Kenya Guide from AU

According to the World Travel Organization (WTO), Kenya is one of the top 10 most visited countries in Africa — and this is for good reason. 

Kenya is a World Wonder → Blessed with a wildlife-ridden landscape that makes a perfect “real Africa” scenery, Kenya holds 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is home to the Great Wildebeest Migration, the largest animal movement in the planet and one of the most spectacular wildlife events in the world.✔Kenya is the “cradle of humanity” With a rich pre-historic record that dates back over a hundred million years ago back into the age of the dinosaurs, Kenya has been recognized as the “Cradle of Humanity”. It is where the apes which are ancestors to the earliest humans are found. Kenya also holds the largest number of fossil human remains and because of the skeletons found in the area, information on human physiology have been augmented.

Kenya is a tropical paradise → Enjoying a warm tropical weather all year round, Kenya features a very beautiful coastline of the Indian Ocean.

Kenya offers many unforgettable activities → There is absolutely something for everyone in Kenya be it activities on the road, on the sea or on the air. The following are most recommended: game drives, nature hikes, horseback riding, cultural tours, beach escapes, scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, mountain climbing, hot air ballooning, sky diving and fishing!
Truly, Kenya is magical place and it is not a surprise why people from all over the world come to experience its beauty. If you come from Australia, the “Land Down Under”, this guide is for you!

Australia to Kenya

The distance between Australia and Kenya is 10,606 kilometers. Its air travel distance is equal to 6,590 miles in which most airlines can travel between the two for an average of 15.5 hours. Flights to Nairobi can cost AU$1,600-AU$1800 roundtrip and AU$1600-AU$2000 if you fly to Mombasa. Also, no nonstop flights are available from Oz but there are a lot of flights on direct 1- or 2-stop routes.

Massive elephant herds in Amboseli National Park in Kenya

Massive elephant herds in Amboseli National Park in Kenya

What’s in Kenya that’s not in Australia?

Australia is known to have an amazing set of landscapes and more importantly, a incredible wildlife which are often found nowhere else in the world. The country is teeming with a balance of city life and wildlife, with conservation areas and a lot of zoos. While those are exceptionally wonderful, Kenya offers something different… something wilder.

In the Outback, safaris usually allow visitors to roam freely and there are usually no large predators around except for dingoes. In Kenya, not only will you see a real wilderness that features diverse landscapes, you will also encounter a mind-blowing concentration of wild animals including large predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs, hippos, hyenas and more. Certainly, not a lot in this world can beat the adrenaline rush of exploring through the wilderness with all those animals around. So while Australia offers superb wildlife viewing via city zoos and walking safaris, Kenya offers spine-tingling safari experiences through game drives and guided walking safaris where you get to see wild animals in their natural habitat.

Kenya is also home to the Great Migration in which over 2.5 million wildebeests, zebras and gazelles stampede across the Serengeti and Masai Mara plains in search for better grazing. Of course, predators won’t let this opportunity slide. As migrant animals move from one place to another, predators lurk around to wait for a kill. Around August to October, expect to see the migratory animals cross the huge Mara River while large Nile crocodiles and mighty hippos await. This event is usually called the “World Cup of Wildlife.”

Another obvious differences between the Oz and Kenya are the food, culture, city life and the people. In Kenya, many tribes who still practice century-old traditions live around the areas. City life is also not so advanced in comparison with Australia’s and so you can expect a poorer infrastructure. Night clubs, bars, hotels and restaurants are still available in major cities but again, infrastructure is nothing compared to Australia. So, it’s a great opportunity to explore a new country – new culture, new city, new food, new people.

When is the best time to visit?

Wildlife viewing in Kenya is excellent year-round but if you want to witness phenomenal animal activity and presence, it’s best to go around late June to October. The wildebeest migration during these months is spectacular in Kenya. The animals usually start to arrive Masai Mara in July and remains in the area until October or early November. Also, since it’s dry season, vegetation is scarce and so spotting wildlife is easier.

Why Kenya over other African safari destinations?

  • Kenya offers the “real Africa” scenery and is in fact recognized by many safari connoisseurs as the “mini Africa”.
  • There are 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kenya.
  • It is one of the only 2 homes of the world-famous Great Migration, the greatest inland animal movement on Earth.
  • Kenya is the “cradle of humanity” so if you visit the country, you get to see ancient fossil human remains, etc.
  • Safaris in Kenya are cheaper. Mid-range prices in other safari countries are usually already the luxury rates in Kenya.
  • There are a lot of activities available apart from game drives – scuba diving, nature hikes, horseback riding, cultural ours, mountain climbing, skydiving, hot air balloon safaris, fishing, canoeing – and these are relatively cheaper to do in Kenya.
  • You can experience city life and the wild easily. Nairobi, the capital city, also offers a lively night life and some incredible city tours.
  • Kenya is not all about the wild. Accessing one of the world’s most pristine beaches is very easy as Kenya also boasts of a beautiful coast- and shoreline which are only a bus ride away.

How to get there from Australia?

The main international hub to Kenya is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city and business center. The airport is located approximately 15 kilometers from the city center and it holds several flights to more than 50 countries in the world. Being one of Africa’s busiest airports, seeing millions of passengers every year is only natural.

There is another way to get to Kenya. This route is usually used by people who want to start their trip by visiting mosques or exploring the coastal areas. Many business travelers also opt to take this route. Other than having a quieter airport, Moi International Airport (MBA) in Mombasa is also just 425 kilometers away from NBO.

Here are the flights from Australia to Nairobi:

flights from Australia to Nairobi

Here are the flights from Australia to Mombasa:

flights from Australia to Mombasa

How can I get to the city centre from the airport?

Nairobi:

There is a variety of options to get you to the city center which is only about 14 kilometers away. The most typical ways are via taxi, shuttle van or bus. Taxis are right outside the airport and many taxi drivers may harass you into taking his cab for your ride. If you want to take a taxi, there are official airport taxis available. Make sure to agree on the fare before getting in.

Buses are the cheapest means to get to the city. Bus number 34 runs every 20 minutes and takes around 45 minutes. It stops at several hotels too so you can sit and relax and wait to be dropped off.

For shuttle vans, you should book this in advance. If you have a tour operator, they usually arrange this for you.

Mombasa:

The best way to get ti the city from the airport is to jump onto an airport shuttle. Prices may vary depending on where you want to be dropped off but compared to taxis, this option is relatively cheaper.

What are the requirements for entry?

For Australia passport holders, the only requirements to enter Kenya are valid visa and passport.

VISA

Valid tourist visas to Kenya can either be a regular visa or an e-Visa, classified into transit, single-entry and multiple-entry. East Africa Tourist Visas are also accepted.

  • Transit visas are visas given to visitors who are flying into other destinations but making a stopover in Kenya for 72 hours or less and would like to explore the country during that duration. Of course, necessary documents like plane tickets should be provided. Fee: $20
  • Single-entry tourist visas are valid for 90 days before arrival and can allow Visa holder up to 90 days of stay in Kenya. This duration can be extended for another 90 days but you should apply for approval first. Fee: $51
  • Multiple-entry tourist visas are perfect for those who travel often to Kenya over a short period of time. Fee: $101
  • East Africa Tourist Visa allows travel to Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya in a maximum travel duration of 90 days. It costs US$ 101 and can be obtained at the embassies of Kenya if you start your trip in Kenya, of Uganda if you start your trip in Uganda or online on the Rwanda e-visa website if you start your trip in Rwanda.

The different ways to obtain a visa to Kenya are:

  • Visa on Arrival: Visa obtained upon arrival to the airport in Kenya. Visa can either be transit or single-entry.
  • e-Visa: Visa acquired online. Like VOA, this could be transit or single-entry.
  • Regular Visa: Visas issued can be transit, single-entry or multiple-entry. You can get this from Kenya High Commissions offices in Perth or in O’Malley, Canberra, ACT.

PASSPORT

Passports must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry and it must have least 2 blank pages upon arrival.

What about the recommended medications/immunizations?

Up-to-date routine immunizations including measles, mumps, rubella; diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis; polio; varicella and flu shot is highly encouraged. Also, since malaria is present in all parts of Kenya, it is advised that you bring malaria tablets or any medicine/precaution as advised by your doctor.

If your itinerary includes areas other than Nairobi, Mombasa, Northeastern Province, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Malindi, and Tanariver in the Coast Province, yellow fever vaccine may be needed. For reference, here is the  list of countries with risk of yellow fever virus transmission.

You can also check Smart Traveler AU for updated specific travel advisories pertaining to travels to Kenya.

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