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Kenya Travel Guide: Exploring Kenya on a Budget

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Kenya Travel Guide: General Information

  • Nyama Choma: Kenya’s signature dish of grilled meat, usually goat or beef, served with local sides.
  • Ugali: A staple side dish made from cornmeal, served with vegetables or meat.
  • Chapati:A type of flatbread influenced by Indian cuisine, often paired with stews.
  • Maasai Mara National Reserve: Renowned for its annual wildebeest migration and exceptional wildlife viewing.
  • Amboseli National Park: Famous for its stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro and large herds of elephants.
  • Fort Jesus, Mombasa: A historic fort that exhibits the remnants of Kenya’s trade history and colonization.
  • Kenya’s National Parks: Offer affordable accommodation options, particularly camping within the parks. Experience sleeping under the stars with facilities such as showers, restaurants, and bars available. Prices for camping vary, and it is recommended to book ahead, especially during peak seasons.
  • Wildlife Safaris: Explore the vast landscapes of Kenya’s national parks and reserves.
  • Beach Holidays: Relax on the pristine beaches of the Kenyan coast, such as Diani Beach.
  • Cultural Tours:Engage with local communities and learn about traditional Maasai life.
  • Diani Beach Resort & Spa, Diani Beach: This resort offers an affordable getaway with comfortable accommodations and easy access to water sports like snorkeling and kitesurfing. It often features package deals that include meals and activities.
  • Merica Hotel, Nakuru: This hotel is a perfect base for safari-goers looking to explore the lake’s natural beauty. The hotel features an outdoor pool, on-site dining, and comfortable rooms.
  • Kahama Hotel Nairobi:It’s located near top attractions like the Nairobi National Museum and Kenya National Theatre, making it convenient for guests interested in cultural and historical explorations.
  • Lamu Cultural Festival: Occurring annually around November, the Lamu Cultural Festival offers a variety of activities including traditional Swahili poetry readings, henna paintings, donkey races, and dhow sailing competitions. The festival is a profound expression of the community’s belief in preserving and celebrating their way of life, amid the narrow and bustling streets of Lamu’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Lake Turkana Cultural Festival:The festival aims to foster peace and unity among the different communities by celebrating their diverse cultural heritage. Attendees can witness colorful traditional costumes, listen to indigenous music, and participate in dances and crafts. The harsh, yet stunning landscape of Lake Turkana provides a dramatic backdrop to this cultural mosaic, making it a unique and unforgettable experience for any traveler.

How to Travel to Kenya From the US

Kenya Travel Guide: Must-visit Places

Maasai Mara National Reserve

Maasai Mara National Reserve - Kenya on a budget

For those planning a cheap safari, consider booking game drives locally and sharing costs with other travelers. Staying close to the park is crucial for early morning game drives, which offer the best chances to see wildlife.

The Maasai Mara is part of the Serengeti ecosystem. It is named after the Maasai people, traditional inhabitants of the area who graze their animals here as they have done for centuries. “Mara” means “spotted” in the Maa language, referring to the trees, scrub, and clouds that dot the landscape.

Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park - Kenya on a budget

Amboseli was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1991, highlighting its global importance for biodiversity conservation. The park is also famous for its research on elephants, which has been ongoing since the 1970s. This research offers deeper insights into these magnificent creatures’ social structure and behavior.

Lamu Old Town

Lamu Old Town Kenya on a budget | Kenya Travel Guide: Exploring Kenya on a Budget

Lamu has a rich history influenced by several cultures, including Arab, Persian, Indian, and European, making it a melting pot of architectural styles and cultures. The town is also famous for its traditional events, such as the Lamu Cultural Festival.

Lake Nakuru National Park

Lake Nakuru National Park Kenya on a budget | Kenya Travel Guide: Exploring Kenya on a Budget

Lake Nakuru is an alkaline lake that supports the algae that feeds flamingos. Although water levels have influenced the number of flamingos visible in recent years, the park remains a vital breeding ground for these birds and other wildlife.

Diani Beach

Diani Beach Kenya on a budget | Kenya Travel Guide: Exploring Kenya on a Budget

The coral reefs off Diani Beach offer outstanding snorkeling and diving, with the chance to see sea turtles, moray eels, angelfish, and even whale sharks.

Nairobi and Its National Museum

Kenya on a Budget Nairobi | Kenya Travel Guide: Exploring Kenya on a Budget

Other popular things include visiting the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant orphanage, and Nairobi National Park to see wildlife with skyscrapers in the distance.

Kenya Travel Guide: Useful Information

Kenya on a Budget travel | Kenya Travel Guide: Exploring Kenya on a Budget

Travel Tips

  • Tipping is Expected: In Kenya, tipping is a customary way to show appreciation for services. It’s customary to tip waitstaff, drivers, and porters.
  • Cash is Crucial in Remote Areas: While credit cards are widely accepted in major cities, cash is essential when visiting more remote areas or wildlife reserves. Ensure you have enough local currency for these excursions.
  • Stay in the Vehicle on Safaris: For your safety and the protection of wildlife, always stay inside the vehicle during safari tours. Exiting can be dangerous and is legally prohibited in protected areas.
  • Vaccinations are Necessary: Protect yourself by getting vaccinated against yellow fever and taking preventive measures against malaria before your trip.
  • Respect Photography Restrictions: Always ask for permission before photographing people. Also, be aware of restrictions on photographing sensitive sites, such as government buildings and military installations.
  • Avoid Tap Water: It’s advisable to drink only bottled or treated water. Also, be cautious when purchasing food from street vendors to avoid foodborne illnesses.
  • Be Aware of Health Risks: Kenya has a high rate of HIV; it’s important to take precautions and be aware of health risks, especially in tourist-heavy areas.
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing in Reserves: Wear long sleeves and pants to protect against insect bites when visiting wildlife reserves. Light-colored clothing is less attractive to mosquitoes.
  • Prepare for Different Electrical Outlets: Kenya uses British-style three-pin (type G) electrical plugs, and the standard voltage is 220/240V. Bring a universal adapter for your electronic devices.
  • Stay Informed and Respect Local Customs: Understanding and respecting local customs and regulations will enhance your experience and help you avoid legal troubles.

Weather in Kenya – When Is the Best Time to Visit?

  • June to October: This is the peak season for safaris as it coincides with the famous Great Migration, especially around July to September, when the migration is in full swing in the Maasai Mara.
  • December to February: These months are excellent for general wildlife viewing, with clearer skies and less vegetation enhancing visibility.
  • Coastal areas: The climate is generally humid, with relatively stable temperatures year-round, averaging between 24°C to 30°C (75–86°F).
  • Inland: Temperatures can be cooler, especially in high-altitude areas like the Central Highlands, including Nairobi, where they can drop significantly at night.

Final Thoughts

What is the best time to visit Kenya for budget travelers?

The best time for budget travelers to visit Kenya is during the low season, which runs from March to May and October to November. During these months, you can find lower prices on accommodation and flights, and there are fewer tourists, making it easier to enjoy popular attractions without the crowds.

How can I find cheap flights to Kenya?

To find cheap flights to Kenya, consider booking through WowFare. We offer competitive prices and excellent deals on flights, helping you save money on your travel expenses. Additionally, booking your flight well in advance and being flexible with your travel dates can also help you find better deals.

What health precautions should I take before traveling to Kenya?

Before traveling to Kenya, ensure you get vaccinated against yellow fever and take preventive measures against malaria. It’s also advisable to carry a basic first aid kit, drink only bottled or treated water, and be cautious about food hygiene, especially when buying from street vendors.

Is it safe to travel on a budget in Kenya?

While Kenya has its share of safety concerns, it is generally safe for budget travelers who take the necessary precautions. Always stay aware of your surroundings, avoid walking alone at night, and use reputable transportation services. Additionally, staying in budget-friendly accommodations with good reviews can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

How can I save money on safaris in Kenya?

To save money on safaris, consider booking a group safari or joining a budget camping safari. These options are often more affordable than private tours and still offer a fantastic wildlife viewing experience. Staying at campsites just outside national parks can also reduce costs while keeping you close to the action.

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