Practical Matters

Telephones:

There are public phones in most hotels and lodges, but many people prefer to carry their own mobile phone. Phones and ‘pay as you go’ SIM cards may be purchased on arrival and this may be necessary if your phone doesn’t have a roaming facility. Many overseas phones are locked and won’t work in Kenya even if you put in a different sim card. It may be possible to buy a phone at the airport depending on what time your flight arrives, but you will more likely have to search out a shop that sells them once you’ve arrived. There are two main local operators: Zain and Safaricom whose networks work very efficiently throughout Kenya. Local calls are not particularly expensive. To dial a fixed line number within Nairobi you need to dial 020 plus the number. For Mombasa the dialing code is 041. The international dialing code for the Kenya is +254.

Internet access:
Most hotels will offer Internet access of some sort in Kenya, with some coffee bars and hotels now offering fast Internet Wi-Fi connectivity (Java house and the Serena Hotels being among them). Internet café’s are available in the main urban centres.

Money:
The Kenyan shilling (written as /- ksh) is the official currency and is known as bob more often than not (i.e. 100/-ksh is known as 100 bob!) US dollars being accepted in some outlets and hotels.
Cash is accepted everywhere and all major credit and debit cards may be used in most large establishments. Cheques however, are not. ATM’s can be found in all the main urban areas in Kenya, and money exchange booths (Forex bureaus) are also found. Banks tend to be the usual places where you can exchange hard currency.

Post:
Post Offices are few and far between and it best to ask directions from your hotel. Postage is cheap and usually efficient with letters and cards taking less than a week to Europe and no more than about 10 days to Australia and the USA. Most hotels and lodges will sell you stamps and will post the letters too.To send or receive packages, the package must be checked by officials for import/export tax. Don’t wrap the package until after it has been seen by the post office official or you will be made to undo it in front of them. Packages need to be less than 20kg sea mail and 30kg for airmail. A variety of international courier services are available for packages and registered postal deliveries such as Fed Ex, TNT and DHL.

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