Kenya is a country in East Africa with a coastline along the Indian Ocean. It features mountain highlands, grassland savannas, lakes, the spectacular Great Rift Valley, and it teems with rich flora and fauna.
Nairobi, its capital, is known as a regional hub for innovation. The capital of Kenya is also popular as a local and international business center, for its rich cultural diversity, and for being home to the only national park in a city anywhere in the world, the Nairobi National Park.
Simply put, when traveling to Africa, you can’t miss a trip to Kenya.
Now, if you have been considering traveling to this East African country, it’s important to do some research to help you prepare especially if it’s your first time visiting the country.
In this article, James Gatheru, the safari director for the Nairobi-based, ajkenyasafaris.com, draws up a list of things you need to know and keep in mind when planning to visit Kenya.
Let’s get started by looking at the 3 most popular holiday destinations in Kenya.
- Maasai Mara Game Reserve
The Maasai Mara ranks as one of the best places for an unforgettable safari experience. With vast plains and savannah grasslands brimming with diverse wildlife, the Mara has it all.
You’ll get to see the eye-catching Great Migration as well as an impressive number of big five, giraffes, hyenas, servals, and many more. The Mara provides one of the best places to sight the big cats — the elusive leopard, cheetahs, and the mighty lions up-close.
Beyond the breathtaking landscapes and wildlife, the Mara is home to fun-packed activities such as hot air ballooning, bird watching, camping, bush dinners, and more.
2. Diani Beach
The award-winning Diani beach is one of the best beaches in Africa. Flaunting white-sandy shores, idyllic blue waters, towering palm trees, and warm vibes, you’ll be in for pure fun. The pristine beach is ideal for swimming and relaxing, watching golden sunsets packed with modern beachside facilities.
Adventure lovers will be thrilled at the numerous activities awaiting them, including skydiving, swimming with dolphins or turtles, spotting sharks, scuba diving, snorkeling, boat safaris, paddling, and many more activities.
3. Amboseli National Park
An expanse of rich natural diversity extending to Lake Amboseli, wetlands with Sulphur springs, savannah grasslands, woodlands, Amboseli National Park has rightly earned its name.
It’s also the place to catch gorgeous views of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain, watch big herds of long -tusked elephants, cheetahs, lions, antelopes, elands, waterbuck, etc. and profuse birdlife. You’ll also engage in plenty of outdoor activities and learn about the indigenous Maasai culture.
Things to Know about Travelling to Kenya
Before you make your way into Kenya, you will need to take the required vaccinations recommended for Kenya. The WHO and the CDC recommend that you consider immunization for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, and cholera.
Additionally, depending on the areas you’re likely to visit amongst other factors, vaccinations including; polio, chickenpox, mumps and rubella, Tdap, meningitis, shingles, influenza, and pneumonia may be required.
Importantly, with malaria infections being quite common, consult with your doctor regarding the best anti-malarial medication for your trip.
Getting to Kenya
To successfully enter Kenya, you must have a visa, a passport with a minimum of two blank pages, and six months’ validity. You may also carry any other relevant travel documents that are up-to-date.
Most visitors fly using Kenya Airways, Kenya’s flag airline carrier. Kenya Airways offers both direct and connecting flights to Nairobi. You may also fly in via other major airline companies that serve the airport.
Once you’re cleared, you can team up with local safari guides who take the hassle and help you figure out how to fit in all your bucket list destinations and activities into one trip.
Kenya has two official languages, namely; English and Swahili. Of the two, Swahili is the commonly spoken language. Besides, there are other indigenous languages spoken by specific communities including Kikuyu, Maa Language, Luo Language, and more.
To a large extent, most Kenya safari guides only speak English and Swahili. So, if you do not speak any of these two languages, you might need to use online language convertors or hire a translator to help you plan and during the trip.
If you have a basic command of English or Swahili, you can hire a bilingual dictionary to help you overcome the language barrier while in Kenya. For instance, if you are a Hindi language speaker, you can find the best English to Hindi dictionaries here.
Kenya’s official currency is the Kenyan shilling. However, international currencies such as the US Dollar, the Euro, the Sterling Pound, etc. are accepted and exchanged at local banks.
It might be okay to carry a small amount of cash, maybe about $200, to pay for small expenses such as buying Souvenirs.
Kenya is positioned along the equator. As a result, the weather in Kenya is mostly consistent throughout the year with minimal changes caused by an area’s elevation or its proximity to the coast.
The Best Time to Travel to Kenya
Ideally, there isn’t a perfect time to visit Kenya. It all comes down to the intent of your visit. For those who relish an exhilarating experience of the African Safari, the long dry season (June through mid-October) provides the best time to jet in.
During this season, you’re bound to catch the well-known Annual Great Migration across the Mara River and other wildlife sightings, including the big five, giraffes, rhinos, hyenas, and much more wildlife.
Moreover, vacationers or those looking for the perfect getaway trip can head to the coast for some amazing beach experiences. You can also go hiking in various hills and mountains.
The short rainy season provides just the perfect time to sight local and migratory bird species from Asia and Europe.
So, there you have it — important things you need to know when you are about travel to Kenya. As a general rule, the key to visiting any country is to try to blend in and do what the locals do. Visit ajkenyasafaris.com or Masaimarasafari.in and start planning your wildlife safari in Kenya.