Kenya’s unit of currency is the shilling (KShs) (slang: Bob). There are no currency restrictions into or out of Kenya for currency transactions. Forex bureau are available both at the airport and at the city centre with various currencies being traded.
As in other countries, it is advisable to hand in your passport, traveler’s cheques, excess money and any other valuables at hotel reception desks for placing in their safe security. Alternatively, where available, arrange to hire a safety deposit box. It is a sensible precaution not to walk alone in isolated towns or beach areas. Ask advice from your hotel manager or tour representative.
In general people are extremely friendly in Kenya and you will be humbled by their hospitality try and take the time to meet ordinary people going about their day to day business too. The experience will be worth it. Don’t be afraid to step out of that tour bus, just take some precautions.
Basic Safety Rules for Travelers to Kenya
- Make a copy of your passport and keep it in your luggage.
- Don’t walk on your own at night in the major cities or on empty beaches.
- Don’t carry too much cash with you.
- Wear a money belt that fits under your clothes.
- Don’t carry a lot of camera equipment especially in the major cities.
Most international credit cards are accepted in Kenya.
Standard chartered bank allows access to over 60 moneylink ATM’s situated at all its branches, major shopping malls, and other strategic locations country wide.
Barclaycash ATMs can accept any international VISA and MASTERCARD credit cards.
Moneylink also enables holders of VISA cards to link up to their home bank or credit card account through moneylink ATMs.
Travellors cheques are also readily recognizable and accepted at most places.
Several vaccinations are highly recommended, they include:
- Yellow Fever
- Hepatitis A
It is also recommended that you are up to date with your polio and tetanus vaccinations. Contact a travel clinic at least 3 months before you plan to travel.
There’s a risk of catching malaria when you travel in Kenya. The highlands used to be a low-risk area, but even there you have to be careful and take precautions. Kenya is home to the chloroquine-resistant strain of malaria as well as several others. Make sure your doctor or travel clinic knows you are traveling to Kenya (don’t just say Africa) so s/he can prescribe the right anti-malarial medication. Learning tips on how to avoid malaria will also help.
What to carry on Safari
- Clothing & Personal Effects
Space in the safari vehicle is limited and we request that you pay particular attention to the following guidelines.
Your luggage is restricted to:-
- 1 bag not exceeding 12kgs and 65×46 cm. We recommend that you pack your personal effects in an inexpensive barrel/sausage bag available from discount stores, hypermarkets and sports shops
- + 1 sleeping bag & small pillow (warm sleeping bag or blanket for winter)
- + 1 small handbag (airline type) or daypack containing money, travel documents and camera equipment. This will be allowed inside the vehicle, placed by the passenger’s feet
- + 1 waist pouch or money belt
- + 1 small fold-up bag to be used on itineraries that include short excursions. Essential for the Sesriem and Sossusvlei excursions and optional excursions
We recommend that you utilize old or inexpensive luggage. Suitcases are unsuitable for our type of safaris. You may use a small/medium-sized rucksack, provided that it has no frame.
IMPORTANT: To avoid luggage in transit
Please take your sleeping bag, medication and toiletries with you on board the plane. For passengers with connecting flights, please allow sufficient connecting time between flights (usually 2 hours). We suggest you check your luggage to each transfer point airport en route, especially if traveling via Johannesburg, to allow you to identify and collect your luggage and re-check to your final destination.
Clothing & Personal Effects (Please take the minimum): Most people make the mistake of taking along too much clothing. Take along comfortable, casual and semi-casual, “wash and wear” clothes. Bright colors and white are not suitable for game viewing.
This list below is purely a guideline, and will depend on the duration/length of the safari as well as month/season traveling. Additional warmer clothing may be required during June/July/August:-
- 1-2 pair/s of smart/ casual trousers
- 3-4 pairs of shorts
- 7 Shirts/ T-shirts (any combination)
- 1 light cotton dress/sarong for the ladies
- 1 jersey for the evenings (April to August)
- 1 tracksuit (April to August)
- 1 windbreaker/ rain jacket (December to March)
- 1 warm jacket (May – September: winter nights can be very cold!)
- 1 pair of walking/ running shoes
- 1 pair of sandals/ thongs/ rafting or canoeing shoes
- Underwear and socks
- 1 swimming costume
- 1 sun hat
- 1 towel
Essential to have a pair of rafting or canoeing shoes. A long sleeved shirt will provide protection from the sun. We also recommend a pair of gloves and a sarong.
Also remember the following:-
- 1 liter water bottle (essential)
- 1 torch + batteries (essential)
- 1 roll toilet paper
- Bath soap, Toothbrush/toothpaste
- Shampoo & hair conditioner
- Comb/ hair brush, nail brush
- Razor & blades (preferable battery operated shaver)
- Suntan lotion/ Sun block
- Lip balm
- Hand cream & Moisturizing Cream
- Insect repellent
- Tissues or disposable moist tissues (e.g. Wet Ones)
- Washing powder, plug for sink
- Washing line (length of cord) pegs
- Plastic bag (to pack wet/ dirty clothing)
- Spectacles (if worn) – some people have trouble with contact lenses & dust
- Pen for immigration formalities
- 1 note book
- Multi-purpose knife (e.g. Swiss army knife)
NB: small sports/ kit bag for excursions as mentioned under “Luggage”
You are also welcome to bring along a bottle of your favorite drink liquor.
Personal Medical Kit
We suggest that you take along the following:-
- Aspirins/ paracetamol
- Anti-diarrhea pills and laxatives (consult your pharmacist for advice)
- Throat lozenges
- Antiseptic cream
- Insect bite cream
- Eye drops
- Anti-malaria tablets (refer MALARIA section)
- Any other medicines & toiletries you regularly use
- Energy bar drink for canoeing safari
- Dehydrate powder/ sachets
Maps and Field Guides
We recommend the following:-
- Michelin Map No 955 – Africa Central & South, Madagascar
- Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa – G L Maclean
- Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa – Kenneth Newman
- Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa – Chris & Tilde Stuart
- Southern Africa Mammals – Robin Frandsen
For photography of birds and animals a 300mm telephoto lens is recommended. Films & batteries are only available in larger cities and tend to be expensive. We recommend that you take along sufficient films and a spare battery for your camera.
Many people bring video cameras on safari. The power supply in Kenya is mostly 220-240 volts. It may be possible to recharge the video camera off the battery of the vehicle through a 12 volt cigarette lighter socket. We recommend that you take along enough batteries and recharging equipment with cigarette lighter adapter.
When visiting wildlife areas it is essential that participants have a pair of binoculars for their personal use, in order to benefit fully from the safari
There are various outlets in the different cities:
- Nakumatt Stores (24-hour services-Selected Stores)
- Uchumi supermarkets
- Sarit, Capital and Yaya center
- Village market