Horseback riding in Kenya

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Equestrian tours in Kenya


 Kenya Mini Guide
    Source: World Travel Guide


Overview

Kenya is regarded by many as the ‘jewel of East Africa', and has some of the continent's finest beaches, most magnificent wildlife and scenery, and an incredibly sophisticated tourism infrastructure. It is a startlingly beautiful land, from the coral reefs and white sand beaches of the coast to the summit of Mount Kenya, crowned with clouds and bejewelled by strange giant alpine plants.

Between these two extremes is the acacia-studded rolling savannah, which is home to game parks such as Amboseli, the Masai Mara, Samburu and Tsavo; the lush, agricultural highlands with their sleek green coat of coffee and tea plantations; and the most spectacular stretch of the Great Rift Valley, the giant scar across the face of Africa.

Above all, Kenya is a place for safaris, and one-tenth of all land in Kenya is designated as national parks and reserves. Just about every African plains animal is present. Over 50 parks and reserves cover all habitats from desert to mountain forest, and there are even six marine parks in the Indian Ocean.

Kenya also has a fascinatingly diverse population with around 40 different tribes, all with their own languages and cultures. Major tribes include the Kikuyu, the Luyia and the Luo, but the most famous are the tall, proud, beautiful red-clad Masai, who still lead a traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle of cattle-herding along the southern border.

A mixture of African and Asian, the unique Swahili culture can be found along the balmy coast, where for centuries it became prosperous on the profits of commerce from the tradewinds that carried ocean-going dhows (sailing boats) across the Indian Ocean to Arabia and Persia.

Kenya does have some downsides as a tourist destination. There is enormous pressure to buy anything and everything, often at ridiculously inflated prices, and even taking a photograph in the local market is likely to incur a cost. But despite this, the people are friendly and the tourist trade is supremely well organised and professional. For those in search of a little adventure, this can be an ideal holiday destination.

 

Passport/Visa

Passport Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

Visa Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes/1

Return Ticket Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

 

Passports

Passport valid for six months from date of entry required by all nationals referred to in the chart above with at least two blank pages.

Visas

Visas for Kenya are required by the nationals referred to in the chart above, except (1) nationals of Cyprus, who do not need a visa.

You can obtain your visa on entry; passport photos are not required. However, to save time at the airport, it's a good idea to obtain one in advance, either online or from the embassy/high commission. If you require a multiple-entry visa, you're advised to obtain this in advance.

Travellers who are also visiting Rwanda and Uganda may find it more useful to apply for an East Africa cross-border joint visa which allows entry into all three countries on a single visa.

Visa Note

Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Kenya.
Kenya has an agreement with Tanzania and Uganda to waiver visa re-entry fees if travelling between the three countries as long as single-entry visas remain valid for each country. This means multiple-entry visas are not required if going from Kenya to Tanzania or Uganda and back to Kenya. The same applies for travel from Uganda and Tanzania.

Types of Visa and Cost

Transit eVisa/visa on arrival: US$21; single-entry eVisa/visa on arrival: US$51.

East Africa tourist visa: US$100.

Transit visa: £10; single-entry visa: £30; multiple-entry visa: £60; East Africa visa: £65. These fees are for visas obtained in advance from the embassy/high commission.

Validity

Transit: valid for a short stopover or overnight only; single-entry visa: three months; multiple-entry visa: one year; East Africa tourist visa: multiple entries within 90 days.

Applications to:

On arrival, online (evisa.go.ke) or at the consulate (or consular section at embassy or high commission).

Working Days Required

Allow two days for eVisa processing and three days if applying via the embassy/high commission.

Money

Currency

Kenyan Shilling (KES; symbol KSh) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of KSh1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 50. Coins are in denominations of KSh20, 10 and 5.

Currency Exchange

Currency can be exchanged at the major banks, bureaux de change or authorised hotels. The banks at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport have 24-hour exchange services. The easiest currencies to exchange are US Dollars, Pounds Sterling and Euros.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are all widely accepted. Major hotels now also accept payment by credit card, as do major safari companies, travel agencies and restaurants. Almost every bank now has an ATM and in the cities they are increasingly being installed at petrol stations.

Traveller's Cheques

Traveler's cheques are no longer accepted in Kenya.

Currency Restrictions

Restrictions apply.

Banking Hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1500, Sat 0900-1100. Banks in Mombasa and the coastal areas open and close half an hour earlier.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date April 2018 
£1.00= KSh142.97
$1.00= KSh100.85
€1.00= KSh124.68

 

Health

Vaccinations

 

Special Precautions

Diphtheria

Yes

Hepatitis A

Yes

Malaria

Yes

Rabies

Sometimes

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

Yes

Yellow Fever

Yes*

Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.

 

* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age arriving from infected areas; those countries formerly classified as endemic zones are considered to be still infected by the Kenyan authorities. Travellers arriving from non-endemic zones should note that vaccination is strongly recommended for travel outside the urban areas, even if an outbreak of the disease has not been reported and they would normally not require a vaccination certificate to enter the country.

Food and Drink

Bottled water is available and is advised for the first few weeks of the stay. When buying bottled water, check the seal of the bottle is intact. Avoid ice and washed salads and fruit except in top hotels and restaurants. Milk is pasteurized and dairy products are safe for consumption. Food prepared by unlicensed vendors should be avoided at all times.

Other Risks

Zika virus is a risk in Kenya. Pregnant women should not travel to the country as Zika can cause serious birth defects. All visitors should take measures to prevent exposure to the virus via mosquito bites or through sexual contact.  Diarrhoeal diseases are common. Hepatitis B is hyperendemic; hepatitis E is widespread. Meningococcal meningitis is a risk, particularly in the savannah during the dry season; long-staying visitors and backpackers should consider vaccination. Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is present; avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water. Dengue fever is present. Avoid sandfly, mosquito and tsetse fly bites, and wear shoes to protect against hookworm. Rabies is present. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. There is a high incidence of HIV/AIDS.

Health Care

Health insurance is essential, and should include medical repatriation. Part of the African Medical and Research Foundation, the Flying Doctor Service have introduced a special Tourist Membership, which guarantees that any member injured or ill while on safari can call on a flying doctor for free air transport (www.flyingdoctorsafrica.org/membership/ ). There are excellent medical facilities in Nairobi and Mombasa, but they are of a varying standard in the rest of the country.

 

Getting There

Getting There by Air

There are frequent direct and indirect flights to Kenya by numerous major airlines. The national airline is Kenya Airways (KQ) (website: www.kenya-airways.com). Other airlines offering flights to Kenya include British Airways (www.ba.com) and Emirates (www.emirates.com). There are no significant seasonal factors affecting flight prices.

Approximate Flight Times

Kenya has two international airports. The Main point of arrival is Nairobi's Jomo International Airport (NBO), which receives the majority of scheduled international flights. Mombosa's Moi International Airport (MBA) also receives some international scheduled flights, and is the main point of arrival for charter flights from Europe. Both are managed by the Kenya Airports Authority (www.kaa.go.ke).

Main Airports

Nairobi (NBO) (Jomo Kenyatta International) (website: www.kenyaairports.co.ke) is 16km (10 miles) southeast of the city. To/from the airport: A Kenyan Bus Services bus and a Kenyan Airways bus leave every 20 minutes (journey time - 40 minutes). Scheduled bus service to and from the town centre is available at unit 1 and 2 bus stops. Taxis are readily available, but the fare should be established before getting into the vehicle (journey time - 15 minutes). Facilities: Duty-free shop, hotel reservation, bank/bureau de change (open 24 hours), post office, restaurant/bar, car hire, Internet cafe and Wi-Fi hotspots.

Mombasa (MBA) (Moi International) (website: www.kenyaairports.co.ke) is 13km (8 miles) west of the city. To/from the airport: There is a regular bus service by Kenya Airways to their city centre office in Mombasa (journey time - 20 minutes). Taxis are also available. Fares should be negotiated in advance. There are also a number of shuttle bus companies in the arrivals hall that will take people directly to their resorts on the north and south coasts. Fixed prices to these destinations are clearly written up on boards. Facilities: Duty-free shop, bank, restaurant/bar, tourist information and car hire.

Departure Tax

None.

Getting There by Water

Main ports: Mombasa. There are presently no international ferry services to Kenya but cruise ships dock at Mombasa. Likewise, there are currently no ferry services to Kisumu, the principal Kenyan port on Lake Victoria.

Getting There by Road

The main international crossing into Kenya are from Tanzania and Uganda. The main crossing points from Tanzania are at Lunga Lunga south of Mombasa, and Namanga on the road to Arusha, with smaller posts at Isebania and Taveta. From Uganda there are crossing points at Buisa and Malaba.

Heading to or from Tanzania, several companies run comfortable shuttle bus services between Nairobi, Arusha, and Moshi. There are aimed at tourists who fly into Nairobi and are visiting the game parks in Tanzania's northern circuit region from Arusha, or are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro from Moshi. The buses take about 5-6 hours in either direction, and drivers assist passengers with border procedures. Reliable operators prevising a daily service include Riverside Shuttles (www.riverside-shuttle.com) and Regional Luxury Shuttle (www.regionalluxuryshuttle.com).  

Many local bus companies ply the main routes between Nairobi and Mombasa and the major cities in northern Tanzania and Uganda. Most are quite unreliable and safety standards are not to western standards. For Tanzania, the pick of the crop is Dar Express, which connects Nairobi to Arusha, Moshi, and Dar es Salaam, The most reliable operators between Nairobi and the Ugandan capital Kampala are Easy Coach (www.easycoach.co.ke) and Queen's Coach.

Kenya also shares remote land borders with Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Somalia, but roads are in poor condition and there is no reliable public transport on these routes, which pass through volatile desert areas prone to outbreaks of armed banditry.

 

Climate

Throughout the country, the hottest months are December to March. The coastal areas are tropical, with particularly high humidity in April and May, but tempered by monsoon winds. The lowlands are hot but mainly dry, while the highlands are more temperate with four seasons. Nairobi has a very pleasant climate throughout the year due to its altitude. Near Lake Victoria, the temperatures are much higher and rainfall can be heavy.

Required Clothing

Lightweight cottons and linens with rainwear are advised for the coast and lakeside. Warmer clothing is needed in June and July and for the cooler mornings on the coast. Lightweights are needed for much of the year in the highlands. Rainwear is advisable between March and June and October and December.

Contacts

Kenya High Commission in the UK

45 Portland Place, London W1B 1AS, UK
Tel: (020) 7636 2371/5.
Website: www.kenyahighcom.org.uk/
Opening hours: Mon-Fri: applications 0930-1200, collections 1400-1530.

 

Kenya Embassy in the USA

2249 R Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 387 6101.
Website: www.kenyaembassy.com
Opening times:

British High Commission in Kenya

P.O. Box 30465-00100, Upper Hill Road, Nairobi
Tel: +254 20 287 3000.
Website: www.ukinkenya.fco.gov.uk
Opening times: Mon-Thu 0700-1600; Fri 0700-1300

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