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KENYA

Kenya    " Safari  "  Where it all started.                            
Kenya has got it all, wildlife, nightlife, cities and beaches, mountains and deserts, traditional culture and modern arts. The country is a year around tourist destination, although the access to the national parks might be restricted during the heavy rain season. Kenya together with Tanzania is the cradle of human kind. Evidence of the evolution of the " Homo Sapience " has been excavated in both countries, by three generation palaeontologist of the family Leakey.

Famous for
Kenya has a long history of big game hunting and safaris. Safari originates from Kiswahili and it means “ journey, expedition or voyage “. It is virtually impossible to use the word safari, without thinking of Kenya at the same time. One could say that safari tourism was developed in Kenya, and copied by other African countries. The equator is crossing over the country, and you can experience on the spot, the difference between South of and North of the equator. Famous National parks are Amboseli, Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Masai Mara Game Reserve. Along the coast line you will find the towns Malindi and Mombasa, known for its influences from the Arab culture. Migrations of hundred of thousands of wild animals, crossing the crocodile infested and deadly Mara River, is one of the greatest spectacles in the world.



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General Information                                            

Currency
KSh , Kenya Shilling.
ATM machines are available in the town, and safari operators can often help you out with the exchanging of foreign currencies into local currencies. Always bring an amount of US dollars in smaller denominations. A common scam is to apology for not having any changes of USD, to return. 


Time
GMT +3

Electricity
220 - 230 Volts, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are used.


Language
English is commonly used, Kiswahili is the official language.
 

Climate  ( January, February and May to September are best months for game viewing. )
Kenya has one of the best climates in the world, with sunny and dry days. The average temperature during daytime varies between 18°C and 27°C. Climate along the coast is hot and humid. In the mountainous areas, the nights could be much cooler, clothe that keeps you warm is recommended. Short rain season begins in October and continues up to December, and the long rain season starts in March and ends up in April. The long rain season ( March-April ) should be avoided as the roads in the parks and reserves might be impassable. Rain season is also the breeding time for the mosquitoes, that carries the malaria.   
 
Emergency  ( Ambulance +267 999 , Fire +267 999 and Police +267 999 ).

Health
Malaria is a particular risk in
Kenya, between September and May. Visitors are recommended to consult a medical doctor some month in advance before going to Kenya. To bring an emergency kit for malaria, prescribed by a medical doctor is recommended. Malaria prophylactic drugs, mosquito repel, mosquito net and long trousers are some of the recommended precautionary. Mosquito which carries the malaria parasites are most active during the evening and the night. And they are also most prevalent in dense areas, where the local people live. It is therefore important to dress in long trousers and long sleeves when it gets dark, and to avoid shanty congested townships. Remember not every mosquito carries the malaria. Malaria is a big issue for traveller in Africa, but with some knowledge and precautions, it should not derail your plan for Africa. You can read in a special section, more about different health hazards that can easily be avoided. There are no compulsory vaccinations, but a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age coming from infected countries. Kenya has a good public health system, but facilities are limited outside urban areas. Health insurance for visitors is vital.

Tipping
Tipping is not a common practise in
Kenya, however in tourist areas it is common to add tips of 10 % ( or Service Charge ) on the bill. Negotiated taxi fairs do not need any topping. Most tourist guides and safari drivers and cooks expect some gratuity at the end of a safari or tour.

Safety
Banditry and cattle rustling and general lawlessness are common in the Northern part of
Kenya, close to the borders of Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. When walking around the towns, travellers are advised to leave valuable items in a safe at the hotel, and only carry smaller amounts. Pick-poketing and bag-snatching are some of the most common crimes. If you feel that too many people is around you, jump into a taxi or dive into a shop, and ask for help. Never walk alone when it is dark, make sure you act street wise, and do not be too naïve in your judgements. When driving your car, you might be alerted that you have a puncture or an oil leakage, never stop or let the people alerting you help you out in a nearby garage. It is not recommendable to drive when it is dark. And never stop at a red light robot when it is dark. If you find someone lying on the road, don’t stop. Report the incidence at a nearby Police Station. These crimes and scams are most common in the towns. When you are on the countryside at a lodge or a camp you can be more relaxed.   
 
Communications  Country code  +254
The international access code for Kenya is +254. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa).

Customs
Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya, and punishable with years of prisons. Photographing people can be sensitive, unless you ask for prior permission. Government buildings, Post offices, telecommunication facilities and border posts should not be pictured. Never show the camera when you are close to any government facilities. Some local people might take advantage of the situation. If a Police officer fines you on the spot for any minor offense, you are advised to insist that you would like to sort out the fine at the police station. In most cases the officer will drop the charges against you.
 
 
Tourist Information
General tourist information is best available outside Kenya. The local service providers are always at hand for guidance. Best way of getting information is by sending e-mail to the Ministry Of Tourism, foreign representation offices.  US www.magicalkenya.com
 
How to get there
By Air; to / from Kenya Airways, South African Airways, British Airways. KLM, Air India, Air Malawi, Egypt Air, Emirates, Ethiopia Airline, Gulf Air, Oman Air, Rwanda Air, Swiss Air,and many more.
By Road; to / from bus services ( Matata ), rent a car or drive your own car.
By Rail; operates only between Nairobi – Kisumu and Nairobi - Mombasa. The trip between Nairobi and Mombasa is classical route for train enthusiasts. 
 
Getting around
By Air: to / from 
SafariLink, Kenya Airways. 
By Road: Minibuses, Rented Car, Hitch Hiking and Motorbikes.

More Country Information from Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

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