Travel in Kenya

   
Time: Local time is GMT +3.
   
Electricity: 240 volts, 50Hz.
   
Language: Official language is English but Swahili is the national language, with 42 ethnic languages spoken.
   
Health: There are good medical facilities in Nairobi and Mombasa but health insurance is essential.
   
Tipping: Tipping is not customary in Kenya; however a 10% service charge may be added to bill in more upmarket restaurants. Otherwise small change in local currency may be offered to taxi drivers, porters and waiters. On safari, however, drivers, guides and cooks often rely heavily on tips to get by, but these are discretionary.
   
Customs: The taking of photographs of official buildings and embassies is not advised and could lead to detention. It is illegal to destroy Kenyan currency, and homosexuality is against the law. Smoking in public places is banned.
   
Business: Business hours are usually from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm Monday to Friday.
   
Communications: The international access code for Kenya is +254. The outgoing code is 000 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00027 for South Africa), unless dialling Tanzania or Uganda when the outgoing codes are 007 or 006 respectively. City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)41 for Mombasa and (0)20 for Nairobi. International Direct Dial is available throughout most of the country, but the service is expensive and inefficient. Hotels usually add a hefty surcharge to their telephone bills; it is less expensive to either call from one of the international phone services, which are available in larger towns or buy a pre-paid calling card for use in the public telephone booths. For international operator-assisted calls call 0196. All major urban areas are covered by the mobile network; the local mobile phone operators use GSM networks that have roaming agreements with most international mobile phone operators. Internet cafes are widely available in most towns and tourist areas.
   
Duty Free: Travellers to Kenya over 16 years do not have to pay duty on 227g tobacco or 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars; 1 bottle of alcohol; and 473ml perfume. Prohibited items include fruit, imitation firearms, and children’s toys pistols. No plants may be brought into the country without a Plant Import Permit (PIP).