Kenya is a mosaic of 42 ethnic tribes. These tribes live together side by side, each with its own culture producing a kaleidoscope of tradition and folklore. Kenya is world renown for its bewitching beauty in terms of having friendly residents, a rich culture, the best National Parks and game reserves in Africa that host an incredible diversity of wildlife. During your stay in Kenya, the following are some of the important facts you need to know about Kenya:
You need a visa to enter Kenya. You can get it at the airport on arrival. However, it is better to plan ahead in your country of origin. Details and forms on applying for and receiving a Kenyan visa can be found on the Kenyan Embassy website.
The exchange rate from foreign currency to Kenyan shillings is mainly determined by the international market and prevailing circumstances. You may exchange cash and travelers checks on your arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta airport. Foreign currencies may also be exchanged to Kenyan shillings at banks all over the country, forex bureaus in Nairobi and at most large hotels. Credit cards, VISA, MASTERCARD and AMERICAN EXPRESS are widely accepted for tourist services.
• Banks are usually open on Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm, and from 9.00 am and 11.00 am on Saturdays.
Generally Kenya has a warm climate all-year round, although mornings and evenings can be chilly, especially in the highlands. The Coast is normally warm and very humid.
The rainy season is divided in two periods. The long rains fall between March and June, whereas the short rains fall between October and November. In general, temperatures are higher during the months corresponding to the boreal winter, i.e. January, February and March.
Remember, Kenya lies on the Equator and so even on cool days you may experience sunburn.
The months of July, August and September are best known for the spectacular wildebeest immigration in Maasai Mara where they travel from Tanzania's Serengeti plains, northwards to the Masai Mara via the mara river where large crocodiles kill and maim thousands of them.
English is the official language while Kiswahili is the national language. Each ethnic group has a different indigenous language. In the urban areas, most of the people speak and understand English whereas in the rural areas fewer speak the language but there will most likely be someone who can understand and interpret amongst a group.
When traveling to Kenya, do not carry excess baggage. Two pairs of comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen lotion to counter the blazing sun, insect repellant, a camera, jacket, three wash and wear outfits according to your duration of stay are usually enough. Remember to spare some room for souvenirs.
The majority of Kenyans consider themselves Christians, while a growing minority are, embracing Islam and African traditional religions.
Tap water is not recommended. Be sure to take bottled water during your stay in Kenya. This can be bought in shopping malls or small retail shops.
Please be careful when and where you take pictures. It is illegal to photograph airports, government personnel and buildings. Always ask for permission before you take a picture of an individual as some dislike having their pictures taken while those in tourist areas expect to be paid. If you are not sure, ask your driver.
For any electrical gadgets it is best to carry either 3pin British type of adaptor or a universal adaptor of 240v.