Pre-Trip Information

Country Profile: Kenya

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Travel Guide

Please Note
This is a generalized travel guide and it is intended to coalesce several resources, which a traveler might find useful, regardless of a particular destination.  As such, it does not include travel warnings for specific "hot spot" destinations.   
For  travel alerts and warnings, please see the United States Department of State's listings available at URL:
Please note that travel to the following countries, based on these warnings, is ill-advised, or should be undertaken with the utmost precaution:  
Afghanistan, Algeria,  Burundi,  Cameroon, Central African Republic,   Chad,  Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo,  Djibouti,  El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia,   Guinea,  Honduras, Iraq, Iran,  Lebanon, Liberia, Libya,  Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, Niger,  Nigeria,  North Korea, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories of West Bank and Gaza,  Philippines areas of Sulu Archipelago, Mindanao, and southern Sulu Sea, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone,  Somalia,  South Sudan,  Sudan, Syria,   Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen. 
International Travel Guide

Checklist for Travelers

1. Take out travel insurance to cover hospital treatment or medical evacuation. Overseas medical costs are expensive to most international travelers, where one's domestic, nationalized or even private health insurance plans will not provide coverage outside one's home country. Learn about "reciprocal insurance plans" that some international health care companies might offer.
2. Make sure that one's travel insurance is appropriate. If one intends to indulge in adventurous activities, such as parasailing, one should be sure that one is fully insured in such cases. Many traditional insurance policies do not provide coverage in cases of extreme circumstances.
3. Take time to learn about one's destination country and culture. Read and learn about the place one is traveling. Also check political, economic and socio-cultural developments at the destination by reading country-specific travel reports and fact sheets noted below.
4. Get the necessary visas for the country (or countries) one intends to visit - but be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry. A number of useful sites regarding visa and other entry requirements are noted below.
5. Keep in regular contact with friends and relatives back at home by phone or email, and be sure to leave a travel itinerary.
6. Protect one's personal information by making copies of one's passport details, insurance policy, travelers checks and credit card numbers. Taking copies of such documents with you, while leaving another collection copies with someone at home is also good practice for travelers. Taking copies of one's passport photograph is also recommended.
7. Stay healthy by taking all possible precautions against illness. Also, be sure to take extra supplies of prescription drugs along for the trip, while also taking time to pack general pharmaceutical supplies, such as aspirin and other such painkillers, bandages, stomach ailment medication, anti-inflammatory medication and anti-bacterial medication.
8. Do not carry illicit drugs. Understand that the punishment for possession or use of illegal drugs in some countries may be capital punishment. Make sure your prescription drugs are legal in the countries you plan to visit.
9. Know the laws of one's destination country and culture; be sure to understand the repercussions of breaking those laws and regulations. Often the transparency and freedoms of the juridical system at home is not consistent with that of one's destination country. Become aware of these complexities and subtleties before you travel.
10. For longer stays in a country, or where the security situation is volatile, one should register one's self and traveling companions at the local embassy or consulate of one's country of citizenship.
11. Women should take care to be prepared both culturally and practically for traveling in a different country and culture. One should be sure to take sufficient supplies of personal feminine products and prescription drugs. One should also learn about local cultural standards for women, including norms of dressing. Be aware that it is simply inappropriate and unsafe for women to travel alone in some countries, and take the necessary precautions to avoid risk-filled situations.
12. If one is traveling with small children, one should pack extra supplies, make arrangements with the travel carrier for proper seating that would adequately accommodate children, infants or toddlers. Note also that whether one is male of female, traveling with children means that one's hands are thus not free to carry luggage and bags. Be especially aware that this makes one vulnerable to pickpockets, thieves and other sorts of crime.
13. Make proper arrangements for accommodations, well in advance of one's arrival at a destination. Some countries have limited accommodation, while others may have culturally distinctive facilities. Learning about these practicalities before one travels will greatly aid the enjoyment of one's trip.
14. Travel with different forms of currency and money (cash, traveler's checks and credit cards) in anticipation that venues may not accept one or another form of money. Also, ensuring that one's financial resources are not contained in one location, or by one person (if one is traveling with others) can be a useful measure, in the event that one loses a wallet or purse.
15. Find out about transportation in the destination country. In some places, it might be advisable to hire a local driver or taxi guide for safety reasons, while in other countries, enjoying one's travel experience may well be enhanced by renting a vehicle and seeing the local sights and culture independently. Costs may also be prohibitive for either of these choices, so again, prior planning is suggested.

Tips for Travelers

• Don't leave home without travel insurance that includes the cost of local hospitalization and medical evacuation to your home country. Make sure it also covers unexpected losses or expenses (e.g. missing a chartered flight, having cash and credit cards stolen).

• Check with your embassy, consulate, or appropriate government institution related to travel before traveling.

• Bring enough funds for your stay and your return. Bank transfers to Kenya can take time. If you miss your return flight you may have to buy another ticket to get home.

• Take care of your belongings at all times. This includes baggage, cash, traveler's checks and credit cards, passport and travel and insurance documents. Leave spare cash, tickets, passport and valuables in a safe place, e.g. hotel safe. Avoid carrying too much money. Don't wear conspicuous jewelry outside your hotel.

• Keep a separate record of your passport number, date and place of issue, preferably in the form of a photocopy. A photocopy of your birth certificate is an added precaution. Enter next of kin details into the back of your passport.

• Don't get involved with drugs. The authorities hand out stiff penalties to drug offenders.

• Beware of pickpockets and bag-snatchers. Report any loss as soon as possible at the nearest police station and obtain a police report - you will need it for insurance purposes.

• Don't go out on foot after dark. You are likely to be mugged.

• Don't camp in lonely places, whether up-country or on beaches along the coast. Use official campsites in the national parks where possible. If in doubt seek advice from the local police.

• Don't walk or sit on empty beaches.

• Take taxis from outside your hotel or ask the hotel to get one for you. Stray taxis picked up at random are risky.

• If you hire a car, take care. Accidents are very frequent. Don't leave anything of value in parked cars.

• Don't destroy or deface Kenyan currency. It is a criminal offence.

• Don't expect to find work in Kenya if you run out of money. It is illegal to work without a work permit even on a voluntary basis.

• Malaria and other tropical diseases: consult your doctor for the right kind of pills or inoculations. Make sure that you take the malaria pills before, during and after your trip.

• Don't carry your travel money in case, especially £50 notes which Kenyan banks refuse to accept.

• Don't accept sweets, food or drink from strangers. It may be drugged.

• Don't overstay your leave to remain in Kenya. This is stamped in your passport by the immigration officer when you arrive. Extensions should be applied for from the Department of Immigration before your leave to remain expires.

Note: This information is directly quoted from the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Sources: United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Business Culture: Information for Business Travelers

The principles of customary business courtesy, especially replying promptly to requests for price quotations and orders, are a prerequisite for exporting success. In general, Kenyan business executives are relatively informal and open. The use of first names at an early stage of a business relationship is acceptable. Friendship and mutual trust are highly valued, and once an American has earned this trust, a productive working relationship can usually be expected.

Given the competitive market and increasing experience, Kenyan firms are developing expertise in international business. Kenyan buyers appreciate quality and service, and, if justified, are willing to pay extra if they are convinced of a product's overall superiority. The market, however, is very price sensitive. As would be the case in other markets, care must be taken to ensure that delivery dates are closely maintained and that after-sales service will be promptly honored. While there are numerous factors that may interfere with prompt shipment, the exporter should allow for additional shipping time to Kenya and ensure the Kenyan buyer is continuously updated on changes in the shipping schedules and routing. It is much better to quote a later delivery date that can be guaranteed than an earlier one that is not completely certain.

Firms should maintain close liaison with distributors and customers to exchange information and ideas. Local distributors/representatives should serve as a good source of local market requirement information and as appraisers of product market acceptance. In most instances, mail, fax or telephone communications are sufficient, but the understanding developed through periodic personal visits is the best way to keep distributors apprised of new developments and to resolve problems quickly. Prompt acknowledgment of correspondence by fax or e-mail is recommended.

Sources: United States Department of State Commercial Guides

Online Resources Regarding Entry Requirements and Visas

Foreign Entry Requirements for Americans from the United States Department of State
Visa Services for Non-Americans from the United States Department of State
Visa Bulletins from the United States Department of State
Visa Waivers from the United States Department of State - new
Passport and Visa Information from the Government of the United Kingdom
Visa Information from the Government of Australia
Passport Information from the Government of Australia
Passport Information from the Government of Canada
Visa Information from the Government of Canada
Online Visa Processing by Immigration Experts by VisaPro
Sources: United States Department of State, United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Government of Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Government of Canada Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Useful Online Resources for Travelers
Country-Specific Travel Information from United States
Travel Advice by Country from Government of United Kingdom
General Travel Advice from Government of Australia
Travel Bulletins from the Government of Australia
Travel Tips from Government of Australia
Travel Checklist by Government of Canada
Travel Checklist from Government of United Kingdom
Your trip abroad from United States Department of State
A safe trip abroad from United States Department of State
Tips for expatriates abroad from United States Department of State
Tips for students from United States Department of State
Medical information for travelers from United States Department of State
US Customs Travel information
Sources: United States Department of State; United States Customs Department, United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Government of Australia; Government of Canada: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Other Practical Online Resources for Travelers
Foreign Language Phrases for Travelers
World Weather Forecasts
Worldwide Time Zones, Map, World Clock
International Airport Codes
International Dialing Codes
International Phone Guide
International Mobile Phone Guide
International Internet Café Search Engine
Global Internet Roaming
World Electric Power Guide
World Television Standards and Codes
International Currency Exchange Rates
Banking and Financial Institutions Across the World
International Credit Card or Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Locator
International Chambers of Commerce
World Tourism Websites
Diplomatic and Consular Information
United States Diplomatic Posts Around the World
United Kingdom Diplomatic Posts Around the World
Australia's Diplomatic Posts Around the World
Canada's Embassies and High Commissions
Resources for Finding Embassies and other Diplomatic Posts Across the World
Safety and Security
Travel Warnings by Country from Government of Australia
Travel Warnings and Alerts from United States Department of State
Travel Reports and Warnings by Government of Canada
Travel Warnings from Government of United Kingdom

Sources: United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the United States Department of State, the Government of Canada: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Government of Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Other Safety and Security Online Resources for Travelers
United States Department of State Information on Terrorism
Government of the United Kingdom Resource on the Risk of Terrorism
Government of Canada Terrorism Guide
Information on Terrorism by Government of Australia
FAA Resource on Aviation Safety
In-Flight Safety Information for Air Travel (by British Airways crew trainer, Anna Warman)
Hot Spots: Travel Safety and Risk Information
Information on Human Rights
Sources: The United States Department of State, the United States Customs Department, the Government of Canada, the Government of United Kingdom, the Government of Australia, the Federal Aviation Authority, Anna Warman's In-flight Website, Hot Spots Travel and Risk Information