09-12-2019 by redazione
Over the years, especially before each tourist season, malindikenya.net has offered its readers information on regulations, laws, health, customs and traditions of Kenya and especially of its coastal region, frequented every year by thousands of Italians. Many interesting articles and related updates are present in the archive of our site, which can be visited from the drop-down menu near the header. Here we summarize the most important aspects to keep in mind, with links to deepen each topic.
To enter Kenya you must have a passport with a residual validity of at least six months at the time of applying for the visa.
You must also have a return air ticket.
Upon entry into the country, a stamp is affixed to the passport, indicating the duration of the stay.
The tourist is advised to declare the actual period of stay in Kenya and to check the stamp affixed to the passport; the extension of stay can only be obtained from the offices responsible for immigration.
Penalties for failure to comply with this procedure may even lead to arrest.
To enter Kenya, the passport must have at least a full blank page in order to be able to affix an entry visa. Otherwise, travellers may not be accepted into the country and may return to Italy on their first useful flight.
For any changes to the residual validity of the passport request, it is advisable to ask in advance at the Embassy or Consulate of the country in Italy or at your travel agent.
It is compulsory to obtain a paid entry visa to enter the country.
The categories of visa are as follows:
1. Transit visa (transit visa, USD 20) with a maximum validity of 72 hours.
Visa application also available at http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html
2. Tourist visa (tourist visa, 50 USD or 40 EURO) valid for one month, three months and renewable for up to six months; visa application also available at http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html
(Note from malindikenya.net: recently it may happen that a visa valid for only one month is issued, it is advisable to check the validity and if you want to stay in the country for more than a month, even in spite of the fictitious return ticket or not, please report it to the immigration officer. If you do not notice in time or you receive a refusal, you can still extend it for another two months without additional cost, going to the immigration office closest to the place of stay)
3. Multiple visa (multiple visa, 90 EURO) per business. Valid from one month to one year. The application must be submitted to the Kenyan Embassy in Rome. Among the required documentation, the invitation letter of the local company must be submitted.
4. single journey visa (51 USD)
5. East African Tourist Visa: valid for 90 days (Multiple entry visa USD 100), allows you to travel to Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. The request is made in the first country of arrival.
The Kenyan authorities have announced the introduction of an online procedure to obtain an electronic visa.
The address is only: http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html (only in English). Other sites that promise visas for Kenya are scam sites or agencies that add (high) fees for the service.
The Kenyan customs in Nairobi and Mombasa airports are equipped with new and effective scanners that can check your incoming baggage.
What was possible to stow and conceal and to pass unscathed to the customs, today risks to be checked and seized, especially if it is alcohol and tobaccos.
Remember that the maximum allowed for cigarettes is 200 pieces (10 packs) or 50 cigars. For spirits, on the other hand, it is not possible to carry more than one bottle of spirits above 13 degrees in a suitcase. In the case of bottles of wine, although many official sources report only one (we refer to the international rules that Kenya has transmitted to the International Air Transport Association) are usually accepted one per suitcase, as well as bottles of perfume. Curiously, in addition to fruit and plants (which must obtain a special authorization), among the bans reported, there are also meat and poultry sausages.
A device for those who want to bring more than one alcoholic or a bottle of wine is to add to those in the suitcase also one purchased at the Duty Free Shop and taken in the bag, still sealed.
We also remind you that any new product with receipt or packaged by the company that sells it may be subject to taxation. It can also apply to vacuum jars and other packaging, especially if they are products that can also be found in Kenya.
Even products personally packaged at home may undergo the same treatment, as the plastic packaging must bear a mark not to be considered illegal, so it is better to use trays or not wrap them in plastic.
It is recommended in any case more caution at the entrance and the awareness that not all officers who care to enforce the rules that exist, do so to try to clog up a bundle by you.
With a humble and respectful attitude you often get unexpected results...
VACCINATIONS AND MALARIA
No vaccination is required to stay in Kenya.
Yellow fever has not been present in the territory for years and since 1989 it is no longer compulsory to do it. It is required only to those arriving from countries where it is compulsory and still present, such as Tanzania and Congo. If during your trip you stop at airports in countries that require certain vaccinations, unless you leave the airport, you do not have to comply with these requirements, because the airport is considered a free zone.
The malaria vaccine is still being tested, but in this site that makes use of the suggestions of the most important tropicalist doctors and experts in infectious diseases in Kenya, we totally advise against prophylaxis.
Although many Italian doctors, government sites, even the most important tour operators, advise for malaria to make a preventive treatment, which could be good if one were to contract the infection, the prophylaxis as well as not fully cover the risk of malaria, is harmful to the liver and for the many side effects caused for example by the simultaneous use of other medicines.
In addition, given the very low probability that there are, especially during a short holiday on the Kenyan coast, to take malaria, it would be like doing a preventive treatment not to take glaucoma and one not to contract cholera.
Finally, for years now there have been medicines (which in Italy, alas, are administered only in clinics and hospitals and not sold in pharmacies) that can treat malaria once you have contracted. They are drugs based on a natural extract, artemisinin, and sold in a "kit" in Kenyan pharmacies, with a slide to see if you have malaria and a recall medicine. The most used kit is the one based on Coartem.
TRANSPORT AND FINES
Remember that in Kenya you drive with the steering wheel on the right, as in England and a few other countries in the world related to the Commonwealth. On the roads, therefore, you drive on the left, while the priority remains to those who arrive from the right. All main roads take precedence, so you won't find any signs of precedence. In roundabouts with hourly circulation, those who are inserted have priority over those who must enter, even here without the need for signs.
By law, those who drive in Kenya must have an international driving license.
Any infringement of the Highway Code (from safety belts which are mandatory, usually also for passengers of the rear seats to overtaking with a continuous strip) is sanctioned with the obligation to go to the local court to answer for it and pay the fine. Although the system of payment of fines by mobile phone is being implemented, on the Kenyan coast is not yet operational, so any request for payment on the spot by agents is considered extortion. Unfortunately, ordinary corruption, even at low levels, is widespread in Kenya. Often tourists to avoid discussion or waste of time, prefer to lengthen a "shortcut". It is necessary to know that the law in Kenya punishes the corrupt as the corruptor and that the alternative is to comply with the laws, go to the Police Station to record and then appear in court.
When renting a car or motorbike, make sure that the person who rents it has a licence to do so, as well as a valid insurance that also covers accidents to third party drivers. For rental cars, make sure that, in addition to the spare wheel and the necessaire to mount it, there are supplied jacket, first aid kit and triangle.
In the case of motorcycles, a new law obliges owners to have insurance for drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Each County also requires a tax (a kind of stamp) to be shown on request. If you rent without regular contracts, the risk is to be held responsible for any theft of the vehicle and be held criminally liable. The number of passengers that a motorcycle can have on board is two, both must be equipped with a jacket and helmet. It does not matter if the local population very often does not respect these rules, travelling with more passengers or not wearing a jacket and helmet.
Checks are always much tighter on foreigners, it is a fact on which it is useless to talk or argue. Even if things are fortunately changing. By law, even tuk-tuks must have seatbelts on board for passengers and could not exceed three passengers by car.
For the past year and a half, the introduction and trade of plastic (polypropylene) bags has been prohibited in Kenya. It is therefore not possible to bring objects into plastic bags of any kind, not even biodegradable. Only vacuum packaging from the original company with the trademark or ecological bags made of jute and other fibres are allowed.
When you are outside the hotel or the holiday accommodation, always bring with you an identification document, i.e. for foreigners a passport or a photocopy thereof where there is also the visa to enter the country and the duration of the same. Not being able to prove that you are regularly in Kenya is considered an offence and you can be taken to the police station for investigations and to lose precious hours of your holiday, as well as to risk falling into the "trap" of the request for a bundle by corrupt police officers. Don't forget that Kenya is one of the countries in Africa where small corruption is widespread.
In Kenya it is absolutely forbidden to take pictures of citizens in uniform or armed soldiers. Punishment, immediate arrest and seizure of the camera. It is also forbidden to take pictures of police stations and government offices. If you want to take pictures of mosques inside, ask the responsible person for permission.
TOPLESS AND EFFUSIONS
Despite the tropical climate and the sense of abandonment and freedom on the beaches of the Kenyan coast, the country is absolutely forbidden to expose bare breasts by women. Just as national law punishes those who, in public places, let themselves go with their partners to excessive effusions. Sometimes a simple, prolonged "petting" is enough and you risk denouncing it.
Despite great steps taken in recent years by nascent movements of LGBT activists, homosexuality is still discriminated against in Kenya.
Declaring oneself or showing oneself publicly is considered a provocation, therefore a crime punishable by up to ten years' imprisonment.
SHELLS, STARFISH ETC...
In Kenya it is forbidden to collect shells, corals and any other kind of fossil, carapace or other from the sea or the coast, absolutely forbidden to possess ivory or objects derived from animals of any kind. There are some shops and stalls authorized to sell items made from animals of land or sea, and even shells. In case they have to give you a receipt with the name or the stamp of the retailer. In case of purchase of shells or even fruit, to be able to travel back with these items, you must have a receipt from the local health office (Health Office) that checked the goods.
Avoid taking a selfie with a starfish. Although the local kids on the beach offer it to you, know that it's a killer fashion for this increasingly rare marine species.
The asteroid (commonly called starfish) when it comes out of the water incorporates an amount of oxygen much greater than its needs, so much so that it can not get rid of it and is likely to die suffocated, if it is not put in the water after a few seconds.
Keeping her out to take pictures, and maybe handing her over for a while, is tantamount to killing her.
After a few minutes the starfish shrinks slowly and there is nothing more to do.
For such a particular species, ancient and wonderful, already very sensitive to climate change and pollution, the ignorance combined with the carelessness of tourists is the "blow of grace".
You can safely photograph it in its natural habitat, on the surface of the water, and if you really want to join us your face, less rare species of tourist amazed, you can do so lying down and stands nearby, without taking it from the ocean.
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