How to get there and how to move around Kenya

Who I am
Joel Fulleda
@joelfulleda
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Are you thinking of Kenya as your next travel destination? And how to blame you, given all the beautiful places it contains! It is no coincidence that Kenya is always one of the favorite destinations for Italians!
In fact, over the years more and more connections have developed to reach it. And once landed, how do you move between the various cities and tourist resorts?
Below we give you some tips on how to get there and how to move around Kenya!



Index

  1. Where it is
  2. Main tourist areas of Kenya
  3. Useful Tips
  4. User questions and comments

Where it is

Kenya is located in the eastern part of Africa, right on the equator line which virtually divides the country in two. It borders Tanzania to the south, with which it also shares the Serengeti Park and Tsavo West, Uganda to the west, with which it shares Lake Victoria, Ethiopia and South Sudan to the north and Somalia to the north -East.

Main tourist areas of Kenya

Kenya has a fairly large territory of 582.650 square kilometers, but nevertheless it can be divided into three simple areas, two more touristic and one almost unexplored.
La first is obviously the coastal one, as it is no secret that Kenya enjoys beautiful white beaches that have always been highly sought after by mass tourism. There second is that of the central plateau, where the capital Nairobi and most of the national parks is located. Finally the third includes the north and east of the country, composed of arid and not very touristy lands, populated only by Kenyan citizens.
Here are more details on how to get to each area and how to get around!



1 - Coastal area (Mombasa and Malindi)

Kenya offers a stretch of coast of 536 kilometers. Here the main places of interest are Mombasa, which is the second most populous city of the country, the seaside resorts Malindi and Watamu, both renowned for their respective National Marine Parks, the Lamu Archipelago to the north and the southern beaches Diani Beach and Wasini Island which allow you to observe the coral reef in a more peaceful way and with less tourist turnout.
- airports in the area are those of Mombasa and Malindi as they are the two reference locations for the entire coastal area.

The best times to visit this area are autumn and winter, corresponding to the African spring and summer, due to the scarce rains and the reasonable but still high temperatures to be able to live on the beach.

How to get there and how to get around

Reaching the coastal area of ​​Kenya starting from Italy requires a I travel between 9 and 12 hours with at least one stopover, usually in the capital Nairobi, Addis Ababa or Istanbul flying with Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines or Turkish Airlines. The average cost of the flight, if booked well in advance, is between € 400,00 and € 500,00. Arrived at the airports of Mombasa or Malindi the the recommended way to reach the center where you will be based is by taxi, for travel speed compared to buses, and we guarantee that just outside the airport you will have no difficulty in finding one for any location.

As for moving around the city, Mombasa enjoys a good rail link with Nairobi which also makes stops in many villages near the Tsavo National Park. For the rest, both in Mombasa and in any other place, we advise you to get around by taxi, tuk tuk and matatu. The first two wander the streets in search of passengers, while the matatu are 14-seater minibuses that depart from a station to a specific destination but without scheduled times or stops. In any case, all vehicles travel for a few shillings!



  • Reference airport: Mombasa and Malindi - Flights starting from € 386,00 -
  • Recommended means of getting around: train, taxi, tuk tuk and matatu
  • Where to sleep nearby: Hotel and b & b starting from € 10,00 per room -
  • From Mombasa: Watamu Marine Park & ​​Sudi Island Excursion Mombasa: City Tour with Fort Jesus and Haller Park Entrance Malindi: City Tour and Che Shale Beach Day Trip from Mombasa

2 - Central Plateau (Nairobi, Lake Nakuru, Lake Victoria and National Parks)

Il central Kenya consists of a vast plateau which includes the capital Nairobi, Lake Nakuru, Lake Victoria and the Tsavo, Amboseli, Masai Mara and Namunyak National Parks. To reach the area, themain airport is Nairobi but further north there are also the airports of Eldoret and Kisumu to be taken into consideration, however, more for internal flights than to reach Kenya. Since this area is made up of plains, hills and mountains, the heights vary and consequently also the periods of visit.

Flat areas and national parks tend to have a temperate climate and little rain all year round, while Lake Nakuru and the mountains are more suitable from the end of November and throughout the winter, which we remember corresponds to the Kenyan summer.

How to get there and how to get around

To reach Nairobi you can find direct flights from Italy with the companies Kenya Airways and Alitalia. However, in some cases, both make stops in Amsterdam and Paris. The route is also served by flights of Ethiopian Airlines which makes only one stopover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In the case of a direct flight, the duration is just 7 hours, while with a stopover the journey can last between 9 and 12 hours. Also in this case the price of the flight is between € 400,00 and € 500,00 if booked in advance. Once you arrive at the airport in Nairobi it is It is possible to reach the center by bus KBS 34 or more quickly by taxi, while to move to all other locations the taxi remains the best way for speed and simplicity in finding one.

To move to Nairobi instead you can also choose here taxi, matatu and tuk tuk while if you want to go to Mombasa or Kisumu you can use the railway network which connects the main cities from north to south. Taxis are recommended for neighboring destinations, while to visit the parks and lakes the ideal is to find an organized and complete tour in advance.



  • Reference airport: Nairobi - flights starting from € 423,00 -
  • Recommended means of getting around: train, taxi, tuk tuk and matatu
  • Where to sleep nearby: Hotel and b & b starting from € 11,00 per room -
  • Best of Nairobi: Nature Safari Four Days Amboseli and Tsavo Safari Masai Mara: 3 Days 2 Nights Group Safari from Nairobi

3 - Northeast (Lodwar, Lake Turkana and Garissa)

The north and east areas can be grouped into a single and extensive area since it is arid territories and the part of Kenya less traveled by tourism, consequently less developed than in the previous areas. Here, in fact, the only most interesting sites, but still not very touristy, are Lake Turkana and the Chalbi Desert andthe reference airport to reach them is Lodwar, in the north. The areas further east are served by two other smaller airports that operate mostly with internal flights, Garissa and Wajir, used mostly by Kenyan citizens since there are no particular tourist attractions in the area.

Since the whole area is arid and dry, it therefore has the same climate so, if you want to visit this remote part of Kenya, the ideal period for the whole area is from March to July, the only months in which there is some short rain that manages to cool the environment, even if little, from the high temperatures.

How to get there and how to get around

As already mentioned, Lodwar is the reference airport for the north and east areas but if you want you can also get to Wajin and Garissa. Traveling from Italy, all three solutions involve at least two stopovers, but in some cases even three. If you fly with Kenya Airways the first stop is usually in Paris, while flying with Turkish Airline is in Istanbul. The subsequent ones take place in Nairobi and Eldoret. Internal routes are operated by Jambojet and Skyward Express. For the entire trip the figures are higher than those seen so far, in fact this time we are talking about a cost between € 900,00 and € 1.000,00. As for the duration of the trip, however, it ranges from 16 to 21 hours of flight. Arriving at the airport, being small and not very touristy, consequently even less equipped with services, the the best way to move towards towns is by taxi, again for the simplicity of moving and the ease in finding one.

When you have arrived at your destination, to move between the various places, even here you can rely on taxis, tuk tuks and matatu.

  • Reference airport: Lodwar - flights starting from € 900,00 -
  • Recommended means of getting around: taxi, tuk tuk and matatu
  • Where to sleep nearby: Hotel and b & b starting from € 40,00 per room -

Useful Tips

As in most African countries, there is no rush in Kenya either the days unfold very slowly so it all depends on your needs, what kind of travelers you are and how well you can adapt.

If you are anxious to get to a place the best solution is always to book a taxi, while if you are thinking of renting a car you should know that driving is on the left but it is also very reckless. The alternatives are the tuk tuks always around chasing passengers and the matatu departing from a specific station which, however, do not follow pre-established timetables, tours and stops, so the journey could be quite long and busy. Whatever medium you choose, remember negotiate the price before you even get on board! For short journeys, on the other hand, it is better to walk or rent a moped if you really feel like heading out onto the street. Finally for undertake safaris and natural excursions, maybe more days, the best thing is always rely on an organized tour rather than venturing alone.

  1. On vehicles, always ask for the price first and eventually negotiate it to avoid cheating for tourists;
  2. Avoid rental cars because of driving on the left is not recommended, and to avoid problems that do not exist when returning the vehicle, rather for short distances prefer mopeds;
  3. To visit the parks it is best to book a private tour or join a group tour and not undertake these itineraries alone because of the isolated roads without any service, but also for a matter of high costs;
  4. If you choose to travel with the matatu you must arm yourself with patience and a spirit of adaptation due to the sometimes unfavorable transport conditions and the absence of pre-established timetables and stops.

Travel informed: useful information

  • Capital: Nairobi
  • Population: 40.512.682
  • Area: 582.650 sq. Km
  • Languages: English and Swahili
  • Currency: Kenyan Shilling ($ / KES) / Exchange rate: € 1,00 = KES 113,00
  • Documents: a passport with a residual validity of at least six months is required; the visa can be tourist, transit or multiple based on requirements
  • Time zone: + 3h compared to Italy, + 1h when summer time is in force in Italy
  • vaccinations: vaccination against yellow fever is mandatory only for travelers from countries at risk of transmission, but malaria prophylaxis is highly recommended especially for those who intend to go on safaris and visit lakes
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.


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