The official currency is the Kenya Shilling. The written abbreviation is either Ksh or by using /= after the amount (ie 500 /=). Available notes are 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings. Available coins are 1,5,10, 20 and 40 shillings.
Visitors to Kenya are advised to change foreign currency at banks, bureaux de change or authorized hotels. The easiest currencies to exchange are US Dollars, Pounds Sterling and Euros. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Kenya.
Traveller's cheques are widely accepted and many hotels, travel agencies, safari companies and restaurants accept the major credit cards. Most banks in Kenya are equipped to advance cash on credit cards.
Travellers are advised to convert any excess Kenya Shillings into foreign currency at a bank or bureau de change before departure. Anyone wishing to take more than 500? Kenya Shillings out of the country requires written authorization from the Central Bank.
Tipping: Tipping is not mandatory in Kenya. Guides, drivers, waiters and hotel staff can be tipped at your discretion.
Time, Public Holidays and Business Hours:
Kenya has a single time zone which is GMT 3.
Kenyan Public Holidays include:
The Muslim Festival of Idd ul Fitr celebrates the end of Ramadhan. The date varies each year depending on the sighting of a new moon.
Dates for the Christian festival of Easter vary from year to year.
Most businesses in Kenya are open from Monday to Friday, though some also trade on Saturday. Business hours are generally 9:00am to 5:00pm, closing for an hour over lunch (1:00pm - 2:00pm).
Banks are open from 9:00am to 3:00pm Monday to Friday with some branches open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 11:00am. Many banks are equipped with 24 hour ATM machines. The bank branches at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Nairobi) and Moi International Airport (Mombasa) operate 24 hour forex services.
Postal Services: Kenya has a good postal service for both local and international post with post offices and post boxes in most towns. Many shops in tourist lodges and hotels sell stamps. There are different rates for letters by weight, airletters and postcards by size. Parcel services are available from larger post offices. There are post restante services in Nairobi and Mombasa. There are also international courier services, e.g. DHL, available in the cities and larger towns.
Telecommunications: Kenya has a good network of telephone, cellular and satellite connections. Most hotels and lodges offer international telephone and fax services. In larger towns, private telecommunication centres also offer international services.
If you have a mobile phone with a roaming connection, then you can make use of Kenya's excellent cellular networks, which covers most larger towns and tourist areas.
When calling Kenya, the International code is 254.
Internet: Kenya has good Internet Service Providers with email and internet services offered by many hotels and lodges. In most towns, there are plenty of private business centres and cyber cafes offering email and internet access.
Media: Kenya has several English language newspapers. The most popular are the Daily Nation and the East African Standard. The East African is a weekly newspaper sold throughout Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. International newspapers and magazines are widely available in Kenya. Digital satellite television has become widespread throughout Kenya in recent years and most city hotels provide this South African based service offering a range of channels. There is also locally produced television and radio media.
Car Hire & Taxis: All the major car hire companies are represented in Kenya but self- drive is not recommended for the faint hearted or first time visitor because of the condition of the roads, the standard of driving, the lack of signage and the manic congestion in Nairobi! However taxis are relatively cheap and there are now some reputable and reliable radio-car companies.
Public Transport: Kenya has country wide, relatively cheap public transport in the form of trains, ferries, coaches and matatus (mini-buses) but all tend to be crowded and suited for the more adventurous traveller.
Electricity: The electricity supply in Kenya is 220/240 volts at 50Hz. Plugs are 3 point square.