KenyaTravel Guide

Overview
Kenya is a country in East Africa (Click To Open East Africa Map) of breathtaking beauty and great contrasts – from palm-fringed sandy beaches to the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya which straddles the Equator; vast open plains and savannah, acacia woodlands, tropical rain forests, small farms, ranches and rich estates of tea, coffee, pineapple, wheat and sisal and harsh arid deserts in the north. The Great Rift Valley, a massive fracture line in the earth’s surface, runs from Jordan through Kenya and Tanzania to Mozambique, with soda and fresh water lakes, interspersed by volcanoes, stretching through the length of the Rift.

These variations in altitude and terrain create contrasts in the climate – from the hot humidity of the coast to the cold, sometimes frosty, early mornings and warm, sunny days of the central highlands and the dry burning heat of the northern deserts. The people are just as varied and intriguing – a fascinating mix of cultures, with many tribes maintaining the colourful traditions and pastoral way of life that seem to belong to another age.

Kenya Travel Information

Currency
The official currency is the Kenya Shilling. Notes are available in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings while coins are available in 1,5, 10, 20 and 40 shillings.

Foreign currency can be changed at banks, forex bureaus and any authorized hotels. The easiest currencies to exchange are US Dollars, Pounds sterling and EURO. Credit cards and Travelers Cheques are widely accepted by many travel agencies, hotels and restaurants in major towns.

There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Kenya. Banks are open from 9:00am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday. Some branches open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 11:00am. The Bank branches at Jomo Kenyatta International airport (Nairobi) and Moi International Airport (Mombasa) both run 24 hour forex services.

Tipping
Tipping is done at your discretion. While you may tip your guide directly, it is good to check at the place you are staying if they have any guideline on the same.

Time, Public Holidays and Business Hours
Kenya has a single time zone- which is GMT+3. Kenyan Public holidays include:

  • 1st January New Years Day
  • February/March Idd il Fitr *
  • March/April Good Friday**
  • March/April Easter Monday**
  • 1st May Labour Day
  • 1st June Madaraka Day
  • 10th October Moi Day
  • 20th October Kenyatta Day
  • 12th December Jamhuri Day
  • 25th December Christmas Day
  • 26th December Boxing Day

*The Muslim Festival of Idd il Fitr celebrates the end of Ramadhan. The date varies each year depending on the sighting of a new moon in Mecca. ** Dates for the Christian festival of Easter vary from year to year. Most businesses in Kenya are open from Monday to Friday, though some also trade on Saturday.

Business hours are generally 9:00am to 5:00pm, closing for an hour over lunch (1:00pm – 2:00pm).

Telecommunications
Kenya has a good network of telephone, cellular, and satellite connections. Most hotels and lodges offer International telephone and fax services. In larger towns, private telecommunication centres also offer international services.
If you have a mobile phone with a roaming connection, then you can make use of Kenya’s excellent cellular networks, which covers larger towns and tourist areas. When calling Kenya, the International code is 254+ local area code.

Internet
Email and Internet services are offered by many hotels and lodges. In most towns, there are plenty of private business centres and cyber cafes offering excellent email and internet access.

Electricity
The electricity supply in Kenya is 220/240 v 50hz. Plugs are 3 point square. If you are planning to bring a video camera charger or any other electrical advice, please bring voltage and plug adaptors plus any other facilitation gadget where appropriate respectively.

 

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