General Info about Kenya

Visa Requirements
Natives of most countries can obtain holiday visas upon arrival in Kenya. Some nationalities are required to pay for the visa, while others aren’t. To ensure you are aware of the full entry requirements for entering Kenya contact your nearest embassy before travelling.

The national currency used is the Kenya Shilling (Ksh), which is divided into 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of Ksh20, Ksh50, Ksh100, Ksh200, Ksh500 and Ksh100. Coins in circulation are 5c, 10c, 50c, Ksh1, Ksh5 and Ksh10.

The official languages of Kenya are Swahili and English. Various tribes have their own dialects.

Kenya is an equatorial country so the temperature doesn’t change much throughout the year. There is still a substantial difference between various regions’ average temperatures and rainfall.

The rainy seasons are from March to May and again from October to November.

Medical Care
As some diseases are quite common in Kenya, check with your doctor to ensure you get the required jabs before travelling to protect from catching any threatening diseases. Bring multi-vitamins also.

It is advised that you take out travel insurance before going. You can now purchase travel insurance on Hostelkenya.com. Click here for further details.

Time Zone
Kenya is GMT +3 hours and EST +8.

Opening Hours
Shop opening hours are from 9am-5.30pm (closing for an hour at 1pm for lunch) between Monday-Friday and from 9am-1.30pm on Saturdays.

Banks open from 9am-3pm Monday-Friday.

Tourist Offices
Even though the tourism industry in Kenya grows every year, there is still no tourist office in Nairobi. Areas around National Parks are best places to pick up information on places to travel. Otherwise, do the homework before you travel.

The rate of value added tax on goods and services is 18%.

Currency Exchange
The best place to change money in Kenya is either in banks or bureaux du changes, while hotels also change foreign currency. Travellers cheques and dollars are the easiest for changing.

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Work is currently under way to improve the current network of telephone lines by laying fibre optic cable. Hotels usually have phones available for public use and larger towns and cities will have public telephones, accepting both coins and pre-paid cards.

Post Office
The postal service in Kenya is reliable for both letters and parcels. As well as in post offices, stamps can also be purchased in hotels.

Opening hours are between 8am-5pm Monday-Friday and from 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

Tipping isn’t mandatory. Whether you tip guides, drivers, waiters and others in the service industry is at your own discretion.

Public Holidays
In Kenya the public holidays are New Years Day (1st January), Easter (March/April), Idd Il Fitr/End of Ramadan (February/March), Labour Day (1st May), Madaraka Day (1st June), Moi Day (10th October), Kenyatta Day (20th October), Uhuru and Jamhuri Day (12th December), Christmas Day and Boxing Day (25th and 26th December).

It is worth noting what Kenya’s public holidays before travelling, as the majority of businesses, banks and shops shut for the day.

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