Kenya At A Glance

As a safari and travel destination, Kenya is unrivaled. An ancient land born of ice and fire, such are the extremes of the Kenyan climate, which ranges from tropical heat to glacial ice, that it has formed a diversity of habitats found nowhere else on Earth.

As to geography, Kenya Safari offers a vast mosaic of lion-gold Savannah, rolling grasslands, ancient rain forests and volcanic plains, Kenya rises from the idyllic shores of the Indian Ocean to the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya which, at 5,199 meters above sea level, is an extinct volcano some three and a half million years old. A natural paradise, Kenya is also a cultural microcosm and the age-old ‘cradle of mankind’. Kenya’s people, united under the green, black and red of the national flag, comprise more than 50 ethnic groups and their warmth and hospitality is best expressed in the national motto; ‘Harambee ‘; meaning ‘let’s all pull together’.

Official Name

The Republic of Kenya. Kenya is named after Mount Kenya or ‘Kirinyaga’, the ‘Mountain of Whiteness’.

Capital City

Nairobi (Nyrobi meaning ‘the place of cool waters’ in Maa). The highest city in East Africa (1,700 m), modern and fast growing, Nairobi has over 4 million inhabitants (estimated).

Major Cities

Mombasa is the coastal capital and the largest port on the East African coast.

Other major cities include: Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru, Nyeri and Machakos.

Area

Kenya covers an area of 583,000 sq km, 13,400km of which is inland water, including part of Lake Victoria. The coastline is 536 km long.

Borders

Kenya is bordered by Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and Tanzania.

Climate

The coast is hot with an average daytime temperature of 27-31 degrees centigrade whilst the average daytime temperature in Nairobi is 21-26 degrees centigrade. Nairobi can become cold enough for coats and fleeces; July and August mark the Kenyan winter. Temperatures elsewhere depend on altitude. Typically, January-February is dry, March-May is wet, June-September is dry, October-December is wet.

Population

38 million (2009 est.), 42.5% of whom are under 14 years old, with a growth rate of 2.56%, one of the highest in the world.

Ethnic Makeup

There are over 40 tribal groups distinguished by two major language groups: Bantu and Nilotic. The largest tribes of the Bantu are the Kikuyu, Meru, Gusii, Embu, Akamba, Luyha and Mijikenda. The largest tribes of the Nilotic are the Maasai, Turkana, Samburu, Pokot, Luo and Kalenjin. A third group made up of Cushitic-speaking peoples includes the El-Molo, Somali, Rendille and Galla. The coastal region is the home of the Swahili people.

Religion

Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam.

Language

English (official), Kiswahili (national), multiple ethnic languages (Bantu, Cushitic and Nilotic language groups). Literacy: 85% of population over age 15 can read and write.

Currency

Kenya shilling (Ksh); slang ‘bob’.

Banking

Foreign currency can be changed at banks, foreign currency bureaux or hotels. Banks in major centres are open from 09.00 to 15.00 Mon-Fri. 09.00 to11.00 on the first and last Saturday of each month. Banks in coastal towns open and close half an hour earlier.

ATMs

ATMs are available country wide with 24-hour access. Most accept international VISA cards.

Credit Cards

All major international cards are accepted.

Travellers’ cheques

Travellers’ Cheques are accepted at most banks, bureaux and hotels.

Tipping

Tipping is appreciated. Most hotels and restaurants include a 10% service charge.

Shopping and business hours

08.30 to 12.30 and 14.00 to 17.30 Mon-Sat. Many businesses work Saturday mornings.

Time

GMT +3 all year-round. Kenya maintains an almost constant 12 hours of daylight. Sunrise is typically 06.30 and sunset at 18.45.

Electricity

220-240 volts AC, with standard 13-amp three square-pin plugs.

Post offices

Opening hours are 08.00 to 17.00 weekdays and 09.00 to 12.00 on Saturdays. Stamps can be purchased at post offices, stationery and souvenir shops and hotels.

International telephone code:

+254. Dial 000 followed by the required country code to dial out of the country.

National Parks and Reserves

Kenya’s total wildlife conservation area is 44,359 sq km or 7.6 % of the total area. The main parks are: Aberdare National Park, Amboseli National Park, Hell’s Gate National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, Meru National Park, Mount Elgon National Park, Mount Kenya National Park, Nairobi National Park, Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park. One of the most popular tourist destinations, the Maasai Mara, is designated a National Reserve. There are two major marine parks: Mombasa Marine National Park and Malindi/Watamu National Park. Details on all Kenyan National Parks and Reserves can be obtained from: Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Tel: + 254 (0) 20 600800. Email: tourism@kws.org or www.kws.org

World Heritage sites

Fort Jesus, the Gedi Ruins, Koobi Fora, Mount Kenya, Hell’s Gate National Park and the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Historical sites

Kenya has over 400 historical sites ranging from paleolithic remains, 14th century slave trading settlements, Islamic ruins and the 16th century Portuguese Fort Jesus.

 

Landscape

The landscape of Kenya is distinctly divided into two halves – the eastern half which slopes gently to the coral-backed seashore, and the western portion, which rises abruptly through a series of hills and plateaus to the Eastern Rift Valley. West of the Rift is a westward-sloping plateau, and the lowest part is covered by Lake Victoria. The highest point in the country is the snow-capped peak of Mount Kenya (5,199 m), the second highest mountain in Africa. The coastline extends some 536 km from the Tanzanian border in the southeast, to the Somali border in the northeast. The main rivers are the Athi/Galana and the Tana. The major lakes are: Lake Victoria, Turkana, Baringo, Naivasha, Magadi, Jipe, Bogoria, Nakuru and Elementaita.

Flora

Kenya’s flora is diverse. Coastal forests contain palm, mangrove, teak, copal and sandalwood trees. Forests of baobab, euphorbia and acacia trees cover the lowlands to an elevation of approximately 915 m. Extensive areas of savannah are interspersed with groves of acacia and papyrus, which characterize the terrain from 915 to 2,745 m above sea level. Bamboo and camphor are common in the dense rainforest of the eastern and southeastern mountain slopes. The alpine zone (above 3,550 m) contains many Senecio and Lobelia plants.

Fauna

There are 80 major animal species ranging from the ‘Big Five’ (elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros, lion and leopard) to tiny antelopes such as the dik-dik, which is slightly larger than a rabbit. At least 32 endemic species are endangered.

Avifauna

Kenya boasts around 1,137 species of birds. Spotting over 100 bird species in a day is not uncommon.

Visa and Health Certification

A valid passport, not expiring for at least six months, is required for entry into Kenya. A valid entry visa is also required and may be obtained in advance from the Kenyan Embassy or High Commission in your country of origin, or upon arrival in Kenya.

Health certification

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required ONLY if you are arriving in Kenya from an infected area.

Vaccinations

A number of vaccinations are recommended for visitors to Kenya (check with your doctor in advance).

Malaria

Malaria is endemic in tropical Africa and protection against it is necessary.

Medical / Travel insurance

Travellers to Kenya are recommended to obtain medical / travel insurance prior to arrival.

Hospitals and doctors

A broad selection of highly qualified doctors, surgeons, and dentists exist in both Nairobi and Mombasa. Most lodges and hotels offer resident medical staff and maintain radio or telephone contact with the Flying Doctor Service, which specializes in air evacuations and emergency treatment in East Africa. Temporary membership is available. For further information contact: emergency@flydoc.org

Travelling to Kenya

Numerous international carriers serve Kenya, and Nairobi is the hub of the East African region. Kenya has two international airports: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is half an hour’s drive from Nairobi’s city centre, and Mombasa’s Moi International Airport is even closer to the town centre. Most tourist hotels have minibuses to transport guests, and public buses serve both the Jomo Kenyatta and Moi airports. Taxis are readily available at both airports (officially regulated tariffs should be displayed).

Internal air travel

Frequent flights (both scheduled and charter) operate from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport and from Mombasa and Malindi to the main towns and national parks.

Do’s and don’ts

It is an offence to: smoke in a public place; urinate in public; sunbath topless; buy or take drugs; remove wildlife products from Kenya, export products made from elephant, rhino or sea turtle derivatives, or to remove coral. Swearing and blasphemy are inadvisable. Visitors are requested to stand when the Kenyan anthem is played, or the national flag raised or lowered. They are also advised that photographing the president without prior permission or any military installation is not permitted. Bond or bail can be granted at the police or magistrate’s discretion and all cases must be brought before a court of law.

Photography

It is considered courteous to ask people if you may take their picture before doing so. A small (token) payment for the photograph may be expected, rather more as a form of polite appreciation than anything else.

BEST OF KENYA SAFARI AND NATIONAL PARKS

Get The Necessary Travel Information, Ideas & Advices About Kenya

TOP KENYA EXPERIENCE

Get The Necessary Travel Information, Ideas & Advices About Kenya

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TOP KENYA SAFARI FAQS

You need a visa to enter Kenya. You can either get a visa on arrival at the airport, or before you travel. You can apply for single entry and transit visas on the evisas website. You can also apply for these, and other types of visa, at the Kenya High Commission in London.

The charge for the visa on arrival is US$50 in cash while the charge for processing the E-visa application yourself via the correct Kenya government website (http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html) is US$52.53 including credit card fee.

Single Entry Visa is allowed to Indian travellers who wish to stay in Kenya for a short period. … Indians who travel to a Kenya for tourism purpose or business purpose or medical purpose. The applicant needs to mention the purpose of his visit. Kenya tourist visa and Kenya work visa are the single-entry visas.

The official processing duration for a Kenyan visa as per the official Kenyan Consulates’ site is 14 business days. However, this duration does vary between 2 and 15 days depending on the Embassy to be contacted.

The Best Time To Visit Kenya Safari is considered to be from July to September, as it is the dry season in the country and also corresponds to the popular Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra that you will witness on your Kenya Safari Tours. Apart from this, the rainy seasons are also considered to be a fine period to visit the country as there are fewer visitors during this time.

Watch The Great Wildebeest Migration In Kenya

In the dry season which is the Best Time To Visit Kenya Safari, you will encounter the most spectacular wildebeest migration whose view is simply jaw-dropping. On your Kenya Safari, you will come over 1 million wildebeest, 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle, and some 200,000 zebra, who migrate from Serengeti plains in Tanzania to Kenya’s Masai Mara who is obstinately tracked by Africa’s great predators and migrate to the fertile grasslands in search of food.

Best Time To Visit Kenya’s Beaches

The various Kenya Beaches including Diani and Mombasa to Malindi and the northern islands of the Lamu Archipelago have very hot and humid weather year-round. These coastal beaches are at their best all year round but experience the highest rainfall between mid-March and May which is not the Best Time to visit Kenya Safari.

Best Time To Climb Mount Kenya

For climbing great Mt Kenya two dry seasons are sighted to be the best- one is from January to February and another from June to September. Avoiding the short rainy periods and the long rainy periods is a good choice for travelers.

Kenya’s Changing Seasons

  1. January to February: Dry season. The best time to go for game viewing. Also the high season when parks get a bit “crowded”.
  2. March to May: This is the rain season. So severe that a few camps and lodges are closed because roads are impassable.
  3. June to October: Short dry season with scattered unpredictable and short lived showers. And another best time to visit Kenya.
  4. November to December: Even hotter and drier, and after your Kenya Safari Tours – a great plan is to head for the cooler coastal resorts to relax and recharge before going home.

Best Time To Visit The Most Exotic Kenya Destinations

We are experts in creating Best Safari In Kenya, and find we often get asked the same questions from people planning their adventures. To help out, we’ve put together some practical planning FAQs to help you to find about Best Time For Safari In Kenya. If your question isn’t covered, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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BEST OF KENYA SAFARI AND NATIONAL PARKS

Get The Necessary Travel Information, Ideas & Advices About Kenya

TOP KENYA EXPERIENCE

Get The Necessary Travel Information, Ideas & Advices About Kenya

Kenya River Rafting

Kenya River Rafting

Are you the kind of person who gets a thrill from doing terrifyingly thrilling activities? Then Water rafting one of the best adventure safaris for you...

Read More

Kenya Cycling Biking Safaris

Kenya Cycling Biking Safaris

Kenya has some excellent promising areas for off road mountain biking. Cycling is such an enjoyable sport because you get to burn calories while exploring...

Read More

Mount Kenya Climbing

Mount Kenya Climbing

Located deep in the central highlands lie Kenya’s highest peak, Mount Kenya. The mountain is the remains of an extinct volcano that expired millions....

Read More

Kenya Cultural Tours

Kenya Cultural Tours

For a very long time most of us have thought that visiting wilderness, beaches and excursions but we have an alternative for you. Cultural visit....

Read More

Kenya Bird Watching Safari

Kenya Bird Watching Safari

Kenya has one of the richest avifauna in Africa with around 1090 bird species being recorded. The variety of birds in Kenya is made possible by the favorable...

Read More

Kenya Road Safaris

Kenya Road Safaris

Explorer Kenya offers budget, mid-range and luxury safaris to some of the best national parks/ game reserves such as Masai Mara Game Reserve, Amboseli...

Read More

Thinking Of African Safari Tour?

TOP KENYA SAFARI FAQS

You need a visa to enter Kenya. You can either get a visa on arrival at the airport, or before you travel. You can apply for single entry and transit visas on the evisas website. You can also apply for these, and other types of visa, at the Kenya High Commission in London.

The charge for the visa on arrival is US$50 in cash while the charge for processing the E-visa application yourself via the correct Kenya government website (http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html) is US$52.53 including credit card fee.

Single Entry Visa is allowed to Indian travellers who wish to stay in Kenya for a short period. … Indians who travel to a Kenya for tourism purpose or business purpose or medical purpose. The applicant needs to mention the purpose of his visit. Kenya tourist visa and Kenya work visa are the single-entry visas.

The official processing duration for a Kenyan visa as per the official Kenyan Consulates’ site is 14 business days. However, this duration does vary between 2 and 15 days depending on the Embassy to be contacted.