Kenya Travel Advice
Home of the classic safari, Kenya has been a prime safari destination for many years. Undoubtedly its most famous attraction is the renowned Masai Mara, home to rich resident wildlife and magnificent Maasai warriors. However, Kenya also has a range of other wildlife attractions, ranging from perennially popular and easily accessed reserves to more remote and secluded retreats. Our travel advice will ensure that you get the most out of your safari to Kenya.
Kenya is a well-developed safari destination and most of its attractions are relatively easy to get to. There are regular flights into even the most remote destinations, although some isolated reserves may be hard to reach if you are hoping to travel by road and self-drive adventures are best left to experienced travellers who are familiar with Kenya.
Bear in mind that the Equator divides Kenya and the weather tends to be hot and humid, especially in summer.
Best time to travel to Kenya
Kenya is a year-round safari destination with excellent game viewing throughout. Guests wanting to witness the famous Great Migration must plan their travel to Kenya well in advance, as the migration path does vary from one year to the next depending on rainfall.
- Banking hours at most commercial banks are Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 15h00 and on the first and last Saturday of the month.
- ATMs are found throughout Kenya’s major city centres and shopping complexes.
- The currency is the Kenyan Shilling, where KES1 is made up of 100 cents. Please check with your hotel for daily exchange rates. Foreign currencies such as the USD are widely accepted. However, please note that dollar bills printed before 2003 are not accepted in Kenya, as there was a large amount of illegal processing of dollar bills in the country at that time. High denomination notes may also not be accepted.
- Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express are accepted by most restaurants, shops and hotels. Proof of identity may be requested, so be sure to carry a passport or some form of photo identification at all times.
- The usual safety guidelines apply – don’t leave your luggage unattended and always keep your valuables close by or locked away. It is advised you check with your tour operator or hotel concierge - they will know if there are any potentially unsafe areas along your travel route.
- It is wise to avoid deserted areas, particularly at night. Dress-down (i.e. don’t wear excessive jewellery) when exploring Africa’s diverse cities. Concealed travel wallets are recommended.
Please be sensitive when photographing people. Kenyans are renowned for being friendly; however it is courteous to ask permission before snapping away.
Passport & Visa Requirements
Guests visiting Kenya must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of travel and should have two blank pages available in their passport. Some nationalities may need to acquire a visa before they travel, while others will be able to obtain it on arrival. Please check with your local Kenyan embassy or consulate before you travel, as regulations may change. Visitors who intend travelling to Kenya’s neighbouring countries and back are advised to apply for multiple entry visas.
Please Take Note:
• As of 2 July 2015, anyone who requires a VISA to enter Kenya must apply for an eVisa via www.ecitizen.go.ke. This includes visas previously obtained at port of entry into Kenya. Processing time is 1 week and after 01 September 2015 travellers can be denied boarding of their flight if not in possession of a valid eVisa.
• Passports are required by all foreign visitors and must be valid for 6 months after the intended length of stay. Please ensure that you have at least 2 consecutive blank visa pages (not endorsement pages) in your passport. Our recommendation is 3 or even 4 blank pages if you are travelling through more than one country. If there is insufficient space in the passport then entry could be denied.
• It is recommended to obtain visas prior to arrival as there is a likelihood of long queues at all airports.
Guests travelling from Tanzania to Kenya must obtain a valid Kenyan visa before travel in order to confirm domestic flights between Nairobi and the Masai Mara National Park. This is due to the delays in the processing of visas for guests connecting between Arusha, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya and the knock on effect on domestic flight schedules.
• Depending on nationality and country of origin, visa requirements may vary or change without notice. We advise checking with the appropriate consular authority prior to departure. Should the appropriate authority confirm that visas can be obtained on arrival, please ensure you have the applicable fee available in small-denomination USD as officials may not have sufficient change. If connecting between Kenya and Tanzania in particular it is advised to obtain visas before travel to save connecting time.
What the Experts Say
- While the Masai Mara boasts incredible year-round wildlife, the Great Migration is invariably a huge draw card for visitors. The peak season for Migration sightings in Kenya is considered to be between June and October and you are more likely to see river crossings during this time. However, the Migration is a year-round phenomenon and you are likely to see large herds of wildebeest at any time of year. There are far fewer visitors outside of peak season and sightings tend to be more leisurely and exclusive.
- Please remember that the movements of the Migration are affected by the weather and may vary widely from year to year. The movement of the herds depends on the arrival of the rains and the animals may cross back and forth between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara a number of times in any given cycle. As it can be difficult to pinpoint specific times and accommodation tends to book up quickly for peak season, we recommend that you plan well ahead of time if you are travelling specifically to see the Migration. However, no matter what time of year you travel, the wildlife experience in the Masai Mara is guaranteed to be extraordinary.
Kenya is located in East Africa on the equator and the weather is generally hot throughout the year, with humidity rising in the summer months. The climate along the coastline is tropical and characterised by higher rainfall and temperatures throughout the year. Further inland, the climate is described as arid and hot with less rainfall.
Average summer temperatures (September to April)
Average winter temperatures (May to August)
Long rains: April – May
Short rains: November – Mid December
&Beyond can tailor-make your tour & safari to suit your needs and also recommend the best places to visit in Kenya depending on the time of year you are able to travel.
Explore our range of unique Kenya safaris & tours here.
Unequivocally one of Africa’s most prized spectacles, the annual wildebeest migration is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be on every wildlife enthusiast’s bucket list. The movement of wildebeest and other herbivores across the Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara consists of more than 1.5 million wildebeest, 500 000 zebra, 18 000 eland and 200 000 Thompson’s gazelle. The herds are closely followed by an assortment of predators making for some action-packed game viewing opportunities.
The wildebeest migration follows the year’s annual rainfall so its appearance in Tanzania and Kenya is weather dependant. Our travel consults are updated weekly by our guides in the field who closely monitor the location of the wildebeest migration throughout the year. This enables us to advise you on the best destination to visit during your particular time of travel.
Nairobi is the main airport for international flights. From Nairobi local carriers connect to the major tourist destinations in both National Parks an
Kenya offers something for every taste. There is fantastic game viewing in the Masai Mara, Amboseli, Tsavo, Samburu and Shaba Game Reserves.