At a Glance
When to Go
International flights arrive at Jomo Kenyatta Airport, about 20 minutes drive from central Nairobi. It’s now possible to purchase your visa in advance online for most nationalities, but you can also buy it on arrival if necessary. Check out the eVisa portal for more information.
There’s a number of ways to get around Kenya. If you’d like to self-drive, you can organise a rental car from Jomo Kenyatta Airport with Europcar. For taxis in and around Nairobi, download the Uber app to your smartphone, or try the Little Cab app, a Kenyan-only Uber competitor. You can fly around the country using small charter flights with Safarilink and Air Kenya, which take off from Nairobi Wilson airport. If you’re booking a safari or tour your booking operator will often be able to arrange flights for you. Another great airline for getting around the country is Fly540, especially if you’re heading to the Kenyan coast. For taxis in and around Nairobi, download the Uber app to your smartphone.
Food and Drink
Kenya’s cultural heritage is particularly vibrant. There are a huge range of tribes here: from the colorful, beautifully adorned Maasai warriors in the south to the bejeweled Samburu tribesmen in the north, to name just two. Village visits can be arranged to meet the tribes and see traditional ways of life. In the Marsabit region, take a trip to the Singing Wells. Locals take their cattle there everyday and sing as they form a human chain to scoop water from the well to the trough. In Nairobi, visit the Nairobi National Museum to see the early human fossils, and check out the Maasai Market to pick up some local Kenyan handicrafts (although beware, some of the goods on sale are knock-offs made in China).
In Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, there’s always a huge range of festivals and events going on, from live music to thrift markets. For the most up-to-date information about what’s happening there, try Kenya Buzz (a local events website) or EatOut for the latest information on restaurants and bars. Further afield, Kenya has a number of annual events worth attending. The Lake Turkana Festival, held on the shores of the lake in Loiyangalani each year, is a colorful celebration that brings together local tribes, while the Lamu Yoga Festival is a chance to find your bliss on the beach. Athletes should check out the annual Lewa Marathon, with the chance to jog past zebra and antelope on a nature conservancy, while petrol heads should explore Rhino Charge, an off-road motorsport competition that raises money for conservation each year.
What the Locals Know
Harriet Constable is a freelance journalist specialising in travel, conservation, and development. She writes for the The Times, Financial Times, NPR, Wanderlust, SUITCASE Magazine, and more. She also co-authored the updated Rough Guide to Kenya. Currently based in Nairobi, her travels have taken her to every continent on earth.