Useful Kenya Travel Information
The official currency is the Kenya Shilling. The written abbreviation is either KSh or using /= after the amount (ie 500/=)
Available Notes are 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings. Available coins are 1, 5, 10, 20 and 40 shillings.
Visitors to Kenya should change foreign currency at banks, bureaux de change or authorized hotels. The easiest currencies to exchange are US Dollars, Pounds sterling and EURO.
Travellers Cheques are widely accepted, and many hotels, travel agencies, safari companies and restaurants accept Credit Cards. Most Banks in Kenya are equipped to advance cash on credit cards.
There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Kenya.
Before departure, travellers are advised to convert any excess Kenya shillings into foreign currency at a bank or bureau de change before departure. Departure taxes can be paid in local or foreign currency.
Anyone wishing to take more than 500,000 Kenya Shillings out of the country will require written authorization from the Central Bank.
Tipping is not mandatory in Kenya. Guides, drivers, waiters and hotel staff can be tipped at your discretion.
Time, Public Holidays and Business Hours
Kenya has a single time zone- which is GMT+3.
Kenyan Public holidays include:
1st January New Years Day
Idd il Fitr *
March/April Good Friday**
March/April Easter Monday**
1st May Labour Day
1st June Madaraka Day
10th October Moi Day
20th October Kenyatta Day
12th December Jamhuri Day
25th December Christmas Day
26th December Boxing Day
*The Muslim Festival of Idd il Fitr celebrates the end of Ramadhan. The date varies each year depending on the sighting of a new moon in Mecca.
** Dates for the Christian festival of Easter vary from year to year.
Most businesses in Kenya are open from Monday to Friday, though some also trade on Saturday.
Business hours are generally 9:00am to 5:00pm, closing for an hour over lunch (1:00pm – 2:00pm).
Banks are open from 9:00am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday.
Some branches open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 11:00am. Many banks are now equipped with 24 hour ATM machines. The Bank branches at Jomo Kenyatta International airport (Nairobi) and Moi International Airport both run 24 hour forex services.
Communication - Postal Service
Kenya has a good postal service for both local and international post. There are post offices and post boxes in most towns. Many shops in tourist lodges and hotels sell stamps.
There are different rates for letters by weight, airletters, and postcards by size. Parcel services are available from larger post offices. There are post restante services in Nairobi and Mombasa.
Kenya has a good network of telephone, cellular and satellite connections. Work is under way to expand this network and introduce fibre optic cables.
Most hotels and lodges offer International telephone and fax services. In larger towns, private telecommunication centres also offer international services.
If you have a mobile phone with a roaming connection, then you can make use of Kenya’s excellent cellular networks, which covers most larger towns and tourist areas.
When calling Kenya, the International code is +254.
Kenya has good Internet Service Providers. Email and Internet services are offered by many hotels and lodges. In most towns, there are plenty of private business centres and cyber cafes offering email and internet access.
Kenya has several English language newspapers. The most popular are the Daily Nation and the East African Standard.
The East African is a weekly newspaper sold throughout Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. There are two seperate Swahili newspapers, Taifa Leo and Kenya Leo. There is also locally produced television and radio media.
International newspapers and magazines are widely available in Kenya. Digital Satellite Television has become widespread throughout Kenya. Many hotels provide this South African based service, offering a range of channels.
The electricity supply in Kenya is 220/240 v 50hz. Plugs are 3 point square.
If you are planning to bring a video camera charger or any other electrical advice, please bring voltage and plug adaptors where appropriate.