If you want a classic view of Africa landscapes, you should visit Kenya. It is an exceptional place with its diverse landscapes, incredible animals and friendly people.
Compared to most other African countries, Kenya is safe. But you should still have considerable knowledge about the country before setting out on a trip to Kenya.
That’s the purpose of this article. In this article, you will discover:
-Packing list essentials when preparing for your Kenya trip
-Visa and passport information
-What to wear in Kenya
-The average range of prices in gift shops
-Safety and Security
-Getting to and around Kenya
-9 proven ways to get cheap hotels or hotel deals in Kenya
-12 useful tips for traveling in and touring Kenya
And much more
Packing list essentials for preparing a trip to Kenya
Travelers exploring the African continent are often susceptible to uncommon diseases or diseases that have been eradicated from the united states. To avoid these risks, visit your travel health specialist and add these vital items to your Kenya packing list.
1. Bring layer clothing
Bring a layer of clothing that can help you withstand the cold of Nairobi and the extreme heat when you hike through hell’s gate national park.
2. Vaccination Certification
Ensure you are current with all immunizations before you travel to Kenya.
When Kenya requires proof of vaccination before you can enter, these immunization papers will be vital. The center for disease control and prevention requires that you have a yellow fever vaccination and certification.
3. Anti-malaria Medication
Pack sufficient anti-malaria medication regardless of the period you will be staying in Kenya or the type of accommodation you have put in place. Your travel doctor can recommend the amount of anti-malaria medication that will be enough. If you become infected with mosquito-borne illnesses (which are quite common in Kenya), you may be restricted from returning to the united states.
4. Mosquito nets treated with permethrin
These kinds of nets will keep you safe from mosquito bites when you sleep.
5. Sunblock with DEET and bug sprayers
If you want to avoid being infected with highly contagious illnesses, pack sufficient bug sprays and sunscreen containing DEET. Always have these items with you when you’re touring cities in Kenya or exploring her national parks.
6. Sunglasses and hats
Combined with number 5 above, wearing hats and sunglasses can protect your skin from sunburns.
7. A plug adapter
Since you are likely to charge your entertainment devices, cell phones, laptops, cameras, and hair styling tools, ensure you pack a plug adapter. U.s.-made adapters won’t work with Kenya sockets.
8. Long pants and tailored tops
When they are free from stains, tears, and holes, these clothing will protect you from sunburn and bug bites. The key is to keep in mind a neat but modest local dressing standard. You can also get packing cubes to keep your clothing smooth. Packing cubes are handy; you can pack them in your hand luggage.
You may find it easier to walk in shoes because most roads in Kenya are unpaved. Whether walking boots (for the bush walks) or sturdy trainers (for light strolls), make sure you’re comfortable in any of them.
If you don’t plan on going on safari, then, don’t pack this item. A pair of binoculars will help you to spot leopards or lions that are usually in the trees or at a distance.
11. Water bottle
Carrying a water bottle will help you to stay hydrated in the heat. A collapsible, and shatterproof one is available on Amazon.
12. Travel insurance
Get travel insurance for emergency medical, trip cancellation and tech gear such as cameras and laptops. For most travelers, world nomads are their insurance company of choice.
13. VPN and RFID wallet
A VPN will help you to access any website globally especially when such websites are restricted. The Nord VPN is your best option; it is proven and tested.
An RFID wallet protects your cash and cards from pickpockets who are common in Nairobi and Mombasa.
Though rooms in Kenya lodges have a flashlight, having yours can be useful especially when you forget the location of the light switches. So, get yourself a good lightweight led flashlight or a head-torch.
These are African clothing with stripes. They are useful for your safari. You can use them as a makeshift balaclava, towel, picnic blanket, scarf or even a sarong.
Visa and passport
As a U.S. Citizen, you will need to apply for a visa and get one before you can be allowed entry into Kenya. To avoid disappointment, apply for a visa immediately you decide to travel to Kenya. Plan in advance for your passport needs, passports usually arrive six weeks after application.
You can get a Kenya visa from the nearest Kenyan consulate to you. Also, ensure that your passport will remain valid for at least six months and contains more than one blank visa page for stamping.
Apart from the originals, ensure you have copies of your passport and visa with you at all times. Should you lose your passport, one of these copies can serve as your proof of identity. A rule of thumb is to keep one of the copies at home before traveling. Always keep your original passport in a secure location such as a hotel safe. Your proof of travel must indicate your full name as it appears on your passport, your round trip travel, entry date, and exit dates
Your photograph must:
•Display a frontal view your head
•Be two by two inches
•Have a white background (not photoshop)
•Have been taken three months before your travel
Again, here’s a checklist of your visa/passport requirements:
-Proof of travel
What to wear in Kenya?
Due to the unpredictable weather patterns in Kenya, you should take extra caution with your clothing. Here are the weather conditions you can expect during various months of the year:
•January – mid march
A light dressing would be suitable during this period since most parts of Kenya would be hot and dry. For the cold nights, use moderate clothing.
•Mid-march – June
Warm clothing would be appropriate for this period. Though the weather may be warm, there are usually long rains in most parts of the country.
•June – mid-October
There is a significant drop in temperatures in the evenings and nights, so, the weather is fairly hot. This is the best time to explore as the plains are green. Light and warm clothing would be appropriate during this period.
•Mid-October – December
Warm and light clothes are also appropriate for this period. There are short rains, and most parts of the country are slightly cold or wet. There is less emphasis on dressing in most Kenya cities. The citizens appreciate contemporary culture. However, the reserved nature of African culture is still preserved in rural areas. Hence, women are not allowed to put on shorts and pants, short dresses, or short skirts. If you’re traveling to Kenya on business, you are allowed to put on business suits and business casual whether you are a male or a female.
The average range of prices in gift shops
Ashtrays, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and small items are priced between $2 to $5. But you may pay double these prices at upscale curio shops. Soapstone carvings, chess boards, traditional stools, and other big items are priced between $15 and $40.
Have a tour guide and consult with him when on tour to Kenya to avoid overpaying for items at curio and gift shops.
You may even be allowed to bargain offered prices.
Safety and Security
Whether in public places or going out at night, be mindful of your surroundings and stay vigilant. Report any robbery case to the nearest police station or call Kenya’s tourist safety and communication center. You can seek assistance through their 24-hour tourist helpline at (02-604767). If you are in trouble or you need emergency help when in Kenya, contact this center.
Getting to and around of Kenya
Kenya Airways offer flights from the united states to Kenya. It also offers flights to Kenya from most other African countries, Australia, the middle east, Asia, and Europe.
Jomo Kenyatta international airport (JKIA) (situated in Nairobi) and the Mombasa international airport (situated in Mombasa) are the two international airports in Kenya.
There are various transport options (such as taxis, cabs, and vans) available from both airports to get into town. Once you’ve agreed on a fare with the transport operator, collect a receipt from him before zooming off. If you want to avoid being cheated with transport fares, get a tour guide who will be available to pick you from the airport to the location of your accommodation.
Should you need immediate cash, there are 24hour foreign exchange bureaus available at the terminal. There are also banking services and automated teller machines.
Airlines flying to Kenya
If you want the best fares, your best option is to travel to Kenya in the low season. These low seasons are January to June and November to early December. At the moment, flights to Nairobi from the united states must pass through Europe where you have to change airlines, planes or both. Depending on the airline, flights from the united states to Kenya can connect through Dubai, Zurich, Amsterdam, or London. There is an affiliation between KLM and Kenya airways with north-west airlines in the united states. Hence, they offer a quick connection to Kenya through Amsterdam or London.
No flights connect directly to Nairobi from the United States.
During the low season, you can get a return ticket from New York to Nairobi for as low as $1100. Apart from KLM and Kenya Airways, other airlines that fly in and out of JKIA and Mombasa international airport from the United States are:
Airfares, booking, and tickets.
Despite travel and booking agents promising you the lowest airfares and best packages, how you book your ticket (the time and the location) is the major factor that determines whether or not you can obtain the lowest fares.
You can go to the websites of any of the airlines listed above for more information and to book your flight.
You can also use travel search engines such as Travelocity, Orbitz, CheapTickets, and Expedia to research cheap deals on flights to Kenya and even book your flight.
These travel search engines summarize and display lowest prices from all the major airlines to prevent you from jumping from one airline website to another.
When you are on any these travel search engines, enter this information (your departure city, destination city and your expected date of travel), the result will be a display of the airline and airfare available at that time starting from the cheapest to the most expensive.
Once you’ve made a choice, you will be taken to airline’s website where you can book and pay for your flight to Kenya with your credit/debit card. As proof of payment, you can either request for a paper ticket to be mailed to you or print an e-ticket by yourself.
If you’re flying to Mombasa international airport, use airport code MBA as your arrival city. If you’re flying to Jomo Kenyatta international airport, use airport code NBO as your arrival city.
The major benefit of booking online is the availability of options at the click of a button. You can book your flight instantly since these sites link you directly to the website of the airline company you’ve chosen.
A side benefit to this is that it saves you time and extra fees which you would have incurred had you use a travel agent. Regardless of the method, you use in booking your ticket, the best way to get a deal is to book your ticket at least four months in advance before you travel.
Two other proven tips for finding a cheap flight to Kenya
-Take your time. Most airlines offer special deals (different prices) for each day of the week. So, go through your possible departure and arrival dates to determine which of them you can move around to save some cash.
-Search for different departure airports from your country to determine which of them offers the best deal
-Confirm your ticket before traveling once you have received it
-Check out important travel information such as the airline’s rules on baggage weight before you depart to Kenya
This information is usually available on the airline’s website.
When will you get to Kenya from United States or London?
The list below provides you with an idea of how long it takes for you to get to Kenya. However, the number of stops you make and the time you book your flight can increase your travel time.
•London: 8 hr 30 min
•New York: 17 hr 05 min
•Miami: 20 hr 30 min
•Atlanta: 19 hr 00 min
•Los Angeles: 23 hr 15 min
You can also move around Kenya by air. These are some of the available routes:
•Nairobi – Mombasa
•Nairobi – Kisumu
•Nairobi – Lamu
•Nairobi – Nanyuki
•Nairobi – Malindi
•Nairobi – Kitale
•Nairobi – Samburu
•Nairobi – Amboseli
•Nairobi – Maasai Mara
•Diani – Nairobi
•Mombasa – Nairobi
•Mombasa – Maasai Mara
•Mombasa – Kisumu
9 proven ways to get cheap hotels or hotel deals in Kenya
The word “cheap hotels” does not mean a half-empty bar, substandard foods or finding hair strands on your pillows. There are cheap hotels in Kenya with outstanding services and standard facilities.
Here are eleven proven ways to get cheap hotels or hotel deals in Kenya:
1. Peruse lower ranking hotelson google
Most cheap hotels won’t appear on the first page of Google because they don’t have a large marketing budget. But you can find nice cheap hotels on the second page of google.
2. Check local Kenyan directories
Some nice cheap hotels would be listed in local directories but not ranked on google or even listed in major travel booking sites. So, save money by checking these Kenyan local directories.
3. Book directly on the hotel’s website
Most travel booking sites are paid by the hotels when there is a booking for the hotel from the booking site. If you’ve found a hotel you like on the booking site, contact the hotel directly to negotiate a lower rate.
4. Go downtown or outskirts of the city
The hotels in these places are usually cheaper than those in uptown. You can choose them as long as you can have easy access to transportation.
5. Use online tracker sites
Online travel sites such as booking.com aggregate hotels on their websites. They sort the hotels based on their prices. You can also have an online view of the hotel rooms.
6. Research for package deals
Package deals are usually cheap because they involve a large number of people, but they usually include excursions to exotic places such as the Maasai Mara national parks and the hot springs of lake Longoria which makes the hotel fees cheaper.
7. Check for discounts on holidays
If you can become familiar with the Kenyan calendar, you can search for the country’s holiday seasons. Most hotels usually offer discounts during this time. There are even some hotels that offer deals for the weekends, on Valentine’s day and the hotel’s anniversary.
8. Verify what the costs covers
Regardless of what’s stated that’s covered by the amount you are paying, ask the hotel if there are hidden charges that are not stated officially.
9. Schedule your trip for the off-peak season
During this period, hotels aren’t usually fully booked. Hence, they are low-priced. Off-seasons in Kenya are usually April to May, and November to December.
You can also send an email to the hotels to ask for the times of the year that they offer the best deals.
Recommended cheap hotels in Kenya
All these hotels are a few minutes away from Nairobi city center. Based on our experience, here are the top cheap hotels in Kenya with standard facilities:
-Khweza bed and breakfast
-Nomad palace hotel
-Hotel Embassy Kenya
-Nairobi airport stop-over house
-Meridian hotel Nairobi
-Kenya comfort hotel
-Kahama Hotel Nairobi
-Hotel Hennesis Nairobi
-Hotel central park
7 tourist attractions provided by hotels in Kenya
If you have chosen a hotel in Kenya that’s offering tour packages in addition to your hotel accommodation, here are the top seven places you can expect to visit:
Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria
Thompson falls and Aberdares national park
Amboseli, Tsavo West, Tsavo East safari
•Drivers on the safari can help to find the best wildlife; their knowledge and experience is incredible
•Go for sightseeing at Samburu village. If you want an alternative to the Masai village, the Samburu village is your best option.
•Lake Nakuru offers you the best place to spot the zebra, rhino and an abundance of bird life
•The Masai Mara has the largest number of animals
•The beaches around Mombasa are similar to the Indian ocean getaway
12 useful tips for traveling in and touring Kenya
•Don’t choose to get your visa on arrival. If you do, be prepared for long queues. Get your visa before departing to Kenya.
•If you have to walk around Nairobi at night, use a taxi for safety reasons
•Be careful of the zebras, giraffes, rhino, elephant, cape buffalo, leopard and the lion.
•Sharpen your negotiation skills. This is the best way for you to buy those unique arts and crafts at the best prices
•Don’t piss off the giraffes. They are pissed when you cheer them because they are mating
•Be careful of the Konyagi rum. Though it is a social lubricant and a panty dropper, it can give you a hangover.
•Make the people you meet happy; they will provide you with a pleasant experience
Apart from English, Swahili is the second official language in Kenya.
Knowing a bit of Swahili can help you especially in the rural areas.
Linguarena swahili app can help you to learn Swahili very fast.
Are you still waiting? Book your plane ticket to Kenya now!