Kenya for Digital Nomads: A Quick Guide

by Dec 19, 20190 comments

Kenya is possibly the most overlooked destination in the world for remote workers and digital nomads. It offers a combination of adventure, excitement, convenience, culture, and astounding natural beauty, unique not just in Africa, but the world.

While rightly famous for its spectacular safaris and game drives, this country is full of surprises and will quickly take you under its spell. 

Ignore the bad press, overcome your hesitation, and enjoy East Africa’s most vibrant, diverse, and accessible destination. We guarantee that once you settle in Kenya, you’ll want to come back again and again.

Kenya Travel Basics

Main Languages Swahili and English
Capital city Nairobi
Main airport Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi
Currency Kenyan Shilling ($1 = ~100 KES/ksh)
Time Zone East African Time (GMT +3)
Plug Socket Type UK 3-Pin
Best time(s) to Visit September – March
Internet Quality High
Highlights Nature; Safari; Beaches; People; Coworking Spaces; Culture

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Kenya Highlights

Safaris and National Parks

You probably know this already, but Kenya spoils you for choice when it comes to exciting safari adventures. A trip to the Kenyan countryside will leave you in awe, from the many big game animals to the beautiful sunsets.

Beach Getaways

Kenya’s long coastline is home to countless spectacular white sandy beaches, charming coastal towns, and relaxing islands. They offer thousands of kilometres of stunning beauty and tranquility, with a unique mix of cultures.

Hiking

Mt. Kenya is famed as the second-highest peak in Africa, offering breathtaking landscapes for experienced hikers. However, there are also plenty of smaller and more accessible mountains and hiking trails in national parks across the country. Some, such as Ngong Hills and Karura Forest, can be accessed without leaving Nairobi.

People, Cultures & Diversity

70 different ethnic groups call this country home, speaking 68 languages. Each of these groups has distinct cultures, histories, and traditions that make Kenya an incredibly rich and diverse tapestry. Everywhere you travel here, you’ll get a taste of local customs and characters. In Nairobi, you’ll often experience many of them all in one place.

Remote Working Infrastructure

Nairobi, Kenya’s sprawling capital, boasts over 200 startups. Many of these are grassroots, homegrown social enterprises finding creative solutions to East Africa’s most pressing issues, and working from the city’s 30+ coworking spaces. 

Alongside this, Kenya has a fast-growing and exciting creative scene. New music and art venues continue to pop up across the country, with events held every night of the week. 

It’s also not uncommon for these two worlds to overlap and collaborate, with surprising and fascinating results.

Internet in Kenya

Kenya wouldn’t be the start-up and tech hub of East Africa if you struggled to find good internet here. 

Generally speaking, in most towns and hotels, you’ll enjoy fast speeds and reliable wifi connections. In more remote areas, your phone’s 4G+ will back you up. 

And if you can’t find either reliable wifi or solid 4G+ coverage, you’re probably somewhere that you shouldn’t be working anyway, like a national park or remote beach. 

Embrace it, switch off, and relax. (But also plan ahead for this possibility)

4G+ Providers

Safaricom has the most reliable and fastest 4G+ in Kenya, strong enough to manage a WordPress website from your phone, while on a train, traveling through a national park. 

Airtel also sells 4G+ mobile wifi routers, which are a handy backup if you’re really stuck.

Coworking Spaces

When in doubt, look for your nearest coworking space. Kenya has plenty, and more are popping up each month. 

Every neighborhood in Nairobi has at least one coworking space (at last count, 30+ across the city), and many smaller cities and towns are quickly catching up. 

The following were picked based on their suitability for travelers and remote workerswith the following criteria: location, value, facilities, community, and coffee.

Nairobi

Nairobi Garage, Westlands – Nairobi garage is the OG Kenyan coworking space. The first and still one of the best, they offer monthly part-time membership for as low as $45 and have branches across the city. 

Ikigai – With 4 beautiful branches spread across the city, steeped in nature, striking a balance between productivity and relaxation, and offering some of the best coffee in Nairobi, Ikigai is a great choice for long and short stays.

Pallet Cafe, Lavington – The coworking space is very new, part of a larger garden complex that hosts a great restaurant staffed mostly by deaf waiters, an African antique dealer and arts centre. A great corner of tranquility, popular with celebrities, politicians, and entrepreneurs alike.

The Foundry Africa, Viking House – This is maybe the best located coworking space in Nairobi, in the heart of Westlands. The Foundry is a short walk from numerous hotels and many of the city’s most popular bars and restaurants. 

Read More: Check out our 23 absolute favourite laptop-friendly cafes and coworking spaces in Nairobi.

The Coast

MombasaWorks  A beautiful space in Nyali, close to the beach. Offers a great community, atmosphere, and regular events.

When to Visit Kenya

Don’t let the weather dictate when you come to Kenya. Whatever time you visit, you’ll have plenty to do. 

Given its size and the diversity of its climates and attractions, Kenya can be a year-round destination. Also, the country’s wet and dry seasons aren’t as defined as many parts of the world, with global warming making them even more unpredictable. This means, for example, you could travel here in the rainy season and experience very little actual rain.

For your first time visiting the country, we suggest the following periods.

August to December

The rainy season should be coming to an end, and Kenya’s long, cool, dry season begins.

In Nairobi, there’s a distinct feeling of ‘Summer’, as the city comes alive with festivals and events, many of them outdoors. The areas around the city also enjoy crisp, breezy weather that’s great for weekend trips.

On the Masai Mara, the spectacular Great Migration will be in full swing, winding down towards the end of October. This is peak tourist season in all Kenya’s national parks, but still, a great time to visit. By November crowds grow smaller, and prices start to drop once more. 

By December, the ‘short rains’ season starts and weather more unpredictable, with frequent flooding.

The end of December is one of the busiest periods for tourism in Kenya, especially on the coast.

January to March

March traditionally marks the beginning of Kenya’s long wet season. However, these days it may not start until April or May.

The months before the wet season are hot and dry, but Nairobi usually enjoys cooler temperatures. The city continues to host many outdoor events, making the most of the long, dry days. 

The national parks will be lush with greenery and long grass, while many animals are calving at this time of year. While the coast will be very hot, it’s also quieter than usual, and can be very relaxing.

Where to Stay: Nairobi

Why Nairobi?

As the economic hub of Kenya and East Africa, all major roads (and air routes) lead in and out of Nairobi. This makes it a great central base from which to explore the entire country, and elsewhere in East Africa. 

As the tech hub of East Africa, Nairobi has the best infrastructure to accommodate online workers and business owners. 

As the cultural heart of Kenya, Nairobi is the best place to experience and appreciate the country’s richness and diversity.

Most people who visit Kenya skip over Nairobi entirely. We suggest you do the opposite and spend time taking in everything the capital has to offer.

Things to Do in Nairobi

Nairobi is an exciting, charming, and unique city, full of pleasant surprises and hidden gems. A cultural melting pot, it’s home to some of all Kenya’s ethnic groups, along with those from neighbouring countries, and a large international community. 

Kenya is a diverse country of young people, incredibly creative and entrepreneurial, with rich histories and cultures to celebrate. Nairobi is the best place to soak all of this up:

= A small but growing arts scene, mixing traditional with contemporary.

= Live music and clubbing every night of the week.

= Events and open forums covering every possible subject, from Afro-centric feminism and mental health to SEO and digital marketing. 

= Craft markets and cultural celebrations.

= Outdoor activities and wildlife within the city’s parks and just outside its borders: Karura Forest, the Arboretum Gardens, Uhuru Park, Nairobi National Park, Giraffe Centre, and many more.

= Plenty of unique shopping opportunities: The burgeoning boutique fashion and design scenes, alongside stores and markets selling traditional art, clothing, and souvenirs.

Nairobi Hotels & Guesthouses

The following have all been chosen based on value, comfort, location, and wifi.

Budget

Khweza Bed & Breakfast, Downtown – A charming budget option with a great rooftop terrace, friendly staff, and hearty breakfast. Unfortunately, the location is not great: Khweza is on a busy road used as parking by truckers, in an area unsuitable for walking at night. So we don’t recommend it for your first time in Nairobi.

Hotel Embassy, the CBD – Most people will tell you to avoid the CBD, but there’s some nice accommodation in the area. Rooms at the Embassy are simple and comfortable, much better than the exterior suggests, and offer great value. 

Mid-Range

West Wood Hotel, Westlands – The whole place feels a bit dated but is comfortable, cosy and great value all the same. The location, however, can’t be beat. The West Wood borders Karura forest, with a huge garden leading down to the forest. An oasis of peace and the middle of the city. 

The Zehneria Portico, Westlands – Spacious rooms, a swimming pool, gym, huge buffet breakfast, super helpful staff, and great location make this one of the best places to stay in Nairobi. It’s probably our favourite hotel in the city.

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Getting Around Nairobi

Traffic in Nairobi is so bad, it costs the Kenyan economy roughly US$1 billion annually. Commuting times and traffic jams here are amongst the worst in the world.

Motorbike Taxis

Known as boda bodas, these are the best way to avoid Nairobi traffic and can be found all over the city. Most work from ‘stages’ similar to taxi stands in Western and Asian cities. Look for drivers with bright orange ‘Safe Boda’ jackets and helmets – they work for ride-hailing apps.

Ride-hailing Apps

These are seriously popular in Nairobi, allowing you to order cars and bodas directly to your door, saving you a lot of haggling and confusion. Bolt and Uber are the most reliable and can be synced with your credit or travel debit card, so you don’t need to rely on cash to pay drivers.

Note: Drivers for the ride-hailing in Nairobi are required to provide a helmet. Some will also give you a hairnet.

When you do need to use a car for transport, avoid rush hour unless absolutely necessary. If traveling in rush hour by car, expect delays of 30+ minutes to your journey.

An extra tip: If you connect your Uber or Bolt account to your bank card, both apps offer regular discounts. However, Bolt’s discounts are by far the most generous. You’ll be regularly offered up to 50% off rides within Nairobi.

Matatus and Buses

You’ll also see lots of brightly coloured buses and minibuses (called matatus) ferrying people around Nairobi. While cheap, the city’s semi-public transport is confusing to new arrivals, very slow, and there’s a risk of pickpocketing. 

Stick to the ride-hailing apps until you know your way around.

Getting From the Airport

You have three options for this:

1. Hire a taxi from the crowd of drivers outside the arrivals gate at JKIA. Don’t do this, as you’ll probably be ripped off.

2. Download Bolt or Uber before arriving, connect to the airport wifi, and hail a driver from the car park. This is the cheapest option but may require calling or texting the driver also.

3. Order an airport pickup from your hotel. Most offer this service for $20 USD. You just need to include your flight details when making a reservation.

Coastal Destinations

Kenya enjoys over 1,400 KM of coastline, stretching along the Indian Ocean from the border of Somalia down to Tanzania.

Along the way, you’ll find stunning white sand beaches, mangrove forests, secluded islands, and charming beach towns. The coast is also a great place to experience ancient Swahili culture, an amazing mix of Arabic, African, Persian and Indian influences.

Diani

Just south of Mombasa, Diani is Kenya’s most popular beach destination. It has everything you’d expect: beachside bars, a wide range of hotels, souvenir shops, snorkeling trips, cafes, and more. 

Diani’s heyday has maybe passed, as visitors have been lured to quieter beaches along the coast, but its still a great place to live and work online. 

Once you venture out of the main strip, you’ll find plenty of charming beaches to relax on and forests to explore. If visiting, take a tuk-tuk to Kongo Estuary, Tiwi Beach and, 20-30 minutes south, Galu & Kinondo beaches.

How to Get Here
  • Diani Airport, also called Ukunda Airstrip 
  • Matatu from Mombasa
Where to Stay

Kilifi

There was a time that Kilifi was completely overlooked even by Kenyans, most of whom only knew it for the large bridge connecting Malindi to the north with Mombasa to the south. 

Times have changed. Kilifi is now one of the most popular weekend beach destinations for young Nairobians, drawn to its chilled out atmosphere, creative community, spectacular creek, and quiet, uncrowded beaches. 

It’s also one of the most relaxing places to live on Earth.

How to Get Here
  • Matatu or hire care from Malindi Airport 
  • Hire car or Uber from Mombasa Airport
  • Bus,  matatu  from Mombasa 
  • Shuttle bus from Mariakani SGR station. (See Below)
Where to Stay Salty’s Kitesurf Village 

Lamu 

This little island is the oldest inhabited Swahili settlement in East Africa. Just 100km from the Somali border, but perfectly safe, stepping off your boat taxi into Lamu’s UNESCO protected Old Town feels like entering a whole different country – and century.

If you need some beach time, Shela in the north of Lamu island has plenty.

How to Get Here Lamu Airport on the mainland, also called Manda Airport
Where to Stay

Mombasa & Nyali

While maybe the most famous destination on Kenya’s coast, Mombasa has the least to offer most visitors. There is plenty of history in Kenya’s former capital, but it’s mostly just a crowded, busy city. 

However, just north of Mombasa, Nyali is a pleasant suburb with some beautiful beaches.

We suggest staying here and taking a tuk-tuk or taxi to any historic sites you want to visit in Old Town.

Nyali is also home to the coast’s only coworking space, MombasaWorks. 

Coliving in Mombasa 

Our community member Chelsea has opened a new coliving space in Nyali and it looks amazing. 

It’s close to the beach, with a pool, gym, and lots of natural light. This could be a great opportunity to likeminded nomads and creatives while on Kenya’s coast. You can book a room via Airbnb. 

How to Get Here
  • SGR train from Nairobi
  • Mombasa Airport
  • Buses and matatus
Where to Stay Palace Sea View Apartments

Inland Destinations

Outside of Nairobi, Central Kenya is most often associated with safari trips on wide-open savannahs. Undoubtedly, these are all spectacular and offer unforgettable travel experiences. 

But there’s also a lot more to Kenya than just safari. If you’re traveling here while working online, you’re spoilt for beautiful, picturesque, and fun places to visit and stay.

Lake Naivasha

When you feel like a break from the hiking, safaris, pristine white sand beaches, and buzz of Nairobi, you can always take a trip to one of Kenya’s magnificent lakes.

Naivasha is less than 2 hours from Nairobi and feels a world away from the noise and energy of the city. While the local wild hippo population means you can’t swim in the lake, you can spend your time taking boat trips on the water, taking a walking safari on Crescent Lake game park, and soaking up the blissful, quiet atmosphere.

How to Get Here
  • Bus from Accra St. in Nairobi
  • SVWL Travel app (See below)
Where to Stay Fishermans Camp

Nanyuki

Set on the foothills of Mt. Kenya, Nanyuki offers amazing views of nearby peaks, valleys, and national parks, along with a cool, breezy climate. Aside from treks on Africa’s 2nd highest peak, the area around has plenty of smaller hiking paths, nature trails, and parks to explore on a day trip out of town.

Nanyuki’s Mt. Kenya Climbing Gym also has a coworking space and cafe, if you’re looking for a workspace in Nanyuki.

How to Get Here Bus from Accra st.
Where to Stay Acacia Villas

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Getting Around Kenya 

Overland Travel by Bus

You can now book tickets for the main intercity bus routes in Kenya on reliable coach companies online via Quickbus.

Kenya is a massive country, much bigger than it looks on most maps.

While intercity coach travel is comfortable and cheap, journey times can be long – especially if you’re traveling to the coast. For example, traveling by coach from Nairobi to Mombasa can take 12+ hours. Flying takes 90 minutes.

Modern Coast is the most well-known coach company in Kenya, but Tahmeed is a much better company. If possible, pay an extra $2 for the VIP seats on either.

For shorter bus journeys within Central Kenya, for instance from Nairobi to Nanyuki or Naivasha, smaller busses and matatus leave from around Accra St. in the CBD throughout the day.

Once you’re on the coast, matatus offer pick up and drop off services between every town, along with occasional express routes. Trips last 1-2 hours and cost less than 300 ksh.

SWVL Travel App

Egyptian startup SWVL has expanded its scheduled bus routes out of Nairobi. Launched in 2020, you can now book a seat on the SWVL app from Nairobi to Nakuru,  Naivasha, Eldoret, and Meru.

This makes bus travel safer, easier, more comfortable, faster, and way more convenient.

Budget Airlines in Kenya

Flights between Nairobi and the coast start at $30 one way and never take more than 90 minutes. 

This is by far the best way to travel long distances in Kenya, cutting down your travel times considerably. 

Most cheap Kenya airlines aren’t listed on Skyscanner or Google Flights so the best place to find fares is directly on their websites.

Also, many budget airlines use the smaller Wilson Airport as their base. Be careful you don’t mix it up with JKIA when planning your trip.

Airline Routes to/from Nairobi
East African Diani Beach, Homa Bay, Masai Mara, Kitale, Lamu, Lokichogio, Malindi, Wajir
Fly540 Eldoret, Kisumu, Lamu, Lodwar, Malindi, Mombasa, and across the border to Juba and Zanzibar
Jambojet Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Malindi, Diani; Entebbe, Uganda
Skyward Express Eldoret, Lamu, Lodwar, Mombasa

Extra tip: You can also fly to/from Lamu from Malindi and Mombasa. If you’re already on the coast, this is very useful.

Nairobi to Mombasa Train

East Africa’s first modern SGR train offers an affordable, comfortable, and convenient overland route between Nairobi and Mombasa on the coast. Cheaper than flying, it takes only 5 hours and passes through Tsavo National park. 

Both the Nairobi and Mombasa SGR stations are far out of the city centres. You must access them via an additional short train journey or, more conveniently, using Uber. 

If you have time, or flights are too expensive, this is a pleasant way to reach the coast. Wild animals and, on a clear day, Mt. Kilimanjaro can be spotted from your seat as you travel through the countryside.

There’s also 4G+ coverage along most of the route, so you can get some work done while you travel. 

For more information, click here.

Money in Kenya 

Currency Kenyan Shilling (KES)
Approx. Exchange rate 100 KES = $1.00 USD
Free ATM Withdrawals I&M and DTB Bank ATMs
Card Payment Acceptance High
USD Bills Accepted? No; only tour companies accept USD

Widespread and safe card acceptance and Kenya’s MPESA mobile money mean you’ll rarely need physical cash while in Kenya.

This makes using money while traveling in Kenya safer and more convenient than most countries around the world. 

When you do need cash, don’t carry large amounts – due to the risk of pickpocketing or theft in crowded areas. When withdrawing cash from ATMs, they’re generally safe, with a security guard often close by. If in doubt, visit a bank or shopping mall.

What is MPESA Mobile Money?

Kenya was the first country to introduce ‘Mobile Money’ as a tool for personal banking and commerce amongst the country’s poorest residents – who otherwise were locked out of traditional banking and financial instruments.

Known as MPESA here, it’s a digital cash wallet that is stored on your Kenyan SIM card, most likely on Safaricom. 

Using MPESA agent kiosks, you can deposit cash into your MPESA wallet, and access this via the ‘SIM Toolkit’ app on most smartphones. From here, MPESA users can send money, buy goods, and pay bills using SMS text technology. You can also receive money via MPESA and withdraw it for physical cash from the same agents. 

MPESA can be used for almost any kind of transaction: from buying fruit at a roadside vendor and purchasing bus tickets, to paying your rent and using government services. 

In just a few years, Mobile Money has revolutionized finance, credit, and banking across developing countries in Africa. Entire businesses and micro-economies are built on the technology. We’ve only scratched the surface in this quick introduction. 

For travelers in Kenya, MPESA is a safe, quick, and convenient way to pay for goods and services, like taxis and food, without using cash or your bank card. If you buy a Safaricom SIM card when you arrive, the salesperson can set up your MPESA account in minutes, and help you top it up. 

Even better, Transferwise users can send money directly to MPESA wallets from their account, for a small transaction fee.

Cost of Travel in Kenya

Bed in a hostel dorm $15
Budget hotel room incl. breakfast $25+
Mid-range Hotel room $50+
Room in a nice, central Airbnb $30+
Budget 3-day safari $450+
Mid-range 3-day safari $650+
Entrance to museums in Nairobi $5+
One way flight Nairobi – the coast $30-70
Room in a nice, central Airbnb $30-50

Kenya is not a budget travel destination. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot to enjoy it here. 

The biggest expenses for people visiting the country are usually safaris. Skip these and your costs are drastically reduced. 

But what are you supposed to do in Kenya, if you’re not on Safari?

You can visit plenty of smaller, stunningly beautiful national parks dotted around the country, relax on the beach, and soak up the amazing atmosphere and hustle of this vibrant, exciting country.

Save Money on a Safari

Of course, we’re not saying don’t go on safari. That would be a ludicrous suggestion. Safaris in Kenya are a breathtaking experience and not to be missed by anyone traveling in the country.

However, the sheer number of companies and the prices they offer can be overwhelming.

To save time and money, contact our friend and Nomad Africa community member Mary Munyua. She’s a Kenyan safari expert based in Nairobi and always finds the best deals directly from the lodges and tour companies in each national park.

Get in touch with Mary on Facebook Messenger and she’ll help you plan the best safari on any budget.

Cost of Living in Kenya

Monthly groceries $150-200
Monthly Uber  ~$150
Meal at street vendor/local restaurant $4-7
Meal at a Western restaurant $8-15
Monthly 4G+ data & calls package $9+
Monthly rent for a room in a shared apartment $300+
Monthly rent for a studio or 1 BR apartment $600+

Please note: The following outline relates mostly to living expenses in Nairobi. This is for a few reasons: it’s the city with which we have the most experience; it’s the most expensive city to live in Kenya; it’s the most popular place to live, outside of Diani or Kilifi. If you plan to live somewhere in Kenya other than Nairobi, expect your costs to be less.

One of the first things that surprises people about living in Nairobi is the cost. 

Living expenses here for an ‘expat’ can be compared to that of many European cities. The five main reasons for this are:

  1. Overpriced rent for ‘expat’ apartments in nice neighbourhoods
  2. Lack of good public transport means you’ll be taking lots of Ubers & Bolts
  3. Many of the groceries you’ll be buying are imported with high duty taxes
  4. Entrance fees to national parks for non-citizens are very high. So, if you plan on exploring Kenya on the weekends, it can get expensive. 
  5. Nairobi no longer has much of a ‘street food’ culture left. Eating out usually means restaurants, averaging $8-15 per meal. On the coast and in smaller cities, it’s easier to find cheap, tasty local food. 

But don’t worry, Kenyans complain just as much about the cost of living in Nairobi – so you’re not alone.

Based on our experience, we suggest budgeting $1,500-$2,000 per month to cover all your living, working, and travel expenses in Kenya.

Renting an Apartment in Nairobi

As a digital nomad, you usually have two options for renting an apartment in Nairobi:

  • Find a place on Airbnb
  • Join an ‘expat’ flatshare

Both can be frustratingly overpriced, but without the help of Kenyan friends, you’re not going to pay local prices.

Traditionally, studio apartments have not been popular in Nairobi, so supply is limited. However, this is slowly changing, and you may be lucky enough to find a studio or guest suite if you plan ahead. 

The following Facebook groups are the best resources for finding rooms in Nairobi flatshares:

Renting on Airbnb

One recent positive trend we’ve noticed on Airbnb in Nairobi:

Long term (1 month+) prices for studios and 1 BRs appear to be dropping. 

This may be due to more apartments being listed and possible oversupply/lack of demand. Either way, finding private long term accommodation in the city is becoming easier and more affordable. 

If you plan to use Airbnb for apartment rental, follow these instructions:

  1. Only book one month. If you want to extend, ask about paying your host directly to save money on fees. 
  2. Ask if it includes regular cleaning and maid services, a backup generator, and a borehole for water.
  3. Ask for the building and its address to see the exact location.
  4. Try to negotiate the price, they’re often flexible.

The best value neighbourhoods to live in Nairobi are Kilileshwa, Kilimani, Westlands, Lavington, and Hurlingham.

Avoiding Rental Scams

Unfortunately, there are a few dishonest landlords and ‘rental agents’ in Nairobi targeting new arrivals with various scams. 

 This usually involves hiked up rents or electricity bills, refusing to return a deposit, and even advertising apartments that aren’t available. 

To avoid these traps, look for tenants of apartments renting or subletting rooms out directly, rather than landlords or agents; or stick to Airbnb until you’re settled in the city.

Kenya Tourist Visas 

For most people, obtaining a 90-day single entry visa to Kenya is very straightforward. The two most common situations are a visa on arrival (VOA) and a visa exemption.

90-Day Visa on Arrival

Unless your country of citizenship is listed in the sections below, take it for granted that you can receive a 90-day single-entry VOA at any international Kenyan airport and border crossing. You can also check this list. (Please note the eVisa website rarely works and is best used as a guide)

The visa costs $50 or €50 and you must pay in cash, using one of these currencies. Once in Kenya, you can extend your VOA for an additional 90 days at the immigration office in Nairobi.

A 72-hour Transit Visa is also available for $20 if you’re only stopping over in Kenya.

Visa Exemption

If you’re a citizen of the following countries, you can travel to Kenya visa-free for 90 days:

Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Burundi, Cyprus, Dominica, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lesotho Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent & Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Salomon Islands, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Embassy Application Require

Citizens of the following countries must obtain their visa in their local embassy: 

Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Eritrea, Iraq, North Korea, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Palestine, Senegal, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, and Yemen.

Kenya Multiple Entry Visa

If you’re eligible for a VOA or visa exemption, you may also be able to apply for a 6 or 12-month multiple entry visa for Kenya. However, this must be done while in Kenya and requires an invite from a Kenyan business or citizen.

East Africa Tourist Visa

This is a combined 90-day single entry visa for Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. It allows you to travel freely between the three countries within the 90 days and costs $100. 

If you’re planning to travel within Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda on a short trip, this may be worthwhile. 

Simply tick ‘East Africa Tourist Visa’ on the immigration form of whichever country is your first point of entry.

Safety in Kenya

Despite its media portrayal and reputation, Kenya is generally a very safe country to visit. Generally, violence against tourists is rare. However, there are some precautions to take.

Theft & Pickpocketing

For most people visiting Kenya, this is probably the biggest danger. Most thefts occur as pickpocketing in crowded areas, snatch-and-grabs in Nairobi’s CBD and public transport (which you probably won’t be using), or at night. Mombasa’s old town has developed a reputation for being unsafe and is best avoided unless in a group.

To avoid theft during the day, don’t walk around with your phone out and make sure your wallet is either in a bag or away from easy reach.

Safety at Night

Even if you’re familiar with an area, avoid walking around at night. Motorbike drivers will often see an opportunity for a quick theft as they pass you, and most cities and towns in Kenya are poorly lit. 

Use ride-hailing apps, or ask your hotel to find you a boda driver or taxi.

Terrorism

Despite being highly publicised, Kenya experiences very few terrorist attacks. In the last 5 years, Nairobi has experienced fewer attacks than Paris, London, Berlin, and many other European capital cities. 

Even so, there is armed security in all major towns, with every hotel and shopping mall well protected. 

There is no way of predicting when a country will next experience a terrorist attack, so don’t waste time worrying about it.

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