Kenya :: Kenya
Category: Places :: Country
TOP ATTRACTION: Lamu Island historical and colourful trading island
TOP ATTRACTION: Meru National Park bird watching
TOP ATTRACTION: Masai Mara National Park
TOP ATTRACTION: Lake Bogoria flamingos
TOP ATTRACTION: Lake Naivasha’s excellent birdlife
TOP ATTRACTION: Lake Nakuru flamingos
TOP ATTRACTION: Lake Turkana
TOP ATTRACTION: Tsavo West National Parks diverse wildlife
TOP ATTRACTION: Tsavo East National Parks diverse wildlife
TOP ATTRACTION: Malindi Marine National Park offers great snorkelling
TOP ATTRACTION: Mount Kenya National Park hosts Kenya’s highest and only snow-capped mountain
TOP ATTRACTION: Aberdares National Park’s beautiful mountain range with dense forest
TOP ATTRACTION: Amboseli National Park offers the best view of Kilimanjaro
TOP ATTRACTION: Samburu National Reserve varied wildlife
Kenya is without doubt the ultimate safari destination in Africa but it also offers beautiful sandy beaches as well as great diving and snorkelling. The best time to see the famous migration across the Mara River is between September and October. Kenya’s national parks and reserves are expensive but they do offer a real, unfenced African wilderness experience. Even outside the official protected areas game abounds as there’s often an overflow from the unfenced parks.
The locals are extremely warm and welcoming, and the Samburu and Masai tribes are colourful and still very traditional. The Great Rift Valley divides the country and topographically Kenya is stunningly varied. The mountainous western highlands are very different from the dry and remote Lake Turkana which is again different from the grassy Acacia-dotted savannah.
Kenyan shilling (KSh).
DRIVING IN KENYA:
Drive on the left-hand side of the road. The main highway between Nairobi and Mombasa can be a nightmare due to the huge numbers of inconsiderate heavy vehicles on this road. The modern mass-transport busses travel at speeds well in excess of 120 km/h and often overtake in the face of oncoming traffic. The double-articulated long-haul trucks likewise drive at high speeds downhill and will even overtake safari vehicles, only to choke up the traffic on the up inclines.
Nairobi’s central business district is somewhat of a mess with massive gridlocks and undisciplined taxis. There are ring-roads around the CBD and these have now been completed from all approaches. It is best to carefully plan your entrance and exit into Nairobi before setting out. Approaching Nairobi from the west on the B1/A104 from places like Lake Naivasha and the Masai Mara can be an ordeal on dirt roads that are washed away in many places, especially when ascending the Rift Valley escarpment.
As a generalization the roads in Kenya might be considered to be in a slightly worse condition than those in Tanzania. Be very aware of speed limits as there are many zealous traffic police out on the roads with radar guns. They are especially prevalent in the limited speed areas before and after (even small) villages. In general these officials are less corrupt than those elsewhere in East Africa.
The great north road linking Kenya to Ethiopia via Moyale border post is now completely resurfaced and is mostly excellent. (Info by Stan Weakley).
English & Swahili.
GMT+3 (East Africa Time).
South African and Malaysian passport holders don’t require a visa for period of less than one month (30 days).
Passport holders of certain countries can stay visa free for up to 90 days.
It is possible to obtain visas on arrival at most border posts. Nationals of certain countries can also apply for an eVisa at www.evisas-kenya.com or www.ecitizen.go.ke.
Passport holders of the following countries need ‘referral visas’: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, North Korea, Senegal, Somalia, Syria and Tajikistan. Referral and multiple entry visas are processed in Nairobi and it takes approximately six weeks.
Travellers who intend visiting Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, can apply for an ‘East Africa Tourist Visa’ which is obtainable at most border posts. You have to apply in the country you are entering first. This is a multiple entry visa that is valid for 90 days. Visitors can also apply online at their first country of entry. For Kenya you can apply at www.kenyaetravelling.com, for Rwanda at www.ivisa.com/rwanda-east-africa-visa and for Uganda at https://visas.immigration.go.ug.
Jungle Junction in Nairobi is a real haven for overlanders. It is the ideal stopover for weary travellers who need to rest, do admin, connect with fellow overlanders or have their vehicles serviced. The owner, Chris, is a good mechanic and has a workshop on the premises. Chris can also stamp your Carnet de Passage if you want to cross the border at Lake Turkana.
There is no official border post between Kenya and Ethiopia at Lake Turkana. Overlanders who want to traverse the Lake Turkana route to Ethiopia have to report to the police in Ileret (after clearing Customs and Immigration in Nairobi or Eldoret and having your Carnet de Passage stamped) and then clear Customs and Immigration in Omorate on the Ethiopian side.
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