Kenya: Local Travel Info
Mountains, deserts, colourful tribal culture, beaches, coral reefs and wildlife
Internal Flights and Major International Airports in Kenya
The main international airports in Kenya are Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi situated 15 km southeast of the city, and Moi International Airport in Mombasa located 9 km to the west. Wilson Airport, 6 km south of Nairobi, is used for domestic flights to the coast, game parks and western Kenya. Charter companies also offer flights from here to the many smaller airstrips throughout the country.
Getting to and from the Airports in Kenya
There is a Metro Shuttle bus from Jomo Kenyatta Airport which will drop you off at hotels in the city centre. Going the other way, the main departure point is the Hilton Hotel. The journey takes about 40 minutes and buses run every half hour. From Wilson Airport in Nairobi you can get a local bus or a taxi and from Moi International Airport in Mombasa a similar option of local bus or taxi.
Travel Costs in Kenya
The most economical way to travel to Kenya is on a package holiday, avoiding Christmas and Easter when the prices are considerably higher. January and February is the main tourist season, but some good deals can be found during the long rains (March to May) and the short rains (October to December) when things are quieter. Internal air charters, car hire and visits to the national parks are quite expensive if not included in your holiday, and the most reasonable way to travel within the country is by bus. There is also an overnight train between Nairobi and Mombasa which goes three times a week and costs $65 (one way) first class for a 2-berth compartment including dinner, bed and breakfast, or $54 second class for a 4-berth compartment including dinner, bed and breakfast.
Renting Cars in Kenya
Car hire is expensive and rates can vary. Most companies will insist on a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. This is sometimes the only way of getting to the more remote parts of the country but is likely to cost more than an organised camping safari. A minimum age of between 23 and 25 usually applies and most companies will require you to have been driving for at least 2 years. Including the various types of insurance, you can expect to pay about KSh6000 per day for a saloon car, or KSh8000 for a small 4WD.
To book car rental in Kenya online, view our Car Hire section for Kenya. We offer Ok Alpha users the latest special offers and best rates available for car hire in Kenya. We advise you book your Kenya hire car in advance so you can pick it up and drop it off directly at the airport.
Drivers License Requirements in Kenya
A valid driving licence is required. An international driving licence is accepted but is not a legal requirement.
Road Rules in Kenya
Driving is on the left hand side of the road and caution is strongly advised, as driving practices here are some of the worst in the world. It is advisable not to drive at night unless you have to. Foreign registered vehicles with a seating capacity of more than six people are not allowed into the Kenyan National Parks. The speed limit is 120 kph in the country and 60 kph in the towns. Seat belts are compulsory and it is also obligatory to carry two red triangles in case of a breakdown.
Bus Travel in Kenya
Kenya has an extensive network of bus routes covering the country and they are considerably cheaper than taking the train or flying. Services generally are frequent, fast and often quite comfortable. Some travellers are put off taking buses though, because of the bad state of the roads. Buses run regularly between most cities and towns and also across the borders to Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Tickets can be purchased at the bus station with fares starting around KSh80 – 100 for an hour-long journey. Shared minibuses or matatus can also be used for getting about the towns and have fixed fares.
Taxis in Kenya
Taxis are readily available outside the airports, stations, restaurants and hotels. A fleet of reconditioned London cabs are located outside the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi. Fares are negotiable but are fairly standard and an average fare for a short trip is around KSh200. At the main airports, there are Government affiliated taxis called Kenatco, which are metered and considered more reliable. There are also shared Peugeot taxis which take about 7 – 9 passengers and leave when full.
Cycling in Kenya
Many visiting cyclists tour the country every year, but this is not recommended on the main roads due to the dangerous driving conditions. Cycling is easier in rural areas and you will usually get a welcome in the villages, though you need to watch out for punctures from the thorn trees on the dirt roads. A number of companies now offer cycling and mountain-biking trips in Kenya and many places can arrange bike hire, usually between KSh300 and KSh500 per day.
Water Transport in Kenya
There are two ferries at Likoni which connect Mombasa island with the southern mainland. They run at regular intervals throughout the day and night and are free to foot passengers and KSh35 per car. It is possible to travel by dhow round the Lamu archipelago, and there is a ferry costing about KSh40 between Lamu and the bus station on the mainland at Mokowe. Ferries between the airstrip on Manda Island and Lamu cost KSh100 and leave half an hour before the flight. Between Lamu village and Shela there are plenty of motorised dhows in both directions costing KSh100 per person. There are also regular ferries between Lamu and Pate Island for KSh50.
Hitchhiking in Kenya
Hitchhiking is never entirely safe in any country and is advisable to travel in pairs and let someone know where you are planning to go. To flag down cars, it is better to use a palm-downwards wave rather than a thumb signal. Hitchhiking is more accepted in the remoter areas of the country and is easiest around the coast.