VISA AND OTHER PROCEDURES
Passport valid for six months is required and a visa can be obtained upon arrival in Kenya. It costs around €50. If you pay in US dollars, it is better to have newer bills, preferably after 2006.
HEALTH AND SAFETY CARE
Yellow fever vaccine is required for passengers from countries at risk of contagion or who have passed through those countries or their airports for more than 12 hours.
Prevention of malaria is also advised. Vaccination against typhus, hepatitis A, diphtheria, tetanus, polio and typhoid fever is also recommended. Before departing, you must contact the Tropical and Traveler Medicine Clinic, Av. da Liberdade, 129, 7th dto, tel. +351 21 322 5622.
For more information on traveling health, see the Health Portal of the Ministry of Health and Tropical Medicine and Travelers Clinic. Kenya-specific health and disease prevention advice also in FitForTravel (In English).
The north and northeast along the border with Somalia and even Ethiopia and several areas of the coast – especially in the north – are considered unsafe due to the threat of attacks by Islamic fundamentalists, especially the El Shabab group. More information at Portal of Portuguese Communities.
TRIP TO KENYA
Due to its distance and location, Kenya is a destination that will always require you to fly with two or even more stopovers and pay a hefty price for the return flight, usually a minimum of €900.
Kenya is not the kind of destination that travelers usually choose to discover on their own. The country has vast natural areas full of wild animals and quality tourism that is quite expensive, especially when it involves entrances to parks and reserves, safaris and stays in lodges and resorts. Most visitors leave their countries already with “all or almost included” programs that group flights, transfers, stays and safaris in these lodges. The cost of living, outside the lodges and resorts, parks and reserves, are quite affordable.
the national company Kenya Airways ensures daily connections from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at least to Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu and Kisumu. Alternatively, the low-cost Fly540 flies regularly to Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, Kisumu and Masai Mara. Another airline, the air kenya, flies from Wilson Airport in Nairobi to Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, Amboseli, Masai Mara, Meru, Nanyuki and Samburu.
If you prefer a more adventurous alternative, rent a car in Nairobi – preferably 4WD and a sturdy jeep or SUV – especially during the rainy season – and set out to explore. Keep in mind, however, that Nairobi's traffic is permanently stymied and outside Nairobi the roads offer few conditions of safety. Also, after arriving at the parks and reservations, it will always be better to find a way to take the safaris guided and safely. The ideal, in this case, is to book tours operated by companies based in Nairobi.
A rental car can cost from €140 per week for an economy vehicle for 5 people. Add a few more euros for insurance which, although not mandatory, is highly recommended.
Kenya has a network of long-distance buses that run along the country's main roads and charge around €1,50 for each hour of travel. Expect neither comfort nor luxury, far from it. The official speed limit is 80 km/h but the roads are of poor quality. They can require frequent overtaking and be bumpy and/or dusty. As a rule, buses have night club decorations and usually show movies or music at high volume. If you choose a long-haul trip, try to find companies with the most comfortable vehicles.
Travel from matatu (old mini-buses from 12 to 35 seats) and other forms of local transport are possible and at less than €1 per km on main routes and cities, but the connections and complementary solutions will consume a large part of the time and money available to discover the country.
The best times are July to October and January and February (the latter being the hottest and driest months), and July to October when wildebeest can be found in great abundance in the Masai Mara National Reserve, with a lot of luck in the middle of the river crossing Mara, the reserve's most impressive natural spectacle. Prices go up to their maximum.
This is followed by the intermediate seasons of November, December and March, after the short rains of October and November. As a rule, they do not affect the movement in the parks.
March to May corresponds to the height of long rains when a large part of the Masai Mara is inaccessible and the sighting of animals is more difficult. Prices go down on almost everything.
Kenya's currency is the Kenyan Shilling (KES). You will only find ATMs in Nairobi, in other bigger cities and in the biggest towns. Payments with credit cards are common in the country's most sophisticated lodges, resorts and hotels.
Complete programs for Kenya with stay in lodges cost from €2500 for 8 days of the tour, flight already included. If you choose to travel independently, you will find accommodation of all types and for all prices in Nairobi, Mombasa and other major cities. Choose hotels with a history and reputation – or renowned international or Kenyan chains (eg Serena, Sarova, Sopa) – so you don't risk losing belongings or having other problems.
Campings in national parks and reserves are expensive – upwards of €20, 25 per night and this without counting the very heavy entrance fees and daily rates charged by the KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) or equivalent institution.
Normally, meals are included in circuits/programs sold by travel agencies and operators. Meals apart from these packages, at the lodges, have significant costs at a minimum of €25 per person for lunch or dinner. Restaurants in the main cities and towns serve meals that are probably not so well-prepared, but for a much cheaper price, starting at €3.
Outside Nairobi and other major cities, you'll have access – via wifi or cable, but probably much slower than you want – to most of the country's most renowned lodges or to Internet cafes in the nearest villages (in national parks and reserves long distance) where navigation costs a maximum of 0.01€ per minute.
Alternatively if you have a smart phone, unlocked tablet or laptop may use a SIM card from Safaricom ou A to access through different tariffs. Do not do this, obviously using roaming as the costs are very high.