Kenya is a country in East Africa with coastline on the Indian Ocean. It encompasses savannah, Lakelands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley and mountain highlands. It’s also home to wildlife like lions, elephants and rhinos. From Nairobi, the capital, safaris visit the Maasai Mara Reserve, known for its annual wildebeest migrations, and Amboseli National Park, offering views of Tanzania’s 5,895m Mt. Kilimanjaro. At 580,367 square kilometres (224,081 sq mi), Kenya is the world’s 48th largest country by total area. With a population of more than 52.2 million people, Kenya is the 27th most populous country
Official Languages: English, Kiswahili.
Before you make your journey to amazing Kenya, use the information featured in this section to plan your trip and make the most of your time here, from entry requirements, safety tips, how to get around to weather conditions, currency and accommodations. Your trip planning starts here and we’ve got you covered! Read our updated FAQs to learn more.
Local Currency: Kenya Shilling (KES). Approximately Kenya Shilling 100.7 = 1 US Dollar (January 2019)
To enter Kenya, you have to present your identification documents, like your ID card or passport. And, depending on your country of origin, a stamped visa. The visa documentation / permission MUST BE DONE in advance of your arrival irrespective whether you fly or drive there.
It is YOUR responsibility to ensure that your passport is valid for a minimum of six months and has several clear pages for visas prior to departure. If you are traveling ensure that your passport is valid for 12 months for entry into Kenya. It is suggested that you check your status as regards visas prior to travel with your agent or Wild Frontiers; they change on a regular basis, and some of these states embassies will INSIST you get one prior to travel, whereas they may be freely available on arrival.
Most nationalities require entry visas when traveling to Kenya. Visas can be purchased on arrival at the airport for $50, or can be issued by Kenyan High Commissions in countries where they are represented or applied for online in the comfort of your sits (this part may be strenuous though). The fees for visas issued at Kenyan high commissions abroad are generally more. USD notes have to be dated 2006 or newer and be in good condition with no tears or marks.
EAC nationals will be issued with a 6 months’ visitors pass (renewable) at entry points with no fee.
For more information about entering Uganda, visit https://visas.immigration.go.ke/
It is a strong recommendation that you are covered by some type of medical insurance before you grab that flight to come and experience the Kenyan Safari. Talk to your travel consultant about this. Should you require further information please do not hesitate to contact us. Minimum cover should be $80 for medical and related expenses.
Yellow Fever inoculation is required should you travel between East African countries, and should you be flying into SA after visiting East Africa. This must be done no later than 10 days prior to your departure. If you have a history of liver disorders (hepatitis etc.) you must consult your physician first.
Typhoid may be requested from the authorities when crossing into Kenya, although it is unusual for it to be requested. This can be done by your local GP or through a travel clinic. There is also the tablet form available – only available from certain pharmacies.
Tetanus is also recommended, as is Cholera, but are not compulsory.
Hepatitis inoculation is at the discretion of the traveler.
Malaria prophylactics are a must and can be purchased from your local pharmacy. Please consult your pharmacist/doctor. It is also a good idea to bring some insect repellent with you to spray on yourself in the evenings and early morning when mosquitoes tend to be about.
Diarrhea /Giardia etc. Good personal hygiene and control over the quality of your drinking water should avoid this, bottled water is readily available throughout the country, but take along some medicine in case, particularly if you are planning to spend some time travelling alone and not with a tour. We recommend that guests either buy bottled water, or take along water purification tablets and look after your own drinking water.
As with all medical requirements, your doctor or travel clinic will provide the most up to date information; the above is a guide only.
Some animals are highly susceptible to human diseases including flu and colds. If you are participating in a monkey / chimp trek then you need to be free of any visibly contagious diseases and this is checked at the start of the trek by the Park Authorities. If they are in any doubt of your condition, they reserve the right to prevent you from continuing on the trek. Our advice is that if you feel you are worried about this aspect, you please inform your safari guide as soon as possible, and he will seek advice as to the best way to manage the situation.
Live updates on weather in Kenya are available here:Kenya Weather
Live updates on flights in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Kenya are available here:Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Live Data from Airline
LUGGAGE AND IMPACT TRAVEL
Due to space limitations in the vehicles it is imperative that luggage be kept to a minimum. We suggest a barrel or soft bag (15 kg maximum) for your main gear, plus a camera bag or smaller ‘day pack’ for inside the vehicle. Samsonite / hard bags / suitcases, etc. are not suitable as it makes packing very difficult. If you are travelling internationally with one we suggest you repack Churchill Safaris Tour items into your soft bag, before the safari, and then leave your hand suitcase at your return point e.g. any Hotel in Nairobi to collect later.
If you are traveling on a light aircraft within Kenya, then the luggage restriction is dependent on combined client and luggage weights and varies from plane to plane and routing but usually only up to 10kg per person in soft bags and this is strictly adhered to for safety reasons. Please check your personal allowance on confirmation of itinerary and aircraft.
On a trip through Uganda/Kenya you can experience all four seasons. It will also be necessary to take some wet weather gear as it does rain in the mountainous areas of Uganda and Kenya on a regular basis. We suggest lightweight rain gear for the hike to view the various attractions.
During your safari, depending on the style of trip chosen, dress code may vary slightly. Women are advised to cover knees and shoulders when in a rural village or market. None of the lodges/hotels insist on any formal type of dress – ties, jackets etc. The norm would be casual or smart casual depending upon the level. In towns and cities, and at certain of the more up-market lodges and hotels then long pants and shirt / golf shirt would be more appropriate (especially in the evenings), or ladies may wear a skirt of course!
Bush gear i.e. hard wearing clothes, no bright colors, e.g. greens, khaki and similar neutral clothes are recommended. In the day time on safari, generally shorts or lightweight trousers, t-shirts, hat, sunblock etc. are recommended as it is generally fairly warm (25-35 degrees C average). Avoid wearing blue colors in areas where you may find tsetse flies, as they are often attracted to these colors, (this would be in small parts of Murchison Falls for example, check with your guide).
We suggest you take something warm e.g. tracksuit, fleece or sweater for the mountainous areas i.e. Bwindi or Virungas. It is at a higher altitude and will therefore be cooler in the evenings. – a rain jacket/anorak is also suggested as it rains, regularly in the in the rain forest areas, even in the drier months. Long trousers and long sleeved shirts are also recommended for general evening use to assist in the prevention of mosquito bites and also as it’s generally cooler than during the day.
While on your safari walks, you will need a comfortable, hard wearing, pair of walking shoes or boots. Conditions are generally very muddy/slippery. There are uphill sections which may be quite steep and strenuous. It is also advisable to wear a long sleeve cotton shirt and lightweight long trousers to protect yourself from the undergrowth, stinging nettles and biting ants. (Tracksuit pants often get caught on bushes, thorns, etc. and jeans can get very heavy when wet). Gloves are also highly recommended – this will prevent your hands being scratched when holding onto vegetation for support, through dense parts of the forest. Tuck your long pants into your socks/boots to avoid biting insects. Your clothes will in all likelihood get very muddy and may not recover to their original state – therefore take old clothing for the safari walks.
A suggestion from past Tour guests is to mention that if people want to help the poor Ugandans /Kenyans they could bring old clothes etc. with them to give to appropriate organizations/places.
If you are interested in this option you should advise Churchill Tailored Safaris before travel as we can set up times/days on safari where you can visit an orphanage, or school, assist or give a donation for “something specific”. Or for any Kenyan Tourism body to refer you to various organizations that we work in conjunction with for various community assistance and uplift programmes we can monitor and ensure that the appropriate funds are received by the right people! Handouts of money (except as genuine tips) sweets, pens etc. is to please be avoided. It creates a system of begging and invariably causes fights amongst the children when there is not enough to go around.
Your personal safety and well-being is our prime concern. Please take care of all your personal possessions at all times. DO NOT TEMPT petty theft, pickpockets, etc. with displaying large amounts of money, especially when near markets or in the center of Nairobi.
If you come to Uganda or Kenya, here are some tips that will help you have a safe and pleasant experience:
Your personal safety and well-being is our prime concern. Please take care of all your personal possessions at all times. DO NOT TEMPT petty theft, pickpockets, etc. with displaying large amounts of money, especially when near markets or in the center of Nairobi. If you come to Kenya, here are some tips that will help you have a safe and pleasant experience:
ACCOMMODATION AND TRANSPORT
Depending on the class or style of your Churchill Tailored Safaris Tour, your accommodation may range from high end class to medium class. There are many different styles of accommodation in Uganda/Rwanda varying from large hotels to smaller more intimate lodges and tented camps. Please consult your personalized itinerary for full details of each place you will be staying on your safari or check out Accommodation.
Should you stay in the more modest local hotels/guest houses you will have the use of showers and toilets, hot water cannot always be guaranteed. The hotels/guest houses themselves are very basic and generally clean, the staff are friendly and helpful. These hotels/guest houses are mainly utilized by local businessmen as not many tourists pass through these areas. They can be fairly noisy, especially on weekends but the atmosphere is friendly and accepting. Food is generally good, hearty African fare, sometimes there are European/Western items available.
While travelling through Uganda/Kenya, you will be mostly on tarred roads and they are in reasonably good condition by African standards. There may be some VERY LONG days in the vehicle, but the interesting and diverse scenery generally makes up for it! There are however, some really bad sections of dirt road, especially in the more mountainous areas. In these areas travel will be slower, quite bumpy and there could be a lot of dust experienced en route. There are options for scheduled or charter flights for the longer routes – please enquire for prices and feasibility of this.
The Churchill Tailored Safaris Vehicles you will be traveling in are customized 4×4 vehicles which have been converted for local conditions; they have good leg room and seat between 4-7 persons, depending on the seating configuration, and have opening roof hatches for optimal game viewing. They are a little slower on the road than a saloon vehicle or a smaller ‘family’ 4×4 and do have air conditioning.
Your safari vehicle is generally used throughout the safari for traveling between destinations as well as for game drives and other activities at the lodges and within the National Parks.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY
There is no charge for personal filming of Tourist attractions during the Churchill Tailored Safaris Tour and other scenes with personal video cameras, e.g. digital, slr etc. in Kenya or Uganda.
Professional photographers, film makers or media should advise us at the time of booking as special procedures are required as well as costs to be incurred for photographing and filming.
Most lodges operate on solar power and so have limited facilities for charging batteries and some none at all, so come prepared with extra, just in case and charge up where ever it is possible en route on your safari – do not wait until down to your last battery!
Do not photograph any government buildings, police or military posts. Ask permission before photographing local tribesmen. For gorilla photography, a 35 – 70 mm zoom, or 50 mm fixed is usually sufficient, but you may want to carry a longer lens but remember you may well be in low light conditions. Take fast film if using film (200-400 ASA plus), as you are not allowed to use a flash. Please check your camera beforehand to ensure you know how to turn it off manually.
Game & bird photography obviously longer lens would be recommended 80-300mm ideally.
Do not spend all your time on one attraction trying to capture a classic photograph, look around you and observe and enjoy these gentle animals.
Follow the link to the list of all Embassies & Consulates in Kenya
Follow the link to all National/Public Holidays in Kenya
NATIONAL PARKS AND TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Masai Mara National Reserve
Masai Mara National Reserve is an area of preserved savannah wilderness in southwestern Kenya, along the Tanzanian border. Its animals include lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras and hippos. Wildebeest traverse its plains during their annual migration. The landscape has grassy plains and rolling hills, and is crossed by the Mara and Talek rivers. The area nearby is dotted with villages (enkangs) of Maasai people. Maasai Mara National Reserve is a year-round destination, although the busiest months are Jun–Aug. The annual wildebeest migration (Jul–Oct) sees herds of the animals crossing the Mara River into the reserve. The drier months (Jan–Feb) tend to mean a better chance of seeing the area’s big cats, including lions and cheetahs.
Amboseli National Park
County park in Kenya: Natural area with abundant wildlife, including free-ranging elephants & 600 species of birds. Amboseli National Park is a year-round destination, with generally warm temperatures. Popular times for wildlife viewing include the drier months (Jul–Oct), when vegetation is reduced and animals congregate at water sources. The park has 2 rainy seasons (Mar–May and Nov–Dec), when heavier rains may make roads impassable. Peak bird-watching season is Oct–Jan, when migratory species inhabit the park. Observation Hill offers panoramas of the peak and the park’s plains and swamps. Varied wildlife includes giraffes, zebras, cheetahs and hundreds of bird species. The western section is dominated by vast Lake Amboseli, which is dry outside the rainy season
Tsavo East National Park
Park in Kenya
One of Kenya’s oldest & largest parks, this game reserve on 5,308 sq. mi. is home to lions & birds. Situated in a semi-arid area previously known as the Taru Desert it opened in April 1948, and is located near the town of Voi in the Taita-Taveta County of the former Coast Province. The park is divided into east and west sections by the A109 road and a railway. Named for the Tsavo River, which flows west to east through the national park, it borders the Chyulu Hills National Park, and the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania. Most of the park consists of semi-arid grasslands and savanna. It is considered one of the world’s biodiversity strongholds, and its popularity is mostly due to the vast amounts of diverse wildlife that can be seen, including the famous ‘big five’ consisting of lion, black rhino, cape buffalo, elephant and leopard. The park is also home to a great variety of bird life such as the black kite, crowned crane, lovebird and the sacred ibis.
The Samburu National Reserve
The Samburu National Reserve is a game reserve on the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro river in Kenya. On the other side of the river is the Buffalo Springs National Reserve. The park is 165 km² in size and is situated 350 kilometers from Nairobi. It ranges in altitude from 800 to 1230m above sea level.