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Holiday in Kenya: answers to 10 FAQ from the italians

From evisa to malaria, from health to safety

10-12-2022 by redazione

Before planning a vacation to Kenya, it is natural to inquire and seek useful answers for informed travel.
Here are our answers to the most frequently asked questions (the British would use the acronym FAQ) that readers ask us.

1. Is it possible to do the visa directly upon arrival in Kenya or is it mandatory to do it online?

The tourist visa for entry to Kenya online is mandatory. You are asked to produce it already at the airport check-in on departure. It is convenient to ask for it 72 to 48 hours before embarking, in any case its validity starts from the day of arrival in Kenya. You can also show up with just the payment if you have not yet received confirmation of your visa. 

2. Can you make a one-way air ticket to Kenya?

You can travel with final destination Kenya on a one-way ticket only if you are a Kenyan resident or citizen. Tourists must have a round-trip air ticket with them compulsorily. In fact, even in the online visa they are asked for the return date related to the issued ticket (to be uploaded to the site). This does not mean that then a tourist is obliged to return for that exact date, he/she can move or cancel the return flight and purchase another one.

3. Are there any mandatory vaccinations to enter Kenya?

Kenya does not require any vaccinations. That for yellow fever was abolished back in the last century (in Tanzania, however, it is still mandatory). Only if you are transiting for more than 12 hours from a country where it is mandatory to have the yellow fever vaccine, it may be required upon arrival in Mombasa or Nairobi. For other diseases, there are no vaccines or requirements for treatment or prophylaxis before traveling to Kenya.

4. Is malaria prophylaxis advisable?

Antimalarial prophylaxis, while recommended by general practitioners and ASLs in Italy, has long been unnecessary and in addition to not giving full coverage, is detrimental to health, especially of the liver. In any case, a drug based on Artemisinin, a Chinese plant that has already proven to be the best after-the-fact cure for malaria, has long been on sale in Kenya. Anyone who wants to feel comfortable when returning from Kenya can buy "Coartem" or a medicine with the same active ingredient before leaving and ask the pharmacist for the exact dosage. In case you feel the symptoms of malaria, that is the best treatment in the world, but in Italy the administration of Artemisinin is possible only in the hospital.

5. Before traveling to Kenya, is it worth taking out health insurance?

Every traveler has his or her own degree of prudence and percentage of healthy unconsciousness. The public health situation in Kenya is that of a third world country, unlike other services. In case of sudden illness, accident or other needs, it is better to go to private clinics, whose prices are very high, although the services are almost always good. Therefore, it is advisable to take out good health insurance.

6. How many packs of cigarettes and bottles of alcohol can you pack?

The maximum allowed for cigarettes is 200 pieces (10 packs) or 50 cigars. For spirits, on the other hand, no more than one bottle of hard liquor over 13 degrees can be brought in the suitcase. In the case of wine bottles, although many official sources report only one (we go by the international rules that Kenya has forwarded to the International Air Transport Association) one per suitcase is usually accepted, as are perfume bottles. 
An expedient for those who want to bring more than one alcohol or bottle of wine is to also add to those in the suitcase one purchased at the Duty Free Shop and brought in the appropriate bag, still sealed.

7. Is tap water in Kenya safe to drink?

Although locals drink water that comes from public aqueducts, for a Westerner drinking that water can lead to bacterial infections or intestinal manifestations, hepatitis or other illnesses, even serious ones. For those with weak bodies, brushing teeth is not advisable either, especially in rural areas. This is especially during the first few days of vacation.

8. Can you drive a car in Kenya with an Italian driver's license?

No, to drive on Kenya's roads as a tourist, you must have a valid international driver's license. The Italian one, although with the European Union emblem, is not accepted.

9. How many people can ride on a motorcycle? Is it mandatory to have a helmet?

The Highway Code, regarding motorcycles, is the same as in Italy. No more than 2 people can get on and both must wear helmets. The fact that you see so-called "boda bodas," i.e., motorcycle cabs with three or four passengers on board, around does not mean that you can ride in them and that you cannot be subject to occasional checks for which even the passenger, in addition to the driver, can be arrested and be forced to appear in court (local court) and pay a hefty fine.

10. Is Kenya a safe country for going out at night?

In large cities such as Nairobi and Mombasa, it is recommended never to walk around after the sun goes down. Even in resort places it pays to be careful, at the limit move in groups and accompanied. Otherwise use means such as tuk-tuks or cabs. Once in clubs or public facilities, security is always provided by so-called askari.

TAGS: domandevistosicurezzasanitàviaggiorisposte

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This is reported on the front page of Kenya's official Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) website