Kenya Country Guide

Kenya has long been a major tourist destination, and there are very good reasons why. It is certainly not harmed by its great weather, fantastic natural conditions and the friendliness of the people. And while it is famed mostly for its safaris, there are many other factors which continue to make Kenya a wonderful place to visit.

Enjoy every aspect of this charming, intriguing and naturally wealthy country!

Our Kenya Country Guide below gives some background information about the country, including useful country and traveller information. Specific city information can be found by going to our Kenya Destination Guides page, and clicking on the city you would like to know more about. To read up more about what there is to see and do whilst on your visit to Kenya, simply go directly to our Kenya Tours page.

We recommend you read about travel in Kenya on GoNOMAD.

Check out the latest Kenya Travel features on YouTube.

Kenya Country Guide

Useful information on this page includes:

Climate/Weather Top

Take a look at our Kenya weather page for a six-day Nairobi weather forecast, and some handy information about the climate in Kenya.

Communication Top

The international dialling code for Kenya is +254. To dial overseas from within Kenya, dial 000 followed by the relevant country code and phone number.

Emergency numbers within Kenya are 999 for police, ambulance and fire department.

Public telephones are available and are operated by both coins and phone cards, which can be purchased from post offices (and are identified by Telkom Kenya). International calls can be inefficient and expensive, but can be made from most hotels and resorts. If calls cant be made directly, this can be done via operator assistance by dialling 0196.

Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies have roaming agreements in Kenya. The two main networks are Celtel (www.celtel.com) and Safaricom (www.safaricom.co.ke).

Internet services can be found throughout the major cities and tourist destinations, as well as within post offices and most hotels. It may be extremely hard to find internet services in regional areas.

Airmail to Western Europe or North America takes about four days, and the service is generally quite reliable. Standard post office hours are Monday-Friday 08:00-17:00, and the main post offices are also open Saturday 09:00-12:00.

Currency/Money Top

Kenya's official currency is the Kenyan Shilling (KES), which consists of 100 cents. Banknotes come in denominations of KES1000, 500, 200, 100 and 50, whereas coins are available in denominations of KES20, 10 and 5. The current Kenyan Shilling exchange rate can be found by going to OANDA.com - The Currency Site.

Foreign currency can be exchanged at most major banks, bureaux de change or authorised hotels. 24 hour exchange services are available at the 2 major international airports. The easiest currencies to exchange are US Dollars, Pounds Sterling and Euros.

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are all widely accepted, and most major hotels now also accept payment by credit card, as do major safari companies, travel agencies and restaurants. Travellers cheques can be changed at banks and are widely accepted. Standard banking hours are Monday-Friday 09:00-15:00.

Local Costs

- Car hire (per day) KSh 8040.00 
- Hotel room (cheap)KSh 400.00
- African meal KSh 200.00
- Bottle of beer (supermarket ) KSh 50.00
- Bottle of beer (top-end hotel) KSh 200.00 
- Bottle of beer (small) KSh 80.00
- Film (36 exposure - colour) KSh 350.00

Room rates (average)

- Low KSh300-1000
- Mid KSh1000-3500
- High KSh3500-32,000
- Deluxe KSh32,000+

Meal Rates (average)

- Low KSh80-500
- Mid KSh500-1000
- High KSh1000-2400
- Deluxe KSh2400+

Embassy Locations Top

To view a list of Kenyan embassies around the world, including foreign embassies within Kenya, click on this link to http://www.embassy-worldwide.com/.

Electricity Top

Kenya runs off a 240V / 50Hz system. Most large hotels and some game lodges provide 110V / 50Hz outlets. The plugs in Kenya are the UK-type square three-pin.

General Information Top

Population: 34.7 million people
Total Area: 582,650 square kilometres
Capital: Nairobi
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +3 hours

To view the current time in Nairobi, click on this link to TimeAndDate.com.

Language Top

The official language of Kenya is English, while Swahili is the national language. Throughout Kenya there are over 40 ethnic languages spoken. Some useful phrases for travellers to know are:

Hello, welcome! - Jambo/ Karibu
No problem - Hakuna matata
Thank you very much - Asante Sana
What is your name? - Jina lako ni nani?
My name is George - Jina langu ni George
I am going on safari - Naenda safari
I am very happy - Nimefurahi sana
Please bring me a cold beer - Naomba bia baridi
What is the price? - Bei gani?
I want  - Ninataka
Until later - Mpaka baadaye
Goodbye - Kwaheri
Let's go! - Twende
I don't know - Sijui
I don't understand - Sielewi

Location Top

Kenya is located in Eastern Africa; and is bordered by the Indian Ocean, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, & Uganda. To view a map of Kenya, click on this link to WorldAtlas.com.

Public Holidays Top

Follow the link to view a current list of public holidays in Kenya.

Religion Top

There is both a sizeable Christian population and a smaller Muslim community in Kenya. However, religion in Kenya is mostly made up of traditional beliefs. Approximate breakdowns are: Protestant 45%; Roman Catholic 33%; Indigenous beliefs 10%; Muslim 10%; & other 2%. Please note that although most Kenyans are Christian, figures for Islam and Indigenous beliefs are estimates.

Visas/Passports Top

Nationals of the United Kingdom, other EU Countries, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and New Zealand all require visas for Kenya. Transit passengers continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft provided holding valid onward or return documentation and not leaving the airport do not require visas. Passports must be valid for at least 3 months from date of entry.

Types of Visa:
Single-Entry - US$60 (valid for 3 months);
Multiple-entry - US$120 (Valid for up to 1 year. Only available to UK nationals);
Transit - US$20.

It is advisable to check this information with your relevant embassy prior to travel.

US citizens who do not wish to go through the trouble of dealing with the red tape themselves can count on the professional services of Travel Visa Pro to speed things up: Apply for Kenya Visa Online (service starts from $39). If you need to renew, add pages, change name, or just get a new US passport, you can Apply for a New US Passport here.