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10 Tips for Traveling to Kenya

Traveling to Kenya is the ultimate adventure. This beautiful, diverse and exciting country is known worldwide for its natural attractions and incredible wildlife. Nearly 45 million people live in Kenya and the country is home to Africa’s second tallest mountain. Adventures and attractions abound here. Visitors just need to keep a few things in mind in order to have the best time possible while traveling to Kenya.

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1. Protect Yourself from Illnesses

No one wants to get sick while having the adventure of a lifetime. Before traveling to Kenya, consult your doctor to ensure your vaccinations are up-to-date and talk with them about the risks of Malaria. Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness that can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms like fever, nausea and headaches. Thankfully, there are many ways to protect yourself against disease--taking malaria medication, wearing long-sleeve clothing and applying insect repellent are all crucial preventative steps. If your doctor supplies you with malaria medication before traveling to Kenya, be sure to precisely follow their instructions for taking the pills.

2. Bring US Dollars with You

Although Kenya’s official currency is the Kenyan shilling, it’s best to bring some US dollars along since prices are sometimes quoted in USD. Bargaining is a common practice in Nairobi and other Kenyan cities. As a traveler, you’ll often be invited to see what local vendors have for sale in markets and street stalls.

3. Stay Safe on Kenyan Roads

Kenya has a well-developed system of paved roads. You can take a high-speed train, a taxi, local buses or hire a car to explore Nairobi and other main cities. Kenyan drivers drive on the left side of the road and you must be 23 or older to rent a car. Seatbelts are required and you must carry a valid driver’s license with you in your vehicle.

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4. Try Some Street Food

Trying new foods is half the fun of traveling, and Kenya’s cuisine won’t disappoint you. Traveler favorites include nyama choma, or roasted meat, and matoke, which is plantain stew. Goat and beef is often used for nyama choma and matoke is made with a delectable mix of onions, garlic, chilies, and lemon juice. These dishes and others are served non-stop at the Kenyatta market in Nairobi.

5. Go on a Kenyan Safari

As the birthplace of the African Safari, Kenya is the perfect place to see wildlife in their natural habitat. Africa’s famed wildebeest migration takes place at Maasai Mara, the continent’s most popular nature reserve. Other parks in Kenya are perfect for seeing elephants, flamingos and other kinds of unique and rare wildlife.

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6. Kenya has Fantastic Beaches

Thanks to its coastal location and hot climate, Kenya’s beaches are inviting and beautiful. Some of the best beaches are found in Watumu, a coastal town fringed by ancient ruins and vast jungles. The Indian Ocean puts on a dazzling display at Diani, a resort area that draws in luxury travelers and backpackers alike.

7. Security is Important

While traveling to Kenya you’ll want to budget extra time for airports, malls and other public places. Security is a priority in Kenya and authorities do a good job of keeping high-traffic areas safe by using scanners and other safety procedures. As always, it’s important to keep an eye on your belongings and to stay smart while out in public.

8. Internet Access in Kenya

Depending on where you are, you shouldn’t have issues checking email, browsing the web and catching up on social media in Kenya. International surveys show that Kenya’s internet speeds surpass speeds in the USA, although there is some debate about the actual connection speed. In any case, basic internet access shouldn’t be an issue.

9. Consider Carrying your Passport

Some sources say it’s best to carry your passport (or a copy of it) on you during your stay in Kenya. If you are stopped by authorities for any reason, they may ask to see identification, and as a traveler you’ll need to present your passport. Be sure to secure all valuables while out in public, including your passport.

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10. Kenyans are Friendly

Kenyans are known for being friendly and open. The majority of Kenyans--98 percent--are African Americans; Asians, Europeans and Arabs make up less than one percent of the population. Nearly three-quarters of working Kenyans are in the agriculture industry, and some Kenyans in rural areas live nomadic lifestyles.

Traveling to Kenya is an experience you’ll never forget! Are you ready to start planning your Kenya adventure?