Travel Information

Travel Information

The information below was provided by our host in Nairobi, Busara, which has a decade of experience guiding newcomers to Kenya through the travel process. For more extensive information about Nairobi, including culture, things to do, food, how to pay for things in Kenya, and much more, see Busara’s guide, “Karibu Nairobi!“.


The need for a Visa to Kenya depends on your country of origin. Besides looking at your own country’s recommendations, we would recommend checking the Electronic Visa Kenya website. The length of time to receive a Visa, and how long the Visa is good for, depends on your country of origin, so be sure to plan accordingly.



Don’t rely on our medical knowledge. Please read this (or the equivalent from your country): 

The only vaccination you absolutely need to enter Kenya is yellow fever. Once you get this vaccination, you’ll receive a yellow fever card that you should carry with your passport as you enter the country if you’re arriving from a country with yellow fever prevalence. It will be checked at the airport upon arrival.

Further, most sites recommend that you get the following vaccinations:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid
  • Routine vaccines such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and an annual flu shot.


In the wake of the pandemic, we urge that you get advice about traveling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.

Some of the sites we recommend as as below:


Due to its high altitude, Nairobi is not located in a malaria zone.

However, you may still want to get malaria medication for other places you may visit such as the coast, western Kenya, and other places in East Africa that are located in malaria zones. Each type of malaria prophylaxis has a different regimen and side effects. Talk to a medical professional about the right one for you. 

Travel within and around Nairobi

Ride hailing apps

The easiest way to get around is to use a ride hailing service. Uber, Bolt, and Little Cab are the three primary services and are similar in cost and operation. They tend to change their prices, so if you are very price conscious, you’ll need to carefully compare. Also their availability tends to vary as well as which service might be surging at any given time.

Be aware of ride hailing scams. These change all the time, but typically are little ways to extract a few extra shillings from the trip. Common ones include having a driver accept a trip then ask you to cancel after 5 minutes, starting the trip before actually picking you up or ending the trip well after you’ve been dropped off.

You’ll also find that some drivers don’t use the GPS map, so you’ll often be asked to explain to them exactly how to get to you.


Sometimes it’s easier to just grab a taxi that is waiting outside. These are generally safe to use, but always exercise good judgement. Note the prices are all based on negotiation and likely higher than using a ride hailing service.


During the day, another easy way around Nairobi is matatus. These are public minibuses (though privately owned) that are a cheaper way to travel around the city. There are stops for them all over the city. The routes are often confusing, but a map is available here.

Prices for matatus are not set in stone. Often they can depend on the weather, if it’s rush hour, or if they think that you don’t live in Nairobi (and don’t know the right price). Luckily, the price is rarely above KES 100 (USD 1) within the city, so it’s hard to get too ripped off. Before you get on the matatu, confirm where you’re going with the “makanga” (the conductor who sits next to the door and collects the money once you’re inside. Their uniform is usually maroon (but they won’t always be in uniform).

You can also catch matatus and buses to go out of the city. They are much cheaper than using private transport.

Boda bodas

These are motorcycles that act like taxis. They take you where you want to go and are most of the time much cheaper than taxis. They can also be pretty dangerous since you end up weaving in and out of traffic. For your safety, they are not recommended, but they exist.


During the day, it’s okay to walk around. Just keep an eye on your valuables like you would in any major city. But once it starts getting dark, avoid walking and take a cab. Be smart, be safe.

Although Nairobi is reasonably safe, there are some security considerations you should take into account. Just as you would in any major city, it’s important that you are always aware of your surroundings and personal items and make good choices.

If you’re a US citizen, it’s good to register your presence in Kenya via the US Embassy’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at For citizens of other countries, you should register with your embassy if they have a similar program.  This will enable you to receive important updates from your home country embassy.