If there is a perfect climate in the world, surely it is in East Africa. Although it can be hot and sticky by the sea, inland the air is dry and even at midday, the temperatures are equitable. Due to the proximity to the equator, sunrise occurs daily between 06.00hrs and 06.30hrs while sunset takes place 12 hours later. It can get quite chilly in the early morning and evening hence visitors should pack a sweater. Each time of year has its special attractions. There are two main rainy seasons – usually mid-April to the end of May and November to mid-December. Even during the rains, the weather can be pleasant with rain occurring in the early morning and late in the afternoon or evening.
Visitors must be in possession of valid visa and health documentation on arrival. The regulations vary dependent on nationality and country of origin and should be checked with the nearest tourist office or diplomatic mission. Inoculation centres in the country of origin will provide updated information and advice on health regulations and recommendations (Yellow fever certificate are not mandatory for Travel into Tanzania or Kenya unless a visitor is coming from an area where this is endemic. Anti-malaria medication is however recommended for a visit to either country. Please consult your doctor for this.
Personal effects, film and cameras may be imported temporarily free of duty. However professional video equipment, tape recorders, radios, musical instruments and souvenirs from other countries may require a customs bond to ensure re-exportation. Firearms need a special permit which must be obtained in advance. Baggage is normally inspected by customs officials on arrival and departure.
Please strictly adhere to baggage limitations as advised by the airline as excess baggage charges can be quite expensive.
International Airport departure tax equivalent to US$. 30 per person is payable on departure from Tanzania whilst the one for Kenya (US$ 20) which is normally included on the ticket. Zanzibar departure tax is US$ 25 per person, payable direct. A local airport service charge is also payable on departure for domestic. As this varies from country to country, please check with us on the prevailing amounts payable prior to your flight departure.
There is no restriction to the amount of foreign currency a visitor may import provided that it is exchanged through authorized dealers only. Well known credit cards are widely accepted in Kenya, but to a lesser extent in Tanzania. U.S. dollars and travellers cheques are the most widely accepted form of payment. It is a legal offence to deface local currency.
Banks in Nairobi and other large towns open from 9am-3pm Monday to Friday and 9am-11am on the first and last Saturday of each month.
24 hours access to your account can be facilitated by the 70 ATMs countrywide. Barclays Bank has over 40 `Barclaycash` ATMs located within the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa; and other major towns.
Banks in Mombasa and the coastal areas open and close half an hour earlier. Some banks at the international airports open round the clock every day as do the new foreign exchage bureaux.
Normal precautions as in any other destination worldwide should be taken. Keep a close watch on handbags, wallets and cameras when walking in crowded places and avoid walking at night (take a taxi). Place all valuables in safety deposit boxes at hotels and lodges and only carry small amounts of cash. Wear as little jewelry as possible, if any, and never leave valuables on show in an unattended car or tour bus. Taking photographs at airports, near military installations, of policemen, the President, the national flag, the State House, state lodges, soldiers, prisons and prisoners etc., is prohibited. Before photographing local people, permission should be obtained and a fixed price agreed. Seek the assistance of your driver/guide in this matter.
The standard check-out time is 10.00hrs hence rooms may not normally be ready for occupancy until 12.00hrs. Should an early arrival be anticipated, please reserve rooms from the preceding night. Day rooms up to 18.00hrs are usually available.
Hotel extras bill payment
Most hotels expect visitors to pay in convertible foreign currency, such as US dollars. However, in some establishments, visitors may have the option to pay in Kenya shillings in Kenya & Tanzania Shilling in Tanzania or credit card if this method is preferred.
Safari clothing should be casual and comfortable. Cotton slacks and shirts, with skirts and culottes for ladies and a light sweater or jacket, during the day. Evening wear in game lodges and safari camps can be very casual. In the more sophisticated clubs and hotels gentlemen will be required to wear a jacket and possibly a tie, while ladies should dress rather more formally. At high altitudes, where early mornings and evenings can be very chilly, warm sweaters, socks and comfortable shoes are recommended. Pack suntan lotion, swimwear (to be reserved for the beach and pool only), a small first aid kit, a flashlight and an alarm clock. Local customs and modesty should be respected.
Most hotels, game lodges and safari camps offer a 24-hour inexpensive laundry service.
Telkom Kenya provides advanced telecommunication services that include voice data, internet, and multimedia, whilst cellular mobile services are provided by safaricom and kencell communications.
Faxes, telexes and emails can be sent from your hotel via the operator. international calls can sometimes be dialed direct or operator assisted by dialing 0195 or 0916. Telkom Kenya also run a few international public assisted call offices in selected areas in major towns.
Public payphones are fully automated. Simply pick up the handset and follow the digitalized prompts on the screen to make your call. Card and coin phones are available. Phone cards of different denominations may be bought from post offices or international call offices in major towns. You can also make use of hotel phones but the charges are usually 100% more. Local dialed calls cost a minimum of ksh 4, so have plenty of charge.