Many people wonder why Kenya is so interesting.
Have you ever counted the reasons that make you travel out there?
For me it was first a mission trip that I have always considered doing.
I wanted for years to have this opportunity and come here in Kenya and help the poor and orphans.
The environment with the many bird species like the beautiful flamingos. Its wildlife.The tribes which are so interesting.
The Great Migration which is considered to be one of the seven new wonders of the world.
To see how people live here and appreciate what we really have where we live.
Probably become better people after all these.
In all, Kenya is a beautiful country not to be missed.
For each one of us there might be different other reasons and we can end out to a great list.
The language widely spoken here is English. There also another national language, Kiswahili. Both Languanges are taught throughout the country.
It's extremely useful for the traveller to have a working knowledge of Swahili, especially outside the urban areas and in remote parts of the country.
July and August are the coolest months. Short rains between October and November.
The temperature reached the 23 degrees C while we were there and the locals felt cold which was something I could not believe!
Instead of rain there was drizzle in the mornings, and for me it was so beautiful.
For locals it was their winter!!
The 19 degrees C is the mean annual temperature in the capital of Kenya.
The seasons vary here and it is not actually the weather variations but the duration of rainfall that changes.
The long rains fall between April and June.
In case you need some medical care you have to be aware that there is a possibility that medical providers may not accept payment through your insurance company.
In such cases you will have to pay cash after the treatment.
It is advisable to have cash with you, and in case of trouble I suggest that you get in touch with your county’s local representative or embassy.
To get compensation you have to be sure that you should contact a licensed medical person, so that you will get the proper documentation and receipts. Be sure before leaving your country that you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers for repatriation to your home country.
When you are out especially to the Markets avoid having bank notes with you.
Carry the amount you think you will need, because you can very easily be robbed.
People in Kenya are in need of money and with the first opportunity they cannot resist.
Roads in Kenya aren't very good. Potholes, road blocks, goats and people tend to get in the way of vehicles.
Avoid driving a car or riding a bus at night because potholes are difficult to see and so are other vehicles especially when they are missing their headlights, a fairly common occurrence.
If you are renting a car, keep the doors and windows locked while driving in the major cities. Car-jackings occur fairly regularly but may not end in violence as long as you comply with demands made.
In general people are extremely friendly in Kenya and you will be humbled by their hospitality. But, there is real poverty in Kenya and you will soon realise that you are far richer and more fortunate than most local people you meet.
You will probably attract your fair share of souvenir hawkers and beggars, but try and take the time to meet ordinary people going about their day to day business too. The experience will be worth it. Don't be afraid to step out of that tour bus, just take some precautions.
Full name: The Republic of Kenya
Population: 39.8 million (UN, 2009)
Area: 582,646 sq km (224,961 sq miles)
Major languages: Swahili, English
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 54 years (men), 55 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Kenya shilling = 100 cents
Main exports: Tea, coffee, horticultural products, petroleum products
GNI per capita: US $770 (World Bank, 2008)
Internet domain: .ke
International dialling code: +254
Fondest memory: I had the pleasure to visit schools and talk with children, teachers and parents, and help some very poor families.
Karibu Kenya! which means welcome to Kenya (this phrase will be used often especially when people are introduced to you by your host).
Locals normally shake hands and say JAMBO (this is a swahili word which means hello).
Kenyans are warm and friendly people and would go out of their way to make you feel welcome in their homes and its only kind to take with you a gift whenever you go to someones house for the first time.
They will appreciate anything!!
I give some examples below:
A salary of a primary school teacher in Nairobi starts on around $130 per month.
The government set minimum wage varies by location, age and skill level; the lowest urban minimum wage in 2008 was around 7,500 shillings ($93) per month, and the lowest agricultural minimum wage for unskilled employees was around 2,500 ($31) shillings per month, excluding housing allowance.
A normal office salary would be around 150 - 250 $ - more if someone works for an intternational company, considerably less for people doing unskilled labor. Of course, there is also a well off Kenyan middle upper class making a good deal of money.
For 1 person, a good menu in a traditional restaurant will cost less than a 1 000 Kshs.
For 1 person, a good menu in a good restaurant (japanese, libanon, french) is about 1 500 to 1 700 Kshs
Beer or a coffee in a regular pub will cost you between - 80 to 100 Kshs for 500 ml beer
Coffee - about 80 to 100 Kshs in a regular pub and 140 to 170 Kshs for a good latte/capuccino, etc. in coffe bar/lounge
Cinema cost is between - 200 to 300 Kshs per seat
Known as the safari capital of Africa, this former Maasai watering hole is an energetic, modern city that offers a fascinating introduction to both wildlife and nightlife.
Music clubs pulse with life, shops and markets bustle, and international restaurants sit alongside those offering more regional fare.
Fondest memory: Top sights include the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre and the black rhinos of Nairobi National Park. The compact city center is safe to walk in and taxis make other areas accessible.
The man who arranged for my Mission trip - a very humble man, took us to his house, however we arranged that we stay with his brother who is well off.
People like Nicholas who cannot afford a real house, rent rooms actually.
These little rooms are neat and clean but really very poor. They are seperated by a huge white piece of cloth hanging from the ceiling reaching the floor, and they use the back space for a place to sleep. It is actually a small bench.
In the entrance they have one or two very small armchairs, and a small sofa. They cook outside. (See the photos).
They are happy and love life, strive for a better life.
What they really ask from us? .....Not to forget them!
In Kenya food and drinks should always be treated with some consideration. Tap water is never safe in Kenya. Always drink bottled water, which can be bought throughout the country in sizes between 0,20 and 5 litres. Be aware that there are less refridgerators in Kenya than in North America or Europe, and many people in Kenya don’t use the same standards of hygiene when handling food.
Meat, fish, eggs, and to a lesser extent dairy products and anything that isn't cooked or baked is riskier than other cooked products (rice, potatoes, vegetables, etc.) This also goes for "fresh" fruit cocktails, et cetera. Better take soft drinks, bottled water, tea or coffee (especially when the water was really boiled).
Kenya does not have a good mobile phone network no matter what other people say. There were times when my local friends were trying and trying to get a line and communicate with their people and it was not always possible. The areas however where the bulk of tourists are staying, all have roaming. Rates depend on your own mobile phone company and can be high – check them before you leave.
Be aware that Kenya uses the GSM 900 system, which is compatible with European mobile phones but not with American or Canadian phones (which work on the 850/1900 system). A way to make cheap mobile phone calls within Kenya, is buying a SIM card from Telkom or Safaricom. Your mobile phone has to be SIM-lock-free for this.
Another very popular is the Orange card....but I had a Safaricom while in Kenya and I was very satisfied with it.