Kenya Customs Regulations : a Guide for Foreign Travelers

Kenya Customs Regulations : Kenya is now listed among one of the world’s top tourist destinations with millions of foreign tourists every year visiting Kenya for wildlife safari, cultural treasures and beach vacations on idyllic beaches.

Kenya Customs Regulations

So to encourage the rise in the international tourism, Kenyan government has put out regulations to make traveling to Kenya easier and hassle – free. Some of these steps are the new e-visa allowing foreign travelers to apply for their visas online so as to enter Kenya for purposes of tourism, business and health purposes. From anywhere in the world one can apply for the visa online and is valid for up to 30 consecutive days.

 When traveling to Kenya for wildlife Kenya Safaris, Visa and travel documents are not the only things you should keep in mind as a traveler. Most countries around the world including Kenya enforces, Kenya as a country enforces a series of customs, currency and airport tax regulations.

 So as to avoid delays at the airport and potential fine, it is important for foreign travelers to be aware of these rules. This article provides you with useful and practical information regarding Kenya’s customs policies including what you can and cannot import from Kenya.

Kenya Customs Regulations
Kenya Customs Regulations

What Can I Import into Kenya?

As a tourist/traveler when packing you luggage for a safari in Kenya, there are a series of items you shouldn’t forget to include in luggage such as appropriate and comfortable clothes, medications, personal care items and your travel permit for the country.

However, as you are packing for a Kenya safari or travel. There are several items that are considered restricted or even prohibited by the Kenyan authorities.

Prohibited Items: What You Can’t Take into Kenya

Prohibited items are items that cannot be imported into Kenya, travelers/tourists should leave the following items out of their luggage and they include

  • Illegal drugs
  • Guns, explosives, and ammunition – unless you have a relevant written permit
  • Knives and hunting weapons
  • Hazardous materials
  • Meat and meat products
  • Plants and plant products – unless you have a relevant written permit
  • Soil
  • Counterfeit money and goods
  • Single-use plastic bags
  • Pornographic material

Some of the illegal objects or substances listed above are forbidden for being brought into Kenya to ensure that the local environment with its flora and fauna is preserved.

Restricted Items: What You Need to Get Permission for

Restricted items are which are not completely forbidden but to enter them into Kenya as a traveler/tourists, you may have to get permission before you travel to Kenya with them or you may have to clear them at the Kenyan border with customs.

Restricted items in Kenya include

  • To travel with fire arms you will need a written police permit
  • To import any plants or plant products into the country, you will need a special Plant Import Permit
  • Meat and meat products must be declared at the customs and declared or else they may not be permitted entry
  • Animals can only travel as cargo to Kenya, cats and dogs are required to be in a general good health and with a health certificate from the country of origin and another recent certificate clearing the animals of Rabies. Wild birds coming from birds with bird flu are required to have a sanitary import permit issued by the Director of Ventinary Services.
  • Other restricted items to travel with to Kenya include
  1. unprepared ivory
  2. precious metal and stones
  3. historical artifacts
  4. imitation firearms
  5. children’s toys, and fruit

Can You Take Alcohol into Kenya?                                 

In Kenya, travelers are allowed to enter with a limited amount of alcohol. Here is the list of items that can be imported into Kenya as long as quantity limitations are observed.

  • Cigarettes and tobacco: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 227 grams of tobacco
  • Alcohol: 1 bottle
  • Perfume: 1 pint
  • Money: there is no limits to local and foreign currency that foreign travelers can import, however the residents of Kenya can only import up to 500,000 Kenyan shillings and an unlimited amount of foreign currency.

What Can I Export from Kenya?

All tourists and travelers love to carry souvenirs and unique objects  from Kenya as a way to remind them of their time on the holiday, Kenyans are so proud of their fine artifacts and products that they are willing to see them to the tourists at an affordable price.

However, the custom  cover what goods can and cannot be exported. So as a traveler/tourist you are advised to make sure that you have everything in order before deciding to take items outside of the country.

 List of items that may have special regulations while exporting them from Kenya include

  • Cameras and equipment for filming outside the country which the traveler plans to bring back must be declared
  • Toolboxes required for repair work abroad and that the traveler plans to bring back must be declared
  • No limit to the amount of money you can export. However, you must declare sums equal to USD 500 with the Customs Department
  • Jewelrymust be declared
  • Sporting equipmentmust be declared
  • Musical instrumentsmust be declared
  • Plants and plant products must receive special written permission
  • Precious metalssuch as gold and diamonds cannot be exported
  • Wood charcoalcannot be exported
  • Fresh unprocessed fishcannot be exported
  • Hunting productslike tusks, skins, hides, etc cannot be exported as hunting is prohibited in Kenya.
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