Kenya or officially the Republic of Kenya is a state in East Africa. It borders Somali, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Southern Sudan, and Uganda. The south-eastern part of Kenya is washed by the Indian Ocean, the western part is washed by the waters of the Victoria Lake. The capital city is Nairobi.
The climate is hot sub-equatorial. The seasonal temperature changes are not significant. A wet season in Kenya occurs two times a year from March to June and from October to December. The best time for visiting Kenya is a dry season.
The official languages are English and Swahili, but the people also speak local dialects. The main religions are the Protestantism, the Catholicism, the Islam, and the aboriginal cults.
The tourists choose Kenya to enjoy the nature in the Watamu Marine National Park, the Kerio Valley National Reserve, the Shaba National Reserve, the Samburu National Park, the Masai Mara National Park, the Aberdare National Park, and the Amboseli National Park. A popular destination for the active and ecological tourists is the Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest. The tourists can go hiking, biking, safari or go to excursions. Anyone can visit the Lake Nakuru National Park and watch the birds.
If you prefer to relax on a beach, you should go straight to Watamu, Malindi, Ukunda and Mombasa, Shimoni or to the Lamu Island. The sea resorts in Kenya have everything the tourists need for diving, snorkelling, surfing, and yachting.
The climbers prefer to go to Nanyuki because this small town is situated close to the highest peak in the country. In Nairobi, the tourists will see many sights.
There are no direct flights between Kenya and CIS countries. The tourists can take a transit flight to get to Nairobi or Mombasa. Qatar Airways offer the flights from Moscow with a stop in Doha, Emirates fly through Dubai and EgyptAir offers a transit flight with a transfer in Cairo. There is a route with a stop in Amsterdam offered by KML. Air France has a flight with a stop in Paris, and British Airways fly through London. The European tourists can take a direct flight from the largest European cities.
There is a ferry running from Uganda across the lake Victoria to Kenya. The tourists can also take advantage of high-speed crafts to get to Mombasa from Tanzania.
One can get to Kenya by car or by bus from Uganda passing the checkpoints near Malaba or Buisa. The tourists can also travel to Kenya from Tanzania and Ethiopia. Road links between Kenya and Somali and Sudan are not stable.
The CIS and EU citizens must obtain a visa to travel to Kenya. There are two ways to do it. The tourists can submit all the necessary documents to the Embassy of the country personally or with the help of a travel agency. It usually takes 3 days to get a visa. Also the tourists can obtain a visa at the airport on arrival. In this case, at least, one page in an international passport should be empty and the passport must be valid for, at least, 6 months.
A visitor visa is valid for 90 days from the date of issue.
There are no restrictions in Kenya concerning the import of currency. Large sums of money and valuable things must be registered.
The tourists are allowed to bring in the following things duty-free:
- personal belongings;
- some alcohol and tobacco;
- about 550 ml of perfume.
It is strictly prohibited to import:
- the national currency of Kenya;
- fruits and vegetables;
- psychotropic medications without a special permission;
- seeds and seedlings.
It is strictly prohibited to export:
- national currency;
- ivory and skins of animals (without permission of the authorities), gold, and diamonds.
The Kenyan cuisine is very unusual and diverse. The foodies will like a great variety of exotic ingredients such as crocodile meat or roasted termites. Those who prefer clean and healthy diet will appreciate a lot of fresh and ecologically clean fruits.
There is a great choice of meat dishes in Kenya. Additionally to common beef and pork, the tourists have a chance to try a buffalo beefsteak, ostrich stew, and roasted wart hog. A very popular dish here is Shish kebab and pancakes Egg bread with minced meat and egg.
Do not miss a chance to try a turtle soup. This is a specialty of the sea resorts. In other parts of the country, the most popular soup is a chicken and pea crème soup.
If you love seafood, treat yourself to grilled fish wrapped in banana leaves, seaweed salad, octopus stew, and clam.
Traditional Kenyan side dishes are corn, potatoes, and rice. Anyone can try hot potato balls, rice with coconut water, and beans past Maata. No meal in Kenya goes without fresh fruits: avocado, pineapples, mango, and coconuts.
For a dessert, you will be served jams, cakes, donuts Mandazi and sweet buns. The main dishes and desserts are often served with fresh fruit and vegetable juices, coffee, and tea.
The locals like to drink their own beer Tusker, Uki, and White Cap as well as sweet paw-paw wine and grape wine Navisha. As for strong alcoholic drinks, try rum Kenya Cane, coffee-based liqueur Kenya Gold and traditional Kenyan beverage Chang’aa.
The official currency in Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KES).
The tourists can exchange the currency at banks on the territory of the airports (they are open 24 hours), at city banks and in exchange offices. For an exchange transaction a passport is required. The commission is not very big. It is recommended to have the bank notes of small denomination.
Bank cards of the leading international payment systems are accepted in large cities (Nairobi and Mombasa). You can pay with the card in supermarkets, hotels, and international restaurants. The cards are usually not accepted in the villages and small towns.
The tourists can cash traveller’s checks at banks in the capital city.
Because the criminal level is high in Kenya, do not exchange currency on the street/. Avoid being outside at night and do not carry large sums of money and valuable things.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Kenya
On the territory of the Republic, there are 6 natural and cultural monuments inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- In the Great Rift Valley, there is the Kenya Lake System, which includes the Elementayta lake, the Bogoria Lake, and the Nakuru Lake. The tourists will have a chance to watch the pelicans, flamingos, and rare animals.
- The lovers of ecological tourism should visit the Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest which is under UNESCO protection. This park preserves the biosphere and water sources.
- Visit the Lake Turkana National Park with the architectural monument Koobi Fora and see the active Central Island Volcano.
- The historical and cultural monuments are found in Lamu Old Town built from the mangrove trees and coral lime. This is the oldest Swahili settlement in Eastern Africa.
- The Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests are one of the most mysterious places famous for many legends. The forests are a Holy Place for the African tribes because the ruins of old tribal villages are found here.
- An important cultural object recognised by UNESCO is the Fort Jesus in Mombasa. It covers over 2 Ha of the territory. There is the Fort Jesus Museum now, but the majority of the buildings are destroyed.
In Kenya, the travellers can also visit the Aberdare and Tsavo National Parks, Shimba Hills Reserve and Masai Mara. Very interesting excursions are arranged in the Langata Giraffe Centre, the tourists can go hiking to the Thompson Falls, Nairobi Snake Park, and Jomo Kenyatta Mausoleum.
Let your holidays be useful and visit the Nairobi national Museum, the Nairobi gallery, the Malindi Museum, and the Kisumu museum. The expositions in the Gede Museum and Nyeri Museum also deserve your attention. We recommend visiting the Karen Blixen Museum and the Museum of the Desert.
Souvenirs in Kenya
You can buy the following gifts and souvenirs in Kenya:
- equipment for safari;
- goods from batik and leather;
- African-style drawings;
- national ritual masks;
- certified souvenirs made from the crocodile skin and ivory.