General information while travelling to Kenya

What are Visa requirements for Kenya

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many nationalities could obtain a visa on arrival, but now, a visa in advance might be necessary.

Check Kenya’s official visa website ( and allow time to complete the application. Random checks can mean extra questions for some travelers, even after submitting and payment.

You won’t receive an email confirmation of your Kenya visa application or payment, so you need to log in to check its status. Once issued, print a color copy (or two) of the visa and payment and keep them to hand, even for domestic flights, such as between Nairobi and Mombasa. You may also need to upload COVID-19 test results, health status and vaccination records, so check the current entry requirements.

What Vaccinations do you need for Kenya?

You should seek medical advice from your local health practitioner before travelling to Kenya and ensure that you receive all of the appropriate vaccinations. As a guide Polio, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and B, and Tetanus is strongly recommended. Rabies and Meningitis are also recommended.

A Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for travel to Kenya and if travelling from an infected area it must be presented upon arrival in order to be granted entry. Please also note that if you are travelling onward to Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania you will need a Yellow Fever Certificate to produce on arrival in order to be granted entry.

Some African countries still require you to show proof of either COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test conducted no more than 72 hours before departure. Entry and exit requirements may be announced and altered at short notice so it is essential you check these requirements before you travel.

What is the Currency in Kenya

The official currency in Kenya is the Kenya Shilling. Check OANDA for the latest exchange rates.

Euro, British Pounds, US Dollars, South African Rand and other major currencies can be exchanged locally or in advance of departure. Additionally, exchange facilities are available at various bureau de changes and banks in major towns have ATMs. It's advisable to request bank notes in smaller denominations, as it can sometimes be hard to get change from large notes and smaller notes are handy for smaller purchases and gratuities.

Traveller's Cheques are not recommended as they're often difficult to exchange and incur high fees.

What is the duty-free allowance in Kenya?

Travellers over the age of 18 are permitted to bring the following into the country:

  • 250g of tobacco products
  • 1L of spirits or 2L of wine
  • 500ml of perfume and eau de toilette, of which not more than a quarter may be perfume

Prohibited items include counterfeit money and goods, pornography, matches made using white phosphorus, narcotics, soaps and cosmetics containing mercury, and used tyres. Restricted items include animal traps, unwrought precious metals and stones, arms and ammunition, ivory, hippopotamus teeth, rhinoceros horn, tortoise shell, whalebone, antlers, coral, endangered species, and historic artifacts

What should I Know when travelling with children?

In Africa selected departures of our overland safaris are classified as ‘Family Friendly’ and these are noted under ‘Prices and Dates’ on the relevant tours. Family Friendly departures welcome children aged 6 – 17 years travelling with their parents on tour. Please note children will be occupying a seat on the overland truck, therefore they pay full price. Parents must be aware that travellers aged 18 years and older still frequent the trip and the tour is a participation overland tour.

Children aged eight and above travelling with a parent or guardian are also welcome on Lodge Safaris on a request basis and subject to the agreement of the other passengers. Please note that children aged 12+ pay adult price. We can tailor-make private safaris for families and those travelling with younger children.

What is the weather in Kenya?

Climate and weather are one of the most important aspects to know before travelling to Kenya. Kenya has incredible climatic conditions including two rainy seasons that is the ling rainy season and the short rainy season. The long rainy season is experienced from March – November while the short rainy season is experienced in November. 

About Insurance

You’d do well to take out a travel insurance policy prior to travelling to cover against theft, loss, illness and injury. It’s worth checking, however, that you won’t duplicate the coverage of any existing plans you may have. For example, many private medical schemes include cover when abroad.

A typical travel insurance policy usually provides cover for loss of baggage, tickets and cash up to a certain limit, as well as cancellation or curtailment of your journey. Most of them exclude so-called dangerous sports unless an extra premium is paid: in Kenya such sports could mean scuba-diving, windsurfing and climbing, though not vehicle safaris. If you take medical coverage, check there’s a 24-hour medical emergency number. When securing baggage cover, make sure that the limit per article, which is typically less than $1000, will cover your most valuable possessions, like a camera. If you need to make a claim, you should keep receipts for medicines and medical treatment, and in the event you have anything stolen, you must obtain an official statement from the police.

Where can i Exchange Money?

You can exchange hard currency in cash at banks and foreign exchange (“forex”) bureaus all over the country, and also at most large hotels, though for a substantially poorer rate. US dollars, British pounds and euros are always the most easily changed. Always check the commission and any charges, as they may vary slightly. Many banks and forex bureaus also give over-the-counter cash advances in Kenyan shillings (and in Nairobi or along parts of the coast, in US dollars or pounds) on MasterCard and Visa cards. Travellers’ cheques are not worth the trouble. Forex bureaus usually offer better rates of exchange than banks and are open longer hours (often on Sunday mornings too). Changing money on the street is illegal – ignore any offers as you will most likely be ripped off and run the risk of being arrested if caught. 

What timezone is Kenya on?

Kenya is 3 hours ahead of GMT (+3 GMT) and does not observe daylight savings.

How do I make international calls?

To call Kenya from abroad, dial your country’s international access code followed by 254 for Kenya, then the Kenyan area code or mobile-phone code (omitting the initial 0), and then the number itself. To call out of Kenya, the international access code is 000, followed by the country code followed by the number, omitting any initial 0 (this includes calls to mobiles being used with foreign-registered SIM cards in Kenya).

Do I need anti-malaria tablets in Kenya

There is a risk of malaria in Kenya so it is very important to check with your doctor before you go, to see whether malarial medication is required for the areas you are visiting. Generally, it is good practice to avoid mosquito bites by wearing long sleeved, light coloured clothes and wearing a mosquito repellent that contains at least 50% DEET. For more information on the malaria risk in Kenya visit the NHS Fit to Travel page or the CDC Traveler's Health page.

What is the plastic bag ban?

Plastic bags were banned in Kenya as of 28th August 2017. Travellers arriving at any airport in Kenya can face heavy fines for bringing plastic bags into the country. This includes plastic bags in both your checked luggage and carry-on luggage, as well as duty free plastic bags.

We recommend avoiding packing any plastic bags in your luggage before flying to Kenya. You should also remove any items purchased at departure airports from their bags before boarding. Double check your luggage before disembarking in Kenya and leave any plastic bags on the plane.

Is wifi freely available in Kenya?

WiFi is available in Kenya but many of the safari camps choose not to provide a connection in order to allow guests to fully immerse themselves in their natural surroundings. It is easier to find WiFi in the big cities but be aware that the connection might be less reliable and slower than you are used to.

What do things cost in Kenya?

Most people who visit Kenya will do so with a tour, in which case the majority of your expenses will be included in the total price. However, for those travelling independently the following should be taken into account: a mid-range hotel room will usually cost between USD $50-70 per night while dorms are around USD $20-30. Street food is incredibly cheap, costing less than a dollar in some cases, and sit-down meals can be found for between USD $10- 20 for a feast of African or Indian food.

When it comes to going out, a pint of beer won’t cost more than USD $3 in a bar and will be even cheaper in a supermarket. Transport isn’t usually too expensive with matatu (mini bus) rides often costing around 50 cents or less. Private taxis are more expensive and can set you back up to USD $10-20.

What plugs do I need for Kenya and what is the voltage?

Standard voltage is 230 - 240 volts. Primary sockets generally require the 3 square-pin variety, similar to the United Kingdom sockets. We recommend that you pack a universal travel adaptor. You will need a voltage converter and plug adaptor in order to use U.S. appliances.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Kenya?

It has been claimed that tap water in Nairobi and Mombasa is drinkable but it is usually a good idea for tourists to stick to bottled water in order to avoid contact with any foreign bacteria that could make them ill. Outside these two cities tap water should be avoided entirely in favour of bottled mineral water.

Be respectful to local communities

Don’t take photos of people without asking permission, particularly in rural areas. If you want to publish any photos, even on social media, it’s respectful to carry a consent form and say “asante” (thank you).

Be particularly conscious around children or other vulnerable people. If you’re given the OK to take a photo, show them the photo. Think twice before visiting a school or another place that would be strange in your home country.