Below you’ll find practical information on all the key points that might be relevant to you during your journey. If you still have any open questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
- Entry and Visa
- Method of payment
- Currency / Money
- Culture, food and habits
- Why can’t I find you at Tripadvisor?
- Worth knowing is also about
Entry and Visa
Citizens of most countries need a visa to enter Kenya and Tanzania.
All travellers with a nationality from Germany, Austria and Switzerland over the age of 16 need a Kenya visa. Exception: Since 2016, children under 16 travelling with their parents do not need to apply for a visa for Kenya.
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of entry.
Tourist visas for Kenya – 3 variants:
- Single Entry Visa: Kenya visa for 90 days with single entry (for tourist, private purposes and business travel). 51 USD / approx. 45 EUR
- East Africa Tourist Visa (EATV): the visa is valid for Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda for 90 days (multiple entry and exit possible). 100 USD / approx. 88 EUR
- Transit Visa: The transit visa is valid for 72 hours. You need a transit visa when you stop over in Kenya and leave the airport. For travellers who have a direct connecting flight and do not have to leave the airport building, a transit visa is not required. 21 USD / approx. 18 EUR
Application – 4 options:
- Apply for an eVisa directly at the Kenyan Immigration Service (in English): www.ecitizen.go.ke
- Apply for an eVisa via an online agency specialising in visa applications
- Apply for a visa at the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya (by post or in person), available in German and English.
- Apply for a visa on arrival (Visa on Arrival) at the airport in Kenya, for example at Nairobi and Mombasa airports. Or apply for the visa at official border crossings (in English). But beware! This option can be discontinued at any time, so we recommend that you apply for your visa electronically, at the embassy or via the professional visa service if you have enough time.
Note the application period for your visa: once your Kenya visa is issued, you have 90 days to travel to Kenya! This means you should not apply for your visa too early. Your departure date must be within the 90-day period from the date of issue.
Note: Travellers entering Kenya from or via yellow fever risk areas (i.e. including Tanzania) must present a yellow fever vaccination certificate on arrival. Here is the full list of entries from the following countries. If you are planning a longer trip with multiple stops, discuss your itinerary and any vaccinations with a travel health professional.
Citizens of most countries need a visa to enter Tanzania. You can apply for a visa at the Tanzanian embassy in the capital of your country before you start your journey. The visa application can also be submitted online at https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa. We recommend that you organize your visa before your trip. Alternatively, you can obtain the visa when entering Tanzania at the country’s international airports, the Zanzibar seaport or the major border crossings. The visa costs 50 USD per person, which is usually paid in cash. A conversion to purely cashless payment (e.g. credit card) is planned and is already being implemented at some entry points. Due to frequent disruptions with cashless payments, however, it is recommended to carry enough cash with oneself. In any case, we recommend that you take a look at the website of the Federal Foreign Office before of your country before you commence your trip.
Note: For direct entry to Tanzania or Zanzibar from Germany (but then again in combination with Kenya) you do not need proof of a yellow fever vaccination as long as you did not have a stopover in a yellow fever area and the stay there was longer than 12 hours. However, if you enter the country from a yellow fever area, proof of a yellow fever vaccination is required. The regulation also applies to children over the age of one.
Method of payment
Our goal is to make the organization and preparation of your trip as easy and convenient as possible. Accordingly, we keep the deposit to be paid after booking low at 20% of the total travel price. You transfer the remaining amount only 30 days before the start of your trip. Moreover, you can decide whether you prefer to pay by bank transfer or PayPal.
At the moment we do not charge a deposit – in pandemic times we want to make your booking with us as flexible as possible!
As in almost all African countries, the issue of safety for travellers plays an important role in Kenya and Tanzania. From our own experience we can say that both the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya and Moshi and Arusha in Tanzania, for example, as well as the ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro are comparatively safe for tourists.
It is advisable to be aware of common customs and habits. Especially in cities you should stick to the following points. If possible, move in groups, not alone. Leave unnecessary jewelry and expensive accessories at home. Keep as little cash as possible with you and transport it, for example, in a thin money belt close to your body. Valuables such as cameras or cell phones as well as personal documents like your passport are best worn in your daypack. It is also advisable to keep copies of the most important documents in a separate location. On site, your guide will give you more current information on security matters.
Currency / Money
The Kenyan currency is the shilling (Kenya shilling). Banknotes of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings are in circulation. Common coins are 1, 5, 10, 20 and (rarely) 40 shillings. The 40 shilling coin was issued in 2003 on the occasion of 40 years of independence from Great Britain. Older cent denominations are no longer in use, given their low value.
Important note: On 01.10.2019, the old 1000 shilling notes became invalid. Since this date, they are neither valid nor can they be exchanged. If you still have old 1000 Kenya Shilling notes, these can unfortunately only serve as a reminder. New 50, 100, 200 and 500 Kenya Shilling notes have also been put into circulation. However, the old banknotes in circulation are still valid. Sooner or later, these will also expire. But the date for this has not yet been announced by the Central Bank of Kenya.
Especially when changing money in Kenya, make sure that you get new 1000 Shilling notes. Even when shopping, it sometimes happens that you get old 1000 Shilling notes as return money. Do not accept them and either insist on a smaller denomination where old notes are still valid. Or ask for the new 1000 schilling notes. Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that some shops or souvenir shops take advantage of travellers’ ignorance!
With the new banknotes, the government is taking action against counterfeit money, money laundering and also against corruption. It will also prevent illegal financial flows to other countries. Kenya’s currency has a very high value in neighbouring countries.
The Tanzanian currency is the shilling (Tanzania shilling). Banknotes of 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000 shillings are in use, and currently only coins of 50, 100 and 200 shillings are in use, as well as the 500 shilling coin introduced in 2014. Smaller denominations exist only occasionally. As a rule, the Tanzanian shilling and US dollar are accepted. Credit cards are also accepted as a means of payment, but less frequently. Cash withdrawals by credit card are easy in big cities and tourist areas, but more difficult in rural and less tourist areas. You can withdraw and exchange money directly at the country’s main airports (including Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO)).
Our tip: it is advisable to carry a “large reserve” in cash (equivalent to 500 – 1,000 EUR), as credit cards are only accepted in the big cities and not every ATM (automated teller machine) works. In the meantime, it is possible to withdraw Tanzanian currency equivalent to about 250 EUR per day at some ATMs (cash machines) with a VISA card and PIN number. Otherwise VISA, MasterCard, Diners Club and AmericanExpress are accepted. ATMs of Barclays Bank accept EC cards of the Cash Group (Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, Postbank etc.) free of charge. With other banks, charges will be debited, which you should find out about in advance so that you don’t get a nasty surprise at the next statement.
To see the latest conversion rate, we recommend taking a look at Oanda’s currency converter.
Culture, food and habits
The culture in Kenya and Tanzania is very rich and diverse.
There are about 70 languages spoken in the Republic of Kenya, and almost every population group has its own language. But it is no problem for tourists to communicate in English, which is the official language along with Swahili, even if the pronunciation differs significantly from standard English. Travellers should practise a few phrases out of respect; for example, “Jambo” or “Habari” is more of a greeting when meeting someone than a “Hello”.
Swahili (also called Kiswahili) is probably the best-known of the African languages spoken in Kenya, but it is also used in Tanzania, Uganga, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo and, along with Haussa in West Africa, is one of the most important lingua franca on the African continent. Kikuyu, for example, is spoken by 20% of the population, primarily around the capital Nairobi. Kenya’s school system promotes the teaching of the individual dialects and languages so that they are not forgotten.
The Maasai and the Samburu came from other parts of Africa, but brought with them their nomadism, their belief in the god Ngai, their jumping dance and their fighting spirit. Even today, there are traditional body paintings and they make the legendary spears themselves.
Art in Kenya includes the coveted African wooden figures. Carving with wood is a traditional Kenyan art. Masks and figurines are representations that showcase the human role in communities or reveal a person’s inner self. Jewellery and fabrics are also artistic. For example, Kenyan women often wear a kanga, which is a cloth that has been colourfully painted. Kenya’s culture also includes body painting.
In the United Republic of Tanzania, the two main languages are Swahili and English, with the latter learned as a second language and often spoken in tourist areas. In total, there are more than 120 different languages and dialects in Tanzania. Of the 57.31 million people living in Tanzania (2017), about 40% are Christians and 40% are Muslims.
About 95% of the ethnic groups are classified as Bantu culture. The largest Bantu peoples in the country by number are the Sukuma (12%), followed by the Nyamwezi (9%), the Hehet/Bena (8%), the Haya (7%) and the Swahili (6%) on the coast. The best-known ethnic group, the Maasai, make up about 3% of the population. Due to the country’s location on the Indian Ocean, Tanzania was influenced early on by seafaring and the associated trade with the Arab world.
An important element in society is traditional art, which expresses the respective culture and customs of the different population groups. Traditional art objects can be found everywhere in the country, including wickerwork, beadwork, calabashes, jewellery and colourful garments and fabrics.
Due to seafaring and the encounter of different peoples, the arts and crafts have been shaped by Arab and Persian influences, among others, throughout history. The elaborately decorated wooden doors on the island of Zanzibar, which feature many oriental ornaments, bear witness to this.
But painting is also not to be overlooked in Tanzania. The famous “Tinga Tinga” paintings are offered on every corner in Tanzania. They are named after the artist Eduardo Tinga Tinga, who first began selling paintings to travellers in the 1970s to keep his head above water.
We have written more about language already in our article here.
Why can’t I find you at Tripadvisor?
It’s very simple: because we can’t be listed there. Tripadvisor only lists companies located directly at the destination (in this case in Tanzania and Kenya). Since we are a company with headquarters in Europe, our travelers unfortunately cannot leave any testimonials about their experience with us. We therefore have a section on our website where you can read testimonials. Just have a look here.
Worth knowing is also about
Tipping: These are very common in Kenya and Tanzania and are an important source of income for those working in the tourism industry. US dollars are readily accepted in both countries. Good to know: Only dollar notes with a large presidential head printed from 2006 onwards are accepted in Tanzania (only one-dollar notes with a small head are also acceptable).
Must-buy: Coffee (from the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro), wooden sculptures and the semi-precious stone found only in Tanzania called Tanzanite. Highly recommended are the traditional Maasai cloaks decorated with beads and jewellery or simply. The colourful beaded jewellery is also very popular as a “souvenir”. We always like to rummage at markets or in small shops for kangas or colourful fabrics for cushion covers and tablecloths at home.
Must-eat: The most popular dishes are “ugali” with meat, onions, tomatoes, vegetables and rice. Pilau is especially common in Zanzibar. Pilau is a dish made of rice or wheat, cooked with vegetables and meat with various spices such as cardamom and cinnamon. If you get the chance, we highly recommend you try it!
Must-drink: You’ll be an insider if you order a “Tangawizi” (actually Stoney Tangawizi from Coca Cola). This is a very tasty, slightly spicy, non-alcoholic lemonade. You should also try the various African beers (Tusker, Safari, Kilimanjaro, Serengeti etc.) and the delicious Kenyan gin, Procera Gin. But under NO circumstances should you leave Tanzania without tasting Konyagi: it belongs to Tanzania as much as Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti and Zanzibar. Konyagi is made from sugar cane, just like rum. Its juniper note dominates the taste, just like in classic gin. But other, typically Tanzanian flavours can also be tasted: Citrus, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. And it is precisely this exotic spice note that makes Konyagi interesting. Pure, it will be rather too strong for most Europeans, despite its relatively low alcohol content of 35 per cent, but in mixed drinks it unfolds its aromas wonderfully. Konyagi harmonises with juices, but above all it unfolds its full potential in combination with tonic water – a multi-layered “Konyagi Tonic”. Delicious !!! And also available as a nice souvenir in small bottles!