FAQs by travelers on Kenya tours
FAQs by travelers on Kenya tours: Kenya is undeniably one of the best destinations on African continent teeming with breathtaking landscapes, endless plains inhabiting a variety animals including the big five and wild cats. The most famous Kenya wildlife safari destination is Maasai Mara national reserve experiencing the great wildebeest migration where over 1.5 million wildebeests accompanied by thousands of elands, Thomson and Grant’s gazelles move into the plains of the reserve from Serengeti national park in Tanzania.
While traveling to Kenya for a Kenya safari, tourists ask themselves many questions regarding Kenya (FAQs by travelers on Kenya tours) as a safari destination, in this article frequently asked questions for travelers are being answered as below:
Travelling to Kenya
Kenya attracts a lot of international tourists and these tourists fly into Kenya using Jomo Kenyatta Airport situated in Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta International airport is the main port of entry for international flights into Kenya. International flights are also offered to Moi International Airport situated in Mombasa, flights to Kenya are offered by national and international carriers.
National carriers in Kenya include
- Kenya Airways – operating an extensive network of flights to and from major cities in Europe, Asia and other countries in Africa.
- International carriers – operating direct flights international flights including to Kenya, these include Air France, Air Mauritius, British Airways, Egypt Air, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad, KLM, LAM Mozambique Airlines, Lufthansa, Malawian Airlines, Oman Air, Qatar, Rwandair, Royal Air Maroc, South African Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and Turkish Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. These international carriers operate from London, Paris among other countries.
Travelers can get to Kenya using overland from neighboring countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Somalia.
Getting around in Kenya
Kenya has a good network of road transport and scheduled and charter flights connecting from Nairobi, Mombasa, Malindi and Kisumu to major cities of Kenya and numerous Kenya safari destinations.
There is a number of well maintained and surfaced routes connecting from Major towns of Kenya such as Nairobi, Mombasa and others connecting to Kenya wildlife safari destinations and other destinations. Private and public means of transport can be used to get around in Kenya, self drive is also possible in Kenya. For self drive you need a valid driving license, it is good to know that private means of transport do not get access into the national park and reserves.
Most of the domestic and chartered flights to Kenya’s wildlife destinations such as Maasai Mara national reserve, Tsavo East and West national park, Amboseli national among others depart from Nairobi from the Wilson Airport. While on a safari in Kenya, domestic flights can be organized by international and local operators.
Train service is also available connecting from Nairobi to Mombasa which is an adventure of its own.
Kenya Culture is one of the FAQs by travelers on Kenya tours. Kenya is a multilingual country with 62 languages spoken including mainly African languages and minority of middle-eastern and Asian languages which are spoken by the descendants of Arabic and Hindi foreign settlers. African languages in Kenya originate 3 different language families that are
- Bantu languages which are spoken in the center and southeast region of Kenya
- Nilotic languages which are spoken in the west
- Cushitic languages spoken in the northeast
Kenya consists of 13 ethnic groups and 27 smaller groups with the majority of Kenyans belonging to Bantu tribes including the Kikuyu, Luhya and Kamba. Nilotic tribes in Kenya include the Luo, Kalenjin, Maasai and Turkana and the Hamitic people include Turkana, Rendille and Samburu.
Approximately 13% of Kenya’s populations are of non-African descent that is Indian, Arab and European. Each of these tribes has fascinating cultures, norms and traditions which you are to encounter on Kneya cultural safaris.
Languages in Kenya
There are over 60 different languages spoken and indigenous to Kenya though the official language is English and it is the standard used in Kenya tourism industry, Kiswahili is another commonly spoken language in Kenya. Kiswahili is an East African lingua franca language originating from the Indian coast.
Other major languages spoken in Kenya include Kikuyu, Luo, Akamba and Maa. Most of languages spoken in Kenya belong to 2 broad language families that are Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan which are spoken by the Bantu and Nilotic people in Kenya.
Is Kenya Safe?
Kenya is a very secure safari destination but like other safari destinations a few tendencies of crimes are so common, Nairobi the capital city of Kenya has been known to be crime hotspots for petty crimes like pick pocketing. While on a Kenya safari and staying in Nairobi and other cities in the country, the following precautions should be taken
- the triangle streets between Moi Avenue and River road in Nairobi should be avoided unless you have a local escort
- while leaving your hotel in the dark hours of the night, use a taxi or a safari vehicle offered to you by a safari vehicle.
- Don’t carry hard copies of your documents in case you are going for a city walk, in return carry scanned or electro version of all your important travel documents. Also, backup your documents in the email where you can easily access them in case you lose them.
- Don’t leave your valuables such as cash, mobile phones, and electronic devices in your vehicle or in the open place in your hotel room.
- Do not move with expensive jewelry
- Do not expose large sums of money, laptops and cameras while in public as they attract thieves
- Avoid walking around towns in dark hours of the night.
Changing money in Kenya
There are a number of Forex bureaus where any currency can be changed into Kenya shilling, though there is no need to carry large amount of hard currency cash as international debit or credit cards are accepted in Kenya such Master and Visa cards. To facilitate the use of debit or credit cards there are a number of ATM machines in most cities of Kenya, beaches and safari lodges and camps where you can draw money to the local Kenya currency. Cards are not accepted by vendors, national parks and other safari destinations.
Note: it is a good idea to carry a few dollars worth of hard currency cash as a fall back
Shopping in Kenya
If you’re a fan of shopping, Kenya has endless opportunities of shopping in magnificent shopping malls, and shops in big towns like Nairobi the capital city, Mombasa, Malindi and many others. In the smaller towns there are small shops operating on African standards, also lodges and camps have gift shops fully stocked with a selection of goods which you will either need as souvenir or for the safari such as
- Books about Kenya
- Art paintings and handmade craft pieces
- Beautiful clothing made out of African fabrics with African prints
- Packaged goods such as chocolate bars, crisps, chewing gum, bottled water among others
- Maps and many more.
Like already said, shopping opportunities in Kenya are endless. When it comes to the coastal areas, coastal resorts and along the streets of Nairobi and Mombasa, there is several widely-used trucks and kiosks/stalls selling a wide range of wildlife carvings, paintings and other interesting pieces such as
- Makonde carvings and Tingatinga paintings made with fantastic styles
- Akamba basketwork
- Gussi soapstine carvings
- Malachite knick-knacks
- Masai beadwork
- Tribal items such as toys made from wire, woods among others
These items are sold at a very favorable price though in crafts shops, the prices are usually fixed but bargaining is also possible so as to get a good price.
Note: it is advisable to ask for the price of the similar product from different stalls so as to get a good price.