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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.
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.
Tipping is not compulsory and the following suggestions are only
- Porter - US $1 per bag
- Driver-guide - US $5-7 per traveller per day - this is normally
paid on the last day and is based on 4-6 travellers in the vehicle.
If there are only 2 or 3 travellers you may consider increasing
this amount to US $6-8 per traveller per day
- Private Luxury Camping - US $10-14 per traveller per day - this
should be given to your guide on the last day for distribution
among all camp staff. Again, smaller groups (in this case 5 or
less) might consider tipping in the slightly higher range of US
$12-14 per traveller per day
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
• Please visit http://www.kenya.visahq.com
for a full list of nationalities which require visas for entry into
• 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
• 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 October 2014.
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 parents are travelling with a child, such parents must
produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the
particulars of the parents of the child.
- In the case of one parent travelling with a child, he or she
must produce an unabridged birth certificate as well as consent in
the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered as a
parent on the birth certificate of the child authorising him or her
to enter into or depart from the Republic with the child he or she
is travelling with.
- A court order granting full parental responsibilities and
rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she
is the parent or legal guardian of the child; or where applicable,
a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of
the child on the birth certificate.
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 a person is travelling with a child who is not his or her
biological child, he or she must produce: a copy of the unabridged
birth certificate of the child.
- An affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child
confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the
- Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or
legal guardian of the child.
- The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the
child, Provided that the Director-General may, 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, approve such a person to enter into or depart from the
Republic with such a child.
Where an unaccompanied minor is travelling he or she
will have to produce the following to the immigration
- Proof of consent from one of or both his or her parents or
legal guardian in the form of a letter or affidavit for the child
to travel into or depart from the Republic: Provided that in the
case where one parent provides proof of consent, that parent must
also provide a copy of a court order issued to him or her in terms
of which he or she has been granted full parental responsibilities
and rights in respect of the child.
- A letter from the person who is to receive the child in the
Republic, containing his or her residential address and contact
details in the Republic where the child will be residing.
- A copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or
permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the
child in the Republic; and the contact details of the parents or
legal guardian of the child.
It is important for parents to note that unabridged birth
certificate applications can take anything from six to eight weeks
For more information, visit
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 if arriving directly from North America or Europe. 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
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
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.
Enkereri Village and School : We are working together with
Enkereri village and school on various initiatives including a
biogas project, a renewable energy source used for cooking and
Indigenous tree planting : Make a difference while on holiday
and help us combat increasing deforestation by planting your own
tree in our tree nursery
Wetlands Project : Through a unique system, wastewater is
cleaned and released back into the Mara River and used in the
irrigation system for our tree nursery.
Maasai Women's Beadwork : Guests have the opportunity to see
the women producing the beadwork and purchase the handicrafts in
the Sanctuary Olonana gift shop.
Organic Garden : Enjoy a delicious fresh salad picked from our
own organic vegetables garden - one of the simplest forms of
Guest Photo Album
We would like to give you the opportunity to preserve your
memories and favourite moments. Using easy and user-friendly
software, you will be able to create a personalised A4 / A3 hard
cover or digital photo book using your personal images combined
with stunning professional photographs. Just remember to take
lots of images while on safari. Once you've returned simply go to
where you will be able to create your very own book. Before you
know it your photo book will be delivered to your door. (Additional
Recommended Reading Material
- Fodor's The Complete Guide to African Safaris: with South
Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, and the Seychelles
- The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals by
Richard D. Estes
- Adventuring in Southern Africa: The Great Safaris and Wildlife
Parks of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Malawi,
Lesotho, and Swaziland Paperback by Allen Bechky
- Botswana: The Bradt Safari Guide, 3rd: Okavango Delta, Chobe,
Northern Kalahari (Bradt Travel Guide Botswana) by Chris
- Africa's Top Wildlife Countries: Botswana, Kenya, Namibia,
Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Also
including Ethiopia, R. Congo, Mauritius, and Seychelles
- Getaway Guide to Botswana: Where Time Stands Still
Recommended Apps to Download
- African Safari Wildlife Guide
- The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals
- Audubon African Wildlife
- Africa: Live App
- The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's App
- Africa - Animal Adventures for Kids
- Botswana Tourism Guide By Sarath Vella
- XE Currency
- Google Maps / Google Earth