TRAVEL GUIDE


  • Visa Requirements
  • Travel Insurance
  • Health Requirements
  • Safaris Do's and Donts
  • What You Need on Your Safari
  • Safety & Security in Kenya
  • Safaris photography Equipment
  • Currency & Bank Information
  • Climate in Kenya

Not all foreign nationals require a visa to enter Kenya (see below for exceptions). Tourists require an ordinary visa also known as a tourist visa. You can obtain one at any Kenyan embassy or on arrival at the entry point. The visa grants visitors or tourists the authority to entry Kenya through designated points of entry. You should note that the possession of a Kenyan visa is not a guarantee to enter the country. Immigration officials at the point of entry may deny you entry if you fail to fulfill immigration requirements and if your presence or entry in the country would be contrary to the country’s national interests.

Visa Descriptions:

  • 1. Single Entry - Allows you to enter into Kenya once
  • 2. Transit - Allows a short stop over (up to 3 days) in Kenya
  • 3. Multiple Entry - Allows entry multiple times into Kenya.
NB: No visa is required for direct transit (staying airside within the airport terminal) between two flights. However, if you are on transit and decide to leave the airport for an overnight stay between flights for a period of less than 24hours you will need a transit visa. A single entry visa will allow you to re-enter Kenya from any of the following East African nations: Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

Visa Requirements:

Obtained in advance:
  • 1. A complete visa application form. A copy of the form is available on the web, at any Kenyan embassy, or at any entry point into Kenya.
  • 2. Valid passport (at least 6 months before expiration). There must be at least two facing blank visa pages available, one for the Kenya visa sticker and one facing for the stamps.
  • 3. Two passport size photograph recently taken.
  • 4. Visa fee (shown below).

Obtained on Arrival:

  • 1. A complete visa application form. A copy of the form is available on the web, at any Kenyan embassy, or at any entry point into Kenya.
  • 2. Valid passport (at least 6 months before expiration). There must be at least two facing blank visa pages available, one for the Kenya visa sticker and one facing for the stamps..
  • 3. Visa fee (see below).
Note: No photographs are required for a visa on arrival as you are photographed and finger printed at the Immigration desk. Visa Fees:
  • 1. Single entry visa - US$50.00 or £30 or €40
  • 2. Multiple entry visa - US$110.00 or £60
  • 3. Transit visa - US$20.00 or £10
Non-tourists: If you are not a tourist, for example a business traveler, contact any Kenyan embassy for additional information. Exempted Countries No visa is required for nationals of the following countries: Maldives, Barbados, St. Lucia, Malta, Belize, Mauritius, Swaziland, Botswana, Cyprus, Seychelles, Brunei Darussalam, San Marino, Namibia, The Gambia, Burundi, Nauru, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, The Bahamas, Dominica, Rwanda, Fiji Island, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, Samoa, Tuvalu, Grenada, St. Kitts and Navis, Uganda, Jamaica, Sierra Leona, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Singapore, Zambia, Lesotho, Solomon Islands, Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa (for less than 30 days stay), St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Malaysia (for less than 30 days stay), Ethiopia, Eritrea. Nationals of the following countries Somalia, Syria, Lebanon, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Senegal, Jordan, Afghanistan, Mali, Kosovo, Cameroon, Palestine, Tajikistan, Korea and Iraq shall have their visa applications referred to the Director of Immigration Services, Nairobi for approval. The processing varies from case to case. In addition, when a visa application is referred to the Director of Immigration Services, Nairobi, a non-refundable reference fee of US $ 5 shall be collected at the time of application. This fee will be in addition to any other visa fee and will not be refunded if a visa is issued or is not issued. For more information on the visa application process and visa categories based on nationalities, please visit www.immigration.go.ke For a list of the embassies of Kenya around the world please visit http://www.tourism.go.ke/ministry.nsf/pages/visa_information_centre

Trip Cancellation

Your insurance should cover for your costs if you unexpectedly can’t go on your vacation for some unpredicted reason such as accident, illness or death of a friend. The most significant thing to remember here is that you have to buy your travel insurance immediately you start booking your tickets not the last minute. Not every travel insurance plans cover all trip cancellation; some will only cover your pre-booked costs if your holiday is interrupted.

Medical emergencies & evacuation

One of the great reasons behind buying travel insurance is medical emergencies. You can never be sure what will happen while on your safari emergency evacuation can be very expensive. If you are travelling in a developing country like Kenya, many health care institutions will admit you without caring about your medical coverage and you will be compelled to clear the bill. Travel insurance can help ease payment and act as a supporter so that you aren’t overcharged because you are a foreigner.

Baggage & personal belongings

Although the main reason why most travelers buy travel insurance is the personal belonging and baggage, it is perhaps the least important. You can easily replace your personal belonging but you can replace your health. Insurance companies expects one to take reasonable care of his or her items and may not compensate for items left unsupervised.

Yellow Fever

You don’t need the Yellow Fever vaccination and a certificate to enter Kenya from North America or Europe. Although the vaccine is recommended by health authorities, it is not obligatory. It is up to you whether to have it or not, however if you travel Kenya to countries in the Yellow Fever belt for instance, sub-Saharan countries you will need a yellow fever certificate to enter Kenya. Countries with tropical climates such as Thailand, India and Australia will ask for a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you have visited a country in the Yellow Fever belt. The purpose of the certificate is a proof that you aren’t carrying the disease and so you can’t introduce it to the nation you are visiting. Yellow fever is not endemic and can’t survive in North America, Europe or UK and that why it is not compulsory to produce the certificate when visiting Kenya. The decision to have the inoculation depends on whether you feel the hazard of contracting the illness calls for the cost as well as an introduction of a live vaccine in your body. There has been no Yellow Fever case reported in Kenya since 1995. The outbreak was followed by massive vaccination of locals in the region of the outbreak. However, in 2010, there was an outbreak in Uganda the first one in 40 years. If you are in your 50s and plan to visit other African or Latin American countries, you may wish to discuss the importance of the vaccination with your health professional. The UK National Health Network and Center advises travelers that there is a low potential for exposure to Yellow Fever in the Mombasa, Nairobi, Tana River, Lamu, Malindi, Kwale and Kilifi. In 2013, the Kenyan government in collaboration with the WHO launched an exercise to collect information to support a case to have Kenya secluded from the high-risk countries and be reclassified to no-risk or low-risk country.

Beacon Safaris has extensive experience and knowledge in all the tourist attractions in East Africa. Throughout the many years we have learnt about a number of Do’s and Don’ts while visiting Kenya.

Arrival

We recommend that you arrive early enough and get some rest as you adjust to the new time zone. You should start of your safari refreshed and ready to exploration Kenya.

Currency

You will need to exchange your currency once in Kenya; we advise that you avoid any exchange rate on the streets. Any exchange on the street is considered black market and deemed as illegal. Local banks, lodges, camps and hotels do change money, though their rate is slightly lower. We recommend that you change your currency at accredited Bureau de Change.

Credit Cards

MasterCard and Visa credit cards are widely accepted in most hotels, lodges, camps and shopping facilities across Kenya.

Hospitals and Pharmacies

There are hospitals and pharmacies in most big towns in Kenya. However, we advise that you carry any medicine that you require just in case the local hospitals and pharmacies don’t stock them. Travel with a small medical kit with basic remedies such as anti-histamines, painkillers, antacids, cold drugs, anti-diarrhea and oral re-hydration if travelling with kids.

Communication

Kenya has a good telephone network and you can call internationally in most areas across the country. In some areas especially in the wild, the network coverage may be poor and calling internationally may be costly.

Passport and Valuables

Kindly make sure that you keep your passport, valuable or any other important documents with you at all times. We advise that a copy of these documents is always locked in your hotel, lodge or camp safe just in case something happens to the originals. Keep your valuables in a safe place, though we recommend that you carry just the necessary.

Safety

We believe that your safety is paramount, and any place in the world can be unsafe at times. We advise that you take the necessary precautions such as not walking alone especially at night or in slums. While in the bush, animals may roam freely therefore, be cautious and observant when walking from one place to the other.

Packing

Always check the amount of luggage that you are allowed to carry on the plane and on the safari vehicle. We advise you carry a soft bag instead of a hard suitcase as it is best while on a safari. Most flights allow for 20kg of luggage while our safaris allow for 12 kg per individual and always ensure that your luggage has a tag.

Clothing

You are on a safari and out in the African bush so make sure that you dress comfortably. Brightly colored clothes are not advisable as they may scare away the wild animals, so pack your dull colored clothes. Have a mix of clothing from a raincoat, warm top, summer clothes, swimming costume and a hat. The sun may look gentle but it can be harsh leading to nausea, dehydration, dizziness and headaches and therefore, carry enough sunscreen.

Punctuality

All your game drives are scheduled for early morning and late evening, because this is the best time to spot wildlife. You are therefore advised to show up on time, if you are late you may delay the entire trip or miss out on something wonderful.

Power and Electricity

Most places across the country have electricity, the normal voltage is 220-240 AC and most of the sockets in the lodges and hotels are 3 pin. If your appliance is not compatible with the voltage remember to carry your converter.

Photos

You will definitely want to capture some events along the way on your safari. However, we advise that you don’t take photos of people without their consent. Avoid taking pictures of the armed forces, airports, police force or the military.

Comfortable, casual, cotton clothing is recommended for your travels in tropical Africa as the organic material allows your skin to breath, in the hot, humid climate. Bright colored clothes are not recommended as they can frighten animals Long skirts and trousers are recommended in the evenings to prevent mosquitoes biting, its advisable to carry a sweater because early mornings and late evenings can be chilly.

  • Most of the accommodation facilities have swimming pools so be sure to carry your swimming costume.
  • A sun proof hat and a personal towel are advisable to protect you from dust and sweat during the safari.
  • A pair of strong, comfortable shoes are recommended as well as sandals when around the camp or by the pool.

Personal Items

  • 1 litre water bottle (essential)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Shampoo & hair conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Comb or hair brush, nail brush
  • Razor & blades (preferable battery operated shaver)
  • Sun lotion/ After Sun
  • Lip balm
  • Hand cream & Moisturizing Cream
  • Insect repellant
  • Plastic bag (to pack wet/ dirty clothing)
  • Sunglasses or Spectacles (if worn)

Luggage

  • During your safari the space for luggage is quite limited; your luggage shouldn’t exceed 12kgs. Hard bodied bags aren’t advisable instead carry soft duffel bags to make packing in vehicles easier.
  • A day pack or a small handbag is important for holding travel documents, digital camera, money or water while in the safari vehicle.

Medical

We recommend that you bring along the following:
  • Plasters
  • Aspirins/ paracetamol
  • Anti-diarrhea pills and laxatives (consult your pharmacist for advice)
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Insect bite cream
  • Eye drops
  • Anti-malaria tablets (consultant your local travel clinic)
  • Any other medicines & toiletries you regularly use

Important

Please dress appropriately (no bare feet, bare chests, no bikini tops) While on a game drive, please be very silent as noises can disturb/intimidate animals. Greetings can be expressed with Jambo (hello) or Habari Gani (How are you) Kindly understand or ask all rules & regulations while on safari from your tour guide Tips can be offered and considered generous but please do not attempt to bribe as it is considered a crime

Tourist Safety and Security in Kenya:

We wish to ensure that you enjoy your holiday in Kenya without any unwarranted concerns about safety and security.The tourism industry in Kenya takes visitor safety very seriously and considers all aspects of the tourist's stay in Kenya. For this reason, the industry created a Safety and Communication Centre under the support of the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF), which is operated 24hrs a day to monitor visitor safety and to liaise closely with the security agencies in Kenya. The Kenya Tourism Federation represents the leading tourism trade associations comprising the Kenya Associations of Tour Operators (KATO), Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC), Travel Agents (KATA), Budget hotels (KBHA), Air Operators (KAAO), Ecotourism Society of Kenya (EK), as well as Mombasa and Coast Tourism Association (MCTA).The KTF Safety and Communication Centre is manned by well-trained staff who are at hand to attend to any issues of concern to tourists. These include security, health, road conditions, travel advisories etc. Beacon Safaris is a member of the Safety and Communication Centre and is regularly updated on issues that are of importance for the security of our customers.

Global Terrorism Threats:

Kenya, like many countries in the free world has had several incidents of small-scale terrorist attacks in recent times by Alshabaab. This has been sparked by the presence of Kenya Defense Forces in Somalia. These incidents over the last two years have been mainly at remote towns in the north-eastern province near the border with Somalia and also in some of the populous low-income housing areas of Mombasa and in Nairobi in the Eastleigh suburb. They have all involved small home-made devices aimed at ordinary Kenyans, apart from a year ago when there was an attack by four terrorists at the up-market Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi which received wide international media coverage. More recently on 15th June 2014 there was an armed attack on the remote small coastal town of Mpeketoni where the police station, government offices, and lodging houses were attacked indiscriminately and Kenyan civilians were killed or injured by terrorists. Mpeketoni has no tourist hotels and is not a place normally visited by tourists being some 45 kms by road from Mokowe the jetty on the mainland opposite Lamu Island. All our guests going to Lamu fly in to the airport from Nairobi and do not travel there by road. The current advice is to avoid all non-essential travel to the following:
  • Areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border
  • Kiwayu and coastal areas north of Pate Island
  • Garissa District
  • Eastleigh area in Nairobi and other low income areas around the city including all township or slum areas
  • Mombasa island and within 5km of the coast from Mtwapa creek in the north down to and including Tiwi in the south (this does not include Moi International Airport, Mombasa).
There are no restrictions on travel to Kenya's most popular tourist destinations such as Masai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru, Tsavo, Samburu, Laikipia and Mount Kenya, for safaris, or Malindi and south of Tiwi at the coast. At Beacon Safaris we are well placed to ensure the safety of all our customers. We have been operating here for 10 years and have looked after hundreds of visitors every year whose safety is our absolute priority. Kenyans are well known for being very friendly and welcoming and our visitors often say to us that they felt very safe and well looked after while they were here. For the reassurance of clients who may be anxious about staying in Nairobi we use hotels in safe locations, well away from the areas which have been recommended to be avoided. All tourism facilities and services in Kenya in the areas where we operate are functioning as usual without any disruption to our clients' itineraries and with all the international airlines operating into Kenya it is business as usual throughout the country. We continue to receive excellent feedback from all our customers about their experience in Kenya and have no hesitation in encouraging visitors to continue visiting this beautiful country with its wonderful landscapes, magnificent wildlife, tropical beaches and friendly hospitable people.

We look forward to welcoming visitors to Kenya in the months ahead and taking care of all our guests while they are here

We advise our clients to carry a 5+ mega pixel digital camera while on safari plus a variety of lenses. If who prefer close up or bird enthusiasts we recommend 400mm lens or more, tough not a necessity. You can bring other lenses such as macro or wide angle as they are equally good. Bulky tripods or flash units aren’t advisable; however, we suggest that one of your group members should have a video camera.

Our game drives are conducted in the early mornings and late afternoons, therefore, for best filming we advise a film of ASA/ISO 200, 400 or even 1000. Bring plenty of batteries and charger so you don’t run out!

Cameras get dirty when out filming for a day so ensure you have the correct cleaning equipment. A blower brush and soft chamois will clean well but there is small compressed air canister to blow dust off cameras now available.

Each client needs their own pair of binoculars as they are essential to see the birds and animals in the distance. The best size is 7 x 42 and they don’t need to be expensive but bird watchers should bring a Spotting Scope. If you buy a new camera for your safari, make sure you are familiar with it before departure. Practice at home to ensure you’re comfortable with all the various settings and techniques.

Equipment List for Safaris

  • Camera
  • Telephoto lenses (200-400mm)
  • Lens cleaning equipment
  • Extra batteries
  • Battery charger (12V or 220A for video cameras)
  • Film (double what you think you'll need)
  • Camera bag
  • Lead bag for film
  • Zip lock bags
  • Beanbag
  • A notebook to record your days adventures while it's still fresh!

Currency: Kenya shillings (Kshs)

Approximate Exchange Rate:

Kshs 143 to £1 GBP Kshs 87 to $1 US Dollar For latest Kshs exchange rates see Today's Exchange Rate

All the major Credit cards are widely accepted in the city hotels, city restaurants and city shops but this may not be the case in the rural areas. A commission charge is normally added to any transactions using a credit card. Travelers cheques may be cashed in a bank but this may be a somewhat lengthy process. The smaller safari lodges and camps or rural hotels may not all accept travelers cheques or credit cards and where they do they may give an unfavorable exchange rate or add a surcharge, so it is recommended that you obtain whatever local currency you may need on safari in advance by drawing cash from an ATM at a bank in Nairobi using a VISA card.

Banking Hours:

Monday to Friday: 09.00-16.00 (16.30 in the major cities). The airport banks are open until midnight every day. Banks typically give a better exchange rate than hotels and we recommend you change some money at the bank upon arrival. In Nairobi, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) has a bank located in the corner of the arrivals hall. ATM cash machines are available at Nairobi airport and in most major towns allowing cash to be drawn using an international Visa card with a P.I.N.

The country’s climate varies from the cool air of the highlands, the dry heat of the savannah or semi-arid areas and the tropical humidity of the coast. Temperatures in the areas are moderately constant year round with an average of 21°C to 27°C (70°F to 80°F) in the hinterland, 27°C (80°F) at the coast, while Nairobi and the highlands have an average of 19°C and 24°C (66°F to 75°F).

Most parts of Kenya experience two rainy seasons; that is short rains over a 5 week period between November and December and the long rains over a 10 week period between April and June. Precipitation tends to fall mainly at night and is usually a short and heavy tropical downpour.

Rain may sporadically fall outside of the normal rainy seasons. In the highland areas north of Nairobi it may get cold at night or in the early mornings - especially June, July and August when temperatures are cooler - so it is recommended that visitors pack some items of warm clothing.