identity card. You could be fined or detained if you don't. Carry your yellow fever vaccination certificate. You may need to show it to enter and leave the country.

Full travel advice: Travel

Local contacts

  • The Consular Services Charter details what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
  • For consular assistance, contact the Australian High Commission in Nairobi .
  • To stay up to date with local information, follow the High Commission’s social media accounts.

Full travel advice: Local contacts

Full advice

There's an ongoing high threat of terrorist attacks in Kenya.

Terrorist group al-Shabaab continues to threaten attacks. Further attacks are possible and could happen at any time, including in areas popular with foreigners and tourists. Kenyan authorities remain on high alert.

Terrorist acts could include: 

  • suicide bombings and shootings
  • kidnappings
  • roadside bomb attacks and improvised explosive devices
  • attacks on civil aviation

Possible attack targets

An attack could happen anywhere in Kenya. An attack is possible at any time.

Areas prone to terrorist attack include:

  • Coastal areas, including all of Lamu County, and areas of Tana River and Kilifi Counties, extending 65km inland in Tana River county and 50km inland in Kilifi county north of the Galana-Sabaki River
  • Kenya's border regions with Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan, including all of Mandera and Garissa counties and the part of Wajir county extending from the town of Wajir eastwards to the border with Somalia

Terrorists may target:

  • foreign embassies, UN premises and international schools
  • hotels, tourist resorts, beaches and safari lodges
  • shopping areas, markets, bars, nightclubs, restaurants and cafes
  • places of worship
  • offices of non-government organisations (NGOs) and government buildings , including educational institutions

Terrorists may also target transport and transport infrastructure such as:

  • airports and commercial airlines
  • transport hubs and infrastructure
  • sea vessels in or near Kenyan ports

Foreign aid workers may be targeted at refugee camps near the Kenya-Somalia border.

Terrorist attacks have occurred in Kenya in the past few years,  including in Lamu, Mandera and Garissa counties.

Due to security concerns, Australian High Commission staff in Nairobi are on high alert.

Consider likely terrorist targets and the level of security provided. 

Always be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.

Report any suspicious items or activities to police.

To reduce your risks:

  • take official warnings seriously
  • monitor the media for threats
  • follow the instructions of local authorities.

If there's a terrorist attack:

  • leave the affected area immediately if it's safe to do so
  • avoid the area afterwards in case of more attacks

Don't gather in groups after an attack. This also applies if you're evacuated from a building for security reasons, such as a bomb threat.

Terrorism is a threat worldwide.

More information:

Kidnapping occurs across the world with political, ideological and criminal motives. Foreigners, including Australians, have been kidnapped while travelling overseas. Kidnapping can happen anywhere, anytime, including in destinations that are usually at lower risk.

Several active terrorist groups have the intent and capability to kidnap foreigners.  Armed groups from Somalia have kidnapped aid workers in the Somalia border region. Foreigners and residents in coastal resorts and towns in the North Eastern region (Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties), as well as Lamu county, have been the target of kidnapping.

Kidnapping is a high threat in these regions for:

  • humanitarian workers
  • journalists

If, despite our advice, you travel to an area with a high risk of kidnapping, our ability to provide consular assistance in these destinations will be limited.

To reduce the risk of kidnapping:

  • always be alert to your personal security and surroundings
  • get professional security advice for travel in locations with a heightened kidnap risk
  • check your accommodation has appropriate security measures
  • avoid isolated locations, particularly when travelling alone
  • notify family or friends of planned travel and share your location
  • avoid talking about your money or business affairs
  • only use ATMs in public places and during daylight hours
  • avoid giving personal details to strangers online or over the phone

The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn’t make payments or concessions to kidnappers.

Ransom payments to kidnappers have funded further terrorist attacks and criminal activity. Paying a ransom to terrorist groups will likely break Australian counter-terrorism financing laws.

Civil unrest and political tension

Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.

Large demonstrations can happen in Kenya during and after international events or political changes.

Demonstrations resulting in violence and arrests have occurred because of:

  • high food prices
  • alleged corruption
  • controversial media and tax law changes

Violent outbreaks are more common away from tourist areas. However, riots and clashes have happened in:

  • other urban centres

During periods of unrest:

  • be cautious throughout Kenya
  • avoid large gatherings, protests and demonstrations
  • monitor the media for reports about unrest
  • avoid affected areas
  • be aware authorities may order curfews in response to civil unrest at short notice
  • follow instructions from local authorities.

Demonstrations and civil unrest

Crime is high in Kenya and  increases during holiday periods.

Incidents of  armed robbery , carjacking, kidnapping and muggings are possible in:

  • Nairobi and other urban centres (e.g. Mombasa)
  • some coastal regions, including all of Lamu County, and areas of Tana River and Kilifi Counties
  • North Eastern region  (Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties)
  • Some parts of North Rift and Central Rift regions (Turkana, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Laikipia and Samburu counties)

Petty crime

Thieves snatch jewellery and bags from open vehicle windows, most often while cars are stopped at traffic lights or in heavy traffic.

Groups of bag-snatchers and carjackers on motorbikes target pedestrians and motorists.

Robberies also occur on trains and buses.

To protect yourself from theft:

  • always keep vehicle doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight, even when moving
  • secure your accommodation, even when you're in it
  • avoid walking after dark
  • avoid walking in isolated back-alleys and lanes.

Violent crime

Violent crimes include:

  • armed carjackings
  • home invasions

Foreigners have been targeted in private homes in Nairobi, tourist areas and while travelling by road. Several incidents have occurred at night outside residential security gates.

Violent crime is particularly common in the Nairobi suburbs of Eastleigh and Kibera. Take extra precautions in these areas.

If you're living in Kenya, invest in strong personal security measures. Regularly review your personal security arrangements.

Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.

Police regularly confront criminal suspects in public places. Random gunfire has killed or wounded bystanders in crowded areas.

Due to widespread HIV/AIDS, if you're a victim of violent crime such as rape , visit a doctor immediately.

Food and drink spiking

Some criminals target foreigners with food and drink spiking. Their motivations can be for assault, including sexual assault, and theft.

To protect yourself:

  • never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers
  • be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances
  • Partying safely

Crime in outlying areas

Incidents involving banditry and cattle rustling can occur in North and Central Rift regions (Turkana, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Laikipia and Samburu counties).

Clashes between local groups have occurred in the Mount Elgon region in western Uganda.

The region bordering Somalia is extremely dangerous.

Curfews and security operations can be instituted without prior notice in the North Rift and parts of Central Rift regions.

If you plan to travel to these areas  get up-to-date advice on security and other conditions from your tour operator before you travel.  Monitor the media for latest developments, maintain a high level of vigilance and leave restricted areas as soon as possible.

Scams and fraud

Scams  are common. Criminals often use fake police, hotel, government and other identification to extort money from travellers.

  • be wary of demands for money or personal information, including from people claiming to be police or officials. Always ask for and carefully check identification
  • be wary of fake bank notes in circulation

Cyber security

You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you’re connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth.

Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions, or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media.

  • Cyber security when travelling overseas

National parks and game reserves

Crime occurs Kenya's national parks and conservation areas but rarely serious.

If you plan to visit national parks or game reserves:

  • get local advice on security risks, park fees and other conditions before you travel
  • get recommendations on travel firms and guides from the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO)
  • only use registered tour operators with a good reputation
  • respect local wildlife laws and maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife
  • follow all park regulations and instructions from local authorities and park wardens

Tours and adventure activities

Transport and tour operators don't always follow safety and maintenance standards. This includes adventure activities, such as diving.

If you plan to do an adventure activity :

  • check if your travel insurance policy covers the activity
  • use registered tour operators with a good reputation
  • ask about and insist on minimum safety requirements
  • always use available safety gear, such as life jackets or seatbelts.

If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.

Information on tourism, road conditions and emergency regional assistance is available from the Kenya Tourism Federation  Safety and Communication Centre . Phone:  +254 (0)722 074 564 5 or +254 (0) 738 617 499

Climate and natural disasters

Kenya can experience natural disasters and severe weather , including:

  • flash flooding
  • earthquakes
  • volcanic activity

If a natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof place
  • monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • keep in contact with your friends and family.

Kenya traditionally has two rainy seasons, from March to June, and October to November. Flash flooding and mudslides are common. Roads may close. Expect delays when travelling in these areas.

Northern and eastern Kenya often experiences drought. Essential services in these areas may be affected during these times. Expect delays when travelling in these areas.

Earthquakes and volcanoes

Kenya lies on a fault line, and sometimes experiences earthquakes and tremors.

Volcanic activity and earthquakes can happen near Mt Elgon on the Kenya-Uganda border.

Get to know earthquake safety measures for each place you stay.

Tsunamis can occur in Kenya's coastal areas.

To receive tsunami alerts, register with the Global Disaster Alert and Co-ordination System .

Move to high ground right away if local or regional authorities tell you to, or if you:

  • feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up
  • feel a weak, rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
  • see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
  • hear loud and unusual noises from the sea

Don't wait for official warnings. Once on high ground, monitor local media.

Travel Insurance

Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.

If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.

If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.

  • what activities and care your policy covers
  • that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition. 

See your doctor or travel clinic to:

  • have a basic health check-up
  • ask if your travel plans may affect your health
  • plan any vaccinations you need.

Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.

If you have immediate concerns for your welfare, or the welfare of another Australian, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your  nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate  to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.

  • General health advice
  • Healthy holiday tips  (Healthdirect Australia)


Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Kenya. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.

Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:

  • what the medication is
  • your required dosage
  • that it's for personal use

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases.

Yellow fever is widespread in Kenya. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal virus spread by mosquitoes. It's prevented by vaccination. Get vaccinated before you travel and take your yellow fever vaccination certificate with you to Kenya. 

Malaria is widespread except in Nairobi and at altitudes above 2500m.

Other insect-borne diseases occur, such as: 

  • Dengue virus infection
  • Rift Valley fever
  • Lymphatic  filariasis
  • African sleeping sickness

To protect yourself from disease:

  • make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
  • use insect repellent
  • wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
  • consider taking medication to prevent malaria

Visit a doctor if you develop either a fever, muscle pain, a rash or a bad headache.

HIV/AIDS infection rates are very high.

Take precautions if taking part in activities that put you at risk of infection.

Other health risks

Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are common. These include:

  • meningococcal disease
  • tuberculosis

Serious outbreaks occur from time to time.

To protect yourself from illness:

  • drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
  • avoid ice cubes
  • avoid raw and undercooked food, such as salads
  • don't swim in fresh water

Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.

Medical care

Medical facilities.

Medical facility standards vary. Medical facilities are adequate in urban areas but may be extremely limited in other places.

Before receiving treatment, public and private facilities need:

  • an up-front payment, or
  • a payment guarantee, or
  • medical insurance confirmation

If you become seriously ill or injured in a remote area, you'll need to be evacuated to a major city. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.

There's a decompression chamber at the Kenyan Naval Base in Mombasa.

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter . But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Penalties for drug offences can be severe and include long jail terms.

Carrying or using drugs

Commercial surrogacy

Get legal advice in Australia and Kenya before going to Kenya for commercial surrogacy arrangements.

  • Going overseas for international surrogacy
  • Going overseas to adopt

LGBTI travellers

Kenyan law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can face lengthy prison sentences.

Advice for LGBTI travellers

In Kenya it's illegal to:

  • work or volunteer without a valid work permit
  • destroy local currency
  • smoke in public places outside designated smoking areas
  • take photos of official buildings — get advice before taking photos
  • possess ivory
  • distribute religious material in public without a licence.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia.

Staying within the law and respecting customs

Dual citizenship

Kenya recognises dual nationality. However, Kenya has not yet fully enacted dual nationality laws.

If you're a dual citizen, this limits the consular services we can give if you're arrested or detained.

Always travel on your Australian passport .

Dual nationals

Local customs

Kenya has conservative dress and behaviour standards, especially in coastal and rural areas. You should dress modestly; wear loose-fitting clothing that covers your shoulders, knees, midriff, chest and back. Take care not to offend.

The Islamic holiday month of Ramadan  is observed in Kenya. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws at this time. Muslims don't eat, drink or smoke between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan.   If you're not fasting, avoid these activities around people who are. Seek local advice to avoid offence.

Explore our Ramadan page to learn more, including dates for Ramadan.

Public displays of affection can lead to harassment, particularly for same-sex couples.

  • Going overseas for major events

Visas and border measures

Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering. 

Kenya became a visa-free country in January 2024. However, you'll need to apply online  and pay for an  Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)  prior to arrival.  Check the Kenya Ministry of immigration on categories of persons exempted from applying for the ETA.

If you already have a valid visa, you can continue to travel using this visa until its expiry.

For Kenyan visa and permit information, visit the  ETA Kenya  and  Kenya Civil Aviation Authority websites.  

Entry and exit requirements can change at short notice. Contact the  Kenyan High Commission  for details about ETAs, currency, customs and quarantine rules.

Border measures

If you enter Kenya with flu-like symptoms, you may need to take a COVID-19 test at your own expense. If your test is positive, you may need to isolate. For more information on COVID-19 travel requirements see:  Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority .

Other formalities

Yellow fever vaccination.

You'll need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Kenya. Some airlines may want to see one when you leave.

Find out about returning to Australia after exposure to yellow fever .

  • Yellow fever - African Region (WHO)
  • Kenyan Airports: Kenya Airports Authority

Import and export restrictions

Kenya has strict laws about importing or exporting certain goods, including:

  • religious materials and antiquities
  • business equipment

Kenyan High Commission in Australia

Identity card for foreigners

If you're a foreign resident, always carry your alien identity card. If you don't, you could be fined or jailed.

Working in Kenya

It's illegal to work without a valid visa. Authorities can fine or jail you for paid or voluntary  work.

To work in the charity sector, get a valid work permit through the Charity Register. 

Foreign journalists seeking to work in Kenya are required to apply for accreditation through the Media Council of Kenya portal .

Living or working overseas

To enter Kenya, your passport must have an expiry date at least 6 months after the date you arrive and at least two blank pages. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over. 

Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.

You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.

The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport .

Lost or stolen passport

Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.

Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:

  • In Australia, contact the Australian Passport Information Service .
  • If you're overseas, contact the nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate .

Passport with 'X' gender identifier

Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can't guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the nearest  Kenyan High Commission  before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers. 

More information:   

  • LGBTI travellers  

The local currency is the Kenyan Shilling (KES). 

  • Kenya Shilling banknotes (Central Bank)

Declare all amounts over US$10,000 when you arrive and depart. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.

Large banks and foreign exchange bureaus accept traveller's cheques. Hotels don't often accept them.

ATMs in Nairobi and major towns accept international credit cards.

Take care when paying with credit cards or using ATMs. Card skimming incidents are increasing. Only use ATMs at large shopping centres or in banks. Check the machine for unusual parts before you use it. Always keep your card in sight during transactions.

Ask your bank if your cards will work in Kenya.

Local travel

Driving permit.

To drive in Kenya, you'll need both:

  • a valid Australian driver's licence
  • an International Driving Permit (IDP)

Get your IDP before leaving Australia.

Road travel

Kenya records thousands of road fatalities each year. You're more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Kenya than in Australia.

Hazards include:

  • poor road conditions
  • unsafe and poorly maintained vehicles
  • not enough street lighting

Before you drive:

  • get to know local traffic laws and practices
  • check local information on road conditions, including security risks and road closures
  • avoid travel at night on major highways in and out of Nairobi and on rural roads

Driving or riding


Check if your travel insurance policy covers you when using a motorbike or similar vehicle. 

Always wear a helmet.

Only use established and reputable taxis and limousine services. Arrange these through your hotel.

Only use taxis from official taxi stands or via callout.

When travelling at night to and from Nairobi's airports (JKIA and Wilson), always use a tour or taxi company with a good reputation.

Public transport

Public transport options such as buses and minivans ('matatus') are dangerous.

Bus terminals and other transport hubs have been targeted in terrorist and criminal attacks. There are risks of further attacks.

Theft is common on many train routes. Passengers' belongings have been taken from their compartments. Watch your belongings at all times.

Boat travel

If you travel in Kenyan waters:

  • first check the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reports
  • arrange personal security measures
  • be alert to threats

DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.

Check Kenya's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.


Depending on what you need, contact your:

  • family and friends
  • travel agent
  • insurance provider

Always get a police report when you report a crime.

Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Consular contacts

Check the Consular Services Charter to find out what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

For consular assistance, contact the Australian High Commission in Nairobi.

Australian High Commission, Nairobi

Limuru Road, Rosslyn  Nairobi, Kenya

Phone: (+254) 20 4277 100

Website: kenya.highcommission.gov.au Facebook: Australia in East Africa   X: @AusHCKenya

Check the High Commission website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.

24-hour Consular Emergency Centre

In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:

  • +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
  • 1300 555 135 in Australia


Travelling to Kenya?

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Nairobi, Kenya - 5 Places to See if an African Safari is on your Travel Bucket List

W ith a mix of ethnicities and nationalities worldwide, Nairobi , the capital city of Kenya, warmly embraces all her visitors and works to make you at home quickly. Yet despite having a space for everyone who visits, Nairobi still sets itself apart and offers a unique vacation to all its visitors.

If an authentic safari experience is on your bucket list, Nairobi is definitely worth considering. Here are some recommendations to make the most of your trip to Kenya.

The Nairobi Culture

Nairobi is a busy city just like any other city in the world. The streets are bustling as ever and there are tons of places to visit and see. As a Nairobian tourist, it would help to learn a few Swahili words. “ Hujambo ” for greeting or “ Habari yako ”, “ Karibu ” for “welcome”, “ asante ” means “thank you”, “ pole ” means “sorry”, and “ tafadhali ” means “please”. See the incredible thing about Nairobi, nobody expects a foreigner to be fluent in Swahili. Throw in one of the above words and continue your speech in English and that’s more than enough.

Beyond language, politeness is paramount in Nairobi. Tip your servers in the restaurants when you can. Always start all your conversations with greetings and don’t leave too many leftovers . Wasting food is looked down upon in Kenyan culture.

There is no strict dress code in Nairobi, much less for a visitor. Fridays in Nairobi are spent socializing in malls, bars, clubs, and or at restaurants for tea or coffee. If you want a never-ending nightlife, find your way to the Westlands . Indulge in some club-hopping before you retire for the night.

Things To Do In Nairobi

1. visit nairobi national park.

About an hour from the city center, you will find Nairobi National Park. Enjoy an authentic safari experience in the savannah grassland in a park teeming with lions, zebras, gazelles, giraffes, rhinos, wildebeests, and buffalo. The only animals you won’t find here are elephants. It’s an incredible sight to watch the wildlife in their natural habitat with the city’s skyline as a backdrop.

In addition to Nairobi National Park, the city has many animal sanctuaries in the region that are open to the public. Many endangered species of animals like Sokoke cats, buffalos, ostriches, flamingos , hyenas, blue wildebeest, rhinos, hartebeest, waterbuck, common warthog, and black-backed jackal can be seen – both at the sanctuaries and on safari excursions. In addition to endangered animals, some sanctuaries house endangered plants.

2. Explore Maasai Market

Immerse yourself in Maasai culture at this incredible market that changes its location every day of the week. This is in keeping with the Maasai nomadic culture. This market is a must-visit as part of the Nairobi experience. Stroll through the market and experience vibrant colors in beadwork, woven shukas, and house ornaments all handcrafted by the Maasai people.

3. Visit Nairobi National Museum

Enjoyed even by non-museum fans, the Nairobi National Museum is an excellent showcase of Kenya’s history. Located within the city, the museum is a popular destination and easily accessible. Besides Kenya’s history, the museum also takes you through a journey of human ancestors. Explore the snake park within the museum and the beautiful botanical garden.

4. Visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage

Located right next to the Nairobi National Park, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is one of the animal sanctuaries that will be the highlight of your trip to Nairobi. Here you will find the most adorable baby elephants. Watch as their caretakers bring them out, feed them, and play with them. Your heart will melt at the bonds between these baby elephants and their caretakers.

5. Have breakfast at the Giraffe Manor

Can you imagine having breakfast while petting and feeding giraffes? The Giraffe Manor in Nairobi is home to the critically endangered Rothschild Giraffe. Founded in 1979, this sanctuary is one of Nairobi’s greatest gems. Meet and learn the names of the welcoming giraffes and take as many pictures as possible with these lovely creatures.

Kenyan Food You Gotta Try

Kenyan cuisine is inspired by over 44 tribes in the country of Kenya. Over time, these meals have made their way through the country and have become staples in households everywhere.

Foodies will find a haven in Nairobi as it offers dishes from just about every part of the world. From delectable and spicy Mexican dishes to creamy pasta, Kenyan dishes have made a name for themselves and serve as part and parcel of a Nairobi experience.

Sample Ugali , a meal made by adding maize flour to boiling water until it hardens. It pairs well with stews and vegetables, especially collard greens Kenyans love to call Sukuma Wiki (push the week). Ask for Pilau , a delicious traditional cinnamon, ginger, and garlic. Try chapati , a Kenyan flatbread inspired by the Indian naan. Vegans will love Kenyan cuisine for dishes such as githeri (a mix of maize and bean), mokimo (pounded potatoes, maize, and greens), matoke (cooked green bananas), and Maandazi , a sweet treat made with leavened flour.

Safety Tips

As with any big city, Nairobi has its fair share of security issues. Here are some tips to keep you safe as you visit:

  • Always keep your valuables close to you. Whether it’s your handbag, backpack, or wallet, make sure it is well-kept. There are pickpockets and tourists can make for an easy target.
  • Don’t walk alone at night – for the most part, Nairobi taxis are pretty safe. When you are out at night, it is safer in a taxi or any vehicle than walking alone. For more safety, you can use ride-hailing services like Uber or Bolt to navigate your way through the city.
  • Do a bit of research about Nairobi before arrival. This will familiarize you with the city, which should make your exploration much safer.
  • Stay connected and reachable at all times. Stay online and inform your loved ones of your itinerary and whereabouts every day. Buy a local SIM card for your phone to ensure you have a reliable connection throughout your stay.

A Bucket List City

Boasting as the only city in the world with a national park within its confines, Nairobi is a mix of raw untamed wilderness and vast urban sprawl. Whether you decide to spend your days in Nairobi exploring wildlife in the national park and sanctuaries or embark on a museum blitz around the city, your stay in Nairobi is bound to be unforgettable.

Hujambo na karibu katika jiji la Nairobi!

Written by Sharon O. – a proud resident of Kenya.

Photo credit: Nairobi National Park

Nairobi, the cosmopolitan capital of Kenya, welcomes visitors with diverse culture, exciting activities, and a vibrant dining scene.

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Exploring Kenya: Your Comprehensive Visa Guide

Exploring Kenya

Magical Kenya For Indian Tourists

Maasai mara national reserve, amboseli national park, lake nakuru national park, tsavo east and tsavo west national parks, mount kenya national park, types of visas for kenya.

  • Single Entry Visa: Ideal for tourists, business visitors, or those seeking medical treatment. This visa covers tourism, business, and medical visits.
  • Multiple Entry Visa: Suited for business travellers requiring frequent visits.
  • Transit Visa: For travellers passing through Kenya to another destination.
  • Diplomatic Visa: Issued to diplomats on official duties.
  • Service Visa: For government employees travelling for work.

How to Apply for a Kenya Visa

  • Visit the Official Website: Access the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya's portal.
  • Complete the Application Form: Fill in personal details, purpose of visit, and visa type.
  • Payment: Choose an online payment method and complete the transaction.
  • Confirmation and eVisa: Receive a confirmation email followed by the eVisa.

Requirements for Kenya Visa

  • A passport valid for six months with one blank page.
  • A copy of the eVisa confirmation.
  • Two recent passport-sized photographs.
  • Flight and hotel reservations.
  • Recent bank statements.
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate.

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2 replies to this topic

' class=

Take the Shuttle service with either Impala or Riverside from NBO to Moshi.

You then take another PSV Bus from Moshi to Kilimanjaro which is a 40 mins drive (47 Kms).

As you're crossing the border to enter TZ, you will need VISAs, YF Certificate,,,etc.

Yes, it's quite safe to travel by bus.



Safe Journey !

Karibu - Welcome

Thanks this is very helpful!

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U.s. secretary of commerce gina raimondo to travel to kenya to highlight important bilateral commercial relationship, burgeoning digital opportunities to advance u.s. and kenyan societies and economies, office of public affairs.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo will travel to Nairobi, Kenya from April 23 to April 25.  Secretary Raimondo will lead a delegation of private sector companies from the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA). She will highlight the U.S.-Kenya bilateral commercial and investment relationship and flourishing digital space in Kenya, and throughout Africa, that is helping to shape the world for the better and create exciting opportunities for partnerships with the United States. While in Nairobi, Secretary Raimondo will meet with Kenyan government officials, as well as trade and digital ministers from across Africa. She will also engage with U.S. and Kenyan private sector representatives and speak with women and youth leaders in science, technology and creative industries. The Secretary’s visit builds on the Department of Commerce-wide Africa strategy announced by Deputy Secretary Graves last fall at the AGOA forum in South Africa and underscores the enormous potential that comes with technological advances to support our societies and economies to address global challenges.


  1. Travel to Kenya

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  2. Nairobi National Park, Kenya

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  3. Journey to the Heart of Africa: Unveiling the Wonders of Travel in

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  4. 10 Best Mount Kenya Tours & Trips 2023/2024

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  5. LAS 15 MEJORES cosas que hacer en Kenia 2021

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  6. Kenya Travel Guide

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  2. Crisscrossing Kenya Is On Our List For 2023

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  4. আফ্রিকার দেশ কেনিয়াতে এসে কি যে এক অবস্থা 🇰🇪✈ Kenya Nairobi east Africa

  5. Is This The Cheapest Tourist Place In Kenya?🇰🇪


  1. Kenya International Travel Information

    All visitors are required to obtain an electronic travel authorization before entering Kenya.. Required for Entry: Passport with at least two blank pages, six months' validity, and a Kenyan electronic travel authorization.; You should have proof of yellow fever immunizations if arriving from an endemic country, or you may be denied entry.; Obtain the latest information on visas, as well as ...

  2. Health and Travel Alert: Updated Travel Requirements for Kenya

    Health and Travel Alert: Updated Travel Requirements for Kenya. Kenya's Ministry of Health announced all passengers age 18 and over arriving in Kenya will need to present a valid certificate of COVID-19 vaccination effective immediately. All passengers exiting Kenya will also need to present a valid certificate of COVID-19 vaccination, as ...

  3. 14 things to know before going to Kenya

    2. Pack smart for Kenya - it's not always hot. Early morning safaris can be chilly, so it's wise to take layers for a trip to Kenya. Similarly, temperatures can drop at night in the highlands. Fleeces and even windproof waterproofs are recommended. On the other hand, staying cool is key by the coast or in the city.

  4. Kenya Travel Advisory

    Read the entire Travel Advisory. Do Not Travel to: Kenya-Somalia border counties and some coastal areas, due to terrorism and kidnapping. Areas of Turkana County, due to crime. Reconsider Travel to: Nairobi neighborhoods of Eastleigh and Kibera, due to crime and kidnapping. Certain areas of Laikipia County, due to criminal incursions and ...

  5. Kenya Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (eTA)

    Apply for your eTA for travel to Kenya. Apply Now. Learn More. Airport Staff Check the status of a traveler's submitted application here. Check your application Check the status of your existing application. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Ask anything. All travelers to Kenya are required to submit information prior to departure.

  6. The Ultimate Kenya Travel Guide • The Blonde Abroad

    Kenya Travel Guide. If you're looking for an authentic African experience, Kenya is the place for you. It's a country full of diverse landscapes, unique cultures, unspoiled beaches, world-class hotels (like Giraffe Manor!), and unforgettable wildlife experiences on the Maasai Mara.

  7. Kenya travel

    Kenya. Africa. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all but essential travel to areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border, Garissa County, Lamu County (not including Lamu or Manda islands), those areas of Tana River County north of the Tana river itself, and within 15km of the coast from the Tana river down to the ...

  8. 8 best places to visit in Kenya

    3. Masai Mara. Best place for safari. One of Africa's great bucket-list safari destinations, Masai Mara lies in Kenya's southwestern region and stretches for 1510 sq km (583 sq miles) into Tanzania's Serengeti. Spot all the Big Five and other wildlife here, as well as more than 450 species of birds.

  9. Visit Kenya

    Kenya is the country where safari was born. Discover the dramatic Great Rift Valley, mountain highlands or the coastline of the Indian Ocean with its white sandy beaches. Kenya is also home of the Big Five and you will experience close encounters with lions, elephants, rhinos and many other wildlife. Book your safari to the world famous Masai ...

  10. COVID 19 INFORMATION (June 21, 2023)

    Passengers traveling out of the country, will be required to abide by the particular travel, health, and COVID-19 related requirements of the transit and destination country. Pre-departure RDT or PCR testing may be considered at the discretion of any of the airlines departing from or terminating in Kenya.

  11. Travel Advisory: Kenya-Level 3: Reconsider Travel

    Travel Advisory for U.S. Citizens. August 10, 2021 . Travel Advisory: Kenya-Level 3: Reconsider Travel. Reconsider travel to Kenya due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Kenya due to crime, terrorism, health issues, and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

  12. 11 Must-Know KENYA TIPS for First-Time Visitors (Ultimate Guide for

    When traveling to Kenya, take steps to protect your health and prevent illnesses. Here are some key vaccinations: A yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers entering Kenya from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission.The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains a list of countries at risk of yellow fever transmission, which is updated regularly.

  13. 16 Things To Know Before Your First Visit To Kenya

    Kenya's visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue. Check your passport to be sure it is valid for at least 6 months after your trip. Kenya requires at least one clear page in your passport. I also registered with the U.S. State Department travel site. While in Kenya, I received a notification of a planned demonstration the next day.

  14. The Ultimate Kenya Travel Guide (Updated 2021)

    Fast Facts about Kenya. Kenyan power voltage is 240 V 50 Hz; Plug G. The Kenyan currency is the shilling and is around 86 shillings for 1 USD. Virtually all banks in Kenya now have ATMs at most branches. Barclays Bank has easily the most reliable machines for international withdrawals. Standard Chartered and Kenya Commercial Bank ATMs also ...

  15. Kenya

    If your travel plans in Kenya include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip. Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe. Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid ...

  16. 10 Helpful Kenya Travel Tips To Know Before You Go

    Safari Time! One of my top Kenya travel tips is to go on a safari there! Make sure to pack your bag with your safari clothes because if you're headed to Kenya, you should partake in at least one safari. The name safari comes from the Swahili meaning "journey" or "trip.". It is close to the city at Nairobi National Park, the famous ...

  17. 33 Things to Know Before Traveling to Kenya

    16. Travel to Kenya on a budget. There's a growing backpacker trail in Kenya and hostels catering for budget travelers are growing in number and popularity. Airbnb also has a lot of hidden gems, especially at the coast. The travel options in Kenya are limitless.

  18. Kenya Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (eTA)

    Airport Staff Check the status of a traveler's submitted application here. Check your application Check the status of your existing application. Apply for your electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) to Kenya on this official Republic of Kenya government site.

  19. Entry requirements

    On 12 December 2023 the President of Kenya announced that Kenya would be visa-free from January 2024. Visitors to Kenya are now required to apply online for an electronic travel authorisation in ...

  20. How to Apply

    Apply for your eTA for travel to Kenya. Apply Now. Learn More. Airport Staff Check the status of a traveler's submitted application here. Check your application Check the status of your existing application. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Ask anything. All visitors including infants and children who intend to travel to the Republic of Kenya ...

  21. Kenya travel advice

    Kenya-Somalia border. FCDO advises against all but essential travel to areas within 60km of Kenya's border with Somalia.. Eastern Garissa County. FCDO advises against all but essential travel to ...

  22. Travel advice and advisories for Kenya

    Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country's entry rules. Regular Canadian passport. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry into Kenya. Passport for official travel. Different entry rules may apply.

  23. Kenya Travel Advice & Safety

    Criminals often use fake police, hotel or government identification to extort money from travellers. Be wary of anyone asking for money or information, even if they seem official. Kenya can experience natural disasters and severe weather. Know the warning signs and safety measures for earthquakes, floods and tsunamis. Full travel advice: Safety.

  24. Nairobi, Kenya

    Nairobi, Kenya - 5 Places to See if an African Safari is on your Travel Bucket List. ... Enjoyed even by non-museum fans, the Nairobi National Museum is an excellent showcase of Kenya's history ...

  25. Exploring Kenya: Your Ultimate Visa Guide & Must-See Places

    How to Apply for a Kenya Visa. Applying for a Kenya visa is a straightforward online process: Visit the Official Website: Access the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya's portal. Complete the Application Form: Fill in personal details, purpose of visit, and visa type. Payment: Choose an online payment method and complete the transaction.

  26. The beautiful African paradise islands that most tourists don't know

    Lamu island, Kenya: This island off Kenya's northeast coast is known for its Swahili culture. Lamu Town resonates with the sound of craftsmen building new wooden boats and the call of the ...

  27. A family photo album sent me on a unique pilgrimage to Kenya

    Hamish de Bretton-Gordon 20 April 2024 • 5:00pm. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon travelled to Kenya to re-trace his great aunt's footsteps Credit: Hamish de Bretton-Gordon. In 1947 my great aunt Ena ...

  28. Travel from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro

    1. Re: Travel from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro. Take the Shuttle service with either Impala or Riverside from NBO to Moshi. You then take another PSV Bus from Moshi to Kilimanjaro which is a 40 mins drive (47 Kms). As you're crossing the border to enter TZ, you will need VISAs, YF Certificate,,,etc. Yes, it's quite safe to travel by bus.

  29. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to Travel to Kenya to

    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo will travel to Nairobi, Kenya from April 23 to April 25. Secretary Raimondo will lead a delegation of private sector companies from the President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA). She will highlight the U.S.-Kenya bilateral commercial and investment relationship and flourishing ...

  30. PDF A Magnificent Expedition Through East Africa's Boundless Savannas and

    Day 1: En Route from U.S. Day 2: Arrive in Nairobi, Kenya (B,L,D)Welcome and settle in Overnight: Fairmont The Norfolk. Day 3: Nairobi (B,L,D) Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage, African Fund for (B,L,D daily)Endangered Wildlife Giraffe Centre, Karen Blixen farm house Overnight: Fairmont The Norfolk.