Travelling to Kenya
Kenya Everyday Life
Currency: Kenya Shilling (KES)
Exchange rate: 133.23 KES = € 1 (December 3rd, 2020 Central Bank of Kenya)
Time zone: East Africa Time (UTC + 3 hours)
Country code (phone): +254 (0)
Climate (for capital): warm temperate (Nairobi)
Please note: Due to the global corona crisis, changed regulations and sometimes drastic restrictions on entry, travel and movement also apply in Kenya, a major country in African continent according to rctoysadvice! International air traffic for passengers was reopened on August 1, 2020. But travelers had to present current, negative corona tests and be free of flu-like symptoms such as cough, fever, etc. In addition, they had to go into two-week quarantine, unless they came from countries on the so-called positive list, which included Germany at the beginning of August 2020; but such lists can change spontaneously.
The general entry regulations were last changed in 2016. Since then, children under the age of 16 can get a visa free of charge, all others require US $ 51. Since July 2015, a visa can be obtained electronically from the embassies or Consulates can be applied for. However, it will continue to be issued upon entry at the official border stations of the airports, including the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and the Moi Airport Mombasa. To avoid waiting times, the application and payment are highly recommended to use the digital form of the visa in advance; it will then be noted in the passport upon entry. German citizens are subject to a visa requirement; they need a passport that is valid for at least six months. Children need their own identification document, it must also be valid for six months. In addition, tickets may have to be presented upon entry that prove the departure or onward journey. For US $ 100 there is a multi-entry visa for certain member countries of the East African Union: Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
In the shared taxi, the Matatu, change is required
The currency is the Kenya Shilling (KES), which – like other African currencies – has been under pressure since Corona and has clearly lost value. The Kenya Shilling fell by more than 10 percent against the euro to 126.38 KES against the euro – that was the level at the beginning of August 2020.
All banknotes and coins adorned Jomo Kenyatta’s likeness for many years after Daniel arap Moi had to relinquish power in late 2002. Only the 40 shilling coin was decorated with Mwai Kibaki’s head, contrary to promises to the contrary. But Kenya’s wildlife is now dominating cash, including elephants and rhinos. Attention: The largest unit, the 1000 Schilling note, should be exchanged for new notes by October 1, 2019. Kenya wants to counter money laundering and corruption; allegedly suspects have stashed hundreds of millions in cash, in “old” thousand bills that they had to disclose if they wanted to exchange them.
Current exchange rates can be found at the Central Bank of Kenya. Sending money from a German bank to an account at one of the major banks in Kenya is possible, but involves high fees.
Credit cards are accepted in high-priced restaurants and shops in Nairobi as well as in international hotels on the coast. In the rest of Kenya, cash is still in demand, but some ATMs now also work with German EC cards. The machines tend to be empty before weekends, public holidays or special events such as elections, so the advice is to withdraw cash in good time if necessary.
Another possibility to process payments within Kenya is the mobile phone. When the passport is presented, the mobile network operators issue SIM cards. Then you can also pay by mobile phone, both in a taxi and in a café or supermarket and even in remote lodges. You can’t always rely on that, especially when there is no network or only a weak signal. So always ask beforehand whether it is possible. In any case, the prerequisite is that the mobile phone account has been sufficiently loaded beforehand; The opportunity to do so now arises on every street corner, that’s how high the penetration of the market is, especially through the market leader M-Pesa.
Farewell to the personality cult: In modern Kenya, wild animals threatened with extinction adorn the now politically neutral paper currency in denominations of 100 to 1000 Kenyan shillings. The elephant costs the most: 1000 Ksh.