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General Kenya Facts and Information

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General Kenya Facts and Information

Area: 580,000 sq km (224,000 sq miles)

Population: (1999 est.): 29,500,000

Population Density: 50 per sq. km

1. Geography
2. Language
3. Getting to Kenya/visas
4. Leaving Kenya
5. Climate
6. Clothing
7. Communications
8. Currency
9. Driving
10. Health
11. Local time
12. Safety precautions
13. Electricity

A game walk in the bush near Tsavo West, Kenya.
A game walk in the bush.

1. Geography                             BACK TO TOP

Located in the Heart of Africa, Kenya shares borders with Ethiopia in the north, Sudan in the Northwest, Uganda in the West and Tanzania in the south. The Indian Ocean lies to the East. The Rift Valley runs through the country north to south. There are four primary regions:

  • The northern deserts, including Lake Turkana and the Laikipia Plateau.
  • The southern savannah, including the Masai Mara and the Great Rift Valley.
  • The coastal lowlands, including Mombasa and the Watamu National Marine Park.
  • The highlands, including Nairobi and Mount Kenya.

2. Language                                BACK TO TOP

KiSwahili is the official language, although English is widely spoken in commercial areas. In remote areas, the majority of people will only speak their tribal language.

3. Getting to Kenya                      BACK TO TOP

Kenya is well served by major international airlines, which fly into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Nairobi) or Moi International Airport (Mombasa). Mombasa is a popular charter destination from most major European cities. We strongly recommend you check with the nearest Kenya Embassy or Tourist Office to ensure you have the most up to date visa information. Yellow Fever and Cholera are required only for visitors arriving from countries where these diseases are endemic. Check with your Embassy and/or local heath office for more details.

4. Leaving Kenya                        BACK TO TOP

An airport departure tax of US$40 per person, or its equivalent, is payable when leaving Kenya. This fee is often included in your international airfare, unless stated otherwise. Please check with your agent when purchasing your international tickets. A local departure tax of Kshs 200 (approx. US$2.50) per person, per flight is payable for internal flights.

5. Climate                                     BACK TO TOP

Kenya offers warm days and cool, early mornings and evenings throughout most of the country. At altitude the temperatures are moderate. The Coast is often humid and tropical. There are two primary rainy seasons: the long rains roughly from April to June and the short rains during October and November.

6. Clothing                                   BACK TO TOP

Informal, lightweight clothing is recommended. Mornings and evenings can be cool at altitude, so bring a sweater or cardigan. A hat is highly recommended due to the sun. On the Kenya coast, ladies are expected to dress modestly in public. Nude or topless sunbathing is not only illegal, but also affects the sensibilities of the Muslim community.

7. Communications                     BACK TO TOP

Telephone, fax and some email services are available, though prone to difficulties. Most resorts, lodges and camps will have at least a radio link with their primary offices. In the major cities and on the Coast, international direct dialing should be available, if a little costly.

8. Currency                                   BACK TO TOP

The Kenya shilling is freely exchangeable, and most major facilities accept major credit cards.

9. Driving                                     BACK TO TOP

Most Kenyans drive on the left hand side of the road. It is recommended that you travel with an international driving license if you plan to drive in Kenya.

10. Health                                     BACK TO TOP

Anti-malarial prophylactics should be taken before, during and after your visit to Kenya, especially if you visit the Coast. Good medical facilities are available in the major cities. Membership with groups such as the Flying Doctors is also recommended; Best of Kenya includes Flying Doctor emergency evacuation coverage in all of our safaris, unless otherwise stated. Hotels, camps and lodges should provide either bottled water, or filtered water for drinking. Please do not drink the tap water.

11. Local time                               BACK TO TOP

GMT plus 3.

12. Safety precautions                BACK TO TOP

Common sense precautions should be taken at all times. Please also check the travel advisories from the US State Department and the British Foreign Office.

13. Electricity                               BACK TO TOP

220 / 240 volts AC. Plugs are the UK-type, round 2-pin or flat 3 pin.

**This information provided with thanks by the Kenya Tourist Board and other sources.**

 

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