Getting to Kenya has never been easier. Many airlines are now part of global alliances that have made travel to Kenya faster and more affordable. From the UK alone, British Airways, Kenya Airways, Virgin Atlantic and charter firms Thomson and Monarch all fly direct to Nairobi or Mombasa on a frequent basis, while over 40 other international airlines route via European, Middle Eastern or Asian destinations. Internally, there is an extensive network of routes served by several excellent regional airlines and charter firms, meaning transfers by air are both efficient and affordable.
Visas and Passports:
Three-month tourist visas to visit Kenya can be obtained on arrival or prior to departure from the Kenyan High Commission or Embassy in your home country. (For a few specific countries, visas must be obtained prior to departure.) The current rates are UK£30/US$50 for a Single Entry Visa which must be paid in cash. Children are also required to obtain an entry visa. Obtaining a visa on arrival is straightforward, but to speed up the immigration process, it is recommended that the visa form is downloaded and completed before departure. The passport holder must have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining and ideally with two full blank pages. It is recommended that the latest fees and requirements are checked online before departure.
Some useful links are:
- Britain/Switzerland (www.kenyahighcommission.net);
- USA (www.kenyaembassy.com);
- Germany (www.kenyaembassyberlin.de);
- Italy (www.embassyofkenya.it);
- Spain (www.kenyaembassyspain.es);
- Japan (www.kenyarep-jp.com);
- General (www.magicalkenya.com).
The local unit of currency is the Kenya Shilling (Ksh). At the time of writing, US$1 = approximately Ksh100, but the exchange rate fluctuates considerably. There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency, but for amounts greater than US$5,000 you will need to complete a declaration form. Hotels and banks will change cash and travellers cheques, although more favourable rates are usually obtained at forex bureaus. Avoid changing money with street dealers (however attractive their rates) and in general try to avoid carrying a lot of cash around. ATMs accept international credit and debit cards and all hotels accept Mastercard, Visa, Amex and other major cards.
It is recommended that all visitors see their doctor 4-8 weeks prior to departure for advice on medication and vaccinations. Hepatitis A and B, typhoid and polio are usually recommended vaccinations. Visitors over one year of age entering Kenya from yellow fever infected areas must have an international certificate of vaccination. Malaria remains a serious risk in much of the country (although the risk is lower in the highlands above 2,500m), and visitors are strongly advised to take prophylactic treatment before leaving home and throughout your time in Kenya. Drinking tap water is not advisable.
Health and travel insurance are highly recommended, and you should ensure that your travel insurance includes emergency evacuation.
Golfers enjoying Kenya’s courses (and other attractions) through a reputable tour operator are usually taking no greater a risk than playing at home. That said, some ‘common sense’ advice is worth emphasising: avoid visiting informal settlements (slums) in Nairobi, Mombasa and other urban areas; avoid any large public gatherings; avoid travel by buses and mini-buses, otherwise known as matatus; and avoid walking in the city at night. Unfortunately, the global threat of terrorism is equally prevalent in Kenya and the only practical advice can be ‘remain vigilant’.