CIVS Kenya
CIVS Kenya
CIVS Kenya
CIVS Kenya
CIVS Kenya
CIVS Kenya

Tips about Kenya

The flag and map of Kenya
kenyan flag on map


Presidential Representative Democratic Republic


Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta


580,367 km² / 224,080 sq miles


39,002,772 (2010)




Kenyan Shilling (KES / KSH)


Swahili (National Language), English (Official Language)

Time zone

East African Time (UTC+3)



Arrival in Nairobi

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. The airport is about an hour's drive from Nairobi city center. Taxis are readily available but establish the fare before getting in.

Arrival in Kisumu

Arrival is also through the Kisumu International Airport, Kisumu, situated in the Western part of Kenya.

Lost Luggage

Visit the lost luggage desk in the baggage hall before going through customs.


Most visitors to Kenya require a visa. Multiple and single-entry visas are available. Applications can be made at the airport or prior to arrival. The single entry visa is US$ 50, EUR 40.

Getting Around

Most international car hire companies operate in Kenya (with offices at the airport). Vehicles travel on the left-hand side of the road and most cars are right-hand drive. A current driving license with a photograph is accepted for up to three months' stay. City buses operate at reasonable low rates. Fares are to be paid to the conductor. Matatus (private minibusses) are abundant but usually overcrowded.

Nairobi 3

View of Nairobi

Exchange rates


Foreign currency can be changed at banks, foreign currency bureaus or hotels. Banks are open from Monday to Saturday.


Kenya uses the 240V system. Power sockets are of the three-square-pin variety as used in the UK. To charge your phone or run other appliances you can bring a universal adapter or buy it in Kenya at any bigger supermarket.

Mobile Phones

Kenya uses the GSM 900 system, which is compatible with Europe and Australia but not with American GSM 1900. If your phone is not locked into a network, you can buy a prepaid mobile starter pack from Kenya mobile phone companies. You can top up by purchasing a scratch card, sold practically in any street corner anywhere in Kenya. International SMS's cost around 10 Ksh each, while international calls cost around 50 Ksh per minute.

Internet Access

Internet is easily available from cyber cafes and hot spots in restaurants all around Nairobi. Internet access costs around 1 Ksh per minute. Internet speeds vary but you will get your e-mail read and sent without effort.

Post Office

These are easily accessible and open from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays, and 9 am to 12 pm on Saturdays.


Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu have international standard hospitals offering all services. For Ambulance Services, dial 999.


It is considered rude to speak to someone without first greeting them, so even if you only want directions, greet the person first.

You can easily learn some Swahili as long as you are interested in communicating with the local people and actually try it.

Here are a few greetings, common words, and responses you could give:

  • How are you? -Habari yako?
  • I’m very fine -Mzuri sana
  • Hello - Hujambo!
  • Please – Tafadhali
  • Thank you – Asante
  • Sorry -Pole
  • Goodbye - Kwaheri


Photographing people remains a sensitive issue in Kenya. We advise asking for permission before taking pictures of locals. You should never get your camera out at border crossings or near government or army buildings as this is an offense punishable with jail and heavy fines.


Kenyans are generally quite conservative, and particularly concerned with modesty in dress. Out of respect for the local communities (especially in the Muslim-dominated areas, such as cost, parts of Nairobi) and also to protect yourself from getting a sunburn you should wear clothes that cover the body from the shoulders to the knees. For women, it is useful to bring a long, wide piece of clothing to use as a covering.


Drugs are illegal in Kenya. Even soft drugs like marijuana are not permitted during your stay in Kenya. CIVS discourages the use of any drugs and will not take responsibility for your actions. Getting into jail in Kenya is one of the last things you want.


Smoking in public is prohibited in Kenya