Kenya Safari Guide from UK – Best time to go, Visa, Safari Tours, etc…

When it comes to wildlife safari and unique adventures, Kenya is a natural favorite especially to first-timers. If you are a citizen of the United Kingdom or perhaps a visitor in the British lands who’s eyeing for Kenya safari tours from UK, this guide might just be your must-read manual!
What makes Kenya the ideal safari destination
A typical safari day tour
Best time to go
UK flights to Kenya
Available airlines
Entry requirements for UK nationals
Top safari parks
Various safari options based on budget
Recommended Kenya Safari Tours

What makes Kenya the ideal safari destination

Africa is a vast continent with so much to offer. It covers a multitude of amazing countries including South Africa, Tanzania and Rwanda. But, if you’re looking for an authentic wildlife safari experience or you want to see the Lion King movie come to life, Kenya is the best place to be!

The reasons to love Kenya is endless, but we’re giving you 5 notable ones.

1 – Ease of access

With a plethora of options to fly directly to Kenya, what stops you from going? Flights only take at least 8 hours. Plus, Kenya has  an efficient tourist infrastructure. In Nairobi, you can go local and try to ride the famous “matatu” to get around the city. If this is too extreme for you, worry not for UBER is widely used in Nairobi. Fares are also significantly cheaper compared to that of London buses and other public transportation. For regional air travel, Kenya holds about 39 airports and air strips that make every safari destination easy to get to.

2 – Tropical weather

We all know that UK has an immensely unpredictable weather. In fact, Brits have over 10 different ways to describe rain: drizzle, tipping down, sunshower, nice weather for ducks, raining sideways, and many more! To add to that, snow in UK is incredibly hard to predict! Do I need my Wellies or not? Should I bring mittens and warm coats? These are almost a daily dilemma in certain seasons.

In Kenya, weather is absolutely gorgeous all year-round. A tropical paradise so to speak. It is mostly sunny more than half of the time and it enjoys just enough rain to make its diverse landscapes lush and marvelous. You don’t have to worry about checking the weather reports every now and then because the sun is sure to greet you almost everyday – like 95% of the time! Also, Kenya is famous for its breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. You wouldn’t want to miss these for the world.

3 – A modern city with a vibrant nightlife

Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, is one of the topmost developed cities in the entire continent. It was coined “the most intelligent city in Africa” and has gained worldwide recognition for its efficiency and impact on social and environmental businesses. What makes Nairobi special is that it is an advancing metropolitan that accommodates a chunk of real African wildlife in the very heart of the city. You can have day tours in the city and you can even enjoy a good night out! So if you’re not up to going into the wild or roughing it out and you still want to stay in the city, Nairobi is the piece of paradise you’re looking for.

4 – Bucket list experience

Apart from the picturesque African scenery and the wildlife-riddled landscapes, Kenya is also home to some of the top national parks, game reserves and conservancies in Africa. It is home to the world-renowned Great Migration where millions of wildebeests, zebras and antelopes scatter across the plains in search for better grazing; and it is also where you can find the majestic Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain. To make your vacation even more amazing and unforgettable, you can do once-in-a-lifetime activities like game driving, walking safaris, beach hopping, hot air ballooning, mobile camping, skydiving, snorkeling, scuba diving, animal feeding, picnicking in the wild, bush breakfasts and dinners, and many more! No wonder Kenya has always been a favorite among families, solo backpackers and honeymooners.

5 – Safari + Beach holiday combo

Kenya’s beauty is unlike any other in the world. With its diverse landscapes, astounding wildlife, coastal regions that rival the Caribbean, prolific avifauna, impressive water bodies and vibrant people, Kenya guarantees to provide a striking backdrop of “the classic Africa.”

Have you watched wildlife documentaries in National Geographic Channel? How about Big Cat Diary on BBC? If you go to Kenya, you can have all of those unfold before your very eyes. Lions roaring, elephants playing, cheetahs running, leopards fighting… the possibilities are endless! Plus, you get a chance to have close encounters with them. You can even float on a hot air balloon just above their herds! After an exciting safari, you can easily head to the beach for a well-deserved R&R. Definitely a perfect way to cap any vacation!

A typical safari day tour

Your safari typically starts early in the morning after a hearty breakfast. To ensure an unforgettable experience, an expert tour guide/driver will stay with you the entire time and navigate your tour to where you can enjoy the most exciting wildlife and scenery in the area. In a comfortable safari vehicle, you will wind through a park or game reserve in search of animals freely roaming in their natural habitat. You can take breathtaking photos, witness fascinating animal behavior, view scenic landscapes and just revel in the raw beauty of nature. By noontime, you will stop for a sumptuous picnic lunch. Sometimes, there will even be a break where you will go back to the camp in the afternoon for some snacks before going for another game drive in the afternoon.

See this classic 4-Day safari to see a sample of the day by day itinerary: Kenya 4-day Safari.

And here’a map of Kenya and Tanzania to help you see where we are in the world.

Best time to go

Great migration river crossing in Mara RiverGenerally, Kenya is a year-round destination. In fact, you can do safaris anytime and sightings of Big 5 is almost always guaranteed. However, based on most travel experts’ recommendation, June to October is the best time to visit Kenya. Why? Because it is dry season and there is very little rain in most of the country. Also, if you are coming to see the migration, this is the right season for you. Around July to September, millions of wildebeests, zebras, antelopes and gazelles can be seen thundering across the Mara River in their struggle for survival. This event is what they call “the greatest show on Earth.” By late September to early November, the surviving herds scatter around Masai Mara to graze on the lush savannah. By end of November to December, most of these herds head back to the Serengeti to start the cycle again.

Here is a quick summary of Kenya’s weather all throughout the year:

  • November to December: Weather during these months is termed “Short Rains.” Although sometimes heavy, rains usually occur during the night or late in the afternoon. Thus, safari tours are essentially not gravely affected.
  • January to February: Sometimes referred to as months with the “dry spell,” weather in Kenya during this time becomes kind of unpredictable. There is significantly less rainfall although when it pours, it’s hard to predict how long it will last or how often it will occur.
  • March to May: These months get the more rain and rainfall basically occurs everyday. Hence, the term “Long Rains.” Humidity is higher during this time particularly in coastal regions. Price-wise, this season is the cheapest time to visit Kenya.
  • June to October: “Dry Season.” These are considered the coldest months, with less humidity and fairly stable weather conditions. There is little to no rainfall, and skies are clear all the time. This is also the perfect time to hit the beach.

UK flights to Kenya

There are several ways to visit Kenya. Luckily for UK nationals, flying to Kenya is a breeze. Flights usually leave from these major international airports:

EnglandScotlandWalesNorth Ireland
  • Heathrow Airport (LHR): Located in Longford, England just 14 miles of Central London
  • Gatwick Airport (LGW): Located in Horley, Gatwick in Southeast England, about 29.5 miles south of Central London
  • London City Airport (LCY): Located in the Royal Docks in Newham, nearly 6.9 miles east of the City of London
  • London Stansted Airport (STN): Located in Stansted Mountfitchet in Uttlesford, Essex
  • Manchester Airport (MAN): Located in Ringway, approximately 7.5 nautical miles south-west of Manchester city centre
  • Birmingham Airport (BHX): Located in Bickenhill, Solihull in the southeast part of Birmingham city center.
  • Edinburgh Airport (EDI): Located in Ingliston area of Edinburgh
  • Glasgow Airport (GLA): Located in Paisley, 8.6 nautical miles west of Glasgow city centre
  • Aberdeen International Airport (ABZ): Located at Dyce, Aberdeen, approximately 5 nautical miles northwest of Aberdeen city centre.
  • Inverness Airport (INV): Located in Dalcross, northeast of the city of Inverness
  • Cardiff Airport (CWL): Located in Rhoose; busiest airport in Wales
  • Belfast International Airport (BFS): Located in Airport Road, northwest of Belfast
  • Dublin Airport (DUB): Located in Dublin, Ireland

From these airports, you can fly into either Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) or Mombasa Moi International Airport (MBA). Depending on your departure country, flights can be nonstop. However, some flights go on a one-stop or two-stop journey. For these flights, duration will highly depend on the stopover destination and waiting time. For example, a one-stop flight from Heathrow via Amsterdam through KLM Royal Dutch Airlines typically takes 20 hours.

  • Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) is conveniently situated just about 10 miles south of Nairobi, the capital and business center of Kenya. As the largest airport in the country that caters over 4.4 million passengers a year, NBO remains to be the main arrival hub for most tourists who are looking into doing Kenya safari tours from UK. As a matter of fact, it is also the 7th most frequented African airport.
  • Moi International Airport (MBA) is in Mombasa, a metropolitan popular for people entering Kenya’s coastal region. It is the second largest airport in Kenya and holds more or less 1 million passengers each year. So, if you’re more into coastal vacations, MBA may be the most convenient for you.

Available airlines

There is an endless list of airlines available from the UK. If you wish to arrive in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi, you can check the following airlines:

EnglandScotlandWalesNorth Ireland
Average air fare ranges from £340 to £550, and flight duration is 8 hours and 30 minutes.
Average air fare is £499, and average flight duration is 10 hours and 45 minutes.
Average air fare ranges from £480 to £750+, and flight duration is 10 hours and 15 minutes.
Air fare can go as low as €370+. Average flight duration from Belfast is 11 hours and 20 minutes (usually with one or two stops), and if from Dublin, flight takes about 10 hours and 30 minutes (with one stop, most of the time).

For those planning to start at the coastal areas of Kenya, you can catch a flight to Moi International Airport (MBA) in Mombasa via these airline providers:

EnglandScotlandWalesNorth Ireland
Average air fare ranges from £320 to £540, and flight duration is 8 hours and 30 minutes.
Air fare can go as low as £305, and average flight duration is 11 hours and 35 minutes for flights coming from EDI and GLA; 14 hours and 45 minutes for flights from INV.
Average flight duration is 12 hours and 35 minutes (usually with 2 stops at Amsterdam and Nairobi).
Air fares can go as low as €309. Flights usually take 2 stops from Belfast, taking approximately 14 hours and 40 minutes, and for flights coming from Dublin, it will usually take about 11 hours and 45 minutes (usually one-stop flights are available).

Of course, flight fares may vary depending on your season of travel and how early you book for your flight/s. Generally, flights booked early are cheaper. Some travel enthusiasts advise booking a year early, since flights to Africa usually run out very fast.

Entry requirements for UK nationals

Like traveling to most countries in the world, immigration rules and regulations should be adhered to. For British passport holders, the following are required:

✓ Visa

You have 2 options to obtain a visa:  either get one on arrival at the airport or get one before you travel. Since airport queues can be long, you can apply online for single entry and transit visas via E-visas website. For visa types other than transit and single entry, you can apply at the nearest Kenyan High Commission or Embassy.

Visa processing fee for single entry visas are £30,  £10 for transit visas and £60 for multiple entry. For personal applications, payment can be made through card; and for postal applications, by Postal Order or Bankers Cheque. For visa on arrival, fee is at US$51. For more details, visit Kenya High Commission page.

✓ Passport

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry and must have at least two blank pages upon arrival in Kenya. For children, they may have their own passport with photo or be included in the passport of their parent. Single parents and those traveling alone with children should know that they may be required evidence of parental responsibilities.

✓ UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Kenya. ETDs must be valid for 6 months.

✓ Yellow Fever Certificate

Yellow fever is at risk in certain parts of Kenya. As a result, travelers over the age of 1 are advised to obtain a Yellow Fever Certificate to maintain healh precautions . According to World Health Organization (WHO), yellow fever certificates released all over the world from July 11, 2016 onwards are valid for a lifetime. So even if you’ve shelled out about £60-80 for  the vaccine, your safety from yellow fever is guaranteed to last.

✓ Others

There are other vaccinations and medications that are highly recommended but not necessarily part of the entry requirements. This includes vaccinations against hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, and tetanus, malaria medications and insect repellents. Also, visitors are advised to secure a comprehensive international travel and medical insurance covering repatriation costs.

Top safari parks

It is the quality of its parks and reserves that make Kenya one of the most popular safari destinations in Africa. Here are the top parks in order of popularity:

The Masai Mara National Reserve – one of the most popular game reserves in Africa to see the Big 5
Lake Nakuru National Park-  has a large reserve of over 450 species of birds, which make it an ideal site of bird lovers
Amboseli National Park – known for its large elephant herds and views of immense Mount Kilimanjaro
Tsavo National Parks – one of the oldest and largest parks in Kenya at 13,747 square kilometers
Mount Kenya-  the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro
Aberdare National Park
See all top parks in Kenya

Various safari options based on budget

One of the best things about a vacation in Kenya is how boundless your options are. In fact, you can easily tailor fit your Kenya safari based on your budget and style. Of course, prices vary depending on the accommodation you choose. You can go camping in the wild or you can stay in luxury lodges. The good news is, you will find several safari operators who offer group-joining safaris to share cost with others and you can also do a private one.

Recommended Kenya Safari Tours

Ready to conquer Kenya for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure? Here are top-rated Kenya safari tours for you!

4 DAYS MAASAI MARA AND LAKE NAKURU SAFARI
6 DAYS MAASAI MARA, LAKE NAKURU AND AMBOSELI SAFARI
6 DAYS BEST OF KENYA PARKS LUXURY SAFARI
7 DAYS MASAI MARA, LAKE NAKURU, LAKE NAIVASHA AND AMBOSELI SAFARI
9 DAYS CLASSIC KENYA FAMILY SAFARI
13 DAYS KENYA EXTENSIVE SAFARI

For an array more options, check-out our safari tours page.

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