Vaccines commonly recommended for travellers to Africa include those against;
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Yellow fever*
*Certificate required for entry into, or travel between, some African countries.
Several of these vaccines require more than one dose, or take time to become effective. It is always best to seek advice on immunisation well in advance, if possible around 6 weeks before departure.
What to Pack – It is advisable to travel with a small medical kit that includes any basic remedies you may need, such as antacids, painkillers, anti-histamines and cold remedies. You will also need anti-diarrhoeal medication such as Imodium (adults only); and oral rehydration sachets such as Electrolade, especially if travelling with children.
Also include first aid items such as Band-Aids, antiseptic and dressings.
It may be worth asking your doctor to prescribe a broad spectrum antibiotic, suitable for treating dysentery or severe infections.
Take along scissors, tweezers, and thermometer, lip salve, sun block, water purification tablets or drops, as well as your preferred brands of toiletries and cosmetics.
If you wear spectacles or contact lenses, take spares. Also take a torch and a pocket knife.
Malaria – Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitoes that bite mainly at dusk and at night. Every traveller to Africa needs reliable, up to date advice on the risks at his or her own destination.
Prevention consists of using effective protection against bites, plus taking anti-malarial medication.
The most suitable choice of medication depends on many individual factors, and travellers need careful, professional advice about the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
Whatever your choice, you must take an anti malarial drug if you are visiting a malarial region, and you must continue taking the drug for the necessary period after your return; you must also take precautions to reduce the number of insect bites.
Visitors to malarial areas are at much greater risk than local people and long term expatriates – from malaria as from several other diseases: do not change or discontinue your malaria medication other than on skilled professional advice. Travellers to very remote places should also consider taking stand-by malaria treatment, for use in an emergency.
The Flying Doctors
The Flying Doctor Service – In many parts of Africa access to adequate health care can mean long, tortuous journeys by road. The Flying Doctor Service operated by AMREF not only provides outreach and emergency care to local communities in remote regions, it also provides a medical air evacuation service to tourists.
By joining the Flying Doctors’ Society you can help the service reach the people who need it most and also ensure a free emergency evacuation flight for yourself should the worst happen on your travels.
For early mornings and late afternoons and in other low light conditions, it is best to have some ASA/ISO 200, 400, or even faster film, but for good daylight conditions ASA/ISO 50 and 100 speed film will suffice. A good 35mm SLR Camera with interchangeable lenses is highly recommended.
Bring a long lens (an 80mm-200mm zoom lens is best) for wildlife photography, while a 35mm-70mmlens is a good general lens for landscapes. For bright conditions a UV filter may be helpful. Those with an interest in flowers or insect life may wish to pack a macro.
Some safari companies provide rooftop camera mounts or bean bag camera rests . Bring a good solid camera and kit bag to cope with travel and handling. A lens cleaning cloth and a blower brush will be necessary to cope with dust. If you have a Digital or Hi8 Video camera bring plenty of tape and long life batteries and adaptors for their rechargers (the electricity supply is 220 Volt, 50 Hz with a square pin 13 amp plug). Most hotels have charging facilities.
A good pair of binoculars are very important both for everyday game viewing and for scoping good photo opportunities. Birders may wish to bring a spotter scope and tripod.
- 1st January – New Years Day
- Idd il Fitr *
- March/April Good Friday**
- March/April Easter Monday**
- 1st May – Labour Day
- 1st June – Madaraka Day
- 20th October – Mashujaa 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).
Banks are open from 9:00am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday. Some branches open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 11:00am. Many banks are now equipped with 24 hour ATM machines.
The Bank branches at Jomo Kenyatta International airport (Nairobi) and Moi International Airport both run 24 hour forex services.
Kenya has three international airports; Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Moi International Airport, Mombasa and Moi International Airport, Eldoret.
These airports service numerous international carriers including the national airline Kenya Airways. Kenya has good connections to destinations throughout Europe, the Asia- Pacific region, USA and Africa.
Kenya can be accessed by road from Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia. Immigration should be processed at land border stations. Entry by sea is possible, and immigration should be processed at a port facility.
Kenya Visa Information
A visa is required prior to entry into Kenya. A single Entry Visa(valid for three months from date of issue) will cost US$ 50. A transit visa will cost US$ 20 (You can also pay using Euros, GBP or SwissFrancs).
Citizens of the following countries need to have a visa prior to arrival in Kenya;
11. North Korea
15. Stateless Persons
For those whose country doesn’t appear in the list above, visas can be obtained at the Airport upon arrival. It’s advisable to obtain the visa from the Kenyan Embassy/High Commission in your country prior to departure.
* Note: The list of countries shown above is subject to change – For more information please check http://www.immigration.go.ke
Ultimately your packing should be dictated by the activities you are planning to undertake. If you are travelling extensively throughout the country make sure that you bring suitable luggage. Suitcases and bags should be able to withstand plenty of handling and dusty conditions. Hard suitcases are ideal, but can take up a lot of space.
If you are travelling by domestic/chartered flights within Kenya, remember that there are luggage restrictions, particularly on smaller aircraft. Check in advance with your Charter airline or Safari/Tour operator. For those planning a lot of travel by public transport or trekkers, a backpack is advisable. Bring a sturdy, well constructed pack with orthopaedic support and lockable zips and catches. A small daypack is ideal for carrying cameras, travel documents and basic everyday items.
Equal consideration should be paid to what you bring with you. Casual, lightweight, and comfortable clothing is usually the best. For walking safaris or game viewing on foot clothing should be of neutral colour, and white, bright or vividly patterned clothing avoided. Studies have proven that most African game animals are able to see bright blue over any other colour.
Strong footwear is advisable if you are planning to do any walking. For serious climbers and trekkers a good pair of hiking boots should be brought with you. Remember that the tropical/Equatorial sun is strong and burns quickly. Wide brimmed hats are preferable to baseball caps for sun protection. Both sunglasses and a good quality sunscreen (rated SPF15 or higher) should be used. A good quality insect repellent is worth bringing.
In some areas, mostly coastal, it is considered inappropriate for women (and in some cases men) to wear shorts or short sleeved shirts. It is always best to seek local advice. For some up-market lodges and nights out in Nairobi you may wish to bring some more formal evening wear. You should bring your own Toiletries with you. Basic toiletry items are widely available.
Any personal Prescription drugs should be brought if necessary. Also bring the generic names for these drugs in case they need to be replaced locally. If you have prescription glasses it is wise to bring a spare pair. For those planning lengthy treks or camping expeditions, a basic medical kit is also a good idea. A small Flashlight/Torch and a Swiss Army knife are good accessories to carry.
If you have a video camera battery charger or an other electrical items, bring your own converter plug set if needed (the electricity supply is 220 Volt, 50 Hz with a square pin 13 amp plug).
A good quality pair of Binoculars are essential for effective game viewing. Climbers can hire equipment, ropes and gear in Kenya, but may wish to bring their own personal kit and equipment.
Divers will find excellent dive gear for hire in Kenya, but may also wish to bring their own regulators or dive computers. Those with prescription masks should definitely bring them along. Dive Certification Cards and log documents should be brought along. All travel documentation should be kept together securely. This should include tickets, Passports (with appropriate visa entries), Vaccination Certificates, and Travel Insurance documents.
Additional photocopies of Passport, Air ticket and Traveller’s Cheque numbers should be brought and packed separately. Take several copies with you and leave some at home. Take your credit cards together Traveller’s Cheques and some U.S. Dollars cash.
Travellers Cheques are widely accepted, and many hotels, travel agencies, safari companies and restaurants accept Credit Cards. Most Banks in Kenya are equipped to advance cash on credit cards. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Kenya.
Before departure, travellers are advised to convert any excess Kenya shillings into foreign currency at a bank or bureau de change before departure. Departure taxes can be paid in local or foreign currency. Anyone wishing to take more than 500,000 Kenya Shillings out of the country will require written authorization from the Central Bank.