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KENYA :GENERAL INFORMATION

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LANDSCAPE

Kenya is one of the most popular destinations in the world as no other country on earth can offer the visitor as much to see and do. Kenya is famous for its amazing landscape (scenic beauty), savanna rich with magnificent wildlife (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard etc), diverse cultures unchanged by the modern world, pristine beaches and coral reef, equatorial forests and mighty snowcapped mountains, an exotic history and fascinating modern culture, and endless opportunities for adventure, discovery, relaxation and so much more than you ever expected.

When to come:

The main tourist seasons are December-January and July-August responding to the international vacation schedules. The Great migration of wildebeest and Zebra usually reaches Kenya's Maasai Mara during July-August.
October-January is the best time for a beach holiday, as there is sea weed. The rainy seasons are usually in April-May and November.

Area:

Kenya occupies a total area of 582,644 sq.km and straddles the Equator. Of this area, the lakes occupy a total area of 16,600 sq.km.
Bordering countries: Kenya shares common borders with 5 (five) nations namely; Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, Sudan and Ethiopia to the north and Somali to the east.

Population:

Kenya's current population is 31 million Economy: Agriculture employs over 80% of the entire working population, contributes 29% to GDP and accounts for 50% of export earnings. Tourism is among the largest single export earner. The industrial sector contributes about 16% to the GDP. Capital City: There are 3 cities in Kenya namely Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu with Nairobi as the capital city. Official languages: English is the official language while Kiswahili is the National language and is widely spoken.
Time: Kenya has a single time zone - which is GMT/UTC +3 all the year round with an almost constant 12 hours of daylight. Sun rises at 6.30 am and sets at 6.45 pm daily. Political System: Kenya has a multiparty system of Government.

Climate:

The Coast is always hot with an average daytime temperatures of 27-31 degrees centigrade whilst the daytime temperatures in Nairobi is 21-26 degrees centigrade. July to August marks the Kenya winter. January to February is dry. March to May is wet. June to September is dry. October to December is dry.
Currency:
The Kenya Shilling (Ksh).

Media:

Four daily English language newspapers, one daily Kiswahili newspaper, seven local television stations and 19 local and two foreign radio stations.

Religion:

Christianity is the dominant religion. There is also a large Muslim and Hindu communities.

National Parks/Reserves:

Kenya's total conservation area is 44,359 sq. km of the total area. The main parks are Aberdares, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru, Meru, Mt. Elgon, Mt. Kenya, Nairobi, Tsavo East and West, Hell's Gate etc. There are two major marine parks namely Mombasa and Malindi. There are over 80 major animal species ranging from the big five down to the tiny antelopes. There are also over 1,500 species of birds in Kenya. Some of these are found in the 60 important bird areas in the country.

Historical Sites:

Kenya has over 400 historical sites ranging from prehistoric fossils and petrified forests, to 14th century slave trading settlements, Islamic ruins and 16th century Portuguese forts.

Manufacturing:

Major products include cement, chemicals, household utensils, light machinery, motor vehicles, paper and paper products, and textiles. Food processing is a major industry.

Electricity:

Power voltage supply ranges from 220 - 240 volts with the most commonly used plugs being 3 pin/square.

Hospitals:

There are several hospitals in Kenya. There are also many Doctors who are highly qualified and specialized in different areas. The main hospitals are the Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Aga Khan, Mater Hospital etc.

Banking hours:

There are several banks (local and international) in major towns. They operate from Monday to Friday between 9am to 3pm. However, a few banks operate late hours. The banks also operate on the first and last Saturday of every month from 9am to 11am. Foreign Exchange Bureaus: There are several forex bureaus in major towns where you can purchase/sell major foreign exchange.

Health:

The only requirement for visitors is a Certificate of inoculation against Yellow fever which is required from travellers older than one year and coming from infected areas (i.e. along the tropics 20 N and 10 S. Visitors from the rest of the world are not affected.
Taking malarial drugs before, during and after the trip can reduce the possibility of infection with malaria. You are however advised to try and avoid mosquito bites by using repellant and by wearing suitable cover-up clothes in the evening.
Hotels and lodges supply clean drinking water but whenever in doubt, please drink only bottled mineral water which is available in most hotels and stores. Outside Nairobi and Mombasa, drinking water from the tap is not encouraged.
There are very good hospitals in the main towns of Kenya and the rural areas have small health centres where one can get first aid. It is highly recommended that all visitors carry some form of medical insurance to cater for any eventualities. Please ask your Tour Operator for more details on the Flying Doctor Service.

Security:

The Kenyan tourist circuit tends to be very safe for tourists. This has been due to concerted efforts by stakeholders to ensure that visitors enjoy their stay without any security concerns.
The tourism industry in Kenya takes visitor safety very seriously and considers all aspects of the tourist’s stay in Kenya. For this reason, the industry created a Safety and Communication Center under the auspices of the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF), which is operated 24hrs a day to monitor visitor safety. The Safety Center is the brainchild of the leading tourism trade associations comprising the Kenya Associations of:- Tour Operators
(KATO), Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC), Travel Agents (KATA), Budget hotels (KBHA), Air Operators (KAAO) as well as Mombasa and Coast Tourism Association (MCTA).
The Safety and Communication Center is manned by well-trained staff who are at hand to attend to any issues of concern to tourists. These include security, health, road conditions, travel advisories and updates etc. Most tourism operators are members of the Safety and Communication Center and are regularly updated on issues that are of importance to them.
There is a 24hr TOURIST HELPLINE (020 - 604767) where one can seek assistance in case of need. Many Tour Operators are also connected to the Center by HF Radios which makes access while on safari very easy.

VISA REGULATIONS

Visa Application Form Downloads
MS-Word Document (*.doc) (40.0KB)
Acrobat Reader (*.pdf) (96.0KB)
You can complete and print your Visa Application Form online from www.kenya-airways.com.

Do I require a Visa?

There is no visa requirement for citizens of the Republic of Ireland and Commonwealth countries with EXCEPTION to citizens of the following countries who do require visas:


1. Antigua
2. Bermuda
3. Guyana
4. India
5. South Africa (for visitors staying more than 30 days)
6. Sri Lanka

7. United Kingdom
8. Ethiopia
9. San Marino
10. Turkey
11. Eritrea
12. Uruguay

Citizens of the following countries need to have a visa PRIOR to arriving in Kenya:


1. Afghanistan
2. Somali
3. Iran
4. Lebanon
5. Iraq
6. Syria
7. Libya

8. Mali
9. Sudan
10. Nigeria
11. Yemen
12. Cameroon
13. Pakistan
14. North Korea

Visas are readily obtained at the Airport upon arrival as well as from the Kenya Embassies and High Commissions abroad prior to departure.
Where applicable, visa fees are as follows: -
1. Transit Visa = US$20 per person 2. Single Entry Visa= US$50 for three months (extendable for a similar period) Multiple Entry Visa= US$100 — valid.
Travel within East Africa
If you are intending to have a multiple destination tour within East Africa, please request for the "Visitors Pass" upon arrival at the Airport. The Visitors Pass allows free RE-ENTRY to Kenya if you are travelling WITHIN East Africa (Uganda/Tanzania/Zanzibar). You will however be required to pay the normal visa charges for the other countries but may re-enter Kenya freely.
The Visitors Pass is stamped on the passport free of charge for full visa holders.

BANKING HOURS

Mon. - Fri: 0900 - 1400 hours
Sat: Some Banks 0900 - 1100 hours
On first/last Saturdays each month
NB: Banks & International Airports operate a 24 hour service

CREDIT CARDS

Access, American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa and other well know cards are widely accepted throughout Kenya. Traveller's cheques or hard currency is required in
Tanzania & Uganda.

CURRENCY

All three currencies are based on the decimal system. The unit of currency is the Shilling divided into 100 cents. Visitors are advised to check currency exchange rates regularly.
Banks give slightly better rates of exchange than hotels. It is illegal to enter or leave these countries with any local currency and visitors must exchange any currency at their departure Airport or earlier on the day of departure at City and principal Town Banks. It is a serious offence to deface or knowingly damage such currency. Visitors are strongly advised to avoid street dealers and to transact all currency dealings through official dealers.

CUSTOMS

All reasonable volume of personal effects can be reasonably import together with cameras
and any amount of film. Unused personal effects, unexposed film, cameras and accessories
(except cine and slide projectors may be temporarily imported free of duty. A visitor wishing to bring home video equipment in the form of cameras and cassettes should consult the nearest Consulate or High Commission as a Customs Bond is normally required for the period such equipment is in the country. Refundable deposits may be required for the temporary import of radios, tape recorders and similar equipment including musical instruments.

COURTESY BUSES

Some out of town hotels provide a courtesy bus service (contact Reception for times).

DUTY FREE

Visitors are restricted to duty free items of 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars and one litre bottle of spirits.

DRIVING

Driving is on the left-hand side of the road and many of the road signs will be familiar to European drivers. Major cities are connected by roads, which for the most part are well metalled with long straight stretches.
Self-hire is arranged locally but not recommended, you will need an International Driving Licence. A maximum speed limit is 100 kph.

ELECTRICITY

Voltage in East Africa is 220 - 240 AC. An adapter will be necessary for appliances, which operate on 110 - 120 AC.

HEALTH

Malaria is endemic to certain areas of East Africa and all visitors should begin taking their anti-malaria prophylactics two weeks before arriving, throughout their stay and for a minimum of three weeks after leaving. Pharmaceutical facilities are adequate in the big City centres. There are chemists (drug stores) in all major urban areas but any visitors requiring special and continuing medication should bring sufficient quantities. The equatorial sun is deceptive and can inflict severe burns even on overcast days. Good sun cream and lip balms, with a high degree of sun protection factor, are strongly recommended.
Piped water supplies are generally safe in municipal areas but local advice should be taken particularly on safari. Bottled mineral water, both local and imported, can be purchased in hotels, sundry shops and other tourist kiosks. Filtered and safe drinking water is often provided (in thermos flasks) in hotels or lodge rooms, but it is advisable not to drink water from the taps, rivers or lakes. Do not bathe in rivers and lakes.

IMMIGRATION

All visitors must be in possession of a valid passport. Visa requirements vary from time to time and are dependent on the nationality of the visitor. Valid passports and visas for everyone, with the exception of citizens of most Commonwealth and certain other countries with which East Africa has reciprocal waiver arrangements. Since it is essential that no visitor arrive without the correct documentation, visitors are strongly recommended to check the latest requirements either from Airline offices or through the nearest Tourist Office, Embassy or High Commission. Visitors with the proper documentation and holding onward return tickets may obtain "Visitor Passes" (normally valid for three months) on arrival at any Kenyan Port of Entry free of charge. Visitors who arrive without an onward ticket maybe asked to purchase one before obtaining a visitors pass. Visitors are not allowed to take up work or residence in Kenya without the authority of the Principal Immigration Office.

LUGGAGE ON SAFARI

It is strongly recommended that you keep limit to your luggage to one flexible lightweight bag and one handbag per person whilst on safari/tours. Most City hotels have facilities for storing luggage not required on safari. Laundering is normally available but can be expensive. On air safaris the maximum baggage per person is 15 kilos (Kenya) and 10 kilos elsewhere.

LOCAL BUSES

The use of local country or urban buses is not advisable. Although they offer cheap services to most major towns, they tend to be overcrowded, extremely uncomfortable and driven at neck-breaking speed.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Film is available at most Game Lodges, even in remote areas, but stocks are usually small and of the common sizes and brands. Most cities have supplies of normal types of film. For game and bird photography, a telephone lens of 200-300 mm is strongly recommended. Larger lenses, which require a tripod, are generally impractical for game photography, as are double lens reflex cameras. A lens hood and ultra violet filter are advisable, also a dust proof cover. So are batteries for cameras as they are seldom available when on safari
*Visitors are advised that it is an offence to photograph Kenya's Head of State, Military installations, Policeman in uniforms, etc. As a general rule elsewhere, visitors are strongly advised to seek permission before taking anyone's photograph, especially the Samburu, Turkana and Masai tribes.

RESTAURANTS

The major cities have restaurants offering International Cuisine, in Nairobi there are two excellent Italian and a number of Indian Restaurants. Traditional African food focuses on fish dishes.

SECURITY

In keeping with many tourist centres worldwide, visitors are advised not to leave any valuables in their hotel room when they go out, but to make use of the Safe Deposit Boxes which are available at most hotels and lodges (some rooms are equipped with a safe).
Visitors should never carry large sums of cash and women are advised to keep a tight grip on handbags in crowds and busy thoroughfares. As in all major cities, it is advisable to avoid backstreets at night (especially alone); in fact it is much safer to avoid night walking altogether and use taxis or self-drive hire cars instead. Most hotels have experienced security personnel and caring doormen.
Kenya occupies a total area of 582,644 sq. km and straddles the Equator. It shares common borders with 5 (five) nations namely; Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, Sudan and Ethiopia to the north and Somali to the east. The country has a rich diversity of land forms from glacial ice to arid desert, mountains to rich savannas, large lake and dense forests. Kenya has 4 distinct physical features namely; the Great Rift Valley, Central highlands, Arid and Semi arid areas in North and Eastern Kenya and the Coast. The Great Rift Valley extends about 5,000 km from Jordan in the north to Mozambique in the south.
Within the Rift Valley, there are 8 lakes some fresh and some alkaline with a high concentration of birdlife. The wide plains and savannah of the Rift Valley have become the grassland home of grazing herds, and the kingdom of lions and other predators. There also exist volcanic hot springs and geysers in the valley.

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