How to travel to Kenya

Buffaloes in Africa
Buffaloes roam in one of Africa’s top national parks. PHOTO/FILE
Endowed with more than 50 national parks and game reserves that teem with diverse wildlife and birds, Kenya is celebrated for its iconic wildlife safaris that earns the country the title of “Africa safari capital”.

The Kenyan wildlife sanctuaries are a haven for a wide variety of animals, including the big five – lion, rhino, buffalo, elephant and leopard – which can be spotted in most of the national parks; as well as countless species of birds and indigenous plants that make for great sceneries.

Besides safari expeditions, Kenya’s culturally rich coast is lined with unspoiled sandy beaches and warm turquoise blue waters that are perfect for relaxation and water sports such as diving, and snorkelling.

Valid passport

When travelling to Kenya, a visitor is first required to obtain a passport. The passport must have at least six months validity from the date of entry and it should have a minimum of two blank pages.

In addition to the passport, you will require a visa to enter Kenya. Though it is possible to get the visa upon arrival at the airport, it is advisable to get one from the Kenyan embassy or high commission in your area or through the department of immigration services eCitizen website to avoid the cumbersome queue at the airport.

Get the necessary vaccine stipulated by the Kenyan government such as yellow fever, hepatitis A&B, meningitis, measles, rabies and influenza. It is advisable to visit a travel health clinic, if possible, six weeks before your travel date.

Best time to visit

Depending on the time of year you are visiting the country and the places you intend to tour, you could be at risk of contracting malaria. Since there is no vaccine against malaria, you will need to protect yourself from mosquito bites using mosquito repellents. Antimalarial medication is also recommended.

Choose your preferred airport depending on your itinerary. The main point of entry into Kenya is Nairobi through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). You can also fly to Moi International Airport in Mombasa at the Kenyan coast.

There is an array of airlines flying to Kenya to choose from, including the national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ). After settling for a carrier, book your flight early enough for the best deals and to avoid last minute rush.

Considering that Kenya enjoys a warm equatorial climate throughout the year, pack light casual wear and a pair of sturdy shoes for nature trails and hikes. The evenings can get a little chilly therefore include a few warm clothes.

Avoid visiting the country during the two rainy seasons; from March to June and from October to November since the rains render most roads in the national parks and reserves impassable.

The Kenyan shilling is the national currency although major foreign currencies such as the US dollars are widely accepted. It is however advisable to use the local currency to pay for meals, bar bills and when shopping around for souvenirs.

Be sure to carry dollar notes printed after 2006 since banks and Forex Bureaus do not accept older bills due to the high number of old fake notes in circulation.

You may also carry your credit card instead of cash since major brands such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted.