Before your trip

Before your trip

Kenya

Travel Documentation

  • Passports must be valid for at least 6 months from the return date of your trip.  
  • U.S. Resident Aliens need both passport and Alien Resident Card for re-entry to the United States.
  • Carry emergency contact person’s name, address and telephone number with you.
  • Keep travel documents, passport, personal necessities and valuables with you at all time and make a copy of them.
  • It is suggested to inform your credit card company of your traveling and to confirm your credit line prior to departure.
  • Be sure you have all the necessary documents and money before leaving for the airport.  
  • U.S. passport holders to Kenya require valid entry visas which may be obtained in advance, or at the airport upon arrival. The fee is US$50 for single-entry tourist visa (valid for three months from date of issue) whether obtained in advance or at the airport upon arrival. However, it's advisable to obtain visa from Kenya Embassy in the US prior to departure. Kenya law also requires all travelers to have at least two blank visa pages in passports for entry stamps. Travelers without the requisite blank visa pages in their passports may be refused entry, fined, and returned to their point of origin at their own expense. For the latest entry requirements and non-US passport holders  please check Kenya Embassy's website before traveling http://www.kenyaembassydc.org 

Health & Medical Matters

  • Travelers are strongly advised to purchase travel insurance prior to departure for your own protection.  
  • Health requirements for entry into Kenya may depend on the country of origin and countries visited en route. Evidence of Yellow Fever immunization is not required for US travelers to enter Kenya directly from North America as these countries are outside the Yellow Fever area. For the latest information on vaccinations and other health precautions for travelers, you may check the website of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control)   http://wwwnc.cdc.gov, or the WHO (World Health Organization) website http://www.who.int/countries/ 
  • Consult your doctor for existing medical conditions four to six weeks before you leave. Vaccination is one of the best ways to reduce the infectious risk. Ensure your routine childhood vaccinations are up to date. Some vaccinations may require booster doses. Ask your doctor and get the boosters. 
  • If you are taking prescription medication, pack in your hand luggage sufficient quantity for the duration of the trip and make sure it is fully labeled. Pack a small medical kit including any basic remedies that you may need, such as antacids, painkillers, medicines for flu, indigestion, car sick, vitamins, insect bites, etc. 
  • In Africa, malaria is found in some areas. If you travel to a malaria-risk area you must take prevention drugs and avoid mosquito bites (wear long sleeves, long trousers and socks; apply insect repellent; use mosquito-proof bed net and mosquito mats or coils at night; stay indoors between dusk and dawn).
  • In case of illness during your trip, please notify your driver/guide for immediate assistance.

Kenya Customs

Drugs, firearms, weapons, counterfeit goods, meats, plants, fruits, plants, soil, and pornographic materials are prohibited.

Money Matters

  • The official currency is the Kenya Shilling. The written abbreviation is either KES, KSh, Shs or using /= after the amount. One Shilling equals to 100 cents. Notes are available in the denominations of 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50. Coins are available in denominations of 20, 10, 5, 1.  As of October, 2019, the exchange rate is: 1.00 USD = 103.60 KES.
  • Banks are open from 9:00am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday. Some branches open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 11:00am. Many banks are now equipped with 24 hour ATM machines.  
  • Most major credit cards are accepted throughout Kenya. Foreign currency may be exchanged 24 hours at the international airports. It is advisable to carry local money with you for small payments during the tour.   

Baggage 

  • Baggage charge and insurance are at the owner's responsibility. Baggage allowance varies by airline and is subject to change at any time. For up to date baggage allowance restrictions and fees, always check with your airline before traveling. 
  • Do not over pack, leave space for purchases in Kenya. To avoid over-loading your suitcase, the less is the better. Any luggage must have a lock (TSA approved locks are recommended) and a luggage tag showing the name and contact information of the owner. (Use Peony Tours tags for easy identification)
  • Baggage allowance in Kenya: Baggage is at the owner’s risk throughout. Due to Kenya’s road condition and limited capacity for luggage storage in transportation, passengers are allowed to bring one suitcase (Soft suitcase or travel bag is recommended) and one carry-on bag per person. Any excessive baggage will cause additional charges.   
  • DO NOT pack medicine, valuables or other personal necessities in checked luggage.  Keep them in carry-on bag.
  • Consider packing one change of clothing, one set of underwear and toiletry in your carry-on bag to avoid inconvenience caused by delayed or lost luggage.
  • Consult www.tsa.gov for the TSA approved locks and USA restrictions on baggage.  

Shopping

  • Although your Kenyan driver/guides are happy to assist you with any shopping requirements, Peony Tours does not assume responsibility for any items purchased at shops while on tour. You are never required to purchase any items while on tour and must be responsible for your own purchases. Any after sales correspondence must be between you and the shop in question. 
  • Kenya has a wealth of fascinating shops for curio, clothes, arts and crafts including bead-work, wood-carvings, metal jewelry and basket wares.  
  • Shopping in Kenya, bargaining is almost always the order of the day. To approach this with a sense of humor and a friendly attitude is your best option. 
  • Observe US Customs restrictions when bringing in goods from tour.

Drinking Water/Food

Meals are provided as per the itinerary. In general, the food served in hotels and lodges is European food. Breakfast and lunch are buffet and dinner is usually a set menu. It is advisable to drink plenty of water in the heat and drink only sealed bottle mineral water which is available almost everywhere and is to be paid for. In most safari lodges, a bottle of drinking water will be provided every day on your bedside table. 

Language

The official language in Kenya is Swahili (a mixture of African, English and Arabic). English is popular in the travel industry.

Clothing / Things to Bring 

  • Casual, lightweight, and comfortable clothing is usually the best. 
  • Kenya is a cold country with a hot sun, as the blend of high altitudes and tropical sun make for a unique and variable climate. This should be kept in mind when packing for a visit. Basically travelers should come prepared for hot, cold wet and dusty conditions. A warm jacket is recommended for the early morning, morning, and evening game drives.

  • Wear good walking shoes and comfortable sandals. 
  • Bring a sun-hat, sun-glasses, flash light, plenty of sun-block lotion with high protection factor, binoculars and sanitizer. 

Time Differentials  

Kenya does not utilize Daylight Saving Time. In Daylight Saving Time of the United States, Kenya is 10 hours ahead of Los Angeles (PST) and 7 hours ahead of New York (EST).  

Electricity

Domestic supply is 220/240 volts 50Hz.  Plugs are 3 points square. It is advised that you bring your own voltage and plug adaptors where appropriate for your video camera or any other electrical advice. Since the electricity is provided by generators in all lodges in the parks, the electricity comes at 5:00am and goes at 9:00am. Comes again at 4:00pm and goes at 1:00am. Please recharge your video camera immediately after game drives. 

International Call & Emergency Info

  • Kenya: International access code is 000, country code is 254                                                                             
  • USA: International access code is 011, country code is 1 

Dial to USA from Kenya: 000 + 1 + City code + Local No.
Dial to Kenya from USA: 011 +254 + City code + Local No.
  • American Consulate in Kenya: http://ke.usembassy.gov
  • Office hours: (254) (20) 363-6000

Tipping

Gratuities are not included in your tour cost.  They are customary, and their purpose is to encourage and reward quality service.  It is NEVER mandatory. In Kenya, the standard of tipping is as follows: 

For hotel/lodge/camp staff: US$2.00-$4.00 per guest per day;

For porters: US$1.00 per bag;

For safari driver-guides and tour escort (if applicable): US$12-US$15 per guest per day.

However, please do not hesitate to seek local advice on tipping and remember that tips are generally given only for good, attentive service and paid only on final completion of service.  

Weather

During your safari to Kenya you may cross several weather zones: Mombasa and the Coast – hot and humid, Nairobi – cool and dry, Mt. Kenya – chilly, Samburu and the Masai Mara – pleasant weather but chilly during the early morning game drives, Tsavo and Amboseli – pleasant. If you travel during rainy seasons (November - December and April – June), expect rains everywhere. Prepare your clothes accordingly. 

Safety on Safari

  • All reserves have a set of rules that you need to follow to ensure your safety. Many of the animals you'll come across, particularly lion, elephant and buffalo are dangerous. Never get out of your jeep without permission. Never feed wild animals. Do not attempt to go for walks when staying in game lodges.
  • Africa has its fair share of poisonous snakes–though they are rarely encountered. If you plan on doing any walking, take along boots, socks and long trousers as a precautionary measure (which also helps with ticks) – and always look where you're going.

  • On Safari, casual, neutral colored, cotton clothing (no bright colors or whites), lightweight trousers, slacks, and shirts are recommended. 
  • Avoid swimming in the wild rivers. 

General Tips

  • Keep eyes on your personal belongs and valuables at all times. Do not leave valuables including cameras and binoculars anywhere. Make use of hotel/lodge safes as much as possible. 
  • Respect other tourist and your driver/guide. Refrain from talking when your driver/guide is speaking.
  • Safety of travelers has always been our number one concern.  For your safety, you should notify driver/guide ahead of time if you plan to go out at free time.
  • Always be cautious when staying at a hotel/lodge.  Never allow strangers into your room. Keep doors locked at all times.
  • In Kenya, photographing the president, police, soldiers, military installations, prisons, prisoners and airports is not allowed. Always enlist the cooperation of your subject before photographing strangers. Ask your driver/guide for advice on this.
  • For the protection of your own interests, read carefully your travel materials prior to the tour. Leave a copy to your family.
  • A nice and smooth trip counts on every tour member's high cooperation. It is important to follow the indicated meeting time and meeting point. Use the red round name badge provided by Peony Tours for easy identification. To make your trip as enjoyable as possible, allow enough time for flight check-in, security screening and boarding: 2 hours for US domestic travel, 3 hours for international travel. For flight delay, cancellation, or any emergency in the United States, please contact Peony Tours immediately:
USA- During Office Hours (Mon-Fri, 9am – 5:30pm)
Headquarters (626)289-2450
Los Angeles (626)289-1010
San Francisco (650)259-9983
New York (212)973-1998
After Office Hours (626)592-8448
 
Major Cities Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Nairobi H 76 78 78 75 73 71 69 71 75 77 74 74
L 53 53 56 57 56 52 50 50 51 55 56 55
 Nakuru H 81 82 82 78 77 76 75 76 78 78 76 78
L 48 49 50 53 52 51 50 50 48 48 50 48