Kenya and Tanzania
Passport / Visa information
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after departure from Kenya and Tanzania.
A visa is required for entering Kenya and Tanzania for most nationalities. Depending on your nationality or country of origin you may need to apply for and receive a visa before departure to Kenya or Tanzania. You can apply for a visa from the nearest embassy or consulate.
Other nationals can easily apply for a visa upon arrival at the airports in Kenya and Tanzania. Make sure you have the correct visa fee with you in cash.
For more information about the visa requirements per country, please visit the websites below:
The currency in Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (Ksh). 1 Euro is approx. 115 Ksh; 1 US Dollar is approx. 85 Ksh.
Many ATM machines in Kenya accept international bankcards with Cirrus/Maestro logo. Barclays Bank has the most reliable ATM machines for international withdrawals, with a large network of ATMs covering most major Kenyan towns. They support MasterCard, Visa and Cirrus/Maestro international networks.
We advise you to take some extra cash money for security purposes, which can be exchanged into local currency. However, the exchange rate will be less good than by withdrawing Kenyan Shillings from an ATM.
US Dollars are widely accepted in Kenya, however, it is advisable to pay as much as possible in Kenyan Shillings, as this is usually cheaper.
Please note: only US Dollars as from the year 2006 are accepted in Kenya! Always ask for new US dollars when buying them abroad.
MasterCard and VISA credit cards are accepted on a large scale in Kenya, especially in hotels and lodges. Of course there are exceptions, so you should always carry some cash money with you as well. In the national parks there are no ATMs!
The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh). 1 Euro is approx. 2200 Tsh; 1 US Dollar is approx. 1600 Tsh.
For the exact current exchange rates please visit the websites below:
Withdrawing from ATMs in Tanzania is possible in larger cities like Arusha, Moshi and Stone Town. However, problems with ATM machines in Tanzania are being reported more often. During your safari in the national parks, as well as near the beach accommodations at Zanzibar, there are no ATMs available.
We advise you to take cash US Dollars to Tanzania, which can be exchanged to local currency.
Please note: only US Dollars as from the year 2006 are accepted in Tanzania! Always ask for new dollars when buying them abroad.
Credit cards are accepted in some accommodations, but they often charge high credit card fees. Cash payments are cheaper.
Vaccinations and health information
Vaccinations are highly recommended for travelling to Kenya and/or Tanzania. We recommend to seek medical professional advice on immunisation well in advance, if possible 6-8 weeks before departure. Usually vaccines against the following diseases are recommended: Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio and Typhoid.
Taking malaria tablets is not mandatory, but we do recommend taking them, preferably Malarone. A yellow fever vaccination is a must for Tanzania.
In addition, it is important to protect yourself against insect and mosquito bites, day and night. We would advise to use mosquito repellents containing DEET. Mosquito nets are provided in the accommodations if necessary, you don’t need to take them on your holidays.
AMREF Flying Doctor Service
For every traveller booked via Malika Travel, we can arrange AMREF Flying Doctors insurance, during the time of the safari. This means that, in case of medical emergency, you will be transported to a reliable hospital, if necessary by plane. This insurance does not cover medical expenses. You need to take a good medical insurance covering these expenses.
For more information about this service, please visit the following website: http://www.flydoc.org/.
If you are interested in this service, we can provide you with more information, as well as the costs.
You should check with your health insurance if you are covered sufficiently for medical expenses abroad. In addition, we recommend checking the covered value of your travel insurance, for example for photo and video cameras, phones, laptops, etc. Also make sure that your travel and baggage insurance offers worldwide cover.
We recommend taking a good travel and cancellation insurance for your trip to Kenya and/or Tanzania.
Kenya and Tanzania can be visited throughout the year for beautiful holidays and safaris.
The period from January to March is the dry and warm period. The months June to October are dry, sometimes with short showers. The months June to August are cooler than September and October. These are very popular months to visit Kenya; animals are present in large numbers, and of course the world famous annual migration in the Masai Mara attracts many tourists. The most popular travel period for Tanzania is December to March, this is the best time to see the wildebeest migration in Tanzania.
The short rainy season in both countries is in November and December. It’s mostly raining at night, and normally lasts only for few days.
April and May are the months of the long rains. You should expect long rains, but certainly also followed by sunshine. It’s often more difficult to find animals in this period. The prices for this period are lower and it is less crowded, these are two advantages to travel during this period.
Temperatures in Kenya and Tanzania vary by location and area. Especially at night it can be quite cool. It is therefore advisable to take a warm sweater or fleece jacket for evenings and also for the morning safari. In Mombasa and at Zanzibar it’s warm throughout the year. Especially during the months of April to August daytime temperatures can be moderated by an evening sea breeze.
The official languages spoken in Kenya and Tanzania are Kiswahili and English. All tribes in Kenya and Tanzania have their own tribal language as well.
Your safari driver is English speaking, this is also the general language spoken in lodges and tented camps.
Of course it is nice to know few words in Kiswahili. You will be greeted with “Jambo”, which means hello. Other words you will hear very often:
Habari? – How are you?
Karibu – Welcome
Asante sana – Thank you
Kwaheri – Goodbye
Hakuna matata – No problem
Lala salama – Goodnight
Food and drinks
Most lodges and hotels in Kenya and Tanzania offer international cuisine. Often typical local dishes like ugali (a type of corn dough), chapati (a kind of wrap), sukuma wiki (a type of spinach), nyama choma (roasted meat), kitheri (a mixture of beans and maize) and pilau (a kind of fried rice) are served as well. Curries such as chicken masala, as well as Western dishes, are also often found on the menu.
Fresh fruits and juices are offered many times. The food in hotels, lodges and tented camps is of good quality. Dinners are presented in buffet-style or served as table d’hôte menu.
Tap water in Kenya and Tanzania is not safe to drink. We strongly advise you to drink sealed bottled water only. In most lodges and tented camps they offer small bottles of drinking water in the room, we also recommend to use this for brushing your teeth. During the safari there is drinking water available in the car. If you wish, you can buy other drinks along the way.
During the safari light summer clothing is recommended. In the early morning and during evenings it can be quite cool, a warm sweater or fleece jacket are very comfortable! Furthermore, a cap/hat and sunglasses are advisable against the bright sun. You can protect yourself against insect bites (especially during sunrise and sunset) by wearing long trousers, long-sleeved shirts and closed shoes.
In hotels, lodges and tented camps neat clothing is usually expected at dinner. Men are mostly requested to wear long trousers.
Topless sunbathing is not permitted.
The baggage allowance on intercontinental flights to Kenya and Tanzania differs per airline. KLM/Kenya Airways baggage allowance is 2x 23kg per person.
On domestic flights the baggage allowance is 15 – 20kg per person, depending on the airline.
During the safari luggage space is limited. If you are travelling with 2-4 persons, taking normal suitcases is possible. If you are travelling with more persons, it is advisable to use weekend bags or small suitcases. This is due to limited luggage space in safari vehicles.
What to take on your safari
During your safari it is useful to have the following items with you:
Binoculars, sunglasses, flashlight, cap/hat, light safari clothing, warm sweater/fleece jacket, sun cream (high protection factor!), after sun lotion, insect repellents containing DEET, After Bite (or equivalent, in case of insect bites), photo camera, video camera, extra batteries for cameras, extra memory cards, camera charger, self-care medications (such as Immodium against diarrhoea, ORS to prevent dehydration and painkillers), spare glasses for people with contact lenses (because of the dust), world travel adapter.
Passport, copy of passport, vaccination certificates, insurance documents, bankcards and, if you have, a credit card.
Telephone and Internet
Network coverage in Kenya and Tanzania is quite good. Be aware that using your phone abroad can result in high roaming charges.
If you like to use your phone frequently, it could be an option to buy a local SIM card, e.g. Safaricom (Kenya). The price of a SIM card is very low, and international SMS/calls are usually much cheaper than using your own SIM card. Internet bundles for smartphone and tablet users are very cheap at Safaricom!
More hotels and lodges offer WiFi nowadays, sometimes at a surcharge. In larger cities and on the coast Internet cafés are available.
During your safari you will make a lot of photos from beautiful animals and amazing landscapes. It’s advisable to take a good camera with you, enough memory cards and batteries/charger.
Always ask permission before taking a picture of people and the local tribes, in order to avoid problems. When visiting a Maasai and/or Samburu village, you are allowed to make photos, as this is included in the price.
It’s forbidden to make photos of airports, police, military and government buildings.
The electricity supply in Kenya and Tanzania is 220/240V. 3-point square plugs (UK) are used. It’s advisable to take a world travel adapter for your convenience.
It’s good to know that lodges and tented camps in the national parks use generators, which are switched on at scheduled times. Parts of the day/night there will be no power. Please take this into account when charging your batteries.
Safety and security
Travelling in countries with poverty, with big differences between tourists and the local population, is never without risks. This applies to Kenya and Tanzania as well. Please take care of your belongings, leave expensive jewellery at home and do not carry expensive cameras with you while walking along the road. Please leave your passports, larger amounts of money, bankcards and credit cards in your hotel or lodge; most rooms/tents have lockers where you can safely store your valuables.
Do not walk on the street after sunset, always take a taxi.
Wages in Kenya and Tanzania are low. Of course tipping is not compulsory, but is usually expected as a sign of appreciation of good service in lodges, bars and restaurants and tented camps. Safari guides depend on tipping for a large part of their income.
Guidelines are: 100 Ksh or 2000 Tsh for luggage porters, Ksh 200 or 4,000 Tsh for waiters, and around USD 5-10 per person per day for safari drivers.