US passport holders need a visa to enter Kenya, but they can get it at the airport or border crossing when they arrive in Kenya. If you want to plan ahead then you can apply for a visa in the US. Details and forms can be found on the Kenyan Embassy web site. Nationals from Commonwealth countries (including Canada and the UK) do not need a visa. Tourist visas are valid for 30 days. For up to date information see the Kenyan Embassy web site.
A single-entry visa costs USD50 and a multiple entry visa USD100. If you are planning on visiting just Kenya, then a single-entry is all you need. If your plans include crossing over to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or visit the Serengeti, then you’ll need a multiple-entry visa if you wish to re-enter Kenya again.
Health and Immunizations
No immunizations are required by law to enter Kenya if you are travelling directly from Europe or the US. If you are travelling from a country where Yellow Fever is present you will need to prove you have had the innoculation.
Several vaccinations are highly recommended, they include:
- Yellow Fever
If you want to see the ‘big five’ in one morning, Masai Mara in western Kenya is the place to be. During the dry season from July to October the wildlife spectacle is unparalleled. Nowhere else can you watch the annual migration of over a million wildebeest from a hot-air balloon. The ‘Mara’ is as close to “Out of Africa” as you can get.
More About the Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai People
The Maasai live in the semi-arid Rift Valley region of Kenya and Tanzania. They own large herds of cattle, sheep and goats which they follow around seasonally in search of new grazing grounds and water sources. Traditionally the Maasai have always been a proud and independent tribe. They did not cultivate the land and depend on a cash economy as many of those around them did, rather they lived off the blood, milk and meat that their cattle provided them. Cattle plays a central role in the life of the Maasai. Cattle represents food and power; the more cattle a Maasai has, the richer he is and therefore the more power and influence he will have within his tribe.
Killing a lion in Masaai culture is a test of manhood and so the idea that authorities don’t care about their culture as well as their cattle, is a double insult. On the other hand, most tourists go to the Masai Mara, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater precisely to see lions, one of the Big Five. So it is also understandable that the authorities wish to protect their tourist trade which is vital for their economy.