Kenya’s population: Over 44 million people from as many as 42 ethnic origins.
Nairobi population: Approx. 3 million.
Total land area: 582.645 sq. km (including area covered by water).
Nairobi:Masai for Cold swamp.
Other names: Green City in the Sun
Language: Official languages are English and Kiswahili though Kenya has roughly 75 different dialects within its borders.
Diplomatic Representation: Nearly every country has diplomatic relations with Kenya. The information on the location of the diplomatic missions is available in hotels or in the local telephone directory. Nairobi is home to the headquarters of UNEP and HABITAT while other UN agencies also have regional Head offices here.
Foreign Exchange Earners:Mainly coffee, tea and tourism with the latter being the major earner.
Wildlife, scenery, mountains, lakes, The Indian Ocean, flora, bird-life, colourful people and historic monuments.
Total Park area: 25,335 sq. km.
Tsavo National Park: 20,500 sq. km. Largest national park in Africa
Saiwa Swamp: 1.9 sq. km smallest national park in Africa
Other Parks / Reserves of Interest:
- Masai Mara Game Reserve.
- Amboseli National Park.
- Samburu Game Reserve.
- Lake Nakuru National Park.
Weather / Climate
Generally Kenya enjoys warm days and cooler nights throughout the year. This varies with altitude. Long
rains are from March to May while the short rains are from October to November. However the rains are
unpredictable. Nairobi climate remains around 24 degrees Centigrade (73 degrees Fahrenheit) and
temperatures drop to 18 degrees Centigrade around June, July and August. Night temperatures can drop to
10 degrees Centigrade. Warm clothes i.e. sweater/cardigan advised for late evenings.
Mombasa and Coastal Areas 28 degrees Centigrade to 32 degrees Centigrade (75 degrees Fahrenheit to 85
degrees Fahrenheit). Extremely humid during the day with cooler night temperatures.
Casual, informal is the general rule. Smart Casual wear is required at Mt. Kenya Safari Club. Sturdy shoes
are a must for walking or hiking safaris though casual sandals or other comfortable footwear are fine for your
minibus safaris. A hat is also essential for the African sun bears down relentlessly. Jeans, Shorts, Skirts are
ideal for safaris. Sunglasses will make the glare bearable. At the Coast and elsewhere, swimsuits are not allowed in the dining
area of hotels at meal times. Suitable attire is also required should you visit any truly Muslim village at the
Coast. Lodges and camps at higher altitudes especially around Mt. Kenya get rather cold at night and warm
attire is recommended.
The amount of money in any currency brought into the country is not limited.
Only change your money at the hotel, in official banks and Bureaux de Change.
Banking Health Food and Water Shopping and Bargaining Security Baggage Tipping
Travellers’ cheques, US Dollars, and all major Credit Cards are widely acceptable. However you should
change some small amount into local currency to use for tipping and buying curios.
The currency in Kenya is Kenya Shillings and is divided into 100 cents. Please enquire about the current
exchange rates at your hotel or from your driver.
Nairobi, Mombasa and other principal towns have banks with a Bureau de Change.
Banking hours are from 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.
Monday to Friday and 9.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. on Saturdays of the month
Banks at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport are open 24 hours.
Malaria is endemic to certain areas of Kenya notably by the coastal region and Western Kenya. However,
visitors to Nairobi and the higher altitudes should also be taking prophylactic treatment. Treatment should
start one week before entering the country and continue throughout the duration of the visit and for six weeks
thereafter. Anti-malaria tablets and any over the counter drugs can be purchased in chemists and pharmacies
in major centres. Other medication should include Panadol (or any other effective pain reliever as headaches
can be caused by the glare of the sun and tiredness), anti-diarrhoea Medication such as Imodium
(Loperamide), throats lozenges, Band-Aid, insect repellent and antibiotic cream for cuts and scratches. The
appropriate tanning or sun-blocking lotion is also essential.Main towns have good hospital care and Nairobi
has excellent medical facilities.
Yellow fever vaccination is required for people coming from India, Asia, S. America, and Central Africa. Please
check to be sure.
Standards of hygiene in hotels and lodges are high. Salads are safe at international Hotels and lodges. Fruits
you can peel are the safest to eat. Tap water in Nairobi is safe to drink as it has been purified and filtered. Ice
too is safe in Nairobi. However, outside Nairobi purchase mineral water or use filtered water found in carriers
in most hotels and Lodges. The local Kenyan beer is an ideal thirst quencher too. Mineral water is very
expensive in Tanzania, so purchase water in Nairobi.
Shopping and Safety
Shop hours are Monday to Friday from 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Saturdays from 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Tourist shops usually remain open beyond these hours and through
lunch hour. Bargaining is particularly used in markets and curio shops.
Requesting for the final best price is almost expected and start off knowing you are being charged tourist
prices and end up paying what you think the items is worth to you.
Do not purchase game skins, trophies, sea shells, and coral or elephant hair bracelets. These items are
prohibited as hunting was banned in 1976.
Nairobi is like any major city in the world be it New York, London or Paris. Take care of your valuables
concealing jewellery and watches and hold handbags tightly when walking on the streets. Gold neck chains
can be snatched with ease and it’s inadvisable to wear them. Keep valuables in the hotel safe. Do not leave
money, passport, jewellery or watches in the rooms or tents; carry them with you at all times. Be careful late
at night in towns or whilst on a lonely beach.
Keep track of all belongings especially when your van is being loaded and unloaded. When going to
Treetops/Ark only small overnight bag is allowed while your remaining luggage is stored overnight at the base
hotel - Outspan Hotel or the Aberdare Country Club. Those flying on domestic flights should be aware of a
limited weight allowance, which is 15 Kilograms per person, and these are strictly adhered to. Those on road
safari should pack a soft bag – one piece per person and avoid Samsonite cases as luggage compartments in
a safari minivan are not very large.
Our tipping guideline is as follows:
- On Safari: Consult with your tour leader or the local tour reliresentative.
- Restaurant: 10% of the total bill where service charge is not included.
- liorters: USD 2 for room service or baggage handling.
- Hotel room attendant: USD 2 lier day in major cities.
- Driver/guide: USD 7 lier lierson lier day.
- Silverbird Travel Representative: Between US$ 150 to US$ 250 for the whole group..
Ask for permission before photographing the local ethnic people. Your driver/guide will assist you in this and
will possibly help you agree on a “modelling fee”
Do not take photographs of any official buildings such as airports, military installations, radio stations, border
posts or roadblocks.
Wildlife can easily be photographed; just ask the driver to stop and ask any questions you may have about the
animals. It is advisable to carry your cameras in dust-proof bags on safari, especially in the dry season. Film is
available in most hotels and lodges but it is advisable to stock up in Nairobi.
Phones and fax facilities are available in Nairobi, Mombasa, Arusha, Mt. Kenya Safari Club and major towns.
However, all our vehicles have both short and long-range radios with direct communication with our Nairobi
office. This ensures your safety at all times and allows for easy communication for any messages you may
have to receive or send. Mobile phone usage is not possible in the Game Parks, due to no network.
Please be punctual for all departures and game drives. Departure transfers for international flights are usually
two and a half hours prior to flight times. Day rooms are reserved till 6.00 p.m.
- Do Look at Kenya’s 400 species of birds when you can’t spot lions
- Do visit the national and regional museums of Kenya.
- Don’t drive too close to any animal.
- Don’t interfere with any predator who is hunting. If the predator gives up in frustration its young may starve.
- Don’t drive off the road you destroy valuable flora and aid erosion.
- Don’t drive between a mother animal and her young.
- Don’t get out of the car except at designated areas
- Don’t throw out matches or lit cigarettes.
- Do obey instructions given by park staff.
- Do visit the marine parks when you are at the Coast.
- Don’t collect shells or other marine life let them live!
- Don’t damage living coral watch where you step.
- Don’t litter the seashore or game parks.