Arriving in Kenya :
If you’re flying in or booking online tickets to Nairobi ( the capital of Kenya). Be sure to ensure that the initials are NBO. Also there are direct flights to Mombasa if need be. At the moment, due to travel warnings I wouldn’t recommend the coast of Kenya. That’s why I sent my guests to Zanzibar, Tanzania to experience some beach life.
To travel to Kenya you need:
A valid passport for at least 6 months. As of 1st September 2015, applying for a visa to Kenya is done electronically. Note that the visa is valid from the DAY you APPLY and NOT FROM the day you arrive.
Once you leave the country you can’t come back with the same visa unless you’re on transit.
If you are able to change money your currency to Kenya Shillings (KES/KSHS) do it. The rates at the airport are not that great.
You need to Know:
Choosing a company through the KATO list is recommended but check their credentials, also with how fast they reply. Legit companies have accounts linked to the U.S.A or Europe so payment should not be so complicated. Always have travel insurance. Payment for Safari should include airlifting services in case one falls ill. If your guide doesn’t seem to know the animals and calls a buffalo an antelope, get a refund.
If you’re going on safari a duffle bag is a preferred choice as they fit better in the vans. Or carry on medium-sized suitcases that can support weight. Most of the bags were piled on top of each other.
When going to baggage claim, don’t let anyone help you with your luggage. This is how some source for tips.
There are ATM’s available at the airport if you need to withdraw money instead of changing. Although we both know that will cost you.
You also need to be prepared to bargain when buying items as the prices aren’t fixed especially with vendors.
Do not take pictures of people in their traditional regalia without their permission. Always ask and negotiate the price before you take one. If you don’t they will charge you whatever they want and may be aggressive. Remember after getting used to taking pictures in the park, you’re not dealing with animals anymore.
Leaving tips for waitresses and severs is recommended. The average pay for servers is around 150 €/month so they rely on tips, in some hotels (quite common at the Coast), employees can go months without payment. There is no fixed percentage for tips like in the U.S. Also tips for those that carry your luggage and your driver. An average of 5€-10€ per day/ per person / per room which is usually given in an envelope at the end of the trip. In most cases drivers serve the same purpose as guides.
If you have a separate guide you can tip them as well but that’s optional.
In my case because they aren’t that many Finnish speaker guides I came along for the ride to ensure everything flowed smoothly and to translate if need be. Most guides in Kenya speak French, Spanish, Italian and German as most of the tourists who visit are from those parts.
Mind your language, Kenyan’s hardly use profanity when speaking so keep your language subtle and polite.
So if you are ever thinking of coming and need someone reliable I can recommend a suitable contact/ contacts for you.
Have an adventurous day,