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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Nairobi

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Nairobi each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

March-April: Good Friday (national holiday)

In Korogocho, one of the largest districts in Nairobi, the faithful parade in the market vicinity. Behind the large cross, carried by a dozen people, the procession comes stronger with each stop it makes.

March-April: Easter Monday (national holiday)

May 1: Labour Day (national holiday)

On May 1st, Labour Day is an occasion for celebrations and parades in the streets of Nairobi.

June 1: Madaraka Day (national holiday)

Kenyans celebrate the day when their country became an autonomous Republic, on June 1st, 1963. On this occasion, a spectacular parade takes place in Nairobi with armed and police forces, but also nurses, labourers, students, scouts… Various acrobatic shows (stunt flying, circus) take place after the parade.

June: Eid Al Fitr - end of Ramadan - (national holiday)

Muslims make for 11% of the Kenyan population. They celebrate Eid Al Fitr, which corresponds to the end of Ramadan. They spend the night between friends and family, and large celebrations are organised all around Nairobi.

October 10: Moi Day (national holiday)

October 10th is a public holiday since 1989. On this day each year, Kenyans take a break and pay tribute to the achievements of Daniel Arap Moi, President of Kenya from 1978 to 2002.

October 20: Mashujaa Day (national holiday)

On this day, Kenyans celebrate the heroes who fought for the freedom and well-being of the country. Important crowds gather in the Uhuru Park in a spirit of national pride to watch the performances of local artists.

December 12: Jamhuri Day - Independence Day - (national holiday)

Also known as Uhuru Day, Independence Day is an occasion for popular events, parades and shows in Nairobi. A presidential speech celebrates December 12th, 1963, when the country became independent from the United Kingdom.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

December 26: Boxing Day

Official holiday in Kenya, Boxing Day in an occasion to find good deals in shops. It is also devoted to sports with various competitions organised in football, basketball, cricket and equestrianism.

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Nairobi

Nairobi enjoys an equatorial climate. Temperatures are pleasant all year long, with an average between 22°C (72°F) in July and 27°C (80°F) in February. March, April, May and November are the rainiest days. Consequently, January to February and June to December are the ideal seasons to visit Nairobi.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 13/55 26/79 37/1.4 Good period to go Good period to go
February 14/57 27/80 63/2.5 Good period to go Good period to go
March 15/59 26/79 124/4.9 Not the best period to go
April 15/59 25/77 210/8.3 Not the best period to go
May 14/57 23/73 157/6.2 Not the best period to go
June 13/55 22/71 45/1.8 Good period to go Good period to go
July 12/53 22/71 14/0.5 Good period to go Good period to go
August 12/53 22/71 22/0.9 Good period to go Good period to go
September 12/53 25/77 30/1.2 Good period to go Good period to go
October 14/57 25/77 52/2.0 Good period to go Good period to go
November 14/57 24/75 108/4.2 Not the best period to go
December 14/57 24/75 85/3.3 Good period to go Good period to go
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Jomo-Kenyatta Nairobi International Airport

The Jomo-Kenyatta Nairobi International Airport is located about 15 kilometres (9 miles) south-east of the city centre.

  • Two terminals:
    • Terminal 1 (Air France)
    • Terminal 2 (low cost airlines)

Getting from the airport to Nairobi and back:
  • By car
    • Accessible via the A104 motorway (Mombasa Road).
    • There are several parking facilities near the airport, including a long-term parking lot (KES 300 for 24 hours), a short-term parking lot (KES 70 for 1 hour) and 3 other short and long-term parking lots.
    • Several car rental companies have counters in the arrivals area.
  • By bus
    • Line 34 of Nairobi's city buses connects the airport to the city centre every 20 minutes between 6 am and 9 pm. Expect a travel time of 45 minutes. Price: KES 35 for a one-way ticket.
  • By shuttle van
    • Hotels have set up a shuttle service between the airport, the city centre and the main tourist areas. Green and Yellow Citi Hoppa shuttle van services, fast and comfortable, are also available to travellers who wish to reach other areas (fare: about KES 50).
  • By taxi
    • The official taxis of the Kenatco company are available at the ranks outside the arrivals hall. They take travellers to the city centre for a set price, ranging from KES 1,200 to 1,700. The trip takes 20 to 30 minutes. For further information, get in touch with Kenatco (Tel: +254 20 250 6790 / https://www.kenatco.co.ke/).

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GETTING AROUND Nairobi

Nairobi is a very pleasant city and not at all difficult to get around. The public transport system is limited, but satisfactory. In addition, there is very little traffic congestion and drivers respect traffic rules.

By Matatu

The most common mode of transportation in Nairobi is the “matatu”, and it is an integral part of Kenyan culture. It is a minibus of 12 to 16 seats following a precise route. Passengers may get on and off as they please along the way. Beware of waiting times: a matatu leaves only when full! Prices start at KES 20 and may reach KES 100 for the longest trips.

By bus

Local buses, less quaint than the matatus, follow predefined itineraries and schedules, connecting Nairobi's main streets (basic fare: about KES 50).

By taxi

Efficient and plentiful, taxis are most of the time gathered in the streets near hotels and touristic areas. As they are not equipped with meters, it is recommended to agree on the fare before you leave. Nairobi taxis show a characteristic sideway yellow strip, or look like big black London cabs. A few companies offer more modern vehicles that can be ordered by phone. Fares run KES 250 to 450 for short trips.

By tuk-tuk

Three-wheeled motor rickshaws, known as tuk-tuks, are also used as taxis in Nairobi. You can always negotiate the fare. For short trips, expect KES 100 less than in a regular taxi.

By car

Renting a car is a good way to move around Nairobi, if you have some driving experience in Africa. Gas is sold by the litre (about KES 90 for 1 litre). Please note: even though people drive on the left-hand side (remnant of British occupation), distances appear in kilometres and not in miles.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Nairobi, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Kenya Tourism Board

Offers sightseeing recommendations, tourist information and brochures (for accommodation, transportation, holidays, cultural events…)

  • Address: Kenya Re-Towers, 7th Floor, Upper Hill, off Ragati Road, Nairobi
  • Telephone: +254 20 2711 262
  • Website: www.ktb.go.ke/

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in Kenya is the Kenyan Shilling (KES).

1 € = 118,08 KES

1 KES = 0,01 €

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

See your doctor before you travel. It is recommended that you obtain insurance covering health care expenses as well as medical evacuation or repatriation. Nairobi counts several hospitals and medical institutions, as well as quality medical practitioners and health specialists.

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Kenya. However, the following vaccines are recommended:

  • booster doses for protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio
  • typhoid, hepatitis A and B, rabies (depending on the length of your stay)

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

  • Address: 38, quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris
  • Website: www.vaccinations-airfrance.fr
  • Telephone: +33 (0)1 43 17 22 00
  • To make a vaccination appointment:
    • online (click here)
    • call the centre at +33 (0)1 43 17 22 00

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Nairobi.

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Administrative formalities

Entry requirements for Kenya

As a French citizen, a visa is mandatory to enter Kenya, whatever the duration of your stay (except minors under 16, exempted on the condition they hold their own passport).
A tourist visa is valid for up to 90 days. You can ask for one at the Kenyan Embassy in Paris or at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when you land in Kenya. In the latter case, you only need a passport (must be valid at least for 6 months from the date you enter the country, and present two blank pages). Fees of EUR 40 (KES 4,545 or USD 51) must be paid in cash.
Another option is to contact the embassy before you leave, or go on their website:

https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/country-files/kenya/

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Useful Addresses

Kenyan Embassy in France (consular services provided by the Embassy)

French Embassy in Kenya

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic Swahili phrases that may be useful during your stay in Nairobi:

Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon: Habari

Good evening: Habari za jioni

Goodbye: Faida

Yes: Ndiyo

No: Si

No, thanks: La, asante

Thanks you very much: Asante sana

Please: Tafadhali

I don't understand: Sielewi

Could you repeat?: Je, unaweza kurudia ?

What time is it?: Ni wakati gani ?

Sorry: Hakuna tatizo
Excuse me: Hakuna tatizo

Airport: Uwanja wa ndege

Train Station: Kituo cha

Taxi: Teksi

Hotel: Hoteli

Hospital: Hospitali

Bank: Bank

Telephone: Simu

I'm (…): Mimi ni (…)

I'm looking for (…): Ninaangalia (…)

How much is (…)?: Inafanyaje (…) ?

Do you have (…)?: Je (…) ?

Where can I find (…)?: Ninaweza kupata wapi (…) ?

Where can I buy (…)?: Ninaweza kununua wapi (…) ?

I'd like (…): Napenda (…)

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Good to know

+254
+ phone number
1 : 00
of time difference with
Paris
No daylight savings time in Kenya.

BANKS
Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
GOVERNMENT OFFICES
Usually open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
220-240 V / 50 Hz

Tipping
There is no rule about tipping in Kenya. In restaurants that do not include service charges, a 5-10% tip is recommended.

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