Kenya Guide

Kenya Guide

Kenya – country information

Country name Kenya
Official name Republic of Kenya
Capital Nairobi
Continent Africa
Area 580,367 km2
Population 44,354,000 (2013)
Foundation of a state 12/12/1963
The highest mountains Mt. Kenya 5199 m
Longest rivers Tana 800 km
State system a pluralist republic with a unicameral parliament
The biggest cities Nairobi (Capital) 1,800,000, Mombassa 650,000, Kisumu 245,000
Official language Swahili, English
Ethnicity/National Composition Kikuyu 21%, Luhya groups 13.8%, Luo 12.8%, Kamba 11.3%, Kalenjin 10.8%, other Kenyans 29.5%, others 0.8%
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic 27%, Protestant 19%, Other Christian 27%, Traditional Religion 19%, Muslim 6%
Currency 1 Kenyan shilling (K Sh) = 100 cents
gross domestic product (GDP) US$1,781 (2012)
Average life expectancy of the population 48.93 years (2006)

Kenya – Neighboring States

State Capital Area Population
Ethiopia Addis Ababa 1,104,300 km2 86,613,986
South Sudan Dzuba 644,329 km2 10,625,176
Somalia Mogadishu 637,657 km2 10,496,000
Tanzania At home 945,087 km2 44,928,923
Uganda Kampala 241,038 km2 35,357,000

Country overview

According to Abbreviationfinder, Kenya is located in East Africa on both sides of the equator and along the coast of the Indian Ocean.

Country data

Location: East Africa

Time zone: CET + 2 (during European summer time, CET + 1)

Total area: 580,367 km²

Land area: 569,140 km²

Water area: 11,227 km²

Length of the state border: 3,477 km

Bordering countries:
Ethiopia: 861 km
Somalia: 682 km
South Sudan: 232 km
Tanzania: 769 km
Uganda: 933 km

Coastline: 536 km

Capital: Nairobi

Provinces: 47
Baringo, Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Embu, Garissa, Homa Bay, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kericho, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kirinyaga, Kisii, Kisumu, Kitui, Kwale, Laikipia, Lamu, Machakos, Makueni, Mandera, Marsabit, Meru, Migori, Mombasa, Murang’a, Nairobi City, Nakuru, Nandi, Narok, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Samburu, Siaya, Taita-Taveta, Tana River, Tharaka-Nithi, Trans Nzoia, Turkana, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga, Wajir, West Pokot

Electric current: 220 V / 50 Hz

Telephone code: 00 254 (Source: Allcitycodes)

Highest point: Mount Kenya 5,199 m


Population: approx. 45 million residents (Countryaah, 2021)

Population growth: 2.1% per year

Population density (residents per km²): 78

Life expectancy: 62 (male), 65 (female)

Official language: Swahili, English


  • 82% Christian
  • 11% Muslim
  • 7% other


The duration and strength of the precipitation depends on the location to the Indian Ocean. A rainy season, which lasts from March to June, only occurs near the coast and in the central highlands.

In general, the weather is temperate and maritime. Occasionally a warm foehn wind blows.


Best travel time: The
main travel time is from mid-December to the end of February. At this time there is almost no rain and it is pleasantly warm during the day.

In the off-season, which lasts until mid-June, the temperatures correspond to the North German climate, with occasional heavy rain showers.

However, at this time the prices are much lower than during the main travel season.

Currency / finance

Currency unit: Kenyan Shilling (KES)

Classification: 1 shilling = 100 cents

ATMs: Available in bank branches in major cities and at airports.

International credit cards: These are accepted by many hotels and shops.

Regulations: Foreign and national currencies can be imported and exported in unlimited amounts. A declaration is necessary for the import / export of currencies with a total value of over 5,000 US dollars.

The exchange of foreign currency is possible in all major banks. You should keep supporting documents for inspections.

Some black marketeers try to cheat on the street with apparently cheap exchange rates. Foreign exchange offenses are severely punished in Kenya.

Customs regulations

The following may be carried duty-free:

  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 225 g of tobacco
  • 1 liter of alcoholic beverages
  • small amounts of perfume

(Information applies to people aged 18 and over)

Tourists and people in transit can bring items of personal use with them duty-free.

There is an import ban for dangerous and dangerous-looking objects (e.g. toy knives / pistols).

A corresponding export license must be obtained for the export of hunting trophies and hides. Without this, export is prohibited.

Please also note the import regulations of your home country. This particularly applies to items that are subject to the species protection agreement! (e.g. items made of ivory, crocodile,…)

Gold and diamonds may not be exported.

When valuable objects or devices are imported, a deposit is often charged, which is refunded upon export. These still have to be declared upon import.

Travel advice

We advise against traveling to the following regions / areas:

  • the border area with Somalia
  • Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighborhood
  • Nairobi’s Pangani district
  • Old town of Mombasa
  • the province of Lamu

Since 2001, German citizens and residents of other European countries have again required a visa to enter Kenya. The embassy in Berlin will give you the visa and more detailed information.

It is recommended that you take out travel health insurance abroad. In an emergency, this should also include a medical return flight transport.

Due to the high crime rate, there is a security risk when traveling to Kenya. Please always observe the travel advice of the organizer and never wear valuables visibly. You should also generally avoid going alone at night.

In the border regions with Ethiopia and Tanzania, there are isolated activities by armed bandits.

Behavioral advice

Photographing military and police facilities and airports is prohibited. You should also avoid photographing the national flag, the national coat of arms, the president and public figures.

It is recommended to boil water before drinking it or, if possible, to use bottled water. For reasons of hygiene, we do not recommend eating ice cream or ice cubes.

There are occasional attempts by locals to pretend to be police officers in order to check the authenticity of tourists’ money. Tourists are often robbed in the process.

There is also a warning against exchanging money on the street.

If you are offered drinks or food from strangers, it is better to reject them, as knockout drops have often been used in the past.


Compared to other African countries, Kenya has strong economic growth. However, living conditions have barely improved due to high population growth, a high unemployment rate (30-40%) and a strong inflation rate (sometimes over 20%).

Fishing and agriculture, along with tourism, are the country’s largest industries. Although only a small part of the country is agriculturally usable, over 65% of the population is employed in agriculture.

The main crops are coffee, barley, wheat, potatoes, beans, millet and bananas.

The main source of foreign currency procurement is tourism.

Industries: fishing, agriculture, tourism

Natural resources: precious stones, gold, limestone, rubies

Land use:

  • Usable land: 7%
  • Grain cultivation: 1%
  • Pasture area: 37%
  • Forests: 30%
  • other: 25%


In the forests along the coast, the deciduous forest consists predominantly of sandalwood trees, palms and mangroves. Occasionally there are also baobabs and acacias.

While semi-deserts and savannahs predominate in the dry regions of the country, from a height of about 1,500 m there are plains overgrown with simple grasses.


Kenya is famous for its national parks and game reserves. Many different animal species live there, for example: elephants, giraffes, crocodiles, lions, rhinos, snakes and zebras.

There are also many different types of birds in the vast savannah. Because of this wealth of animals, tourism in Kenya has developed very well.

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