Saturday, December 06, 2014

Preparing for a trip to Kenya

This is my Nth trip to Kenya, primarily Nairobi in the last 6 months. I have spent 90% of my time till date in this beautiful country. The experience has been amazing and enriching. I have met people from various countries across the globe, observed the life of a Kenyan closely, basked in the natural beauty of this country and as a result changed for the better, as a human being.

Like always,  I am planning to write a series of posts about the experiences I have gathered, Inshallah! Time will tell, whether, like always, I will fail. :-) But, like the journey of an engineering degree starts with the first back, I will start with this introductory post, my first step. This one is just about how to prepare for a trip to Kenya, from India that is.
If you are travelling for the first time to Africa, your trip preparations should start at least 45 days in advance. This is mainly for the yellow fever and oral polio vaccine that one needs to take before coming to this country. Mind you, you can't take the shots from any five star hospital like Apollo. But you need to visit a sarkari health centre designated in your city/ state to give these vaccines (Google for your location). They will give you a yellow card with date and stamp indicating that you have taken the shots. You can travel only 30 days after taking these shots(this is a bit disputed rule. I have heard another version that says 10 days moratorium).
The next activity is booking your tickets. Kenya Airways operates 2 direct flights from Mumbai and one from Delhi. The flight time is about 6 hours from Amchi Mumbai and 7.5 hours from The Capital City. This airline is the equivalent of Air India. Cheap, convenient and sucks on service. There is an alternative for you to take the route via Doha or Dubai. With that you spend about a day travelling in extreme luxury that the economy class of any airline in the world can offer. I prefer suffering for a shorter time though! Book in advance to get real cheap deals on flights.
Visa can be secured at your local embassy or also on arrival. The on-arrival visitor visa costs USD50 and is a single entry visa valid for 90 days. The visa on arrival is simple and is the most effective option if you are here on a one-off trips and purely for pleasure. 
Once you are here, there is a lot to do. Plan well and plan in advance to make the best of the time. Best time to visit is between August to October since you can witness the large scale wild migration at Masai Mara (which I could not visit ... yet). Details posts on places I visited will hopefully follow. If you have any more tips and tricks about travelling to Kenya or Africa, or if you have any queries, do post in comments. 

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