Before you’re experiencing the ultimate safari in Kenya, you need to make sure you meet all the requirements for traveling there. Fortunately, the Kenya travel requirements for US citizens are really simple! You can check them all off your list in a single day most likely.
Here are all the requirements for traveling to Kenya, plus some sound advice to help you prepare for your dream Kenya safari trip.
Overview of the Requirements for Traveling to Kenya for US citizens:
- Six Months Validity on Your Passport
- Minimum of Two Blank Pages in Your Passport
- Kenya Tourist Visa
- Yellow Fever Vaccination *Possible But Unlikely*
Requirements for Traveling to Kenya for US Citizens Explained
Six Months Validity on Your Passport
Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the dates of your trip to Kenya. The airline likely won’t allow you to get on the plane if you do not meet this requirement.
Minimum of Two Blank Pages in Your Passport
Many countries require you to have completely blank pages in your passport, and Kenya is one of them. Check to make sure you have two blank pages in your passport.
Pro Tip: If you’re getting a passport for the first time or renewing before your trip and you love to travel, select the 52-page passport book option!
Kenya Tourist Visa
The single-entry Kenya visa for US citizens cost $51 and you apply for it electronically only via http://evisa.go.ke/.
You should definitely apply for your visa 10-15 days before your trip to allow room for any delays or issues. Once you apply, it usually takes 2-3 business days to get your visa.
How to Apply for Your Kenya Visa
When you sit down to apply for the visa, prepare to dedicate at least an hour. It’s not hard but the website can be a little wonky and it asks for a lot of information and a photo of you on a white background. (My husband and I just took photos standing in front of a white wall at home with our iPhones). When I went to pay for mine, it actually would not accept my credit card for several tries. I tried multiple cards before it worked, so just know it will probably work out if this happens to you.
You cannot get a visa on arrival in Kenya so you must remember to do this before your trip. Again, the airline in the US likely won’t allow you to board without your visa anyway.
Get complete instructions on the Kenya Embassy of D.C. website.
Related Post: Easy & Affordable African Safari Outfits for Ladies
Yellow Fever Vaccination *Only IF* You Come From Certain Countries
Yellow Fever vaccination is only required if you are coming from a country with “risk of yellow fever transmission”, which does not include the United States. So as long as you are coming from the United States, you’re not required to get the Yellow Fever Vaccine to visit Kenya.
I did not get the Yellow Fever Vaccination and had zero issues getting into Kenya in October 2022, if that gives you more peace of mind.
Kenya Travel Tips (Sound Kenya Advice But Not Requirements)
Malaria is a disease transmitted by mosquito bites that’s common in many parts of the world, including Kenya. It’s characterized by fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and other flu-like symptoms. While it’s very likely you’ll survive with medical attention, you definitely do not want to get malaria.
As far as prevention, there are a few different drugs you can take prophylactically (preventatively) to prevent Malaria. However, you should thoroughly research any anti-malaria drugs you are considering because some of them have awful side effects. You don’t want to feel awful on your trip!
I recommend talking to a travel medicine specialist or going to a travel clinic to understand your options and the side effects.
If you make the call to not take any preventative malaria drugs, I recommend you travel to Kenya during dry season when there are less mosquitos. My husband and I were in Kenya in mid-October and neither of us caught malaria. I took chloroquine (which may or may not be effective against malaria in Kenya due to drug resistance) and my husband took no preventatives.
Non-Medicine Mosquito Prevention Options
1. Wear clothes soaked in Permethrin.
One excellent way to get some added protection from mosquitos is to wear clothing soaked in Permethrin, an insecticide. You can find shirts and pants treated with Permethrin or something more versatile like this olive green Permethrin scarf.
2. Bathe with citronella soap.
If you hate spraying down with bug spray (like I do), you can try bathing with citronella soap to keep the bugs at bay!
You should start bathing with the soap about a week before your trip and while you’re there. The idea is that your scent from the soap will keep bugs away.
I’m one of those people that is a BUG MAGNET, but I used a citronella soap for a trip into the jungle in Guatemala and it definitely helped keep the bugs away. I can’t find the brand I used, but I’d buy either this citronella soap or this other bug repellant soap with essential oils because it has amazing reviews.
3. Use bug spray or bug spray wipes.
If you want to go the traditional route, you can always spray down with bug spray before going out at dawn or dusk! I try to avoid DEET because it’s so toxic and surprisingly enough the natural bug sprays work really well for me (which is saying a lot because I usually get eaten alive without it). Buy natural bug spray here.
However, if there was ever an exception to use DEET bug spray, avoiding malaria would be it! Buy DEET bug spray here.
4. Cover up really well with clothing.
When you’re leaving your tent for dinner, be sure to cover up your skin and wear close-toed shoes with socks to prevent mosquito bites! Most tented lodges are going to have open-air dining so it’s important to cover-up for dinner, especially in rainy season.
You’ll be spending a lot of time outside during your safari days in Kenya, so make sure to pack clothes that protect you from the sun or wear sunscreen. As far as I’m concerned, these sun protection items of safari packing list essentials:
- Quality Safari Hat
- Scarf: This olive green bug-repellant scarf or my favorite 100% cotton travel scarf.
- Button Up or SPF Shirt: You will look 100% safari ready with this khaki SPF button up.
Hand Luggage Only *Important for Flying Safaris*
The small planes that fly you to Masai Mara have very limited luggage space. You’re limited to bringing only 15kg of luggage per person (including camera gear) and it must be in a soft duffel bag or backpack. This means no hard suitcases!
If you’re in the market for a backpack, I love my Cotopaxi Allpa 35L and trust that you will, too!
Kenya has a tipping culture so get informed on what to tip and be prepared with plenty of cash and small bills.
When you’re in major cities like Nairobi, you can easily get cash at ATMs, but that’s likely not the case in your safari destination. When you’re out in the bush, the amount of cash you brought with you is likely all you’ll have access to, so make sure you bring plenty of Kenya shillings to tip the safari lodge staff, safari driver, waiters, cleaners and more!
If you’re in Masai Mara, you’ll likely also stop to see a traditional Masai Mara tribe, so bring cash to pay for the experience and to buy handmade souvenirs.
You’re Going to Have an Amazing Time in Kenya
I hope this gave you the information you need to complete all the requirements for traveling to Kenya and gave you insight on what to expect and plan for. Have an amazing trip!