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Giraffes in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Kenya Travel Guide

Kenya, nestled in East Africa, is a captivating destination with diverse landscapes, from the stunning Rift Valley to the pristine beaches of the coastal region, offering endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. Embark on a thrilling safari adventure in iconic national parks like the Maasai Mara, where you can witness the annual wildebeest migration and spot majestic wildlife such as lions, elephants, and giraffes. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Nairobi, the capital city, where you can explore bustling markets, visit historic landmarks, and sample delicious Kenyan cuisine. For outdoor enthusiasts, Mount Kenya provides a challenging yet rewarding trekking experience with breathtaking views from its snow-capped summit.

Beyond its natural beauty, Kenya is also home to vibrant local communities with rich traditions and fascinating cultural heritage. Engage with Maasai tribespeople to learn about their ancestral customs and experience traditional dances and rituals. Discover the ancient Swahili culture in Lamu, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its historical architecture and picturesque streets. Explore the Great Rift Valley with its dramatic cliffs, scenic lakes, and geothermal wonders. Whether you're seeking wildlife encounters, cultural immersion, or scenic landscapes, Kenya promises an unforgettable travel experience that will leave you in awe of its natural wonders and the warmth of its people.


Key Facts

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  • Landscapes: Explore open landscapes and see endless stretches of wilderness. Spot stunning animals and watch predators live in action on the hunt as you join memorable game drives. Explore national parks and discover the seven UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Conservation projects: There are a variety of amazing conservation projects tourists can visit, providing magical and close-up encounters with wildlife. Visit habitats for baby elephants and lion-proof enclosures that protect both the cattle and lions. 
  • Beaches: Relax on sandy beaches, soak up the sun and enjoy a glamorous paradise. Grab a snorkel and meet the wonderful marine life. 
  • Wildlife: Kenya is the perfect location for animal lovers with immersive wildlife experiences. Get up close to the Big 5 of game drives and unique safari experiences. Kenya is famous for its annual Great Migration. If you visit in late July to early August, you get the unforgettable experience of watching as millions of magical animals, including zebras, wildebeests and gazelle, migrate from Tanzania to Kenya. 
  • The Culture: With over 40 different types of tribal people, you will experience diverse cultures as you meet the people of Kenya. Keen to tell the stories of Kenya’s traditional culture in the emerging modern world, the people of Kenya will invite you into their villages and share their daily lives and histories with you. 

The largest city of Kenya, Nairobi, is also the capital city. Boasting a population of over 4.3 million people, Nairobi is an urban hub of Kenya and takes its name after the ‘cool water’ of the Nairobi River. The city is only 7km north of the Nairobi National Park, offering a perfect mix of urban life and nature.

  • Nairobi: It’s easy to see why Nairobi is a traveller favourite! Not only does the capital have a fascinating colonial history and vibrant culture, but it is also a short trip from stunning Nairobi National Park. 
  • David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Nursery: Meet orphaned baby elephants, bottle-fed by keepers before they are eventually released back into the wild. This is a unique and adorable travel experience you won’t forget!
  • Mombasa: Head to the port city of Mombasa for diverse culture, delicious cuisine, glistening beaches, and vibrant markets. 
  • Masai Mara National Reserve: Step into a real-life nature documentary as you meet the famous populations of wilderness and important conservation projects. Marvel at the rolling hills and elephants, lions, cheetahs and hippos that call this stunning land their home! 
  • Mount Kenya National Park: Visit the second-highest peak in Kenya and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mt. Kenya! This stunning national park conserves endangered animals and is perfect for sightseeing. 
  • Lake Naivasha: Spot over 400 species of birds at the highest point of the Great Rift Valley! Cruise down the lake by boat, meeting hippos, giraffes and colobus monkeys playing in the canopies above.

Kenya’s unofficial national dish, Nyama Choma, is simple but delicious. Translating to ‘grilled meat’ in Swahili, it is traditionally served as salt-seasoned and slow-cooked goat, but chicken, beef and fish are popular alternatives.

Try the popular side dish Ugali, made by boiling cornmeal and making cornmeal paste and forming an edible spoon to dip into delicious meals. 

Kenya’s cuisine is heavily influenced by Indian dishes due to its large Indian population. Kenya has adopted traditional favourites such as bhaji, pilau, chapati and biryani.

Kenya’s dry season is from July to October and reaches temperatures from 23 degrees celsius to 28 degrees celsius in coastal areas. During this time you can enjoy clear and sunny skies. 

The wet season, November to May, has temperatures from 24 to 27 degrees Celsius. Mornings can be slightly cooler so warmer clothes are advisable for early game drives. 

Specifically, the ‘short rains’ period occurs during November and December, when rain falls mostly in the late afternoon and evening, so is less likely to impact activities. January and February offer a short break in the rainy season with less rainfall. The months with the most rain are March, April and May. This ‘Long rains’ season gets the most rain and is very cloudy with high humidity, especially in coastal areas. 


You will require a Kenyan e-visa to enter Kenya, which must be applied for before departure. Single entry and transit visas can be applied for electronically on the e-visa website. British passport holders over the age of 16 will need a valid individual visa for Kenya.

For updated advice on COVID-19 requirements, please see the foreign travel advice on the government website and keep updated on changes. You may also require a yellow fever certificate if entering from certain destinations. For further information, please see the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website. 

All entry requirements are subject to change so please check the latest information with the embassy before travel.


Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the date you arrive in Kenya and your passport must have at least two blank pages. 

The two official languages of Kenya are Swahili and English. In Nairobi, English is commonly mixed with Swahili-based slang, forming a dialect called Sheng. Different dialects can vary in different locations, including Kikuyu, Kamba and Dholuo.

Over 75% of the population in Kenya has access to electricity.

  • When you are away from tourist resorts and hotels, it is advisable to dress conservatively. Coastal areas are predominately Muslim and it is important to respect religious areas, especially in Mombasa town and during the holy month of Ramadan. 
  • It is prohibited to smoke except in designated smoking areas. You risk a fine or imprisonment. 
  • The penalty for possession of illegal Class A drugs is 10 years in prison. 
  • Take care around official buildings and Embassies as photography and filming can be prohibited around them. It is also prohibited in airports.
  • You require permission to carry any kind of firearm before you enter Kenya.
  • For environmental reasons, plastic bags are banned.
  • It is against the law to destroy Kenyan currency.
  • Public displays of homosexual activity could lead to arrest, see updated information for the LGBT community on government information and advice pages.
  • Those caught buying, selling, killing, or capturing wild animals illegally will be prosecuted and receive fines and/or a prison sentence.


Make sure you have appropriate travel insurance to cover your journey and accessible funds to cover any medical costs you may require.

Carry a first aid kit with you to treat minor injuries and ailments. Treat any injuries immediately and go to the nearest hospital when in need of emergency treatment.

Check the National Travel Health Network Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website at least 8 weeks prior to your trip to see the latest country-specific health advice. Here you can find up-to-date information on vaccine recommendations, risks or outbreaks and advice on staying healthy during your travels. 

Contact your health adviser for information on managing any pre-existing conditions and to ensure you have enough of any prescribed medication throughout your travels.

Health risks in Kenya include cholera, malaria, dengue fever and also yellow fever and Ebola in certain regions. Discuss vaccinations with your health advisor before travel and take precautions to avoid insect bites. Use insect repellents on exposed skin, treat clothing with insecticide, avoid areas of stagnant water and wear loose-fitting, long sleeves and trousers.

Only drink boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. Only eat food from licensed vendors.

See updated Coronavirus information on the foreign travel advice section of the government website.


  • It is important that you carry a form of identification on you at all times during your time in Kenya. A copy of your passport can be accepted but police officers can insist on the original document. 
  • Stay vigilant of crime at all times and take precautions with your valuables. Your guides, hotel, employer or hosts should give you appropriate safety advice for the areas you are travelling in.
  • Specific areas to stay particularly vigilant in are transport hubs such as railway stations, bus stations and airports, where bag snatching is common. Large cities can also attract crime activities. Avoid walking around after dark, especially in quiet areas like empty beaches. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing expensive items. 
  • Always ask for identification from police officers or security guards 
  • Don’t eat food or drink from strangers
  • Monitor demonstrations and political gatherings and avoid travelling near large gatherings.
  • If you are in need of urgent help, call +44 (0) 20 7008 5000
  • Check the FCDO website before travel for area-specific advice which is constantly subject to change 

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