Travel to Kenya

Kenya

Within the borders of a single country, you will find savannahs rich with big game, timeless cultures unchanged by the modern world, pristine beaches and coral reef, equatorial forests and mighty snow-capped mountains, searing deserts and cool highland retreats and endless opportunities for adventure, discovery, relaxation; more than you would ever expect.

Overview

Within the borders of a single country, you will find savannahs rich with big game, timeless cultures unchanged by the modern world, pristine beaches and coral reef, equatorial forests and mighty snow-capped mountains, searing deserts and cool highland retreats and endless opportunities for adventure, discovery, relaxation; more than you would ever expect.

People

Currently there are more than 40 different ethnic groups in Kenya.

The main groups of tribes are the Bantu who migrated from western Africa, the Nilotic people who originated from Sudan and the Hamitic group, who were mainly pastoral tribes from Ethiopia and Somalia. The main tribes are Kikuyu (21%), Meru (5%), Kalenjin, Luyha, Luo (14%), Kisii, Kamba, Swahili, Masai, Turkana

The other large ethnic groups include the Luo, Luhya, Kamba and Kalenjin- There are also some groups of people who form a very small population. This includes the tribe of El Molo.

Language

Jambo is one of the most common words you will hear spoken throughout Kenya. This is the simplest Swahili greeting, and is often the first word learned by visitors to Kenya.
Swahili (locally referred to as KiSwahili) is Kenya’s national language. Swahili originated on the East African coast, as a trade language used by both Arabs and coastal tribes. The language incorporated elements of both classical Arabic and Bantu dialects, and became the mother tongue of the Swahili people who themselves rose from the intermarriage of Arab and African cultures.

A little Swahili goes a long way in Kenya. It is worth learning a little, and most Kenyans are thrilled to hear visitors attempt to use any Swahili at all.

History

Kenya was first populated by a number of small dispersed tribal groups, the main groups were the Kikuyu, Kamba, Luo and Masai. These tribes shared the same area of land although they all had different origins.  It wasn’t until the 19th century that outsiders entered the interior of the country and as a result Kenya escaped the worst of the Arab slavers who concentrated more further to the south.

In 1893 Uganda became a British protectorate closely followed by Kenya - 1895. The British were just interested in controlling the rich resources of Uganda and to facilitate this they built a railway between Mombasa and Kampala using laborers from India, many of whom remained and have become today’s merchant class.

By 1915 the majority of the fertile highlands were being used by the British and racial segregation of land effectively excluded Africans and Asians from owning properties there.  Presently a large majority of the land is still owned by expatriate or politicians and the country’s employment problems are caused by the fact that there is limited access to the land and because only seven per cent of the total area receives enough rainfall to support agriculture.


Some tribes remained virtually unaffected by the plantations.  The pressure over land ownership and the controls over cultivation and marketing of cash crops by Africans prevented them from competing with the white settlers leading to the formation of nationalist organizations in the 1920’s.

In 1963 independence was granted with Jomo Kenyatta as the country’s first president.

Travel Guide

Currency

The official currency is the Kenya Shilling. Available Notes are 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings. Available coins are 1, 5, 10, 20 and 40 shillings. Visitors to Kenya should change foreign currency at banks, bureau de change or authorized hotels. The easiest currencies to exchange are US Dollars, Pounds sterling and EURO.

Travelers Checks are widely accepted, and many hotels, travel agencies, safari companies and restaurants accept Credit Cards. Most Banks in Kenya are equipped to advance cash on credit cards. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Kenya.  Most hotels/lodges will charge in US Dollars making it unnecessary to get local currency.

Before departure, travelers are advised to convert any excess Kenya shillings into foreign currency at a bank or bureau de change before departure. Departure taxes can be paid in local or foreign currency. Anyone wishing to take more than 500,000 Kenya Shillings out of the country will require written authorization from the Central Bank.

Weather

Kenya straddles the equator so there is little seasonal variation in temperature. There is much more variation between the coastal and low lying regions and the high plains and mountain regions. The game parks lie at an altitude of 5,000 to 7,000 feet and have a pleasant climate with warm days and cooler evenings year round.

There are two rainy seasons - the long rains during April and May and the short rains in November. The rest of the year is classified as dry season. In practice, the rainfall pattern has been neither regular nor predictable in recent years. In the rainy seasons, the rain often falls in heavy but brief tropical downpours during the evening or night with pleasant sunny days in between. The effects of the rain can cause some animals to disperse and may produce a few local problems with flooding of roads and bridges. On the other hand, rain makes the atmosphere clean and dust free and the vegetation beautifully lush and green.

Health Requirements

If you have recently visited a Yellow Fever infected area you are required to have a valid vaccination certificate which must be taken on holiday with you.  Malaria is present and you are also advised to take a course of anti-Malarial pills.  We strongly advise you to reconfirm your vaccination requirements with your own/family doctor.

Visa Requirements

A visa is required prior to entry into Kenya. A single Entry Visa (valid for three months from date of issue) will cost US$ 50. A transit visa will cost US$ 20. No Visa is required for persons aged 15 years and below.  Visas may be obtained in advance online at http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html. Travelers who opt to obtain an airport visa should expect delays upon arrival.  Travelers to Kenya and neighboring African countries should ensure that the validity of their passports is at least six months beyond the end of their intended stay, and that their passport contains sufficient blank pages for visas and immigration stamps.

Credit Cards

Visa and MasterCard credit cards are widely accepted in Kenya. Other credit cards much less so. However, many shops etc. don’t have automatic dial-up systems for credit card transactions yet. They use manual systems that are more open for fraud. While there are no reports of massive credit card fraud, it may be wise to use your credit card only with more up-market places.

Electrical Appliances

The power supply is at the UK/ European standard voltage of 220/240 , and power sockets are the U.K. square pin type. Remember if you want to use U.S. appliances you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug converter. Mains power supply is subject to cuts and voltage fluctuation. On safari, most lodges’ power supplies are from generators, and these are often turned off during parts of the day and night to reduce noise and fuel consumption.

Water

It is generally recommended to drink only bottled mineral water which is readily available everywhere.

Map

A: Alexandria
B: Amboseli National Park
C: Arusha
D: Aswan
E: Bazaruto Island
F: Benguerra Island
G: Botswana
H: Bwindi Impenetrable NP
I: Cairo
J: Cape Town
K: Cape Winelands
L: Central Kalahari Region
M: Chobe National Park
N: Denis Island
O: Desroches Island
P: Drakensburg
Q: Dubai
R: Dubai Beaches
S: Dubai City Center
T: Dubai Desert
U: Dubai Marina
V: Durban
W: Eastern Cape
X: Eastern Cape Safaris
Y: Egypt
Z: Ethiopia
AA: Etosha National Park
AB: Franschhoek
AC: Garden Route
AD: Greater Kruger National Park
AE: Greater Winelands
AF: Hermanus
AG: Hwange National Park
AH: Johannesburg
AI: Jordan
AJ: Kafue National Park
AK: Kampala
AL: Kariba
AM: Kenya
AN: Kigali
AO: Knysna
AP: Kruger National Park
AQ: Kwazulu Natal
AR: La Digue
AS: Lake Manyara NP
AT: Lake Nakuru
AU: Lewa Wildlife Conservation
AV: Linyanti/Savuti Region
AW: Livingstone
AX: Lower Zambezi National Park
AY: Luxor
AZ: Madagascar
BA: Madikwe Game Reserve
BB: Mahé
BC: Maldives
BD: Mana Pools National Park
BE: Masai Mara
BF: Mauritius
BG: Mombasa
BH: Mozambique
BI: Nairobi
BJ: Namibia
BK: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
BL: North Island
BM: Okavango and Moremi GR
BN: Oman
BO: Oudtshoorn
BP: Plettenberg Bay
BQ: Port Elizabeth
BR: Praslin
BS: Queen Elizabeth National Park
BT: Quirimbas Archipelago
BU: Rwanda
BV: Sabi Sands
BW: Samburu National Park
BX: Selous Game Reserve
BY: Serengeti National Park
BZ: Seychelles
CA: Sharm El Sheik
CB: Sheik Zayed Road
CC: Silhouette Island
CD: Skeleton Coast National Park
CE: Sossusvlei
CF: South Africa
CG: South Luangwa
CH: Stellenbosch
CI: Sun City
CJ: Sun City and Surrounds
CK: Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
CL: Tanzania
CM: Tarangire National Park
CN: Timbavati Region
CO: Uganda
CP: Umhlanga
CQ: Victoria Falls
CR: Vilanculos
CS: Volcanoes National Park
CT: Windhoek
CU: Zambia
CV: Zanzibar and Pemba Island

Destinations

Explore the rest of our Kenya destinations:

Brochure

Build your own custom brochure

Finally, information the way you want it, when you want. Create your own customized information brochure from anything on our site with this magical tool called a brochure builder. Add destination information, hotels, resort and lodges and even vacations that you are interested in. Simply find a product you are interested in, and click to add to your brochure.

Once you have finalized your selection, press select and your own customized brochure will be created, filled with all sorts of hints and tips to get you started. What a great way to get your friends and family interested in a trip, or perhaps to surprise your husband or wife with, or even to just have a memory of your own vacation?

The selection on this website is just a small showcase of the offerings available, ask the travel experts for more details. We're here to inspire!

    

This Destination

Kenya

Related Destinations

Alexandria
Amboseli National Park
Arusha
Aswan
Bazaruto Island
Benguerra Island
Botswana
Bwindi Impenetrable NP
Cairo
Cape Town
Cape Winelands
Central Kalahari Region
Chobe National Park
Denis Island
Desroches Island
Drakensburg
Dubai
Dubai Beaches
Dubai City Center
Dubai Desert
Dubai Marina
Durban
Eastern Cape
Eastern Cape Safaris
Egypt
Ethiopia
Etosha National Park
Franschhoek
Garden Route
Greater Kruger National Park
Greater Winelands
Hermanus
Hwange National Park
Johannesburg
Jordan
Kafue National Park
Kampala
Kariba
Kenya
Kigali
Knysna
Kruger National Park
Kwazulu Natal
La Digue
Lake Manyara NP
Lake Nakuru
Lewa Wildlife Conservation
Linyanti/Savuti Region
Livingstone
Lower Zambezi National Park
Luxor
Madagascar
Madikwe Game Reserve
Mahé
Maldives
Mana Pools National Park
Masai Mara
Mauritius
Mombasa
Mozambique
Nairobi
Namibia
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
North Island
Okavango and Moremi GR
Oman
Oudtshoorn
Plettenberg Bay
Port Elizabeth
Praslin
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Quirimbas Archipelago
Rwanda
Sabi Sands
Samburu National Park
Selous Game Reserve
Serengeti National Park
Seychelles
Sharm El Sheik
Sheik Zayed Road
Silhouette Island
Skeleton Coast National Park
Sossusvlei
South Africa
South Luangwa
Stellenbosch
Sun City
Sun City and Surrounds
Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
Tanzania
Tarangire National Park
Timbavati Region
Uganda
Umhlanga
Victoria Falls
Vilanculos
Volcanoes National Park
Windhoek
Zambia
Zanzibar and Pemba Island

Related Hotels

AfroChic Diani
Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge
Amboseli Sopa Lodge
Borana
Elephant Pepper Camp

Related Vacations

Classic Kenya
Great Camps of Kenya
Great Parks of East Africa
Highlights of Kenya
Kenya & Tanzania Explorer

Related Tours

Carnivore Restaurant - Lunch or Dinner
Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
Out of Africa Experience
Tamarind Evening Dhow Trip


Top Stays

Kapinga Camp
Kapama Karula
Exeter Dulini Lodge
Phinda Zuka Lodge
Selinda Camp

Top Vacation Packages

Five Senses of South…
Cape Town &…
Essential South Africa…
Tanzania Tented Adventure
Kenya & Tanzania…

Hotels/Lodges

AfroChic Diani

Right on the white sands of gorgeous Diani Beach, AfroChic dazzles…

Learn More

Amboseli Serena…

Set against the magnificent backdrop of Africa’s highest…

Learn More

Amboseli Sopa Lodge

Nestled in 190 acres of wooded Masai land, the lodge sits on the foot…

Learn More

Borana

With the snow-tipped peaks and glaciers of Mount Kenya to the south…

Learn More

Fairmont The Norfolk

One of the Key land marks in the City, the Hotel was build in 1904…

Learn More

Governor’s…

The jewel in the Governors’ Camp crown; for those who want an…

Learn More

Joy’s Camp

An elegant oasis in the arid lands of Samburu; Joy’s Camp is built…

Learn More

Kilaguni Serena…

Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge is superbly situated in the lee of Mt.…

Learn More

Kilima Camp

Kilima Camp has a prime and exclusive location over-viewing the Masai…

Learn More

Kinondo Kwetu

Gently lapped by the rich warm Indian Ocean, the palm fringed white…

Learn More

Lake Nakuru Lodge

Situated in a wonderland which lies in the heart of one of Kenya’s…

Learn More

Laragai House

An extravagant private house ideal for a house party in the African…

Learn More

Lemarti’s Camp

Lemarti’s Camp is an unforgettable safari hideaway in Kenya’s…

Learn More

Lewa Safari Camp

Lewa Safari Camp has a stunning location within the wildlife / rhino…

Learn More

Loisaba

Loisaba Wilderness is outstandingly beautiful, its abundant wildlife…

Learn More

Mara Bushtops Camp

Sumptuous comfort, superb dining and insightful game viewing explains…

Learn More

Mara Plains Camp

According to recent statistics the Olare Orok Conservancy has the…

Learn More

Mara Sopa Lodge

Located on the slopes of Oloongams Hills, it is one of the first…

Learn More

Mfangano Island Camp

Lapped by the waters of Lake Victoria and shaded by giant fig trees,…

Learn More

Nairobi Serena Hotel

Despite its pivotal central location, the Serena remains true to its…

Learn More

ol Donyo Lodge

Ol Donyo Lodge is a family-owned lodge located on communally owned…

Learn More

Ol Tukai Lodge

Ol Tukai Lodge is one of the best spots in the world to watch…

Learn More

Olarro

Olorro is a delightful jewel in the crown of the Loita Hills lying…

Learn More

Palacina The…

“Possibly the first genuine boutique hotel in Kenya, this…

Learn More

Richard’s Camp

Positioned on the edge of a forest overlooking the open plains of the…

Learn More

Samatian Island…

Set on a small private island, Samatian Island is a fully hosted…

Learn More

Samburu Intrepids…

Dry, rugged and stunning, Samburu’s landscape is at once stark and…

Learn More

Sarova Mara Game…

Nestled in a lush and forested enclave of the vast Maasai Mara is the…

Learn More

Sarova Stanley Hotel

Engage in the thriving heart of Nairobi at The Sarova Stanley,…

Learn More

Sarova Whitesands…

The most fun, happy, party place on the Kenyan Coast, Sarova…

Learn More

Sasaab

Whether an animal lover, nature addict, or cultural enthusiast,…

Learn More

Sayari Camp

Located in the remote and exclusive northern Serengeti, stunning…

Learn More

Serena Beach Hotel…

Fringed by white beaches, and shaded by coconut palms, the silver…

Learn More

Serena Mountain…

Sailing like an ark amid the primeval forests of Kenya’s…

Learn More

Sirikoi

Sirikoi is a spectacular lodge situated on private land surrounded by…

Learn More

Solio Lodge

Solio is one of Kenya’s most successful rhino conservation…

Learn More

Tortilis

Amboseli is best known for its unrivaled views of Kilimanjaro and the…

Learn More

Vacation Packages

Great Parks of East…

10 Days, 9 Nights
From $6089 per person based on double occupancy*
Nairobi . Amboseli .…

Learn More

Highlights of Kenya

7 Days, 6 Nights
From $2288 per person based on double occupancy*
Nairobi . Samburu NP . Lake…

Learn More

Kenya &…

13 Days, 12 Nights
From $5168 per person based on double occupancy*
Nairobi . Masai Mara . Lake…

Learn More

Kenya Adventure…

8 Days, 7 Nights
From $3719 per person based on double occupancy*
Nairobi . Mount Kenya . Ol…

Learn More

Kenya SkySafari by…

8 Days, 7 Nights
From $6740 per person based on double occupancy*
Nairobi . Amboseli NP . Meru…

Learn More

Kenya Wilderness…

8 Days, 7 Nights
From $4638 per person based on double occupancy*
Nairobi . Amboseli . Ol…

Learn More

Out of Africa…

5 Days, 4 Nights
From $1,999 per person twin share
Nairobi . Masai Mara

Learn More

Simply Kenya

4 Days, 3 Nights
From $1671 per person based on double occupancy*
Masai Mara .  Lake…

Learn More

Tours

Daphne Sheldrick…

Depart to Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage situated on the…

Learn More

Out of Africa…

Follow in the footsteps of Karen Blixen as you travel towards the…

Learn More

Tamarind Evening…

The evening on-board the Arab dhow includes a delightful meal…

Learn More