Travel Advice in Kenya

Hey guys, off to Kenya? Here are a few tips to make sure your trip is safe and happy 😉 Most of these apply to all non-first world countries, but make sure you remember them!

1. Always ask the Price of the Taxi before taking it

Like many countries, many taxis do not operate with meters so it is a no brainer to always agree on a price upfront and pay after you arrive at your destination. Make sure you do your research on how much it should cost with your hotel reception or a local. Note that taxis are not cheap like in many places in Asia!
We suggest you to take an UBER as it is available in Nairobi. When you land, get your SIM then book an UBER instead of using the airport taxi service or airport taxi.

2. There will be delays

The saying is true, things won’t always go on time in Africa! When you have a “Kenyan Time” appointment, you may have to expect a delay from 5-15 minutes to longer!

3. Traffic you shall be in!

In addition to not always being on time, the main reason is the traffic! A real Pain! We never have seen worse from all the countries we have travelled through so far.
It’s recommended to not travel between rush-hour times to avoid 7-9am, 1-2pm, 5-7pm. The wait can be as short as 30 minutes to a crazy 3 hours plus!

See that traffic there on the other side of the road? Brutal! And this is mild traffic!
See that traffic there on the other side of the road? Brutal! And this is mild traffic!

4. Nairobi is certainly not Dubai, so avoid Malls

Nothing to see there except if you need to get a SIM card at Nakumatt Junction because you skipped the chance to get it at the airport 🙁 – Go with Airtel or go for Safaricom as they have the best coverage in Kenya.

5. Don’t carry too much cash on you

Simply as a precaution, you know, when you are in a foreign country… Just go for Mobile Money! It is quite popular in Kenya. Simply add credit to you phone balance and pay with it at many places like supermarkets, cabs, stores, etc. This only work for informal payments, so use it only if you are in town for quite a bit!

We just exchanged money at the airport and used USD to pay some part of our Safari (most of them rather USD cash) - Don't say to yourself you will exchange downtown, downtown is kind of hectic so you don't want to have that hassle to go exchange money and carry it around.
We just exchanged money at the airport and used USD to pay some part of our Safari (most of them rather USD cash) – Don’t say to yourself you will exchange downtown, downtown is kind of hectic so you don’t want to have that hassle to go exchange money and carry it around.

6. It is against the law to smoke in the streets

Don’t get in trouble, the rule is clear, you simple can’t smoke on the streets of Nairobi’s City Center. You can only go smoke in designated smoking areas.

7. Merchants will try to rip you off

If you go to markets and shops, something that might be costing 400Khs (4$US) could be costed to you at 4000KHS (40$US). See the rip off there? Make sure you know the value of what you may buy and go as low as you can that makes some sense.
Tip: Go to Spinners Web Kenya, a proper gift shop in Westland with the original prices! A must if you like arts and crafts to buy as souvenirs.

8. Don’t wander around after dark

Stay away from those quiet, dark places. We know many locals that avoid going in the CBD at night, so imagine as a clear foreigner how much of a target you could be. Even during the day in the CBD make sure to lock your doors in the car and wind up the windows. If you are unlucky, someone might just snap your phone out of the window of your car!

9. Mosquitoes

Like most equatorial countries, the risk of mosquito borne transmission is slightly higher, as it is warmer and more humid. So bring your repellent and be smart by closing your doors. Nearly every hotel has mosquito nets for your bed as well.

10. Carry Small Change

Most vendors will not be able to take your bigger money, so get change wherever you can. As a tourist, this will also be good for when you tip.

Are there any tips we have forgotten? Please let us know so we can add them in! Did you have any good or bad experiences while in Kenya?

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