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23.1.16

Everything You Need To Know Before You Visit Kenya

Located in East Africa, Kenya is a diverse country which offers travellers a varied experience depending on where you go. Most popularly known for its rich wildlife and excellent safari experiences. However in complete contrast the coast of Kenya is known for white sands and crystal clear waters from the Indian Ocean. Here’s everything you need to know before you go visiting so you can make the most of your trip!

VACCINATIONS

Recommended: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis, Tetanus, Typhoid

Optional: Cholera, Hepatitis B, Meningococcal Meningitis, Rabies, Yellow Fever

There is currently no vaccine for malaria however taking anti-malarials are optional. I personally didn't take any due to the harsh side effects however please do loads of research before you make your decision.


VISA

All visa applications need to be made before travel.

LANGUAGES

Swahili and English are the official languages Kenya.

CURRENCY

Kenyan Shillings

HAGGELING

Haggling is expected in markets or when purchasing anything of the street.


SAFETY

While Kenya is for the most part safe to visit, it is no secret that there have been terrorist attacks in the past. Due to this there is an increase in security so don't get bothered when your bags are checked every time you enter a shopping mall or when you have to go through airport style security just to enter your hotel again. It is frustrating to keep going through checks but it has just become a way of life there now. It's better to be safe then to be sorry.

WHEN TO GO

If you plan on going on safari then the best wildlife viewing months in Kenya are during the dry season from late June to October. The wildebeest migration reaches Masai Mara in July and remains until October when they move back to Serengeti in Tanzania. The wet season varies but on average is from November till May. A little rainfall isn't to bad but a lot will ruin your trip. Make sure you don't get stuck in the El Niño rains.

WHERE TO GO

Let's start with the most obvious which is Masai Mara. You'll get to see the big 5 game and have a wide variety of camps to choose for your stay. Lake Naivasha is also great for wildlife, mostly known for rare exotic birds and lots of happy hippos. Many people spend the day here and some even take a boat out onto the lake and go fishing. 

If however you want to go for something a little more off the beat then I suggest you visit the Sweetwaters Tented Camp located in Nanyuki. It’s part of a private conservancy which has a higher wildlife-to-area ratio than any of Kenya's national parks. What makes Sweetwaters different is that they have built tented camps around a borehole which means the animals come to drink all hours of the day. The sheltered oasis, clustered around a water hole makes for a charming setting of luxury safari. It is also located on the plains of Mount Kenya so you can get a stunning view during sunrise.

If you would like to head to the coast then Diani beach is something you must not miss! Located South of Mombasa its a vibrant, intimate little paradise on the quiet shores of the Indian Ocean.

Giraffe centre which is located  in Nairobi is family friendly and great if you want to get up close with the giraffes. Visitors are able to feed them from raised observation platforms that have been built. The sanctuary was originally established in order to protect the endangered Rothschild giraffe.

If you are in Nairobi and looking for a day trip out I recommend you visit Mount Kenya Safari Club (see my post here). It's a great place for lunch but also there are various recreational activities to do such as horseback riding, golf, swimming, an animal orphanage, a maze, the rose gardens and much more.

WHAT TO EAT

Kenyan cuisine has an exciting palette, with many fantastic foods to try. Be sure to try fried mogo (cassava) chips with chilli and lemon. Street food is pretty safe to eat. With it being everywhere you'll be sure to see fresh coconut water being sold on every corner. Kenya is also known to have the best tea and coffee so make sure you indulge and drink a cup everyday! It is their biggest export after all.

With regards to restaurants here are a few that I would recommend.

Mombasa:

Yuls - This place offers the best food in Mombasa with a wide variety of options. They are known best for their massive burgers, juicy steaks and fresh seafood that is caught in the morning by the fisherman.

Nairobi:

Hashmi's - The best Indian barbeque food in the city. Often packed out which can mean long queues sometimes. Don't let that put you off though - it's a must try.

Spur Steak House - Located in Southern Sun Mayfair hotel this place is known by everyone in Nairobi and is actually an international franchise. They have the best food ever. Not only steaks but great starters and salads too!

Mediterraneo Ristorante - Delicious italian food from fresh pastas to pizza. They have 3 branches in Nairobi. Definitely worth a visit!

Zen Garden - A trendy little place, captured in the scenic surroundings of Nairobi's Spring Valley. They offer a wide range of food from casual brunch options to pan asian food for dinner. Their cakes are also exceptional. Check out my photo diary at Zen Gardens here.


BASIC SWAHILLI

Hello - Jambo

Goodbye - Kwaheri

Thank you - Asante

Welcome/ You're welcome - Karibu

Sorry - Pole

Slowly, slowly - Pole Pole

1 comment:

Fred Hernandez said...

excellent travel guide. im currently planning a european trip and it'll be my first time out of north american but i definitely wanna visit africa as well. thanks for the inspiration
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