Febuary 12 - 18th 2024, - Nairobi, Kenya
1. VISA (eTA)
Kenya is VISA free for all countries from 1st of January 2024, but you still have to register for an eTA, pay a $30 processing fee, upload documents and wait up to 3 days. The government is facing a lot of backlash for this new system now, so we would advise you to wait with the application for a bit longer in case they decide to change something in the coming weeks. We will make sure to keep you updated. If you apply 2 weeks before traveling it should be ample of time to have it registered in time.
The following information is required to apply for an eTA:
- Valid passport
- Recent passport picture OR a selfie picture taken during application process
- Contact details (home address, telephone, email)
- Travel information and flight itinerary (arrival flight number, date of departure of initial flight in case of connecting flights)
- Proof of booking for the hotel you will be staying at (if staying with friends, a letter of invitation is accepted)
- Yellow fever vaccination certificate if coming from endemic countries (please check the WHO website for the updated list of countries)
- Credit/Debit card information for payment, if applicable
Once your eTA has been approved the webpage states that you can either “print the PDF document that has been attached to the email, OR download the document to your mobile device OR save it in the “Kenya Travel Authorisation” mobile app” . Since the previous VISA system required you to print the VISA (in color) we recommend you print the eTA in case not all airline personnel have been informed of the new rules yet.
You can apply for eTA here: https://www.etakenya.go.ke/en
Kilele will take place in Westlands, Nairobi and most of the program will take place at The Mall:
We don’t have any specific deals, but we have put together a short list of some decent hotel alternatives that are close to the venue. It’s not a comprehensive list and there are a lot of affordable options for both apartments (Airbnb and Bookings) and hotels in the area. Apart from Westlands you can also check out apartments or hotels around Kilimani, Lavington or Kileleshwa.
Some hotels in Westlands:
3. Local transport
Nairobi is not made for pedestrians, so you will need to move around with a taxi most of the time. Both Uber, Bolt and InDrive are available apps/services where you can pay with card, cash or MPESA, though some drivers will cancel card trips as they prefer getting the money as quickly as possible. Rides are usually very quick to get and very affordable. Traffic can be chaotic, so wear a seat belt and ask your driver to slow down if he’s going too fast.
From airport: You can book an Uber, Bolt or InDrive (local alternative) from the airport on arrival. There are also standard taxis that will be more expensive, charging between 20 and 40 USD, whereas an Uber/Bolt/InDrive is typically around 10 USD. To save time you can take the Expressway, but you need cash to pay the toll. The charges were recently raised from 300 KES to about 450 KES from the airport to Westlands.
4. SIM card and mobile money (MPESA) and cash
Safaricom is the most used provider and you can get a sim card at the airport (they have a booth just outside after you exit customs), or at Safaricom shops around the city - the closest to the Kilele venue is in Sarit Mall (5 mins walk).
MPESA is the mobile money system in Kenya (the first in the world dating back to 2007) and you can use it to pay basically anywhere. You don’t connect MPESA to a credit or debit card, but transfer money to your MPESA account either by finding an agent to deposit cash or using a service like Wise or WorldRemit to transfer from your card or bank account straight into your MPESA account. The transaction usually only takes a few minutes.
The current exchange rate for the Kenyan Shilling is 174 to the Euro, and 158 to the dollar. Some people only use M-PESA for all transactions, but it’s sometimes good to have some cash handy. Debit and credit cards are also widely accepted.
Be aware of yourself and belongings. Simple precautions of not having your wallet, phone or valuables on display should be observed. Also be aware to not have your phone out if you’re in a car with an open window moving in slow traffic as it might get snatched.
Walking can be hazardous even during daytime because of the chaotic traffic. It’s not advisable to walk at night.
Most visitors or expats coming from abroad do not take any special vaccination precautions. However, this is very much up to the individual. Nairobi is at an altitude of 1800 meters and as such malaria is not endemic.
These are the official UK vaccine recommendations for Kenya:
Nairobi has a subtropical highland climate. At 1,795 metres (5,889 ft) above sea level, evenings may be cool even if it's hot during the day. The sunniest and warmest part of the year is from December to March, when temperatures average in the high-twenties Celsius during the day. The mean maximum temperature for this period is 28 °C (82 °F).
8. Other things to note
- Plastic bags are officially banned in Kenya - best not to pack any in your suitcases.
- The two official languages of Kenya, Swahili and English are widely spoken as lingua francas.
- Timezone: +3 GMT
- Currency: Kenya Shilling (KES)
Write the Kilele team if there is anything else you need to know!