Stunning Kenya! Even if many other African countries try to overtake this amazing country, Kenya means safari for many visitors (“safari” means “trip” in Swahili). At the foot of Kenya Mount, surrounded by spectacular landscapes, you will witness the most impressive fauna of the planet. The spectacle of the huge wildebeest migration, the speed of the cheetah hunting its prey, and the pink flamingos flocking together around the shoreline of Lake Bogoria will remain etched forever in your memory. Kenya which is said to be the cradle of mankind has superb beaches and ancient Swahili cities to visit.
- Capital city: Nairobi
- Languages: Swahili, English and other local languages
- Time difference: GMT/UTC + 3h
- Visa entry: The visa is required for EU, US, Canadian. The visa will allow you to stay 3 months can cost 50 $US
- Electricity: 240 V
- Telephone: + 254
- Health: We strongly recommend you update the following vaccines: yellow fever, diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Vaccines against meningitis A, C, Y, W135, typhoid, rabies, and measles are recommended for long stay. You should also take a preventative anti-malarial drug.
Foreign exchange office are almost everywhere in Kenya and they are the best place to exchange money (they do not take commissions). The use of credit card is becoming more and more common. Visa and MasterCard are accepted in most hotels, and restaurants. Tipping is not a common practice, but you can always leave a tip in a restaurant if you liked the food and the service. Tour guides, safari drivers, and cooks will expect a tip from you after the excursion
- Currency: Kenyan shilling (KSh)
- Budget: Most of hotels and safari tour operators will charge you in US dollars. Accommodation is generally cheap throughout the country (shared bathroom with toilets), and travelers with small budget will spend approximately 50 $US daily. If you can afford to spend more than 50 $US daily, you will enjoy a comfortable stay. For camping safari you will spend minimum 75 $US per day and per person, and for a safari lodge you will pay from 150 $US to 600 $US. Everywhere in the country you can have a local meal in coffee shops or restaurants for less than 4 $US.
Daily budget food
- Economic budget : < 5 $US
- Average budget : 5-10 $US
- High budget : > 10 $US
Daily budget accommodation
- Economic budget : < 50 $US
- Average budget : 50 -150 $US
- High budget : > 150 $US
When To Go And Climate
- When to go Kenya: January and February are the best months to go visit Kenya because the climate is hot and dry. During this period, birds are present in the greatest number and diversity, and they are most easily observed around the of the Rift Valley lakes. Between June and September, the weather is also pleasant. Rains are particularly abundant between March and May.
- Climate : Kenya enjoys an important variety of climates. The Rift Valley enjoys the most clement climate, where as temperatures can reach 40°C (daytime) and 20°C (nighttime) in the savanna and desert plains. The west of the country and the coast are characterized by a hot and humid climate during all year.
Kenya offers a wide range of hotels and camping sites.
- Youth hostels: The unique youth hostel affiliated to Hostelling International (HI) is located in Nairobi and is fairly equipped. There are also other nonaffiliated youth hotels cheaper and pleasant as well.
- Bandas: These traditional huts and bungalows are generally equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and are very cheap. They are perfect for travelers with a small budget. The KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) owns bandas in Shimba Hills (Tsavo West), Meru, Mt Elgon, and at the marine reserves of Malindi and Shimoni. Some bandas are built with wood and others are built with stone and covered with thatch. You must bring your own food, drinking water, sleeping equipment, and wood for fire.
- Camping: There are many camping opportunities. It would be interesting to bring your own tent. KWS camping sites are often very basic and they are located in almost every natural park and reserve. Equipment is limited to toilets dig in the ground and a tap for water. In most of the parks, the KWS manage “special campsites” which move every year. They are less equipped than standard camps and more costly because of they are installed in remote areas. You must pay a reservation fee of 5000 KSh /week on top of the camping fee. Private campsites are rather few. They are more comfortable and have tents for rent.
- Beach resorts: There are huge beach resorts along the coast between Diani Beach and Malindi. They have swimming pools, water sports, souvenir sellers, and spectacles of traditional dance. Many beach resorts have children activities. A single night will cost you between 40$ US/person (basic) and 500 $US/person (high-end). Most of the beach resorts are closed from May to July
- Hotels and guesthouses: Cheap hotels are called “board” or “lodgings” are badly equipped and not secure. The good hotels and guesthouses are different in size and style. There are many independent housing along the coast (from basic to luxury housing). Some of them have their own equipped kitchen.
- Safari lodges: There are superb safari lodges in the national parks. The clientele for these safari lodges are coming with organized tours. If you coming by yourself, expect to pay a higher price
You should not miss:
- Watch the wildebeest migration across the Masai Mara: In the Masai Mara, you will find the highest concentration of wildlife in the world. The famous wildebeest migration starts in July, and millions of wildebeest, elephants, zebras and giraffes crossing the savannah. Attracted by this annual feast event, lions, cheetah, and hyenas will make a maximum of kill.
- Watch the elephants in Ambolesi National Park: The Amboseli National Park is the best place in the world to watch elephants. The Mt Kilimanjaro, backdrop for every picture you will take there, contributes largely to the stunning beauty of the place. The elephants accept human presence around them since they have been spared from the intense poaching in Kenya during the past years. Their tusks are particularly impressive.
- Lamu Backstreets: Lamu is among the most evocative place in the Kenyan coast. With no cars around, the best way to discover this elegant city is to walk in the streets and admire the beautiful Swahili doors and the colorful courtyards. Then enjoy a drink of fruit juice while discussing with the locals
- Hiking Mt Kenya: Mt Kenya, the highest peak of the country and the second highest in Africa, is located at the heart of kikuyu land. If you ready to climb during 4 days, you could reach the frozen summit of Point Lenana.
- Kakamega forest: This ancient tropical forest is home to 330 birds’ species, 400 butterfly species, and 7 primate species. In the middle of majestic trees, you will see fascinating plant specimens
- Nairobi: The capital city of Nairobi has a bad reputation, but it worth to visit because the capital if full of surprises. In the same day you can feed the elephants, visit the remarkable museum etc…
- North of the country: The north of the country is one of the last regions of east Africa which are not well known. It is an extraordinary area to explore with a 4X4 truck, or on the back of a camel. You will see many elephants, antelopes and other animals not listed yet by zoologists
- Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park:True gem near Tanzania, the quiet Wasini Island is reachable from Diani Beach where you can embark a boatand go for snorkeling. You can also visit Mkwiro fishing village and experience the Swahili culture.
- Watch the lions at Tsavo East National Park & Tsavo West National Park: These 2 national parks represent the quintessence of the wild nature with vast and spectacular landscapes populated by many wild animals
- Hell’s Gate National Park: You can visit the park on foot or by bike. The red volcanic cliffs and the deep canyons in the heart of the Rift Valley is home to dangerous predators, but the close contact with the surrounding wilderness will give you a unique experience.
- Lake Nakuru National Park: Regularly ranked among Kenya’s five top national parks, this exceptional park is located near one of the most beautiful lakes of the Rift Valley – Lake Nakuru. Pink flamingos and pelicans congregate with lions, leopards, Rothschild’s giraffe (one of the most endangered giraffe subspecies), zebras, buffalos, rhinos and many other primate species.
- Mount Longonot: Mount Longonot is a stratovolcano located southeast of Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley. It is very easy to climb (only 90 minutes to reach the peak.)
- Laikipia Plateau: This protected area is home to lions, African wild dogs, Grevy’s zebra, and the black rhinoceros. The group of bordering game ranches covering an immense area of two million acres of fauna will offer you a high standing accommodation
- Meru National Park: This park not well known is a fascinating mix of African emblematic landscapes (fertile hills, rain forests, baobabs and Doum palms) and many types of wild animals ( black rhinoceros, white rhinoceros, elephants, lions, and zebras). This is the place where George Adamson (immortalized in the book “Born free”) dedicated his life to protect lions.
- Beaches of Kenya: The Kenyan littoral of the Indian Ocean is among the most beautiful in Africa. The long stretches of white sand, the crystal-clear water and the creeks under the palm trees are worth the trip. Take this opportunity to visit the Swahili ruins
- Wild camping: Sleep under the stars in safari tents and listen to the crackling fire will provoke strong emotions much different of those you experienced in your modern life. You have to be reckless, knowing that in the middle of the night you can hear a lion roaring, or a rhinoceros coming very close to your tent….