fast facts

Capital city: Naiorbi
Main international airport: Jomo Kenyatta Internation Airport (NBO)
Language: Swahili, regional dialects and English as second language
Currency: Kenyan Shilling (KES)
Time zone: East Africa Time (GMT + 3)
International dialling code: +254
Emergency services: Dial XXXXXXXX 112 for police, 113 for general EMS, 115 for fire, 118 for medical
U.S. Embassy: A: United Nations Ave., Gigiri, Nairobi | T: +254 (20) 363 6451 / +254 (20) 363 6170


passport & visa

  • Passports must be valid for at least three months beyond your date of departure from Kenya.

  • Passports must have two blank pages.

  • A visa is required for entry to Kenya. It is recommended you purchase your single entry visa online.

  • Visas cost $50 USD + $1 USD service charge per person.

  • E-visas are valid for three months so do not purchase your visa before three months prior to your departure date.

health

  • It is recommended you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and your yearly flu shot.

  • Additional vaccines include cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid which can be contracted through contaminated food or water, and typhoid

  • You do not require the yellow fever vaccination unless you are travelling to Kenya from a country with risk of yellow fever, which the U.S. does not.

  • Malaria XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Cover your legs and arms at night, wear light colour clothing as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours, use bug spray on exposed skin, especially elbows and ankles.

  • Pack prescription medications in their original containers with pharmacy labels in your carry-on luggage. Also bring along copies of your prescriptions in case you lose your medications or run out. Don't forget an extra pair of contact lenses or prescription glasses.

  • Use sunscreen and stay hydrated throughout your trip.

    safety

  • Currently the U.S. government’s travel advisory for Kenya is at level 2: exercise increased caution. Their additional notes are to not travel to the Kenya-Somalia border and some coastal areas due to terrorism, and to reconsider travel to Eastleigh at all times and Old Town in Mombasa at night due to crime.

  • Violent crime, such as armed carjacking, mugging, home invasion, and kidnapping, can occur at any time. Local police are willing but often lack the capability to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents and terrorist attacks. Emergency medical and fire service is also limited.

  • Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting Kenyan and foreign government facilities, tourist locations, transportation hubs, and markets/shopping malls. Terrorist acts could include armed assaults, suicide operations, bomb/grenade attacks, and kidnappings.

Some key advice:

  • Stay alert for pickpockets and purse-snatchers, particularly around tourist sites, in restaurants and on public transit.

  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.

  • Monitor local media and listen out for hotel updates for breaking news events.

  • Always carry a copy of your U.S. passport with you and keep the original documents in a secure location in your hotel.

  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
     

currency

1 USD: 100.15 KES (as of February 2019)

  • Arriving in Italy with some Euros is highly recommended.

  • ATMs are readily available throughout the country, even in small towns. ATMs usually offer the best exchange rate when compared to commercial exchange bureaus and hotels. Your bank may add a surcharge for every withdrawal you make.

  • Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted throughout Italy, but may come with exchange rate and bank charges from your home bank. We urge you to contact them prior to departure to let them know you will be using your card abroad, and to ask what fees may apply.

    CLIMATE IN DECEMBER

Daytime Average: 80ºF (75ºF at higher altitudes) | Overnight Average: 55ºF
Sunrise: 6:15am |  Sunset: 6:30pm

The mornings and evenings are cool, especially at higher altitudes, but once the sun breaks through the days are warm. The “short rains” may carry through to December, but when they happen they are short, heavy and often in the evening or night.
 

what to pack

  • Important documents: passports, travel insurance details, emergency contacts, credit cards and cash (USD)

  • Safari days: light coloured, non-distracting clothing, warm layers for mornings and evenings spent in open air safari vehicles

  • Pool days: swimwear, beach bag, cover-up and sandals

  • City days: loose light layers: shorts, t-shirts, skirts and sundresses

  • Evenings: skirts, dresses, pants, shirts, cardigan, sweater and a light scarf

  • Practical: day pack or cross-body bag, sunglasses, sunhat, reusable water bottle, comfortable walking shoes

  • Toiletries & medicines: sunscreen, after-sun, bug spray, prescription medications

  • Electronics: chargers, travel adapters, phone and camera

  • For fun: books, magazines, deck of cards, travel journal or notebook

CURIO TRIPS COMPREHENSIVE PACKING LIST...


electricity & PLUGS

  • Power in Kenya comes out at 240 V, which is a lot higher than appliances in North America are used to. For this reason we recommend purchasing an adaptor with built-in power convertor or transformer to reduce the voltage from 240 to 110. 

  • Plugs in Kenya are type G: triangular three square pin that is the same as the UK.

DOMESTIC FLIGHTS

Domestic flights from Nairobi leave from Wilson Airport (WIL), located 4miles south of Nairobi.

COMMUNICATIONS

Before departing home contact your service provider to enquire about using your phone in Kenya. They will let you know your call, text and data roaming options. If you purchase a roaming plan, once you arrive in Kenya your phone will connect to a local service provider and you will be good to go. We recommend turning data off for any apps you do not need to use regularly, as these will drain your data package with automatic updates. Packages vary by provider so be sure to check the rates for local charges and making and receiving calls and texts internationally. 

Alternatively you can purchase a local SIM card upon arrival in Kenya. You will need to show your passport, which will be scanned or photocopied, along with your address in Kenya. SIM cards expire after a certain period of inactivity, usually within 3 - 6 months, so it’s best to use all the pre-paid credit before returning home.

CULTURE

Kenyans like to take it slow.

LANGUAGE

Even though English is widely spoken in Kenya, especially in the tourism industry, here are a few helpful phrases to know in Swahili:

  • Hello: Jambo

  • Welcome: Karibu

  • Habari Gani: Good morning/How are you?

  • Nzuri: I’m fine

  • Thank you: Asante sana

  • Hapana asante sana: No, thank you

  • Unaitwa nani? What’s your name?

  • Jina langu ni: My name is

  • Toilet/washroom: Choo

  • Goodnight: Lala Salama


food & drink

Italy has some exquisite cuisine and is most famous for its pizzas, pastas, meats, cheeses, gelato and sweet desserts. It can be difficult for vegetarians and vegans as it is a very meat heavy destination. Dietary requirements such as celiac and lactose intolerance are becoming more understood and accommodated by chefs. Some standout foods and dishes are:

  • BBQ

  • Chapati

  • Pili pili: chilli/red pepper

  • Beer: Tusker, White Cap
     

BUSINESS HOURS

  • Shops are typically open Monday to Friday from 9am to 1pm and 3pm to 7pm, and Saturday from 9am to 1pm.

  • Restaurants are generally open for lunch from 12pm to 3pm and dinner from 7pm to 11pm. Many close on Sunday and one additional day mid-week. It is always best to check with locals and to ask reception staff to call ahead to ask if a restaurant is open when you want to go.

  • Banking hours are usually Monday to Thursday 9.30am-4pm and until 5pm on Friday. Some branches open on Saturday mornings until 1pm. All banks are closed on statutory holidays.

  • Gas stations are typically open from 7am to 10pm with some open 24 hours on major highways.

  • Kenya has a Sales Tax (VAT) of 16%. It is usually included in the ticket price, not added at the point of sale.