Kenya is probably Africa’s finest safari destination where visitors can still see wild animals in their natural habitat in huge numbers. Kenya has some of the world’s best game reserves, famous for lions, giraffes, elephants and huge herds of zebras, wildebeests and buffaloes. Pick a safari with us and you will have the choice of top National Parks, five-star service with professional guides and sumptuous accommodation.
One of the most popular holidays in Kenya is the mind-blowing Great Migration when thousands of wildebeest and zebra move from the Maasai Mara to the Serengeti every year. A sight for sore eyes is the number of animals stampeding across the veld, crocodiles and lions lying in wait for the weak and tired ones to tall.
We have put together this useful travellers’ guide for Kenya so that you and fellow visitors can learn some cool facts and some essential news about Kenya before you arrive. Things you need to know include money, weather, where to see game, where to see beaches, how to show respect to the local people and how to behave in dangerous areas.
Some fascinating bits and pieces
- Golfers will love Kenya for her range of golf courses and plush accommodation
- Currency is the Kenyan shilling
- Most accommodation venues do accept VISA, Masterc/li>ard and Amex while most retailers accept mobile payments via M-Pesa
- The population peaks at some 43 000 000 people
- Languages – English and Kiswahili are official languages, about 72 indigenous languages
- Religion – Protestant 45%, Roman Catholic 33%, indigenous beliefs 10%, Muslim 11%, other 1%
- Men and women like to wear khanga, kitenge and kikoi cloths as sarongs
- Look for beautiful handmade crafts usually particular to a tribe or region – Kisii stone (soap stone) carvings, Maasai jewellery, Mkonde wood carvings, Lamu chairs and batiks
- When buying from a curio seller on the street, try to start your offer at 20-25% of the quoted price and never pay more than 50% of the originally quoted price
- Only wear beachwear on the beach, not while strolling around town; only some hotels allow topless or nude sunbathing, but don’t do it in public
- Kenyans disapprove of kissing or heavy petting in public
Cities in Nairobi
- Nairobi — Kenya’s capital city and economic hub
- Garissa — close to Somalia, this is mostly a Muslim town
- Kabarnet — Gateway to Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria
- Kisumu — on the banks of Lake Victoria, the main town in the west
- Lamu — Main town of the Lamu Archipelago
- Lodwar — northern Kenya, en route to South Sudan and Lake Turkana
- Malindi — Vasco da Gama landed here
- Mombasa — historically one of Africa’s oldest settlements and ports
- Nakuru — an active volcano in Lake Nakuru National Park
- Aberdare National Park — plenty of large game in this cooler region of the Rift Valley and more than 250 bird species
- Amboseli — see some of the best large mammals in Africa here in the wetlands of the Masai park
- Hell’s Gate – here you can get out of your car for some rock climbing and game viewing in a smaller space near Nairobi
- Lake Nakuru – the best place to view the largest flocks of Flamingos in the world as well as 400 other bird species
- Lake Elementaita — recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its rare birds and beautiful lake landscape
- Masai Mara — the best place to see the big cats in Kenya so very popular with tourists
- Mount Kenya — the best place to go trekking to high mountain peaks
- Nairobi — an easy way to see wild animals if you have time constraints – right in Nairobi
- Tsavo East — between Nairobi and Mombasa, so a great place to stop
- Tsavo West — amazing biodiversity, great roads, guided walks, rhinos, rock climbing, Mzima Springs
- Meru – a great park for rare antelopes, the big cats, hippos, black rhinos and elephants
- Shimba Hillas – famous for its sable and huge elephant populations, this is one biggest coastal forests in East Africa – also has elephant shrew, bushy tailed mongoose and frui bats
- Sibiloi – part of Turkana National Park and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Mount Elgon – visit this huge volcano where caves, valleys and streams abound. Explore the forest, see the elephant caves, go hiking and biking on this 8th highest mountain in Africa
Food to Eat
It is great to eat out in Kenya which offers a huge selection of restaurants and food styles. You can eat Thai and Chinese foods, traditional Kenyan cuisine and some typical Western fare too. If you like run of the mill international food, then eat out at the 5-star hotels but if you want to be daring and eat like a Kenyan, try the street food which is usually safe and delicious. It is best to avoid boiled food as you don’t know which water was used. Things like Mandazi (sweet and doughy), grilled mielies or maize with chillies, samosas and fresh fruits.
Nairobi has a bad reputation when it comes to crime and danger, which is why it has been nicknamed “Nairobbery”. Keep eyes and ears open when you are driving or walking in this city and rather go with a local guide. The city is known for its muggings in broad daylight and incidences of violent crime such as armed attacks, hijackings and burglaries. Use Uber and EasyTaxi and don’t walk around flaunting your wealth in the form of jewellery, cameras, binoculars, phones, computers and other enviable items.
WARNING:There is a high risk of terrorism and crime on the borders of South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, as well as the coastal regions of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu.
WARNING:Homosexuality is against the law in Kenya and if caught homosexuals can get up to 14 years in prison plus fines. Do not show any affection to your partner in public if you are visiting as a homosexual. If you ignore these warnings you will be a target for discrimination and attacks and police may well join in or ignore it.
Mosquitoes do carry malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever so get malaria preventatives you’re your pharmacy before travelling into Kenya. If travelling to other East African countries, you should have a yellow fever vaccination to prevent complications and paying bribes at the border.
Book your holiday package to Kenya with Journey in Style and we will assist you with the right information regarding what to pack, how to travel and where to stay