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Featuring the highest number of national parks and natural wonders in Africa, it is an understatement to say that Kenya is captivating. The country's diverse landscapes along with an abundance of culture and remarkable hospitality makes it an ideal destination for visitors from all over the world.
Be it enjoying amazing views from mountains, going on wildlife safaris in the savannas of Maasai Mara, visiting Africa’s famous attractions such as Lake Nakuru, and relaxing beaches, there are countless things that make Kenya one of Africa’s most sought-after destinations.
Blessed with diverse landscapes and wildlife, Kenya can be any traveler's dream destination. From opportunities to climb high mountains to going on a wildlife safari in plain savannahs, the country has so much to offer. If you are planning to get a taste of this wonderful destinations, here are 8 things you should know:
Kenya is a great destination to visit throughout the year. However, there are specific months that are better than the others. For example, if you are planning a safari holiday, then the dry season between January to mid-March and the end of July to October is the best time. During the dry month, the skies are clear and there is hardly any rain to interrupt your excursions. Since all animals visit waterholes for drinking during this time of the year, you can enjoy almost-guaranteed, up-close sightings of a variety of wildlife.
If you are targeting the great migration, then you must be in Kenya by August. This is also a great time for vacationing in the coastal areas. Come later or earlier than that and you will not only encounter fewer travelers but also end up paying less for accommodation and entrance tickets.
E-visas are one of the most convenient forms of entry pass that travelers can use to enter into Kenya. With a processing time of three business days, it is no longer necessary to apply for a traditional visa at the embassy that can potentially take weeks of waiting. There are four kinds of electronic visas available and you can choose the one that suits you the best. Check out e-visa to Kenya for more information.
Spare enough time for airport security while visiting Kenya. This applies more to those leaving the country than to those entering in. This is to prevent terrorist activities and should therefore be taken seriously. Expect to go through the first screening at the main entry point and a second screening when entering into the airport building. We suggest you arrive a few hours earlier than usual for your return flight from Kenya.
Swahili and English are the national languages of Kenya. In addition to this, locals also speak their tribal languages. It can be helpful to learn a few commonly used Swahili phrases before traveling to Kenya. Below are some that we recommend:
- Jambo! = Hello
- Jambo! = Hello
- Pole = Sorry
- Habari = How are you?
- Mzuri = Fine, Good
- Asante = Thank you
- Hapana = No
- Ndio = Yes
- Hakuna Matata = Don’t worry
- Karibu = Welcome
While water is available in all commercial accommodations, you should use tap water only for cleaning and brushing your teeth. When it comes to drinking water, it is better to stick to dispensers and bottled water. The same applies for food — we recommend that you eat at popular restaurants or food joints. If you are craving street food, follow your guide’s advice.
Whether you are going on a week-long safari trip or just visiting the capital city of Nairobi for a day or two, there are certain items that will make your stay in Kenya more enjoyable. We recommend the following items as a must-have on your next Kenya tour:Whether you are going on a week-long safari trip or just visiting the capital city of Nairobi for a day or two, there are certain items that will make your stay in Kenya more enjoyable. We recommend the following items as a must-have on your next Kenya tour:
- A sturdy backpack
- Comfortable walking shoes
- A hat and sunscreen
- Local money (Kenyan shillings)
- Clothing that will keep you cool during the day, and
- Warm clothes for evenings
Kenya’s currency is called the Kenyan shilling. Travelers can draw the local currency from ATM machines or get their money changed at an established bureau de change at the airport. Many individuals and businesses accept credit card payments, but it is highly recommended to carry some Kenyan shillings too.
Kenya is a relatively safe country. However, as with any other country around the world, you should use your common sense and take some basic precautions while in the country. Below are some tips to stay safe while in Kenya:
- Plan your trip with a reputed tour company or a trusted individual who can help you throughout the journey
- Do not accept food or money from strangers
- Be careful of what you eat and drink
- Watch out for pickpockets
- Avoid going out alone at night
Traveling to Kenya can be an unforgettable and a truly rewarding experience if planned carefully. In addition to soaking up some of Africa’s most stunning scenery, you will also get the chance to meet some fascinating people along the way. So get off on the right foot and kickstart your African adventure!
Travelling to Kenya? Chat with a local travel specialist in Kenya who can help organize your trip.
Thea Gillingham Travel Expert in Kenya & Tanzania
Leonie Taylor Travel Expert in Kenya & Tanzania
Victoria Erskine Travel Expert in Kenya & South Africa