Helpful Resources

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the national public health agency of the United States. It is a United States federal agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services, and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Embassy of the United States of America to Kenya, located in Nairobi, is home to the diplomatic mission of the United States to the Republic of Kenya.

Kenya Travel Tips & Useful Info

If you’re planning a safari adventure to Kenya, there’s a few things you’ll want to know before you get there, like what type of plug you’ll need, whether you need to get any vaccinations and when you need to tip. We’re here to help with our Top Travel Tips that provide all the information you’ll need for your holiday.

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.

Do I need anti-malaria tablets for 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.

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.
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.

Kenya might not be a big name on the global culinary map but it certainly has its fair share of dishes worth trying. The main staple in the Kenyan diet is ugali, a grainy paste made from cornmeal that is eaten with stews and other sauce-based meals. Beans and corn also make regular appearances in Kenyan cooking. The most popular dish in the country is probably irio – green peas and potatoes that have been mashed together with corn added in for texture.

Meat often features in Kenyan meals and is usually cooked in a sauce made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, chillies and vegetables. Goat and beef are the most popular choices but fish and chicken are also widely eaten, this particularly applies with nyama choma, which is chunks of roasted meat served with irio or rice.

Safe eating while travelling in Kenya

Be wary when eating outside of high-end lodges as sometimes the quality of the meat and the way in which it has been prepared might not be suitable for a sensitive western stomach. Also be aware that food hygiene in Kenya is much more basic than you will be used to so if something looks unclean, old or badly cooked, it is best to avoid it altogether. It is also a good idea to avoid ice in your drink and eating salad as these might have come into contact with unhygienic water.

There are no hard and fast rules for tipping in Kenya but be aware that most people in the service industry earn very little and depend on gratuities to make up their income. Safari guides should be tipped the equivalent of about USD $10-15 per person per day and a few dollars should go to the driver, cook and porters. If you eat in a restaurant then 10% on top of the bill is a suitable amount to leave. When it comes to taxis, rounding up the fare is a nice way to show your appreciation, especially if they have successfully navigated the chaotic streets of Nairobi or Mombasa for you.

The number one thing to buy in Kenya is a traditional African handicraft. You can quite often buy these straight from the creator, ensuring that they receive 100% of the profit for their work. Wooden African masks and soapstone sculptures are popular choices for travellers. Another cultural gift to take away is a Maasai shuka, a brightly coloured strip of fabric that can be used as a scarf, tablecloth or picnic blanket.

If you’re looking to spice up your wardrobe a bit, Kenya is renowned for its brightly coloured jewellery, guaranteed to make a statement back home. A kiondo, a handwoven tote bag, is also a great fashion accessory and can be found in markets throughout the country. If you’re more into interior design then pick up a piece of batik art for your wall or some Kitengela glass to adorn your light fixtures.

Of course, no trip to Kenya would be complete without coming home laden with one of their most popular exports – coffee. It is recommended to buy it as whole beans rather than ground as it will keep its freshness for longer this way.

The vast majority of market vendors in Kenya will expect you to haggle and, as a consequence, will often quote an outrageously high price at the outset. Don’t be put off by inflated prices as this is all part of the process of bargaining. It is important to remain polite throughout the transaction and to understand when it’s not worth haggling anymore and to just accept the price – negotiating over a matter of pennies doesn’t look good and they could do with the extra money more than you. It is equally important to know when to walk away if a seller won’t budge on a price that is clearly too much.

Most people visit Kenya as part of a safari tour and in this context, visiting Kenya is very safe for solo women as they will be under the protection of their guide and lodge at all times. However, those who visit Kenya independently might not have such an easy time. Harassment from local men is common but is usually just an annoyance rather than a threat. Nevertheless, you will want to avoid this by dressing conservatively, wearing sunglasses to avoid eye contact and carrying a photo of a man in your purse who you can say is your husband. You should also try to limit your night time travel as much as possible.

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 artefacts.

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.

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.
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.
Kenya is 3 hours ahead of GMT and does not observe daylight savings.
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.
The endless plains of East Africa are the setting for the world’s greatest wildlife spectacle – the pounding of more than 6 million hooves. From the vast Serengeti plains in Tanzania to the champagne coloured hills of Kenya’s Masai Mara over 1 million wildebeest, 300,000 Thomson’s gazelles and some 200,000 zebras, relentlessly tracked by Africa’s great predators, migrate in a clockwise fashion over 1,800 miles each year in search of rain ripened grass.

Please be advised that visa requirements are subject to change and that visa procurement is the responsibility of the traveller and not Samantyl Tours and Travels. Please also ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your planned date of departure from Kenya.

African countries are in a continual state of political flux and visa requirements can change overnight. It is essential that you check visa requirements of every country you will be visiting in Africa with the local embassy, consulate or a reputable visa handling company for the most up to date visa information before you travel.

Vaccination Certificates: 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. In addition to this, anyone travelling from a Yellow Fever infected may also be required to show Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate upon arrival to be granted entry. Entry and exit requirements may be announced and altered at short notice so it is essential you check these requirements before you travel.

Most nationalities, including UK, USA, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand passport holders, require a visa to enter Kenya. Apply for a Kenya e-visa online in advance, which can take up to 7 working days to process.

 All tourists wishing to visit Kenya need to apply as follows:

  1. Visit the electronic visa page at
  2. Select Register as a Visitor
  3. As part of this process, you will receive a confirmation email that you need to click on to verify and confirm your registration
  4. At this point, you will be asked to UPLOAD A DIGITAL PASSPORT PHOTO (Maximum size 500 px by 500 px)
  5. Once logged in, select Department of Immigration Services
  6. Select Submit Application
  7. Select Kenyan Visa
  8. Select the type of visa (visitor) and read the instructions carefully
  9. Complete the application form – please note that incomplete applications will be rejected however you will lose your processing fees
  10. You will need a scan of the main page of your passport (with your name, date of birth and other information)
  11. You will need to re-upload your passport photo
  12. Pay using your Visa card, MasterCard or other debit card
  13. Await your approval which will be sent to you by email. This could take up to 7 days so give yourself plenty of time.
  14. Once you have received the email advising that your visa is approved, log back into your e-citizen account and download your visa.
  15. Print a copy of your visa to present to the immigration officer at your point of entry into Kenya

Some things to remember:

  • The visa process takes up to one week and must be completed in advance
  • You will need a scan of your passport and passport photo
  • Approval and issuance of the visa does not guarantee entry into Kenya
  • Any form of business or employment on a visitor’s visa is an offence Please be aware that visa requirements are subject to change so please check the latest advice with the relevant embassies before you travel. If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to contact us.