Its strongly recommended that first-timers take an escorted
tour. There is limited train service: the most famous line
connects Mombasa and Nairobi on a moderately priced, leisurely
overnight or day-service run. Cars may be rented (traffic
moves on the left), and limited bus service is available,
though not recommended except to experienced budget travelers.
By air: The main airports are Jomo Kenyatta Airport
in Nairobi and the Moi International Airport in Mombasa. From
the airports, Kenyan Airways operates a shuttle into the city
centre, as does Kenyan Bus Services, which leaves every 20
minutes. You can also use the government-owned Kenatco Taxi
Service and the Voda taxis as well as other private taxis,
although Kenatco and Voda are safer and more reliable. The
Kenacto taxis work on a fixed rate and the British-style Voda
black cabs charge per kilometre.
AirKenya Aviation and Kenya Airways fly within the country.
Kenya Airways operates an extensive network of flights, which
includes scheduled services to all major towns and tours to
the game parks as well as the coast from Nairobi. Wilson Airport
in Nairobi, one of the busiest airports in Africa, is a popular
base for many small aircraft in Kenya. From this airport,
local charter companies operate scheduled flights to different
destinations like Masai Mara, Amboseli and the coral coast.
Planes are also useful for transportation into game parks.
Note: Immigration procedures in Kenyan airports are
likely to be extremely slow, so it is advisable to arrive
early. Departure tax: US$20 for international flights
(or the equivalent in freely convertible hard currency, including
Kenya Shillings) and KSh100 on all domestic flights.
By bus: City buses operate in Nairobi and Mombasa
at reasonable prices. Peak hours should be avoided as buses
get very crowded. Only single tickets are sold and fares are
paid to the conductor. There are also the unregulated 12-to-25-seat
light pick-ups and minibuses, called Matatus; the fares
do not vary greatly, but buses tend to be the safer method
of transport (Matatus are often severely overloaded,
recklessly driven and notorious for being involved in many
road accidents. They therefore should be used with caution).
Be careful about using the matatus, as theft is rampant.
Actually, the most popular method of tourist transport in
Kenya is by road using mini-buses, which are specifically
built for tourist safaris in this country. They are operated
by nearly all established tour operators in Nairobi and Mombasa.
These chauffeur-driven mini-buses will pick you up from the
airport on arrival and take you to the city hotel of your
By taxi: Taxis are plentiful in urban areas, and shared
taxis are a common and inexpensive way to travel between cities,
especially when you are travelling on the coast. Taxis cannot
be hailed in the street.
Kenatco runs a fleet of taxis and these are usually very
reliable. They run taxi services from the international airports
to all the main urban hotels. They are also available to take
you from your hotel to the railway station, the city centre
for shopping or to the parks and other recreational areas
near the city or around Mombasa town. There are other privately
owned and run taxis usually marked with yellow lines on the
sides. They offer the same services as the Kenatco taxis with
much cheaper negotiable charges but may not be as comfortable.
The older yellow-band taxis do not have meters, so fares should
be agreed in advance. A 10% tip is expected.
By car: Traffic drives on the left. The standard of
driving in Kenya is extremely low and the risk of accident
on the main road between Nairobi and Mombasa is especially
high.All major roads are paved and many of the others have
been improved, particularly in the south-west, although vast
areas of the north still suffer from very poor communications.
Care should be taken when leaving trunk roads as the surfaces
of the lesser roads vary greatly in quality, particularly
during the rainy season. There are petrol stations on most
highways. Self-drive and chauffeur-driven cars may be hired
from a number of travel agents in Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi.
This can be expensive, and rates, particularly the mileage
charges, can vary a good deal. Most companies insist that
only 4-wheel-drive vehicles should be rented.
On safaris: To move to the National Parks and Reserves
in the rural areas, tourists travel in the packaged tour operator
mini-buses or in chauffer-driven saloon cars, Toyota Land
Cruiser vans, or in Range Rovers which are operated by tour
operators or are available for hire from many car-hire companies
in Nairobi and Mombasa. Those who want to enjoy exclusively
private self-drive safaris will find numerous local companies
offering everything from Range Rovers and Troopers to small
saloon cars for their convenience. It is perfectly possible
for visitors to the country to hire and drive around the country
without problems. Nearly all roads to the National Parks or
Reserves or to major towns are sign-posted so that strangers
will find their way around the country with ease.
By sea: Short-distance ships sail between Mombasa,
Dar-es-Salaam and Zanzibar. The ports in the Lake Victoria
passenger service include Port Victoria/Kisumu, Homa Bay and
Mfangano. Ferries in Lake Victoria connect Kisumu in Kenya
to Mwanza, Musoma and Bukoba in Tanzania. It is also possible
to get ferries from Mombasa to Pemba and Zanzibar in Tanzania,
and also to Chiamboni in Somalia. Local ferries run between
Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu. Fares are paid for in the port
of embarkation currency. Enquire locally for details. You
can also to hire a dhow, the traditional Kenyan sailing boat
in Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu.
By rail: The safest and most reliable transport, when
available, is the train. Kenya Railways runs the very popular
route from Nairobi to Mombasa and vice versa, or from Nairobi
to Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria, with lake steamer
connections to all the ports in the lake. Trains generally
leave in the evening and arrive the following morning after
a journey of around 13-14 hours. The rail travel in the first
or second class coaches offers visitors spectacular views
of the countryside from the coach windows in addition to first
class cabin services, bars and restaurants. Trains are sometimes
delayed, but most of the rolling stock is modern and comfortable,
and most trains have restaurant cars.