General Travel Tips
If there is a perfect climate in the world, surely it is in Kenya. Although it can be hot and sticky by the sea, inland the air is dry and even at midday, the temperatures are equitable. Due to the proximity to the equator, sunrise occurs daily between 06.00hrs and 06.30hrs while sunset takes place 12 hours later. It can get quite chilly in the early morning and evening hence visitors should pack a sweater. Each time of year has its special attractions. There are two main rainy seasons – usually mid-April to the end of May and November to mid-December. Even during the rains, the weather can be pleasant with rain occurring in the early morning and late in the afternoon or evening.
VISA AND HEALTH REGULATIONS
Visitors must be in possession of valid visa and health documentation on arrival. The regulations vary dependent on nationality and country of origin and should be checked with the nearest tourist office or diplomatic mission. Inoculation centres in the country of origin will provide updated information and advice on health regulations and recommendations (Yellow fever certificate are not mandatory for Travel into Tanzania or Kenya unless a visitor is coming from an area where this is endemic. Anti-malaria medication is however recommended for a visit to either country. Please consult your doctor for this.
CUSTOMS AND EXIT REGULATIONS
Personal effects, film and cameras may be imported temporarily free of duty. However professional video equipment, tape recorders, radios, musical instruments and souvenirs from other countries may require a customs bond to ensure re-exportation. Firearms need a special permit which must be obtained in advance. Baggage is normally inspected by customs officials on arrival and departure. Please strictly adhere to baggage limitations as advised by the airline as excess baggage charges can be quite expensive.
AIRPORT DEPARTURE TAX
International Airport departure tax equivalent to US$. 30 per person is payable on departure from Tanzania whilst the one for Kenya (US$ 20) which is normally included on the ticket. Zanzibar departure tax is US$ 25 per person, payable direct. A local airport service charge is also payable on departure for domestic. As this varies from country to country, please check with us on the prevailing amounts payable prior to your flight departure.
There is no restriction to the amount of foreign currency a visitor may import provided that it is exchanged through authorized dealers only. Well known credit cards are widely accepted in Kenya, but to a lesser extent in Tanzania. U.S. dollars and travellers cheques are the most widely accepted form of payment. It is a legal offence to deface local currency.
Banks in Nairobi and other large towns open from 9am-3pm Monday to Friday and 9am-11am on the first and last Saturday of each month. 24 hours access to your account can be facilitated by the 70 ATMs countrywide. Barclays Bank has over 40 ‘Barclaycash’ ATMs located within the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa; and other major towns. Banks in Mombasa and the coastal areas open and close half an hour earlier. Some banks at the international airports open round the clock every day as do the new foreign exchage bureaux.
Normal precautions as in any other destination worldwide should be taken. Keep a close watch on handbags, wallets and cameras when walking in crowded places and avoid walking at night (take a taxi). Place all valuables in safety deposit boxes at hotels and lodges and only carry small amounts of cash. Wear as little jewelry as possible, if any, and never leave valuables on show in an unattended car or tour bus. Taking photographs at airports, near military installations, of policemen, the President, the national flag, the State House, state lodges, soldiers, prisons and prisoners etc., is prohibited. Before photographing local people, permission should be obtained and a fixed price agreed. Seek the assistance of your driver/guide in this matter.
The standard check-out time is 10.00hrs hence rooms may not normally be ready for occupancy until 12.00hrs. Should an early arrival be anticipated, please reserve rooms from the preceding night. Day rooms up to 18.00hrs are usually available.
HOTEL EXTRAS / BILL PAYMENT
Most hotels expect visitors to pay in convertible foreign currency, such as US dollars. However, in some establishments, visitors may have the option to pay in Kenya shillings in Kenya & Tanzania Shilling in Tanzania or credit card if this method is preferred.
Safari clothing should be casual and comfortable. Cotton slacks and shirts, with skirts and culottes for ladies and a light sweater or jacket, during the day. Evening wear in game lodges and safari camps can be very casual. In the more sophisticated clubs and hotels gentlemen will be required to wear a jacket and possibly a tie, while ladies should dress rather more formally. At high altitudes, where early mornings and evenings can be very chilly, warm sweaters, socks and comfortable shoes are recommended. Pack suntan lotion, swimwear (to be reserved for the beach and pool only), a small first aid kit, a flashlight and an alarm clock. Local customs and modesty should be respected.
Most hotels, game lodges and safari camps offer a 24-hour inexpensive laundry service.
Our clients automatically become members of a Flying Doctors Rescue Service for emergency evacuation. However, you should carry your own complete holiday/medical insurance. Malaria protection is imperative. Currently, cholera vaccinations are not required to travel to Kenya, but consult your local health authority. It is recommended that you have a tetanus and gamma globulin inoculation. As with travel in any part of the world, it is advisable to know your blood type in case of emergency.
Voltage throughout is 220-240 A.C. Our safari vehicles have a cigarette lighter socket operating on a 12 volt system. Some lodges and tented camps have independent power generators which may vary. The plug in use throughout Kenya is of the three square pin, 13 amp type.
Most hotels and lodges keep filtered water in jars or flasks which is a direct warning that tap water is not safe, even for brushing teeth.
Visitors should respect the attitude of the local people towards photography and only use cameras if they have permission from “the models” to do so. Never try to “steal” a photo against the will of the person concerned. Let your guide help you negotiate terms before you start shooting! It is a good rule never to take photographs of border posts, persons in uniform, and, of course. military installations.
Although the animals we see may seem completely unconcerned by our presence, they are wild and they are dangerous.
• Do not walk outside the limits of the camp.
• Do not get out of the safari vehicle in the park without first consulting your guide.
• Do not climb out onto the roof etc. of your safari, vehicle to photograph or view animals.
All the above are against park regulations. It is also against regulations to sit on top of the vehicle, play loud music in the bush, or to attempt to provoke some “action” from an uncooperative animal by hooting, whistling, or banging the side of the vehicle etc. Littering is of course prohibited.