Frequently Asked Questions
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Kenya lies across the equator on the east coast of the African continent. Neighboring countries are Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to East, Tanzania to South, Uganda to West and Sudan to North-West. The Indian Ocean lies on the South-Eastern border of the country.
Kenya enjoys a mild tropical climate. The average annual temperature for the capital city, Nairobi (altitude 4,980 feet) is 77ºF maximum and 56ºF minimum. The coastal town of Mombasa (altitude 50 feet) is 86ºF maximum and 73ºF minimum. There is plenty of sunshine all the year round and summer clothes are worn throughout the year. However, it is usually cool at night and early in the morning. The long rains occur from April to June and short rains from October to December. The rainfall is sometimes heavy and when it does come it often falls in the afternoons and evenings. The hottest period is from February to March and coolest in July to August.
The official currency is the Kenya Shilling. Visitors to Kenya can exchange foreign currency at banks or authorized hotels and Foreign Exchange Bureaux. Most international currencies are easy to exchange in Kenya. Travelers cheques are widely accepted, and many hotels and restaurants accept credit cards. Most Banks in Kenya are equipped to advance cash on major international credit cards. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Kenya. Anyone wishing to take more than Kenya Shillings 500,000 out of the country will require written authorization from the Central Bank.
English is the “language of communication” in Kenya. It is widely spoken in hotels, restaurants and visitor establishments. Swahili is Kenya’s national language. 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. For example, “Jambo” means hello and is often the first word learned by visitors to Kenya.
Yes, visitors require a passport to enter Kenya. Passports must have a sufficient number of unused pages for endorsements abroad and they must also be valid for at least six months past the projected stay in Kenya.
Yes, visitors require a visa to enter Kenya. For details, please consult the Kenyan Embassy or Consulate nearest to you. To download a visa application form, log onto: http://www.katokenya.org/documents/visa.pdf
A health certificate is not a requirement for travel to Kenya unless travelling from a Yellow Fever zone. It is highly recommended that travelers to Kenya take precautions against Malaria. Please consult your doctor prior to departure.
East Africa is no different from any other place in the world. However the usual precaution should be observed. Avoid displaying expensive possessions; walking through unlit urban areas at night, and follow the guide's instructions in the bush. It is also recommended that you leave valuables and airline tickets in the hotel's safe.
Like most international destinations, Kenya charges an airport departure tax for all international flights. The tax is $20, and is included in the airline ticket price.
There is just as much variety in the types of accommodations in Kenya as in its terrain. The spectrum runs the gamut from five-star hotels, to exclusive lodges and bush homes, to budget camping and all-inclusive beach resorts. Zoar Tours & Safaris will work with you to find accommodation that meets your budget and travel expectations.
Kenya is a great destination all year round. The main tourist season is December to March, since the hot, dry weather at this time of year is generally considered to be the most pleasant. It's also when Kenya's bird life flocks to the Rift Valley lakes in the greatest numbers. June to September could be called the 'shoulder season' as the weather is still dry. The rains hit from March to May (and to a lesser extent from October to December). During these months things are much quieter - places tend to have rooms available and prices may decrease. The rains generally don't affect travellers' ability to get around.
· both temperatures and climate vary drastically from region to region and even throughout a single day. you should be prepared for hot, cold, wet and dusty conditions. ultimately your packing should be dictated by the activities you are planning to undertake.
In Kenya you can experience a different safari every day. The country offers an endless array of activities for travelers: Here are just a few:
The annual migration of wildlife between Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya takes place between June and September. The migration of almost two million Wildebeest, Zebras and other species is nature's greatest spectacle on earth.
Kenya's wilderness areas are famous worldwide and represent far more than you would ever expect, protecting and showcasing a broad range of habitats and species. Some of the many animals that you may see may include the fabled “Big Five”: Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Leopard and Rhino. Just a few other examples include: Zebra, Wildebeest, Cheetah, Giraffes, Hippo, Crocodile, Monkey, Gazelle, Impala, and Bird life. Take a beach safari on the coral-reef protect coast and you can also experience tropical Fish, Dolphins, sea Turtles and more. If you have a particular wildlife or birding interest, look for a Safari operator who can offer you specialized guiding and services to suit your needs.
Kenya is a terrific country for families and an amazing experience to share with children who are already enchanted with the idea of Africa and its wildlife. If you’re considering taking young children, however, you should ask yourself if both you and your child can deal with the adventure. For children under 5, Kenya is a mixture of fun – in the pool, on the beach, with other kids – and tedium – on a game drive, or in a restaurant. Consult your doctor about your health-related concerns related to bringing your child to Africa.
Kenya is renowned for its wonderful gastronomy and array of exotic and international cuisine. Keep to established hotels and restaurants for meals. Drinking water from the tap is considered risky. Hotels and lodges usually furnish safe water in a thermos flask in guest rooms. Bottled mineral water is available in every hotel and supermarket.
Most major hotels and restaurants include a service charge. Tipping is not obligatory and is entirely at your discretion. Porters at airports, hotels or lodges may be tipped a $1.00 per piece of baggage. A gratuity of 10% is customary at restaurants and bars where a service charge is not included. Note that on safaris, tips are considered almost part of the pay. A tip for your guide of $2.00 to $5.00 per person per day is appropriate.
The electricity supply in Kenya is 220/240 volts AC, 50HZ. Plugs are 3 point square. If you are planning to bring a video camera charger or any other electrical device, please bring voltage and plug adaptors where appropriate. Major hotels usually provide hair dryers, irons and other electrical amenities upon request.
There are very good private hospitals in Kenya with facilities comparable to those abroad. Some of these boast five star hotel facilities. The Flying Doctor Service operates immediate help and evacuation services from the remotest part of the country to the nearest hospital, perhaps even faster than you might get through the traffic to your local hospital at home. The facility is available for a small membership fee and can be organized by Zoar Tours & Safaris.