Kenya is a wonderful place to take a safari, with abundant wildlife in accessible Parks. In addition the scenery and the people in an African setting, coupled with excellent accommodations make it certain that you will vow to return again. Kenya is located on the east coast of Africa. It has an area of 225,000 of which 8% is under wildlife conservation sanctuaries. The Equator runs straight through the middle of the country. Kenya has 2 major cities, Nairobi, the capital city and Mombasa, the Coastal City and the largest port in East Africa.
Kenya has a colorful mixture of people. The current population of 35 million is made up of 42 ethnic groups. The minority, Asians and Europeans live mainly in urban centres. This ethnic diversity has produced a harmonious mixture of people with a rich cultural heritage. The rich cultural heritage is expressed through song, dance, art and handicraft.
Kenya’s official language is English while Swahili is the national language. Swahili is the lingua franca spoken by the largest number of people in Africa. French, German, Spanish and Italian are also spoken in tourism industry. A cheery greeting of ‘Jambo!’ will get you a long way!
Temperature in Kenya depends on altitude. Coast is hot and humid with average temperatures of 30oC while that of Nairobi is 22oC. There are two rainy seasons, March to May, and October to December. The rest of the year is dry. July and August are the coldest months with average temperatures declining to as low as 10oC. However the weather is such that a trip to East Africa can take place at any time of the year.
In the areas most frequented by visitors on safari, the weather is ideal as it is neither too hot nor too cold.
When it is noon in New York it is 8pm in Kenya – 0r an hour adrift!
Parks and Reserves
Total wildlife conservation area is 8% of Kenya’s total area. Main parks and reserves are: Aberdare National Park, Masai Mara Game Reserve, Amboseli National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, Samburu Game Reserve and Tsavo National Park. In these game sanctuaries, there are 80 major animal species and over 1,580 bird species.
Flora and Fauna
The vegetation is often exotic and beautiful with the acacia and ‘sausage’ trees provide the unique African backcloth. Kenya is famous for its wealth of animals but less so to many for its birds. Kenya is regarded as the bird capital of Africa with 1,054 recorded species. Kenya holds the record for the greatest number of diferent species seen in one day.
There are three international airports in Kenya:
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. JKIA is 18 km from the city center,;a half hour’s drive. The busiest of the three airports and is served by almost all the worlds major airlines.
Moi International Airport, Mombasa. MIA is the busiest and the most modern airport in the East African coast and offers connection to major cities in Europe.
Eldoret International Airport. Eldoret is in western Kenya, 310 km from Nairobi. It is the newest airport.
Kenya’s unit of currency is the Shilling divided into 100 cents. Bank notes are available in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. There is no restriction on the movement of currency into and out of the country. Easiest currencies to change are US$, Sterling Pound £, Euro and Deutschmarks.
Banks open from 9 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 11am on the first and the last Saturday of the month. 24 hrs service ATMs are located within major towns. Some banks at the airport open round the clock every day.
Most credit cards are acceptable in Kenya. Barclaycash ATMs accept any international Visa and Mastercard credit cards. Travelers’ cheques are also widely accepted.
All regions in Kenya are supplied with 240 volts AC. The outlets in use throughout Kenya are of the British three square pin, 13amp.
Kenya has agood network of telephone, cellular and satellite connections. Most hotels and lodges offer international telephone and fax services. Mobile phones with roaming connection can use cellular networks, which cover tourist areas.
Visas (Update – as of Jan 1st 2014 this process is due to change with a simplified multi country visa = please check)
All visitors to Kenya require visa irrespective of nationality. Visa fees at the time of writing are as follows:
1. Single entry visa – US$50 per person
2.Multiple entry visa – US$100 per person
3.Transit visa – US$20 per person
Visa can either be obtained from a Kenyan Mission abroad prior to traveling or at the port of entry apart from citizens of a few countries. Travelers must be responsible for their own visa’s and passports.
Nairobi has excellent medical facilities with virtually the same sophistication found in developed world.
Malaria is prevelent in the hot and humid low altitude areas around the coast, Lake Victoria and the savannah. Prevention consists of protection against bites and taking anti-malaria medication. Professional advice should be sought before commencing your travel. Visitors arriving from yellow fever invested regions must have valid vaccination certificates.