Nairobi, Kenya > Travel Help > Preparation

Preparation

Below is a list of quick facts and useful travel tips to help you in planning a trip to Nairobi.

Climate

As a result of its high altitude, Nairobi has a moderate climate with chilly evenings. The table below provides shows average seasonal variations in weather.

See the current weather forecast for Nairobi

Electrical

In Kenya, the current supplied by electrical outlets is 220/240AC 50HZ. Plugs are 3 point square.

Geography

Nairobi is 1,795 metres (5,889 ft) above sea level and covers 684 square kilometres (260 sq mi). It is divided into eight divisions and fifty locations. Locations within large divisions can vary significantly. For example, the Kibera division includes both the Kibera slum as well as the affluent Karen estates. The table below outlines all divisions and locations.

DivisionLocations
CentralHuruma • Kariokor • Mathare • Ngara • Starehe
DagorettiKawangware • Kenyatta/Golf Club • Mutuini • Riruta • Uthiru/Ruthmitu • Waithaka
EmbakasiDandora • Embakasi • Kariobangi South • Kayole • Mukuru kwa Njenga • Njiru • Ruai • Umoja
KasaraniGithurai • Kahawa • Kariobangi North • Kasarani • Korogocho • Roysambu • Ruaraka
KiberaKaren • Kibera • Laini Saba • Langata • Mugumoini • Nairobi West • Sera Ngombe
MakadaraMakadara • Makongeni • Maringo • Mukuru Nyayo • Viwandani
PumwaniBahati • Eastleigh North • Eastleigh South • Kamukunji • Pumwani
WestlandsHighridge • Kangemi • Kilimani • Kitisuru • Lavington • Parklands

Health

Like most other sub-Saharan African countries, visitors to Kenya are advised to get vaccinated against several preventable diseases, such as Yellow Fever. Unlike many other cities in Kenya and Africa, Malaria is not found in Nairobi due to its high altitude. However, visitors are advised to consult their own health practitioner to determine whether anti-malarial precautions are necessary, particularly if they are visiting other sites in Kenya. Visit the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention for more information about prevention and updates about diseases in Kenya.

When in Nairobi, visitors are cautioned to be careful of what they eat and drink. Before eating any produce, confirm whether it has been properly sterilized in clean water; avoid ice in drinks and drinking tap water (although often safe in city hotels), and instead consume bottled or canned drinks from well-known brands.

There are 4 hospitals located in Nairobi:
Aga Khan Hospital (Telephone: 020-3740000; Web: http://www.agakhanhospitals.org/nairobi/index.asp)
Kenyatta National Hospital (Telephone: 020-2726300; Web: http://knh.or.ke/)
The Nairobi Hospital (Telephone: 020-2722160; Web: http://www.nairobihospital.org/)
The Mater Hospital (Telephone: 020-531199; Web: http://materkenya.com/)

Language

While there are over 40 ethnic languages spoken in Kenya, its two official languages are Swahili and English. For more helpful information about speaking Swahili, please see our printable Swahili pocket guide for English-speakers.

Money

Kenya’s national currency is the Kenyan shilling (KES). It is available in coins of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 40 shillings and bank notes of 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 shillings. Foreign currencies can be converted at local banks, ATMs, or other forex kiosks, often located inside hotels. Many restaurants and hotels will accept major credit cards (e.g. Visa), but may require an additional service fee.

Population

Nairobi is estimated to have a population of over 3 million people, consisting of various different ethnicities and religions, and is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Nairobi city and its outlining areas are also considered a province. As a result of its large size and diversity, it can be a city of extremes, ranging from beautiful open green spaces such as Uhuru Park, to densely populated slums such as Kibera.

Safety & Security

As with many large African cities, it is recommended that personal safety precautions be strictly observed when visiting Nairobi. The city is known for high rates of personal robberies and burglaries. Travelers are often advised to stay within the city centre; avoid carrying large quantities of money; avoid walking alone at night; and plan where they are going in advance. The Kenyan Ministry of Tourism has established a special police force just to protect tourists and provides a 24-hour Tourist Safety Hotline (Telephone: 020-604767) for help when in Nairobi.

There are 3 main police stations located in Nairobi:
CID Headquarters, Nairobi (Telephone: 020-2713311)
Central Police Station, Nairobi (Telephone: 020-222222)
J.K.I.A. Police (Telephone: 020-823888)

For emergency help for, dial 999 (landline) or 112 (mobile). Non-emergency crime reports can be filed online at the Kenya Police website.

Time

The Kenyan time zone is EAT (UTC+3) and daylight savings time (DST) is not observed. Swahili, one of Kenya’s official languages, uses a clock that is the reverse of the Western 12 hour clock. As a result, the day starts at 6am and not 12am (midnight). It is important to double check the time of local appointments and travel schedules to ensure which type of time is being used.

Visa

Ordinary Visas are required for by all persons intending to enter Kenya for visits or residency, while Transit Visas are required by anyone going through Kenya for periods not exceeding seven days. The standard fee for an ordinary visa is currently $50 USD, while a Transit Visa can be obtained for $20 USD (see current rates). Travelers from the following countries, do not require Visas to enter Kenya. Download the visa application form (PDF).