Kenya not only has countless game parks and nature reserves, but also beaches and numerous attractions spread across the country. Kenya stretches out over almost 583,000 km². If you would rather not stay in one place the whole time, you can use public transport or rent a car. Remember to apply for your Kenya visa before departure.
There are many ways to travel from point A to point B in Kenya. For small distances you can use the various buses, but you can also use the local transport: the matatu. A matatu is roughly the size of a delivery van. To quickly travel to and from the three largest cities, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, the train is an option, but flying can also be a good alternative. It is strongly advised planning your trips during the day. Consider securing your luggage with a combination lock and luggage net, and never leave valuables unattended. Instead of keeping money in your jacket or trouser pockets, you can keep it in a money belt or bra bag. Payment cards can be kept in a wallet with RFID protection. These special wallets make skimming impossible.
The quality of buses in Kenya varies greatly. The bus companies with more modern and safer equipment ask higher prices, while the companies with older buses are much cheaper. Having a nap during your bus journey is not recommended due to the risk of theft, even though scheduled buses offer a safe way to carry your luggage. When you get on the bus, you and your bag are given a number, so no one can take your bag (accidentally or intentionally) with them when you get off. Another advantage of travelling by bus is that it is very cheap. For less than £1,- you can travel by bus for an hour.
The matatu is the most important means of public transport in Kenya. You will encounter them in and around the cities, but also on the roads between villages. The matatu only leaves when the bus is full. And full in Kenya means really full. By Kenyan standards, a ten passenger bus can easily hold eighteen people. The matatu is a cheap way to travel between villages, meet the locals and experience authentic Kenya.
From the beaches on the east coast of Kenya, you can take a ferry to the port city of Mombasa, located on a peninsula. If you go on board with a vehicle you pay a small fee, otherwise it is free. The ferry sails during the day and at night. There are always many people waiting to board the ferry. These lively crowds make travelling to Mombasa in this manner an experience in itself.
A more expensive means of transport is the train. A single ticket between the two largest cities costs roughly £40,-. The popular railway line between Nairobi and Mombasa was built in 1895 and made it possible to travel from one city to the other within twelve hours. Due to the neglect of the track, the same train journey took twice as long in 2016. In 2017, the track was replaced, reducing the travel time to five hours. The railway network has been expanded towards neighbouring countries in East Africa. The expansion of the railway network is a mega-project and is seen as a step of great importance for the economic prosperity of the country.
Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam is the Kenyan airport where most international planes land. However, Kenya’s two largest cities also have airports from which mainly domestic flights operate: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and MOI International Airport in Mombasa. The five Kenyan airlines - Kenya Airways, Arikenya, Mombasa Air Safari, Safarilink and Fly540 - offer domestic flights and fly from these airports. The most frequently operated flight within Kenya is the one between Nairobi and Mombasa. This costs around £80,-. There are also flights to small national airports near national parks, coastal towns and the island group of Lamu.
To safely admire the Big Five in one of the national parks, a jeep safari is recommended. Various organisations offer tour packages, varying from one-day safaris to safaris lasting several weeks.
Jeep safari in Kenya
To rent a car in Kenya, you must have an international driving licence. The international driving licence is only valid in combination with your British or Irish driving licence. The minimum age for renting a car in Kenya is 23 years, though some car rental companies have a minimum age of 25 years. It is often possible to reserve a car before departure. To do this, you can visit the websites of well-known car rental companies at the airports of Nairobi and Mombasa. In Kenya, about half of the roads are unpaved. The highways are largely single-lane and run through small villages, where you may encounter stray cattle or children on the road.
When travelling to Kenya, you will need a visa. If you have the required information at hand, the visa can be applied for very easily using the online application form. You can then pay for the Kenya visa cost online using standard payment methods. The validity period – the period in which you are allowed to arrive in Kenya – is three months. You may stay in the country for up to 90 consecutive days within this validity period. If you wish, this maximum stay can be extended once to one hundred and eighty days after arrival. You can apply for this extension at the head office of the Kenya Foreign Nationals Service, Department of Immigration Services. However, there is no guarantee that an extension will be granted.