Kenya - Frequently Asked Questions
Table of contents
- When is the best time to go?
- Do you need a visa?
- How can I get there?
- What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
- What is there to see and do?
- Is it safe to drink the tap water?
- When is the Great Migration?
- Do I need any vaccinations ahead of travel or do I need malaria tablets?
When is the best time to go?
When you travel to Kenya will depend, in part, on what you hope to see and do in the country. Typically, the busiest time of year is January and February when the weather is at its hottest and driest. For safaris, this means animals tend to congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot. However, if you're keen to see the Great Migration you will need to travel between July and October, when it is a little cooler. There are two main rainy seasons in Kenya - the long rains from March to May (which is the quietest time for tourism) and the short rains in October and November.
Do you need a visa?
British citizens need a visa to travel to Kenya, although this can be obtained at the airport on arrival or from the Kenya High Commission in London. Kenyan visas cost £30 for single entry. A single entry visa allows you to stay in the country for up to three months.
How can I get there?
British Airways is the most popular airline that offers direct flights from London to Nairobi, although Kenya Airways also offers direct flights to the Kenyan capital and Mombasa. Non-direct flights are available from airlines such as Emirates and Turkish Airlines. A non-stop flight to Kenya lasts approximately eight-and-a-half to nine hours.
What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
The local currency is the Kenya shilling, with US dollars, sterling and Euros all being easy to exchange at one of the country's banks or bureau de changes. In the big cities you'll find plenty of ATMs where you can withdraw cash, while most upmarket hotels and restaurants will accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards - although don't expect this to be the case in more remote parts of the country.
What is there to see and do?
The main reason many people travel to Kenya is for the opportunity to go on safari in its famous Masai Mara game reserve. Within its boundaries you can see many of Africa's most famous animals, including lions, zebras, giraffes, crocodiles and hyenas. Between July and October, vast herds of wildebeest cross the border with the Serengeti National Park and enter the Masai Mara in one of nature's greatest spectacles. Mombasa, on Kenya's Indian Ocean coast, is another popular destination for travellers in Kenya and one where you can make the most of its stunning beaches, snorkel over coral reefs and uncover the city's history. In its Old Town are narrow streets and bustling markets, while at the harbour you can see rows of traditional dhow boats moored up. Don't miss out on visiting Fort Jesus, a 16th century enclave built by the Portuguese to protect the harbour and city. It's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and well worth exploring.
Is it safe to drink the tap water?
It's not safe to drink the tap water in Kenya. It's recommended that you drink bottled water at all times.
When is the Great Migration?
The Great Migration of the wildebeest in Kenya's national parks typically occurs between July and October.
Do I need any vaccinations ahead of travel or do I need malaria tablets?
It's recommended that you are up to date on all your standard travel vaccinations (polio, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A and B, cholera, diphtheria, tuberculosis and meningitis) before you visit Kenya. You should also get vaccinated against yellow fever and it's advised that you take malaria tablets. Speak to your doctor at least six weeks before you travel to check which vaccinations you will need.
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