Kenya Official languages – English and Kiswahili
Major cities – Nairobi (capital city), Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu
Population – over 40 million people
Kenya is a country of a pleasant variety of landscapes, wildlife and culture. The country’s rich history dates back to the first century AD when Arab traders visited the coastal region. Before attaining its independence on 12th December 1963, Kenya was a British colony. In 1964 the country became a republic and was thus officially referred to as the Republic of Kenya.
Located in East Africa, Kenya covers an area of 580,367 km2. It borders Ethiopia to the North, Tanzania to the South, and Uganda to the West, Sudan to the North West and Somalia to the North east. The country’s official languages are Swahili and English. However there are 40 other languages spoken.
Kenya is world renown not only for its athletic prowess but also for its tourist attractions. Every year thousands of visitors tour the country. The wildlife habitats include well managed parks and reserves – some of which are marine parks, scenic and special interest parks.
Nairobi – the country’s capital city is vibrant and as modern as any world city. The country has a well established tourism infrastructure with a wide range of hotels, lodges and campsites. Kenya is also well connected to the rest of the world by an efficient air, sea and land transport system.
Kenya Safari Activities
Activities to enjoy on a visit to the country include:-
Balloon safaris, boating, hiking, mountain climbing, river rafting, fishing, horse riding, camel rides and safaris, cycling safaris (in a few parks), walking safaris, sports/water sports, golfing, bird walks, cultural visits, rock climbing, photography, cave explorations.
Reliable telephone and internet service providers with networks that are steadily accessible on mobile phone handsets. These services are as well available in business centers, cybercafés and hotels – with some even offering free internet/wifi. The Kenya calling code is +254. International calls can be made from the country at highly affordable rates.
Kenya Money and Banking
Kenya’s official currency is the Kenya shilling KES – symbol KSh and is available in coins (1, 5, 10, 20, and 40) and notes (50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000). Foreign currency can be changed to the Kenya shilling in banks and licensed forex bureaus that are widely situated right from the airport. A good number of banks accept travelers cheques. Credit cards are also variably accepted. There are many dependable ATM’s across the country. Banking hours have in the recent years differed from bank to bank. However, broadly speaking, the banking hours are from: – 8.00am – 4.00pm – weekdays, 8.00am – 12.00pm on Saturdays. Due to customer demand, many banks now have some of their branch outlets extend open time to: -7am – 8.00pm weekdays, 8am – 4 pm weekends.
Kenya Weather and Tourism Seasons
The weather patterns have in recent times become somewhat irregular and can be different across the country especially because of the varying topography. The noted weather seasons in Kenya are:-
January – March – Dry/high temperature season
April – May – Long rains season
June – Mid August – Cold season
Mid August/September – October – Warm cool season
November – December – Short rains season
The north and coast regions of the country experience the highest temperatures. Generally, it is good to carry both light clothing for the day and warm clothing for the cool evening temperatures.
The tourism peak season is July – October, end of December – first week of January. The low season is April – June, November – mid December. The Mid/high season is January – March.
The standard electricity voltage in Kenya and the other East Africa countries (Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda) is 220 to 240V – standard electricity frequency 50 Hz – plug type G. A visitor from a country with standard electricity voltage less than the local voltage, and that uses electric appliances e.g. a hairdryer made for lower voltage or for use with a different plug type, may need to carry: – 1) A multi-purpose universal plug adapter – that allows appliances to be connected to different plug types. 2) A voltage converter – to step down the voltage. Or optionally, purchase 220/240V compatible appliances for the safari.
Kenya Travel – Health Information
Travelers from countries where yellow fever is prevalent are required to present a yellow fever certificate upon arrival in Kenya. The essential travel vaccines that one should consult a doctor about (at least 1-2 months before travelling) are: – Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Polio, Yellow Fever, Rabies, Meningitis, and Diphtheria. Also consult your doctor about malaria prevention. It is important for a traveler to carry whichever medication they need/often use.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance
It is advisable to have comprehensive travel insurance for safaris to Kenya or any other destination for that matter, since it offers cover against unanticipated conditions and costs during a trip. Many tour companies prefer/ask visitors to have it.