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Nairobi

African necklaces, Nairobi

Practical Info about Nairobi

Time

GMT +3.

Electricity

240 volts, 50Hz. UK-style square three-pin plugs are used.

Currency

The unit of currency is the Kenyan Shilling (KES), which is divided into 100 cents. It is not advisable to take Kenyan Shillings out of the country, as they are difficult to exchange elsewhere. Foreign currency can be changed at banks, bureaux de change and hotels; it's easiest to exchange US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros. Street exchange merchants should be avoided as they are operating illegally. Banks open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm and on the first and last Saturday of the month. Banks and bureaux de change at the international airport stay open 24 hours. International credit cards are accepted in the larger hotels and stores, and some camps and lodges. ATMs are widely available in Nairobi and other major towns.

Communication

The international access code for Kenya is +254. Hotels usually add a hefty surcharge to their telephone bills; it is less expensive to either call from one of the international phone services, which are available in larger towns, or buy a pre-paid calling card for use in public telephone booths. For international operator-assisted calls dial 0196. All major urban areas are covered by the mobile network; the local mobile phone operators use GSM networks that have roaming agreements with most international mobile phone operators. Internet cafes are widely available in most towns and tourist areas.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 999

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2014 2015
New Years Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Good Friday 18 Apr 3 Apr
Easter Monday 21 Apr 6 Apr
Labour Day 1 May 1 May
Madaraka Day 1 Jun 1 Jun
Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan) 28 Jul 18 Jul
Mashujaa Day or Heroes Day 20 Oct 20 Oct
Independence Day 12 Dec 12 Dec
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec
Boxing Day 26 Dec 26 Dec

Climate

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Nairobi has a moderate climate, tempered by its high elevation, and tends to be less hot than the rest of Kenya. As the city is near the equator there is little variation between the seasons and generally people talk about wet or dry seasons as opposed to summer, winter, spring or autumn. However, summers, between November and February, are warm and pleasant, with temperatures hovering around the 77°F (25°C) mark. Winter days, between June and August, are mild to cool, with cold evenings when the temperature can drop to 50 °F (10 °C). The rainy season in Nairobi is during late summer and into autumn, when it is often cloudy and damp, but rainfall is seldom very heavy. The drizzliest months are March to May and October to December. Generally visitors flock to Kenya in the country's dry seasons, between January and March, and July and October, because these are the best months to go on safari in the national parks. The best time to visit Nairobi is in summer, between November and February, but ultimately any time of year is okay in the city and it is recommended that visitors decide on the time of their visit to Kenya according to their desired activities rather than the city's climate.

Getting around the city

The most popular form of public transport in Nairobi is the matatu, usually a Nissan minibus, which operate on set routes collecting as many passengers as possible along the way, with people boarding and disembarking wherever and whenever they choose. Loud music goes along with the ride in these cheap but unregulated and usually overcrowded vehicles that have become part of Kenyan culture. No less risky, but not as colourful, are the local bus services, which operate on set routes and schedules through the city streets, and are renowned for overcrowding and speeding. Taxis are widely available and convenient, usually congregated in the street around hotels and areas frequented by tourists. Taxis are not metered and the fare should be agreed upon before departure. Nairobi taxis are marked with a yellow line along the side of the vehicle, or they are, surprisingly, large black London taxis. The better taxi companies have more modern vehicles, which can be booked by telephone. The best option if you are spending a day or two in the city is probably to hire a taxi and driver recommended for you by your hotel or tour operator. Three-wheel auto-rickshaws, or tuk-tuks, are also used as taxis in Nairobi. Walking in the city can be dangerous and is not a good idea after dark or outside of tourist areas.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

www.kenyaairports.co.ke

Getting to the city

The KBS bus service 34 leaves fairly regularly for the city centre; most travellers, however, take a taxi or arrange to be picked up by their hotel or tour operator.

Car rental

Avis, Europcar and Hertz, among others, are represented at the airport.

Airport taxi's

The Mercedes taxis take passengers to the central city hotels for a fixed fare.

Facilities

The facilities at the airport are fairly limited, but include a bank and bureau de change, left luggage, telephones and fax, medical aid, a bar and restaurant, duty-free shops selling curios, a post office, tourist information and hotel reservations. There are disabled facilities, but passengers should advise their airline in advance of any special needs.

Parking

Parking at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is charged at KSH 60 per hour for short-term parking, and KSH 70 per hour for long-term parking.

Internet

Wifi is accessible at several coffee shops for paying customers.