Last updated: 21 Jun 2019



Kenya is regarded by many as the ‘jewel of East Africa', and has some of the continent's finest beaches, most magnificent wildlife and scenery, and an incredibly sophisticated tourism infrastructure. It is a startlingly beautiful land, from the coral reefs and white sand beaches of the coast to the summit of Mount Kenya, crowned with clouds and bejewelled by strange giant alpine plants.

Feast on a delicious seafood dinner in Mombasa and watch the moon rise over the old harbour. Go sailing on a romantic dhow (traditional Arab sailing boat).

Mombasa is great for shopping. Biashara Street is probably the best place to buy kikoi and khanga cloths. The main city market is the Makupa Market, off Mwembe Tayari. Souvenir shoppers should also head for Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Village, where disabled men and women produce high-quality leatherwork, jewellery and other crafts.

The most popular resorts to the north of Mombasa include Bamburi, Kikambala, Kilifi, Malindi and Nyali. Along the south coast, the best and most famous beach is Diani Beach.
Capital:  Nairobi (NBO)
Currency:  Kenyan Shilling (KES)
Language:  Kiswahili and English
Dialling code from SA:  + 254
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +3 (1 hour ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2019:

Jan 1; Apr 19, 22; May 1; Jun 1, 6; Aug 12; Oct 10, 20, 21; Dec 12, 25, 26

Side of the Road: Left (A drivers licence from a home country (and a translation if this is not in English) or an International Driving Permit is required).
Best Time to go: Throughout the year. The equatorial weather is pleasant all year round .
Best For: Safari, Rare Wildlife.
Plugs: 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are UK-type square three-pin.
Drinking Water: Bottled water is recommended.
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities in Nairobi and Mombasa, but are limited in the rest of the country. It is advisable to carry basic medical supplies if travelling on safari. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage.
Customs: Respect to religious customs should also be shown during the month of Ramadan. Dress should be conservative when away from the resorts and beaches - coastal areas are predominantly Muslim. 
Local Offences / Laws: It is illegal to take photographs of official buildings and embassies. It is illegal to destroy Kenyan currency.  Homosexuality is illegal. Smoking in public is illegal and subject to fines or imprisonment. Drug use and trafficking carry heavy prison sentences. If you wish to carry a firearm, permission from local authorities must be obtained. 
Travel Tips / Warnings: Check the local political situation before finalising travel plans. ATM's are widely available in the main towns and Nairobi. Credit cards and traveler's cheques are widely accepted. 
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Kenya by passengers over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 250g of tobacco products.
• 1L of spirits or 2L of wine.
• 500ml of perfume and eau de toilette, of which not more than a quarter may be perfume.
Prohibited Imports: Prohibited items include counterfeit money and goods, pornography, matches made using white phosphorus, narcotics, soaps and cosmetics containing mercury, and used tyres. Restricted items include animal traps, unwrought precious metals and stones, arms and ammunition, ivory, hippopotamus teeth, rhinoceros horn, tortoise shell, whalebone, antlers, coral, endangered species, and historic artefacts.

Issuing Authorities

High Commission of the Republic of Kenya,
302 Brooks Street, Menlo Park 0081
P O Box 35954, Menlo Park, Pretoria 0102
Tel: (012) 3622249
Emergency Number : 076 0464 849
Fax: (012) 3622252
Office hours: Mon-Thur 0900-1230 & 1400-1500 / Fri 0900-1230
E-mail: and

Visa Requirements

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SA Representative

South African High Commission.
3rd Floor Roshanmaer Place,
Lenana Road, Nairobi
Tel: +254 20 282-7100
Fax: +254 20 27 36393

Travel Health

Compulsory:  Yellow Fever 
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Meningitis, Rabies, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio
Additional Recommended Vaccines:  Cholera
  Malaria Risk