Kenya Travel Basics

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Kenya: Your Web Surf Safari

Known as the Cradle of Humanity for its links to early human life, Kenya conjures up images of water-bathing hippos, lions on the prowl, grassy plains, and khaki-clad photographers on safari. There’s no easier way to plan a trip to Kenya than by using the Web. With glossy travel magazines, guidebooks, tourism sites, and advice from fellow travelers at your fingertips, you can’t go wrong. We’ve sorted through the maze of information and collected comprehensive, accessible sites to take you from idea, to plan, to reality.

Kenya Travel Basics

Whether you crave adventure or quiet relaxation, you’ll find it in this mesmerizing destination. On the Web, tourism sites and online travel guides reveal Kenya’s mix of grassland terrain, breathtaking wildlife, and gritty city life.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Official tourism sites offer package vacation deals, for example a flight and a safari. Consider these options, as they may be less expensive than booking everything separately. Consider telephoning or e-mailing tourism offices for recommendations, as well.
  • It may be less expensive to book your safari with a Kenyan company after you’ve arrived, but booking with a U.S. company before you go is less of a hassle. Guidebooks recommend setting up everything prior to your trip.
  • Safaris carry romantic notions of old world explorers alone in the wild, but modern day safaris are a bit tamer. You’ll be in a vehicle with other travelers in a Kenyan national park or reserve, such as the Masai Mara Games Reserve or Amboseli National Park. Safaris can still be “hard work,” however, as National Geographic reports.
  • Kenya boasts more than two dozen national parks and reserves, making it the most popular safari destination and the best bird-watching country in Africa. For a list of Kenya’s parks and reserves, as well as details of where to find species of wildlife and birdlife, visit Gorp.

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Travel Requirements for Kenya

Start planning early. Organize your travel documents and vaccines and review general safety precautions to help your trip run smoothly. Learn as much as you can about the history and culture to ensure a more memorable and meaningful experience in Kenya.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • The U.S. Embassy in Kenya was bombed in 1998, and Nairobi remains an area affected by crime and the threat of terrorism. Be aware of government warnings, which are listed in Consular Information Sheets provided by the state department before you arrive. You’ll also learn of recent criminal activity and high-risk areas for terrorism and kidnappings, as well as exit and entry requirements.
  • There is a high risk of catching malaria throughout Kenya. To protect yourself, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s section on “Malaria and Travelers.”
  • Kenya has two rainy seasons: one in November, and one from late March into early May. Roads are usually blocked during these periods. If you’re planning a safari, go during the dry season to see more animals; they’ll be gathered together wherever there’s a source of water.

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Getting to Kenya

If you’re departing from the United States, you’ll be flying into Nairobi or Mombasa. The Web is full of flight search tools that make finding a good deal much less intimidating. And the good news is you don’t have to be a travel agent to figure out these sites.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Guidebook writers know the ins and outs of international transport. Consult Rough Guides for the scoop on flights to Kenya—it’s the most practical way to get there. Learn the best time of year to go, and find out about different ticket types from expert guidebook writers who’ve traveled extensively in the country
  • iExplore offers Kenya Travel Tips. Find out about taxi service from Nairobi’s main airports, and learn how to arrive in Kenya via water, rail, or road transport from other locations in Africa.

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Kenya Hotels

Kenya offers an eclectic mix of hotels, lodges, and camps, many of which bring you up close and personal with wildlife. We’ve found sites to help you sort through the options, including accommodation search tools and specialty tourism companies.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • In Kenya, nature can be luxurious. Take Joy’s Camp, for example. The 10-tent property was spotlighted by Condé Nast Traveller in “The Hot List 2007,” a worldwide compendium of the best new hotels and restaurants. Joy’s Camp features glamorous rooms that open onto verandahs and is located near a swamp and spring, often attracting wild animals.
  • Camping puts you up close and personal with Kenya’s incredible wildlife, and is a less expensive option. Overland tour companies, such as African Trails, keep costs low and take you off the beaten path.
  • If you want to go it alone, you’ll find campsites at most reserves and parks in Kenya where you can pitch your own tent. MagicalKenya.com offers Kenya camping advice on the site’s accommodation page.

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Getting Around in Kenya

Adjusting to transportation in foreign countries may be a bit unsettling, but the Web can ease your transition. Online travel guides, booking agents, and search engines help you plan and prepare before you arrive.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • It’s relatively inexpensive and convenient to fly within Kenya, and you’ll find service from several cities to parks and reserves. Book far in advance for the best prices.
  • Reliable trains run between Mombasa, Nairobi, and Kisumu, but you won’t find an official site for Kenya railways. Booking must be performed through another company. Try East Africa Shuttles & Safaris.
  • Mini buses called Matatus are a common way to get around, but safety may be an issue. World Press Review’s Web site has an article that provides further insight.
  • To learn what it’s like on a Kenyan train, referred to as “The Lunatic Railway,” look no further than the BBC. Its article may also help you navigate the country.

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Kenya Travel Blogs and Forums

For honest evaluation of destinations, accommodations, and travel experiences, look no further than the Web. Blogs and forums are full of valuable advice and insight to consider before you go.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Try a blog search engine like Technorati or BlogPulse to search for blogs on specific topics, such as “Kenya cuisine.”
  • Try to read profiles of bloggers and forum posters before accepting their advice. Look for previous posts, as well.

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