With gorgeous landscapes and friendly people, it’s no wonder that Kenya has become a top tourist destination. Whether it’s the lively streets of Nairobi or the possibility of taking an African safari in Kenya that attracts you, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for. As with any destination, Kenya offers more to a tourist who has done their homework before departing on their trip.
By learning a bit about traveling in Kenya, you’ll know how to stay safe and what to do to maximize your enjoyment of the trip. Here are six tips to take to heart before heading off to Kenya.
Get the Proper Vaccinations
Kenya is a distant country with a different set public health problems from what you’re probably used to. That’s why it is so important that you get the proper vaccinations before departing from your home country.
You need a certificate proving you’ve been vaccinated for yellow fever to enter the country. It is strongly recommended that you also receive vaccinations for the following diseases:
- hepatitis A
- hepatitis B
This might seem like a lot, but this is definitely a case where it is better to be safe than sorry. Properly vaccinated, you’ll be able to enjoy your trip without worrying about contracting a deadly illness.
Leave Plastic Bags at Home
In 2017, Kenya instituted a national plastic bag ban. Unlike the nominal prohibitions in some parts of the world, Kenya’s ban is very strictly enforced. Foreigners bringing plastic bags in their luggage are often hit with hefty fines.
To avoid problems, it’s best to remove all plastic bags and even plastic packaging from your suitcases before you get on the plane. Not only will this effort keep you out of trouble, but it will also help keep the Kenyan countryside pristine.
Stick to Bottled Water
You might hear mixed reports about whether or not the tap water in Kenya is safe to drink, but in general you’re much better off avoiding it. If nothing else, the water is likely to contain all sorts of bacteria that your body isn’t used to.
Even if you avoid getting severely sick, your stomach might feel a bit funny, which is hardly pleasant when you’re trying to enjoy an African safari in Kenya. It’s much better to play it safe by buying your own water.
Find a Reputable Safari Tour Company
Almost all visitors to Kenya are intent on enjoying a safari. The possibility of seeing some of the world’s most impressive animals is what attracts most tourists to this eastern African nation. Choosing the right tour company can make or break your trip.
The Masai Mara, where most safari-goers flock, is a gorgeous stretch of territory, but it pays to do it right. Low-cost or budget tour operators might offer a tempting price, but you’ll probably spend more time in crowded vans than out enjoying the flora and the fauna.
Take the plunge and invest in a safari with a reputable company. When it comes to safaris, you generally get what you pay for.
Be Considerate, Always Tip
While Kenya doesn’t have standard tipping procedures, it’s generally a good idea to tip people in the service industry. They work extremely hard for relatively small wages, and many depend on money from tips to get by.
You should tip safari tour guides around fifteen dollars per day, while a dollar here and there to waiters and bartenders will show them how much you appreciate their service.
Haggle for Fair Prices
If you’re coming from a country where the price listed is the price you have to pay, then Kenya might take some getting used to. Kenyan street vendors will first tell you an absurdly high price, fully expecting that you’ll negotiate. Don’t pay the first price you hear or walk away from a pricey vendor. Shoot low, haggle away, and see if you can agree on a fair price.
Now you know how to handle yourself in Kenya. Keep these tips in mind, always play it safe, and enjoy what should be a trip of a lifetime!