Travel Tips to Kenya
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Travel Tips to Kenya
Kenya is a conservative society, particularly where there are Muslims, and much emphasis is placed on courtesy and manners. Care needs to be taken when photographing local people, always ask for permission and prepare to be asked for reward. Kenyans are easy-going, friendly, humorous and helpful, making travelling and interacting with them a real pleasure.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
This is the biggest airport in East Africa and is located 13 kilometers outside Nairobi and is the gateway to the Masai Mara, Amboseli, Mombasa and Kenya’s beaches as well as Zanzibar and Tanzania. There are also good connections from here to Uganda and Rwanda.
Wilson is the hub for almost all of Kenya’s internal flights and serves its fly-in safari locations. You will need at least an hour to transfer by car from Jomo Kenyatta Airport.
Moi Mombasa International Airport
This is the gateway to the Kenyan coast and is 10 kilometers northwest of Mombasa City. Road transfers from airports and between major destinations tend to use mini buses as do scheduled safaris to popular destinations such as the Masai Mara. Sliding windows and a pop-up roof provide passengers on mini buses with ample viewing opportunities on game drives whereas safaris to more remote destinations and private conservancies use 4X4s.
Passport and Visa
Visas are required by all. Visas are valid for three months from the date of entry and can be purchased upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Visitors can pay for their visas in local currency and they must possess a passport that is valid for six months. If you plan on travelling onwards from Kenya, visas for other East African countries such as Tanzania and Uganda can generally be obtained in Nairobi for around US$50 each.
Your safari driver-guide is a part of your safari experience. You will be together the entire duration of the safari as he narrates the geography, history and of course the wildlife. The driver-guides have exceptional knowledge in areas such as local flora, fauna and tribal lore. It is customary to tip the driver-guide at the end of the safari. The amount is dependent on your evaluation of the quality of the service offered. An average of USD10 per guest per day is suggested. The amount is however at your discretion, you could provide additional compensation.
Driving Distance and Time Taken
• Nairobi to Amboseli: 240 kilometres, about 4 hours
• Nairobi to Samburu: 320 kilometers, about 6-7 hours
• Nairobi to Ol Pejeta: 220 kilometers, about 4 hours
• Nairobi to Lake Nakuru 160 kilometers, about 3 hours
• Nairobi to Lake Naivasha 100 kilometers, about 2 hours
• Nairobi to Masai Mara 265 kilometers, about 6 hours
• Amboseli to Lake Naivasha 350 kilometers, about 6-7 hours
• Lake Naivasha to Masai Mara 250 kilometers, about 4-5 hours
• Samburu to Lake Naivasha 340 kilometers, about 6-7 hours
• Mombasa to Tsavo East 120 kilometers, about 3 hours
• Mombasa to Tsavo West 240 kilometers, about 4 hours
• Tsavo West to Amboseli 100 kilometers about 2 hours
• Amboseli to Masai Mara 520 kilometers, about 9 hours
• Tsavo East to Amboseli 300 kilometers about 5 hours
Tipping for good service is customary in Kenya although it is of course at your discretion – at 10%. Some of the larger hotels will add a service charge onto your bill.
Make a List
About a week or so before the trip, make a list of items you don’t want to forget. It’s easiest to have a travel list saved in Google Doc so as to access it online and edit it as needed.
Make Copies of Important Documents
Take photos of the passport and driver licenses and keep them in Google Docs and in files on your phone. You just never know when you need a backup.
Plan for the Weather Forecast to be Wrong
Be sure to bring some extra items for weather conditions you don’t expect.
Get into the habit of using sunscreen. Use it daily, regardless of the weather. You will likely be walking a lot more than you think, and even if the sun isn’t literally shining, you can get sunburned. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your hands and arms as well as your neck, chest, and ears, and don’t forget to reapply. Take a small lightweight container of sunscreen with you in the bag.