Travelling to Kenya



Time zone

GMT + 3 hours.



Kenya's official languages are Swahili and English.



The Kenyan shilling is divided into 100 cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings. Coins are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 40 shillings. 50 cent coins are available, but not commonly used.
money matters

The local currency you will need during your stay in Kenya should be obtained at authorised facilities such as banks and foreign exchange bureaus. Currency can also be exchanged at the Nairobi Airport on arrival. It is very difficult to exchange the shilling outside of Kenya so we recommend that you change only as much as you will need. Major credit cards are accepted at most outlets in Kenya. At Sanctuary Olonana we accept Visa, MasterCard or Amex, as well as cash and travellers cheques, and cash at our camp sites.



Tipping is not compulsory and the following suggestions are only guidelines:

Passport & Visa Information


Travellers should check for visa requirements pertaining to their citizenship, as entry requirements vary between countries. All travellers, however, must be in possession of a passport with at least six months of validity left beyond the intended departure date from Kenya.

• Foreign visitors may be required to obtain a visa to enter Kenya.

• Please visit for a full list of nationalities which require visas for entry into Kenya.

• Passports must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the completion of this trip.

• Please Note that immigration requires you to have two blank pages in your passport per entry; without this you will be denied entry.

• International Departure Tax is required by all passengers departing from Kenya. In most cases the tax is included in your international air ticket. If tax has not been included then it must be paid at the airport prior to departure.


Regulations for families travelling with children to and from South Africa
The South African immigration department has expressed concern about the growing issue of global child trafficking and announced new requirements for adults travelling with children under the age of 18, which will take effect from 1 June 2015.

Parents travelling with children would now be requested to provide an unabridged birth certificate (including the details of the child's father as well as the mother) of all travelling children. This applies even when both parents are travelling with their children.  When children are travelling with guardians, these adults are required to produce affidavits from parents proving permission for the children to travel. The above applies to foreigners and South Africans travelling to or from South Africa as well as travellers in transit.


Below are the new South African immigration regulations concerning travelling with children:


Where the parents of the child are both deceased and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to him or her or his or her parents:


Where an unaccompanied minor is travelling he or she will have to produce the following to the immigration officer:


It is important for parents to note that unabridged birth certificate applications can take anything from six to eight weeks to complete.


For more information, visit or





The climate in Kenya is mainly characterised by warm days and cool evenings. December to March are usually the warmest  months of the year, while June to August are the coolest. April and May often see intermittent rains, and from September to November the days are warm with short scattered rains falling in November.



For up to date information on the latest health and vaccination recommendations, please consult with a qualified health professional at least 6 weeks before your intended departure. Anti-malarial medication is strongly recommended for all visitors to Kenya. No vaccinations are currently required for entry into Kenya, but if you are arriving (or planning to re-enter) from a country where yellow fever is endemic, then you are required to have a yellow fever vaccination. This vaccination is also recommended if you are travelling outside of urban areas. Do not drink or brush your teeth with tap water. Mineral water is available at lodges.



In Kenya, electricity runs at 220/240 volts. You may want to bring an international converter kit complete with a set of adapter plugs as lodges are unable to provide adapters.  We do, however, suggest that you consider battery-operated appliances wherever possible - and bring a supply of extra batteries. However, be aware that overnight recharging may not be possible where generator use restricts the availability of electricity.



Many travellers, viewing this as their "trip of a lifetime" for animal photography, bring more than one camera in case of a malfunction. Sun filters will help block glare and heat haze. A dustproof camera bag and an air brush will help protect your equipment from heavy dust. If you plan to travel with digital photographic and/or video equipment, make certain to pack the specific charging apparatus for each piece of equipment (as well as the appropriate socket plug adaptor and voltage converter if required).

When photographing people, especially members of the Maasai tribe, always ask permission first.  Because so many local people are asked for permission to be photographed, many will expect a tip or an outright fee for this. There are some places where photography is prohibited, and these areas are usually clearly marked.



Dress on safari is entirely casual.  Because it can be dusty, neutral colours are most practical for game viewing.  Remember to include one or two smart casual outfits for dining. Temperatures tend to be cooler in the early morning and after sunset - but warm up considerably by midday.  To be prepared for such temperature variations and to maximise the versatility of your travel wardrobe, we recommend packing lightweight clothing that can be layered. Casual clothing of "breathable" fabric (such as cotton) is the most comfortable. In the cooler months (June to August) you should pack a heavier jacket, sweater, and pair of trousers made of warm, lightweight material (such as wool). All Sanctuary Retreats camps and lodges provide a fully complimentary laundry service.

Good sunglasses and sun block lotion are essential for protection from the strong sun. You may also want to bring  a sun hat. Olonana has a swimming pool, so bring a swimsuit. Binoculars will maximise the enjoyment of game viewing and bird watching. A compact and lightweight pair is suggested.




TSA Bans Powerless Devices From Flights

According to recent rules issued by the US Transport Security Administration (TSA), passengers travelling from Europe, the Middle East and Africa to the US must be able to turn on their electronic devices to prove they are genuine,  "Powerless devices" - cellphones and computers that cannot be turned on will not be permitted on board the aircraft.

This was followed by an announcement by the UK Department for Transport regarding stepping up some aviation security measures. "In line with the US advice, passengers on some routes into and out of the UK may now also be required to show that electronic devices in their hand luggage are powered up or face not being allowed to bring the device onto the aircraft."  According to Reuters, TSA officials singled out smartphones, including the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, for extra security checks on U.S.-bound flights from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.