Special Travel Circumstances in Kenya

Kenyan customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Kenya of items such as firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications, business equipment, currency, ivory, etc. In 2009 and 2010, a number of U.S. citizens were detained or arrested for attempting to bring contraband into Kenya. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Kenya or one of Kenya’s consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Visitors should be aware of Kenya’s Alcoholic Drinks Control Act of 2010, which regulates when and where alcoholic drinks may be consumed in public. The regulations are strict and difficult to follow. For example, certain restaurants are authorized to sell alcoholic drinks on any day of the week to persons having meals in the restaurant, for consumption with such meals, from Monday to Friday during the hours of 5.00 p.m. to 11.00 p.m., and during weekends and public holidays during the hours of 2.00 p.m. to 11.00 p.m. Nightclubs have different licenses, most of which allow alcohol to be consumed until 3:00 a.m., while hotels do not have any restrictions on alcohol consumption. More information on this law may be found on Kenya's substance abuse website, NACADA. The police sporadically enforce these laws and have arrested some tourists if found in violation. The Tobacco Control Act 2007 regulates public smoking and the marketing and sale of tobacco products in Kenya. In public places, smoking is allowed only in designated smoking areas. If an individual is discovered smoking outside these designated areas, a substantial fine may be imposed.

Up to 100,000 Kenyan shillings may be taken out of the country. Destruction of Kenyan currency, even in small amounts, is illegal, and almost always results in arrest and a fine. Visitors to Kenya carrying U.S. Dollars should ensure that the bills are relatively new, as banks in Kenya have been known not to accept older U.S. currency.

Wild animals may pose danger to travelers in some regions of Kenya. Serious injuries and deaths have occurred in Kenya's national reserves, forests, andwilderness areas. Travelers are advised that, even in the most serene settings, animals are wild and can present a threat to life and safety. In addition, potentially dangerous areas may lack fences and warning signs. Travelers are cautioned to observe all local or park regulations and exercise appropriate caution in unfamiliar surroundings. Travelers are advised to thoroughly check the qualifications and safety record of all tourist lodges and guides before engaging their services and venturing into the wild in their care. The governing body of Kenya’s national parks, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), announced in March 2010 that all tour operators andsafari lodges must purchase a nationally-mandated insurance policy. Visitors should inquire whether prospective safari camps or tour operators are in compliance with this requirement.

Use of firearms is strictly forbidden in wildlife reserves and national parks. Permission to carry firearms must be obtained from local authorities prior to entry.

Local tap water is not potable. Sealed bottled water is safe to drink and can be purchased in hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores.

Kenya Telephone and Telegraph has discontinued its "collect call" facility and 1-800 numbers cannot be accessed from Kenyan landlines, though they can be called through a mobile phone by using the prefix . Use of international long-distance calling cards is very limited in Kenya. International long-distance costs from Kenya on a landline are significantly higher than corresponding long-distance rates in the United States, but calling to the United States on a mobile phone is very inexpensive. Several local companies offer computer Internet access, including on an hourly rate basis. Many hotels have fax machines but often limit access to guests; some fax services are also available at office supply shops. Travelers are urged to consider their method of maintaining contact with family and friends when making their travel preparations.

While the new constitution recognizes dual nationality, this portion of the law is not yet officially enacted. In addition to being subject to all Kenyan laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to laws that impose special obligations on Kenyan citizens.

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You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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