English and Bantu Swahili are the only two official languages of Kenya, although most people speak one of the 69 regional dialects in their home communities. English is used to bridge the gap in education, government, business, and tourism. It is widely known in the main commercial areas, but don’t assume you’ll be understood in the more remote or rural areas.
The official currency of Kenya is the Kenyan shilling (KES), which is made up of 100 cents. Visa fees on arrival should be paid for in US dollars. Outside the airport US dollars and euro are sometimes accepted, but the exchange rate is not usually favorable. It is better to withdraw cash from one of the ATMs (Barclays is best for international cards) or change money at a bank or currency exchange. Larger bills such as $50 or $100 will get a better exchange rate than small denominations. Make sure all bills were printed after 2000 and are clean. Major credit cards are accepted at most gas stations, large stores, hotels, and some restaurants, although it is best to check first whether there are additional fees. Cash is the most common form of payment in rural areas.
Kenya is in the East Africa Time Zone (EAT), which is three hours ahead of GMT (GMT +3).
Kenya uses electricity at 50-240V with Type G plug sockets. Travelers should bring a transformer and adaptor. Electrical devices from the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, or Hong Kong will usually work in Kenya while ones from Europe or North America will not.
The dialing code for Kenya is +254 and the three main mobile operators are Safaricom (owned by Vodafone), Airtel and Orange. Kenya has good cell and landline coverage. High speed internet cafés and hot spots are affordable and increasingly common. In rural areas, internet access can be poor to non-existent.
There is a range of duty-free items available at airport stores. Allowances state you may bring up to 225 g of tobacco or 200 cigarettes, one liter of alcohol and 568 ml of perfume.
Kenya Tourism Office, Mombasa: +254-41-231-5959 or http://www.tourism.go.ke/
Consulates in Kenya
U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya: +254-20-363-6000 Honorary Consulate of United Kingdom in Mombasa: +254-41-222-0023 High Commission of United Kingdom in Nairobi: +254-20-284-4000 Canadian High Commission in Nairobi: +254-20-366-3000 Australian High Commission in Nairobi: +254-20-427-7100 New Zealand Consulate in Nairobi,: +254-20-600-1074
Emergency services: 999 (landline) OR 112 (mobiles) Red Cross, Nairobi: +254-20-600-3593 St John’s Ambulance Nairobi: +254-20-221-2000 Fire Brigade, Nairobi: +254-20-222-2181 Central Police Station, Nairobi: +254-20-225-685