Africa Overland Tours

How to get a tourist visa for Kenya and arriving in Nairobi airport

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Having travelled to travelled many times as a leader in overland tour Africa, I know it can seem a little daunting arriving in Nairobi airport alone for the first time. Here is a short post about what to expect, how to get a Kenya tourist visa, Nairobi immigration and also where to get a taxi from Nairobi airport to the city centre or Karen.

For such a large international hub, the international airport in Nairobi appears very small when you arrive. Having disembarked the plane, a shuttle bus will most likely take you to the terminals at which point it is a very short walk to the immigration hall.

Do Irish or British need a visa for Kenya?

Do tourists need a visa for Kenya? Yes. Can you get a tourist visa on arrival in Nairobi? Yes. But with the rules changing every year, it’s best to apply for the electronic visa online which will mean you can just waltz through passport control when you hit the ground.

Arriving in Nairobi Airport

Otherwise, when you arrive inside the building a staff official will usually direct those without visas to a line of counters with application forms. You will need the address of where you are staying and $50 – no passport photograph is necessary and don’t forget to fill in the back of the form. Then you should proceed to passport control directly ahead and wait in the non resident line up.

After no more than 10 minutes you will be asked if you need a one month of 3 month visa. Please note there is also an option for how to get an East Africa Visa which can work well for those travelling through Uganda and Tanzania. The officials are usually friendly, so long as you are too, and will ask only a couple of questions before allowing you to continue to the baggage carousel which is directly on the other side.

Having got your bags, turn left and at the end of the hall you will round the corner to see a currency exchange. Use it if you need to and then further along you will reach the taxi desk.

Taxi from Nairobi airport to city centre

Taking a taxi from Nairobi airport to Karen or the city centre should be straight forward but the taxi desk at the airport are very pushy and trust me, they will tell you anything to get your business. For example, they insisted the driver would know my guesthouse in Nairobi and I ended up needing to show him the way.

Anyway, rather waiting until arrival to get a taxi from Nairobi airport to the city, I recommend organizing your guesthouse or the company running your overland tour Africa to send one to collect you. These guys are always on time, friendly and take any potential hassle out of the trip. Alternatively I would prefer asking one of the independent drivers outside for a price rather than pay the high prices of the pushy airport taxi desk.

How much does a taxi from Nairobi airport to the city cost? Approx $20

How much does a taxi from Nairobi airport to Karen cost? Approx $25

Derek Cullen is an Irish Travel Blogger and an experienced overland tour leader in Africa. He is best known for cycling across Africa and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

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