Kenya Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Kenya-
Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a beautiful country in Eastern Africa. The country is full of activities and fun, from amazing national parks to beautiful beaches and coastal areas. You may not consider Kenya as your first destination, but any traveler must visit this country at least once in their lifetime.
Why Visiting Kenya?
When you visit Kenya, you won’t forget anything. The faces, safaris, activities, foods, and many other experiences make you to give yourself a thumb up for your decision to visit this wonderful African country. Let’s talk about some of these reasons that should convince you to visit Kenya.
Kenya is home to adventures, fun, and exciting activities. Wildlife safaris, horseback riding, golfing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling, mountain biking, scuba diving, mountain climbing, hiking, water skiing, fishing, hot air ballooning, and many more amazing activities.
One of the main reasons for visiting Kenya is its suitability for budget travelers. The country is an inexpensive travel destination, and you can enjoy luxury accommodation, transportation, activities, etc., at very reasonable prices. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about your budget!
The natural beauties in Kenya are spectacular. From snowy mountains to beautiful deserts and coastal areas, all can make your trip memorable. Mount Kenya, Indian Ocean Beaches, extraordinary forests, etc., can’t be missed! Kenya also enjoys a wonderful tropical climate, and the weather is warm around the year. However, mornings and nights are cooler, and visitors can enjoy swimming and watersports all around the year.
Kenya is not just the natural beauty of activities! Cuisine, as well as drinks, are fantastic too. Kenya coffee, beer, and tea are remarkable in this country. Brewery in Kenya is a major industry, and the country exports the beers to other countries of the world like the United States.
Different ethnicities live in Kenya, but they are closed, unified, and peaceful. Their behavior toward foreign visitors is also exceptional, and they try to be friendly and helpful as much as possible.
Kenya Top Destinations
Best Time to Visit Kenya
Spring (March - May)
Temperature: 14 °C (57 °F) – 24 °C (76 °F)
As the country is located mostly in the southern hemisphere, the spring is actually autumn locally. March is the last season before the rain in which you can have a great trip. April, the first rainy season, begins. However, in May, rain decreases, and it can be a good time for safari because of the seasonal migration of local fauna.
Summer (June – August)
Temperature: 11 °C (52 °F) – 23 °C (73 °F)
Summer in Kenya is actually winter! Except for June, the last rainy month, you can expect fantastic weather during this season. July and August are perfect months for beach traveling and generally visiting Kenya. In fact, summer is the best time for visiting Kenya.
Autumn (September – November)
Temperature: 12 °C (53 °F) – 26 °C (79 °F)
In autumn, you can expect similar weather to summer. In September, you can still enjoy the beautiful and pleasant weather. However, from October, the second rainy season starts, and in November, the weather gets hotter!
Winter (December – February)
Temperature: 13 °C (55 °F) – 28 °C (82 °F)
December is the perfect time for a beach vacation on beautiful Indian ocean coasts. As you already know, the middle of the winter will be the middle of the summer in Kenya. Therefore, you should expect hot and dry weather in the middle of January.
Best Kenya Tours
Things to Do in Kenya
Explore Kenya is the best country in Africa for going on a safari. This land is rich in wildlife, and it is perfect for discovering some of the most beautiful cultures among African countries. The diversity of this country’s wildlife and its floral elements are its highlights for travelers, with several historical parts to discover. In addition to such great discoveries, it is also a good destination for adventures to go hiking and cycling. Moreover, as soon as you need some rest, head out to the coasts along the Indian ocean to relax and find peace. As for your shopping needs and having fun among the people, Kenya will not leave you hanging, with several of its beautiful and fun cities.
Conquer Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya is the second largest mountain right after Kilimanjaro and a UNESCO Heritage Site of the country. It sits near the Equator and has three peaks, namely the Batian, Nelion, and Lenana. It is a hiking and trekking paradise for adventurers. The Lenana peak of Mount Kenya is an easy trail with no need for equipment and training, popular among all travelers. As for the Batian and Nelion peaks, they will quench the thirst of adrenalin seekers with more challenging climbs requiring training, good gear, and a good guide.
Besides the level of skill and the thrill of the journey, Mount Kenya offers some of the best views you can get in this part of Africa. Despite the popularity, it is less crowded than one would expect, even though it is the second tallest mountain on the continent. To travel to Mount Kenya, you can plan a day trip or go for a week. The duration will only depend on how much you want to explore this mountain and national park.
Get on a Dhow and Discover Lamu Island
Among the popular activities for travelers is exploring the streets of Lamu. The old town Lamu and its port are among the top UNESCO Heritage Sites near Kenya’s northern coasts. The archipelago and Lamu city are accessible via traditional means like the dhow, which is also an exotic transport with a unique experience. As soon as you arrive at the town, you will see what remains of a continually inhabited settlement. What you will witness is the remains of the golden times of the Swahili. In this town, you will discover some elements of history and cultural diversity. There are architectural designs with Persian, European, Arabic, and Indian origins. The same roots also exist in their food and language.
As soon as you arrive in the Lamu old town, forget about cars and modern transports. You will have to rely on your feet or ride donkeys as transports. The best thing to do in this part of Kenya is to explore and discover the town and its old fortress.
Explore Nairobi and Discover its Beauties
Nairobi has numerous things to discover inside the city besides the extraordinary attractions around it. The visit to Hell’s Gate may be the top thing around Nairobi. Additionally, it is a paradise for seekers of culture and history. The necessity for all travelers and visitors of Nairobi is to explore historic colonial areas and visit museums. After learning a thing or two about the city, it is time for some shopping! Another thing to do in Nairobi, besides learning and shopping, is to experience the nightlife. Furthermore, while you are at it, sample some of their cuisines.
More highlights are around Nairobi, which will be introduced separately, but generally, Nairobi is a city to explore. Besides shopping, it is one of the best cities to have fun in Kenya, and perhaps all of Africa.
Lose Yourself in the Vast Tsavo National Park(s)
Tsavo National Park(s) is the largest protected wildlife area of all Kenya, Divided into Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park. Since it is the largest of its kind, there are lower chances of coming up on crowds or other travelers. Therefore, it is much more relaxed than the other safaris of Kenya and Africa. With a huge area, Tsavo National Park(s) have a great diversity of wildlife, along with a unique landscape that also houses the world’s longest lava flow.
Tsavo East is dryer and easier to travel in, while the Tsavo West is much greener with more floral diversity. If you have enough time, it would be more fun to visit both sections and even get an air-safari with a plane!
Spot Rhinos and Flamingoes at Lake Nakuru National Park
If you wish to see more wildlife in Kenya, head to the Lake Nakuru National Park and look for the flamingos and rhinos. The wildlife in the national parks of Kenya is diverse and rich. But to spot certain creatures like the endangered rhinos and the lesser or greater flamingoes, the best place to go is Lake Nakuru National Park. It is a unique place in its own terms with its various kinds of animals and species of birds as well as a great environment. If discovering the rare things is the plan, visiting the Lake Nakuru National Park is something necessary to do in Kenya.
Get an Up-Close Look at Elephants in Amboseli National Park
Visit the Amboseli National Park to make the most of a trip to Kenya. You have to keep traveling and visiting new places to catch the beauties of this region of Africa, this time, to watch the elephants. The Amboseli National Park is known for its biodiversity, which has dry and dusty areas to wet and green lands. It is among the few places with hundreds of animals and birds, with the best chances of witnessing the lovely elephants.
The emphasis is put on viewing the elephants in Amboseli National Park more than anything else. It is because the area is trendy among all kinds of travelers as one of the hotspots to see these adorable creatures.
Have Fun in the Old Town of Mombasa and Along its Coastline
After seeing the nature and the wildlife of Kenya, visit Mombasa and see some historic and Heritage Sites. The popularity of Mombasa has several reasons. One of them is the architectural designs of colonial times. Another one is trying watersports that are the best things to do along the Kenyan coast. From the historic texture, the famous Fort Jesus, to the Diving and Snorkeling, try it all in Mombasa.
Making the most of this city will not take long, despite its large area, because almost all the highlights are near the coastline. If you have more time and enjoy more exploring, that would also be a good idea, just keep in mind to hire a guide to prevent getting lost in the city and old town of Mombasa.
Relax on the Diani Coastline, the Best Beach of Southern Kenya
Mombasa has a great beach, but Diani beach gets the prize for being the more popular one, with its beautiful sands and view of the Indian ocean. The same watersports can be found near the coast of Diani, with the additional bonuses that are only found near these peaceful waters. Even if you are not looking for watersports, you must catch the amazing sunrises and sunsets of Diani beach, and perhaps have dinner in its restaurants.
See the Great Migration at Masai Mara in Another Kenyan Safari
Masai Mara National Reserve (AKA Maasai Mara) is one of Kenya and Africa’s largest and most famous reserves. The weather is great all year round in Masai Mara, but enjoying the area requires precise timing. Hence, a lot of people miss the best thing about it. The thing to do in this part of Kenya is witnessing the great migration. It might cost more than the other wildlife visits and safaris of the country and a bit more difficult to go around the reserve, but it is a must-see.
If you did not pack your camera for the other national parks or visits to nature, do not make the same mistake here. The sight in Masai Mara is a rare and majestic one. Therefore, it is better to capture the experience with some pictures. Spot the wildebeest, antelope, and zebra migration, and keep an eye out for predators that chase their prey among the great migration animals.
Local Transportation in Kenya
Nairobi, the capital city, is the only city with a good bus network system. The lines cover the main parts of the city in daylight hours.
Boda-Boda is a bicycle or motorbike taxi common in Kenya, especially in areas where regular taxis are hard. Make sure to negotiate the price, but it should cost KSh100 for a short ride.
Matatus are the main means of transportation for getting around Kenya’s cities. The prices start at KSh40 and can reach KSh100. The vehicles can vary from Peugeot 504 pick-ups to minibusses.
Shared taxis are usually Peugeot, and they are good alternatives to Matatus. They are usually Peugeot 505 wagons, taking seven to nine passengers. Shared cabs are usually a little more expensive than Matatus, but at the same time quicker and faster!
Tuk-Tuks are more popular in Asian countries, but you can find them in some areas of Kenya and enjoy the ride! Malindi, Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Machakos, and Diani Beach are the spots with more Tuk-Tuks concentration!
Intercity Transportation in Kenya
Domestic flights in Kenya are effective, especially in national parks. The destinations include the main cities such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kitale, etc., beaches such as Diani Beach, Malindi, Lamu, etc., and some national parks.
There used to be an old train route between Nairobi & Mombasa; however, in 2017, the new route was established with fast and standard trains.
Intercity buses cover almost all cities of the country. The buses are usually fast and comfortable in major routes like Nairobi and Mombasa. They are also kept to schedule, and you need to reserve in advance.
Taxis are widely available, especially in major cities like Nairobi and Mombasa, helping you reach remote areas and villages as well as getting around the cities.
Flight Deals to Kenya
Kenya Travel Costs
|Budget||$12 – $24|
|Mid-Range||$28 – $56|
|Luxury||$56 – $113|
|Average Daily Costs|
Best Hotels in Kenya
Find the best hotels in Kenya using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.
Kenya Travel Tips
Kenya is one of the 187 nations around the world where the quality of tap water is unsafe for drinking. Only drink bottled water to keep yourself healthy visiting Kenya. Boiled water is also safe.
Wages in Kenya are low, so workers heavily rely on tips. Depending on the quality of service you’ll receive, a 10-15% gratuity can be standard in Kenya. Feel free if you’d like to tip more.
English and Swahili are the two official languages in multilingual Kenya. Due to its wide usage in commerce, trading, communications, and education, Swahili is the lingua franca of southeastern Africa.
The national currency is the Kenyan Shilling. US Dollars are accepted as foreign exchange, but we recommend you to use local currencies. You can use your Visa and MasterCard in Kenyan ATMs.
Kenyans dress conservatively; you’ll see men in long-sleeved shirts and women in pants or long skirts covering the knees. But, tourists almost wear causal. Avoid wearing crop tops and miniskirts. Light cotton clothing is the best solution to the heat and humidity of Kenya.
Free Wi-Fi is accessible to the public in Kenya as the second country in East Africa offering free public Wi-Fi. The first on the list is Rwanda. Taxis in Kenya also provide internet access for passengers.
Electric appliances operate on 240V in Kenya. Travelers from Europe, the UK, Australia, and most of Africa and Asia can use their appliances in Kenya. Plug type G is used in Kenya, which is a 3-rectangular pin type in a triangular pattern.
The threat of terrorism, health issues, and kidnapping are potential threats for tourists. However, Kenya is much safer than some other African countries. Preventive measures may help you enjoy more.
|Crimestop||08600 10 111|
|Life Line||086 132 2322|
Currency & Money Tips
The Kenyan shilling is the official currency in Kenya, divided into 100 cents, with denominations of KSh1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, and 20, and coins of KSh40, 20, 10, five, and one. In recent years, shilling has been stable, maintaining rates against USD or UK pound.
All banks in Kenya have ATMs accepting international credit cards. ATMs of Barclays Bank are more reliable and safe compared with other banks in Kenya. However, Standard Chartered and Kenya Commercial Bank also offer suitable services.
Credit cards are becoming trendy in Kenya. Visa and MasterCard are all accepted in mid-range and high-end hotels and restaurants. Also, major shops in Nairobi accept the credit cards as well.
All banks exchange US dollars, euros, and UK pounds into shillings. In Nairobi and Mombasa, you can exchange most currencies, but as you go away from these spots, the number of currencies for exchanging money decreases.
Food & Drink (Kenyan Food)
Kenya is an African country with a lot of potentials to offer you the best meals you can get during a trip. Besides the beauty of the country, the land provides fresh and unique ingredients for making their cuisine. Some of their recipes are inspired by other cuisines, and some are traditional parts of the Kenyan culture. Generally, their dishes are not complicated and taste great. Something amazing about their food is that it is mostly friendly to all tastes, and good for your health.
Nyama Choma (Barbequed Meat)
Nyama Choma is not an official dish of Kenya, but it is unforgettable for those who like meat as much as the Kenyan people. In their Swahili language, it translates to grilled or barbecued meat. The meat for Nyama Choma, is originally goat or beef, but some people also use fish, or chicken for their own recipes. Nyama Choma has a very simple recipe, having only salt and pepper as seasoning, and it is traditionally eaten using hands. As simple as it goes, Nyama Choma can go very great with various salads and vegetable dishes, served as side dishes to the roasted meat.
Irio (Vegetable Side Dish)
Irio is a staple part of the Kenyan Cuisine, with no meat and almost always served with anything. Irio is originally invented by the Kikuyu people and made with potatoes, peas, and corn. The main ingredients are boiled and then mashed into a hearty and very healthy food. Ever since it was invented and became a staple part of their cuisine, Irio underwent a lot of changes. There are numerous versions of this vegetable dish of Irio, and it is the perfect match for meat dishes.
Ugali (Cornmeal Paste)
Ugali is always seen at the tables of the Kenyan people. It is another staple part of their cuisine but only served as a side dish. For making Ugali, cornmeal is added to boiling water, while the heat is still on until the extra water evaporates and a cornmeal paste remains. It is simple, and its taste may not be appealing on its own, but have it with a rice and meat dish, and Ugali works its magic. Most people have Ugali with vegetables along with their favorite meats and enjoy this side dish to the fullest.
Pilau (Spiced Rice Dish)
Pilau is a flavorful and fragrant rice dish in Kenya that gets its recipe from Indian and Middle-Eastern rice dishes. Cumin, cardamon, and cinnamon are only some of the various spices that are used in preparing Pilau. To make it taste even better and fresher, some vegetables are also added in the process of making the dish. As soon as Pilau is ready, it is mostly served with meat, and sometimes with vegetables, to make the perfect mix. If you are ordering something with meat, ask for some mouthwatering Pilau and fall in love with Kenyan cuisine.
Githeri (Beans and Corn)
Another vegetarian-friendly dish of Kenya is Githeri, made with only beans, corn, and the occasional vegetables. It is very healthy, rich, and tasty, despite having only a few ingredients. If you feel in need of something to keep you healthy, try the Githeri, with some meat or extra spices. Moreover, do not underestimate this small dish. It can keep you full for some time and give you enough energy to keep exploring.
Sukuma Wiki (Collard Greens)
The most popular and known of the vegetable dishes in Kenya is the Sukuma Wiki, which is sometimes confused with Kale. It is popular and famous because it is as green as a vegetarian dish can get! It is just collard greens, tomatoes, and onions that are cooked in oil and then seasoned. It is perhaps the healthiest street food that you can buy and eat with no worries. It is one of the cheapest foods found in Kenya, and since it is easy to make, you can cook it yourself as soon as you learn the recipe.
Chapatis are a kind of Kenyan flatbread, inspired by the Indian circular bread, that does not have extraordinary ingredients but tastes so good! It is just dough fried and turned into bread that is crispy outside and soft inside. Chapatis are the perfect combination for vegetable dishes, breakfast, and evening snacks. If you are looking for a snack in the evening, try Chapatis with some Chai (tea) and have an altogether new experience with this flatbread.
Mutura is a great sausage invented by the Kenyans, the locals’ favorite snack. To make this delicious sausage, goat intestine is cleaned and prepared, then stuffed with ground meat and some goat blood. To add some texture and taste to Mutura, ginger, garlic, chili, coriander, or perhaps some other spices and vegetables are added and then boiled. After the boiling, Mutura is dried, smoked, and then served as a favorite snack of the people, along with some famous Kenyan beer.
Wali wa Nazi (Coconut Rice)
After having some delicious Pilau, make sure to try Wali wa Nazi, which is another rice dish. To create a unique taste and aroma, some coconut meat is added to the rice to prepare it as the best pair of some chicken curry or other meat dishes. Wali wa Nazi goes perfectly with the Indian Chicken Curry since it was a rice dish inspired by the Indian cuisine, for enjoying food from India!
Having tried their various forms of meat and vegetable dishes, give the Kenyan Stew a try as well. It is not a mind-blowing dish of unimaginable flavors, and it is just a cultural dish of Kenya, made with regional ingredients. It is a traditional food of Kenya, made with meat, vegetables like carrots and potatoes, and served with Chapatis or rice. Trying Kenyan Stew is more about experiencing a traditional stew with local ingredients, rather than having a completely new type of food.
Chips Mayai (French Fries and Beaten Eggs)
Chips Mayai is not the healthiest food you can find in Kenya, but it is an energetic dish made with eggs and French fries. The fries and the beaten eggs are mixed and then fried in a pan with oil. You can get creative if you prepare your own Chips Mayai and add a few other ingredients. Moreover, if you are looking for a sauce to top your Chips Mayai with, the perfect match would be some tomato sauce.
Mandazi is a kind of fried dough that is a bit similar to doughnuts in terms of their taste. Mandazi dough is made with flour, milk, eggs, sugar, and yeast that are then deep-fried in oil. Do not get addicted as they are not the healthiest snacks of Africa, but they are the best things you can have with some Chai (tea). Have some Mandazi during the evening or serve them as breakfast, and they can keep you on your feet for several hours.
If you love Burgers, make plans to have at least one greasy, unhealthy, yet very tasty Kenyan Burger. Burgers are obviously not original dishes or traditional foods of this country, but they make some of the best Burgers you have ever had. If you have health problems and should stay away from red meat and greasy food, it is better to stay away from Kenyan Burgers and stick to healthier food.
Samosas are delightful triangle-shaped pastries that are loved all over Asia and Africa. These pastries are filled with minced meat and potatoes and then deep-fried. Some people also add other vegetables and spices to add to the taste of the lovely Samosas. They are somewhat the ultimate snack of numerous countries, that can be enjoyed with some lemon juice and ketchup. Have your Samosas while they are still hot and crispy.
Kachumbari is a kind of salad in Kenya that is originally just tomatoes, onions, and chili served as appetizers, side dishes, garnish, or a side dish. Kachumbari can come in various forms, and with extra ingredients like avocados, and cucumbers, that get tasty on a whole new level with only a few drops of lemon. It can pair with meat dishes with ease, and it is quite healthy and refreshing if served on its own.
Mobile & Internet
Buying a SIM card in Kenya is not difficult, and 4G is available throughout the country. However, sometimes the speed may decrease because of overloaded towers. Safaricom is the best company in Kenya for SIM card service. The company has the best coverage and speed among other services.
How to buy?
To buy Safaricom SIM cards, you can find the company’s official stores around Nairobi, like the Westlands neighborhood. The process is very easy, and you will need only 10 minutes for it.
There is a weekly plan package for tourists in Safaricom in which you get 1 GB of data for 250 KES or $2.5, with unlimited use of WhatsApp.
Holidays & Festivals
|Name||Date 2021||Date 2022|
|New Year’s Day||1-Jan||1-Jan|
|Labour Day/May Day||1-May||1-May|
|Huduma Day observed||11-Oct||11-Oct|
|Jamhuri Day observed||13-Dec||13-Dec|
Shopping in Kenya
Soapstone can be found in the western side of the country in the Tabaka region of Kisii county. Artisans in this region make fantastic soapstone carvings by capturing animals and plants.
Kazuri Beads are made by Maasai people and can be found in the form of colorful neckpieces, bracelets, and earrings. Colors in such jewelry show some concepts. For example, red is the sign of blood, courage, and power, while green symbolizes prosperity.
Kenya is one of the largest coffee producers globally, and you can get the best coffee of your lifetime from local farmers or shops around the country. Make sure to bring some coffee back home.
Local Wood Carvings
Wood Carvings are among the most authentic forms of arts in Kenya. Besides, ebony carvings are also exceptional in in this African country, especially those by Kamba people.
Akala is a type of footwear made from tires that are recycled in Kenya! They have different colors and sizes usually worn by Kenyan men.
African countries usually use a mask as a religious sign, but you can find different kinds of wooden masks in Kenya, reminding your fantastic trip in this country.