Kenya Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Kenya in 2022
Welcome to Kenya
A paradise to appreciate the wildlife, to live adventures, and be amazed by the powerful nature: this is Kenya. You can see wildebeest thundering across the savanna, be eye-to-eye with elephants in Amboseli, or relax on the Lamu Islands.
It’s a trip full of emotions, for which you must be prepared. In this ultimate Kenya travel guide, we will share some travel tips, tricks, and everything you need to know about how to enter Kenya hassle-free.
Entry and Exit Requirements: Document Checklist for Kenya
Valid passport (six months validity).
Return airline ticket.
Essential Kenya Travel Information
Currency - Kenyan shilling (KES). $1 is equivalent to approx. KES 121,40.
Daily budget for 1 person - Al daily budget of around KES 12,625 ($104).
Languages - English and Swahili.
Socket type - Type G, 240V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Time zone - Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +03:00.
Top 3 cities to visit - Nairobi, Mombasa, and Lamu.
Top 3 landmarks/monuments - Maasai Mara National Reserve, Lamu Islands, and the Hyrax Hill Museum.
Visa Information for Kenya
You will need a visa for arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, but there are Kenya entry visas you can obtain online with a few clicks. See below for more details about the Kenya eVisa and the East Africa Tourist Visa.
You should consult the nearest embassy for Kenyan entry visas for long stays, a valid work permit, or other immigration services.
The Kenya eVisa is a Single Entry, valid for 90 days in Total after being issued. Local authorities may renew this visa for an additional 90 days. The best thing about it is that the visa application is 100% online, so you can submit the requirements wherever you are.
Depending on the processing time you choose, you can receive the document within two days.
East Africa Tourist Visa
The East Africa Tourist Visa is a Multiple Entry that allows tourists to visit Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda without needing separate visas. The travel document is valid for 90 days Per Entry after being issued.
The application process is also completely online, so it takes just a few minutes to submit the required documents, and the visa will arrive in your email. Choosing the faster process time, you can obtain the East Africa Tourist Visa in two days.
Typical Costs and Budget for Kenya
A basic guide to what you'll spend daily traveling through Kenya on a decent budget.
Daily spending - Around KES 12,625 ($104) per person/per day on a budget vacation. This includes:
Meals - KES 2,913 ($24)
Transport - KES 3,399 ($28)
Hotel -KES 6,798 ($56), for two people.
A trip for two for one week will cost, on average, KES 177,122 ($1,459).
Transport and Best Ways to Travel around Kenya
Flying can be the best option to optimize time and explore the country. Several domestic airlines provide connections between Nairobi, Mombasa, coastal towns such as Malindi and the Lamu Archipelago, and smaller airports close to national parks.
Be aware that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority still requires a COVID-19 PCR test for unvaccinated travelers arriving in the country. The passenger must present a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours before departure or proof of vaccination.
Kenya offers great public transport hubs, connecting larger and smaller towns, especially in western Kenya, with frequent links to the capital and coast. So traveling on a bus is also an alternative. Another affordable option is the train network: you can visit the main cities and enjoy night travel, so you don’t lose your daytime on the route.
But driving can be a fantastic adventure as well and a way to explore Kenya at your own pace. According to local laws, you will need an international driving permit for the road trip. The travel advice is to check the car before renting, so you don’t get poorly maintained vehicles. Also, if you don’t want to drive yourself or depend on city transportation hubs, you can easily find a lift with Uber or Bolt.
Safety in Kenya
Unfortunately, Kenya is a country with incidents of violent crime, terrorist attacks, and armed robbery. Religious holidays have historically been a moment for further attacks, especially by the terrorist group al-Shabaab. The Kenya-Somalia border is one of the high-risk areas, so you shouldn’t visit it unless you have strong personal security measures; the same goes for the Ethiopia and South Sudan border regions.
In urban centers, remain vigilant to avoid muggings and violent crime. Usually, you won’t have security problems in Kenya's national parks. A good advice is to monitor local media to keep informed about security in the country.
Regarding natural disasters, droughts and floods are Kenya's most significant hazards.
Weather in Kenya
Kenya has a tropical climate, offering pleasant weather for tourists to explore natural attractions. But don't be fooled; you can find climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude.
The dry season goes from June to October. During this period, the temperatures are around 23°C(73°F) at higher altitudes and 28°C(82°F) at lower altitudes, such as the coastal areas. It’s an excellent season for the trip since there are usually sunny blue sky days.
The wet season is hotter and goes from November to May. Daytime temperatures are between 24°C(75°F) and 27°C(81°F) at higher altitudes, while in the lower region they are around 30°C(86°F).
Top tip: The temperatures are usually hot, but the gold tip is to pack warm clothes for early morning game drives.
Destination Country: Popular Cities and Towns in Kenya
Nature is the biggest attraction in Kenya, but you can also find cities to enjoy city life and cultural activities. Check some places to include in your itinerary:
Nairobi - The city is the central business district and Africa’s strongest financial hub. You can enjoy shopping centers, serene parks, animal sanctuaries, and amazing museums.
Mombasa - Kenya’s second-largest city is located on the East Coast. It offers spectacular beaches, national parks, and great cultural centers.
Kisumu - A major tourist destination in western Kenya. The must-see attractions include Lake Victoria, Kisumu Museum, and Kisumu Impala Sanctuary.
Nakuru - The best city for exploring Lake Nakuru National Park and the popular Rift Valley Sports Club.
Lamu - One of the major towns on the coast, it offers plenty of tourist attractions, such as the Lamu Museum, Lamu Port, the Donkey Sanctuary, and the Riyadha Mosque.
Must Do and See in Kenya
Don’t miss these remarkable sights on your trip to Kenya:
Go on a safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The preserved area is great for seeing lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras, and hippos.
Explore the Kora National Park, in Tana River County. The park has species like striped hyenas, serval cats, antelopes, cheetahs, and elephants.
Relax in the Malindi Marine National Park and Reserve, in Kilifi County. It has magnificent coral gardens and is a great place to enjoy the beach, camp, or practice water sports.
Visit the Lamu Islands, in Lamu county. The archipelago is located in the Indian Ocean and has amazing archaeological and historical sites.
Visit the Hyrax Hill Museum, in Nakuru town. This museum tells the story of the lifestyle of prehistoric settlements from at least 3,000 years ago.
Typical Kenyan Food to Try
Irio (Mashed Peas and Potato Mix) - One of the most famous dishes in Kenya, it consists of green peas and potatoes boiled and then mashed up before whole kernels of maize (corn) are added to give the mash some extra starch and texture.
Kenyan Pilau (Spiced Rice) - Pilau is a fantastic combination of rice cooked with flavor-bursting spices like cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. It’s usually served with a meat stew and a few slices of fresh tomato and onions.
Sukuma Wiki (Collard Greens/Kale) - The green leafy vegetable is often cooked in oil with a few diced tomatoes and onions, and flavored with a sprinkle of mchuzi mix or stock cube flavoring.
Vaccination Certificate and Additional Health Information for Kenya
It's important to know what routine vaccines, specific vaccine requirements, and COVID-19 measures are required to enter Kenya before travel. We recommend you check out the CDC website to find out about all vaccine requirements and any recommended guidance or medicine lists.
Be aware that travel insurance is not mandatory. Still, avoiding overseas medical costs is a good idea, especially if you visit rural areas or regions with an increased risk for dengue and other viruses. If you have flu-like symptoms, it’s necessary to get a PCR or rapid antigen test before departure; otherwise, if a traveler tests positive on arrival, they will have to be quarantined.
Safaris in Kenya
The World Travel Awards recognized Kenya as the world’s leading safari destination for 2021, a position the country has held for seven years. This is because tourists can easily see eye-to-eye lionesses, leopards, and elephants in their habitat.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is Kenya’s best-known savannah for safaris. There are conservation areas and public parks, which means you will find wonderful wildlife: A perfect destination for those looking for this adventure. But Nairobi National Park, Lakes Nakuru, and Naivasha are good spots as well to observe wildlife; just remember to always follow the park regulations.
The top tips for the safari are to avoid bright colors and stick to basic T-shirts. Also, bring a jersey and warm jacket for the cold mornings. Sunglasses, sun protection, and a hat are part of the essentials too.
Click here to check a detailed guide for a Kenyan safari.
Fun Facts about Kenya
You already know Kenya is a fantastic destination to see wildlife and beautiful nature. But here are some facts about the country that will probably surprise you!
The first woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize was from Kenya! Wangari Muta Maathai was an environmental, social, and political activist who won the prize in 2004 for contributing to sustainable development, democracy, and peace.
Lake Turkana is the world's largest desert lake. It’s located in the Great Rift Valley and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Coffee is the most valuable export in Kenya. The locals value the product so much that most Kenyans don’t really drink it, and the country sells only a small amount domestically.
Kenya dominates marathon circuits worldwide. Kalenjin people have produced many world record-breaking athletes and long-distance runners.
Queen Elizabeth II was not declared queen in English government buildings but in the Treetops Lodge near Nairobi. She was visiting Kenya and was only 25 years old when she became queen following her father's demise.
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