Backpacking Kenia

Hello to all seasoned and aspiring backpackers!

Do friendly people, cool vibes, stunning nature, beaches, and sunshine sound good to you? If this is the case, hurry and pack your backpack and go to Kenya! Get inspired by the country and its people and get ready for countless positive and exciting experiences.

Located in East Africa, Kenya borders South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda and is home to amazing beaches, as it also shares a coast with the Indian Ocean.

The climate is generally very pleasant. Kenya has hot summers and experiences rainfall from April to June and October to November. Despite the rain, the country is still very enjoyable. The ideal travel time is between January and February, as the climate is lovely, and the rainy season will not have started just yet.

English and Swahili are the official languages of the country, so if you plan on staying longer than a few weeks, learn some phrases in Swahili. It's fun, not difficult at all, and is very well received.

Kenya’s wildlife is remarkable, and the country offers several nature preserves, including the Amboseli National Park, the Tsavo West National Park, and the Masai Mara National Reserve – home to several animal species such as elephants, zebras, gnus, lions, leopards, gazelles, and crocodiles.

In addition to these large, well-known parks, there are also several smaller ones worth visiting, like the Nairobi National Park, where you can have the unique experience of spotting different animals against the backdrop of the city’s main business district and its towering skyscrapers.

In Naivasha, you can explore other national parks by foot or mountain bike. Since you’re usually confined to your car in the larger national parks due to safety reasons (and their sheer size), this is definitely a unique experience not to be missed.

See below for the perfect Kenya itinerary for an unforgettable trip:


Important Basics

Official Language

Swahili

Basic Vocabulary
EnglishSwahili
YesNdio
NoHapana
ThanksAsante
HelloHabari
ByeBaadaye
Capital City

Nairobi

Form of Government

Presidential Republic

Phone Country Code

+254

Currency

Kenyan Shilling

Climate

Highest temperature by day: 27 to 31 degrees Celsius

Highest temperature at night: 17 to 19 degrees Celsius

There are of course marginal fluctuations in temperature in Kenya, but no official seasons due to its position on the equator.

Fun Fact

Before a couple are allowed to marry, the family of the groom must gift ten cows to the family of the bride.

Cities

Nairobi

Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is a unique city and one of the most important in East Africa.

Check out the city’s various markets, offering everything from fruit and vegetables to souvenirs and endless amounts of inexpensive, second-hand clothing.

Nairobi’s modern shopping centres, supermarkets, and malls offer western cuisine and sell everything your heart desires. The streets are sprinkled with many cafés, restaurants, bars, and clubs, so you’ll always have somewhere new to try. Nairobi also has a great music scene where you can check out events all year round – there’s always plenty to do in this city!

For a small entrance fee, visit the KICC (Kenyatta International Conference Centre) and enjoy the breath-taking view over the capital’s business and city centres.

Nairobi’s National Museum is also worth a visit. Besides its regular collection, the museum hosts special exhibitions from time to time and has a lovely garden to stop for a coffee or snack.

Take time to explore some of Nairobi’s city parks. Uhuru Park, adjacent to the city’s business district, is definitely worth a visit, as is Nairobi National Park. Who wouldn’t want to experience a safari tour with a sky-scraper backdrop!?

If you want to take a day trip, the Kitengela Glass workshop, located just outside the city, is a great option and is easily reachable by matatus (minibus). See how glass is melted and shaped into colourful creations, admire the workshop’s various sculptures, and take a break in its cute café.

Stay in the city in a six-bed dorm for just €13 per night.

Naivasha

Take a bus for €3 per person and head to Naivasha.

Located northwest of Nairobi, in Nakuru County, the town offers several large, white greenhouses to explore and see the many herbs and flowers. The main event is definitely the roses which are grown and cut here for export. This green, beautiful, calm, and relaxing town stands in direct contrast to Nairobi, which is more vibrant and (admittedly) rather loud.

Lake Naivasha – an absolute must see – is also nearby. Take a boat tour to meet hippos and pelicans in their natural habitat or grab a bite at a local restaurant on the lakeside to sample some freshly caught fish and enjoy the view.

Naivasha’s two other highlights are Hell’s Gate National Park and Crescent Island. Rent a mountain bike and explore the park yourself to see different animals, such as giraffes and elephants, and enjoy nature in all its glory. The trails aren’t too long, but make sure you have enough food and water with you. There are also various rock formations to check out on foot.

Crescent Island is also home to various animals and is ideal to explore on foot, as it’s not very big. Take some snacks, have a picnic, and, if you’re lucky, a giraffe might pass by while you’re eating!

Stay in Naivasha in a four-bed dorm for €15 a night.

Kisumu

Your backpacking trip is far from over: take a bus (€15) from Naivasha to Kisumu, where even more attractions await you. Kisumu, the provincial capital of Nyanza, is the third largest city in Kenya and is located in the west of the country. Don’t miss this port city’s unique and incredibly beautiful views of Lake Victoria. Dunga Beach, bustling with local fisherman, is also worth checking out.

Kisumu offers several markets, such as the Masai Craft Market, where you can buy locally made handicrafts that make for great souvenirs. There are also loads of supermarkets, cafés, and restaurants featuring delicious dishes from Kenya and abroad – so be sure to come hungry.

Stay in the city centre where a single room could cost just €11 per night.

Nanyuki

Hop on a bus for €14 and head to your next stop: Nanyuki.

Nanyuki is Laikipia County’s capital and has approximately 50,000 inhabitants. Located at an altitude of almost 2,000 meters at the foot of Mount Kenya, this city is a great place to start a hike up the mountain. There’s also a safari park where you can observe various wild animals from your car.

For a great night’s sleep, stay in one of Nanyuki’s hotels where a double room will cost you €40 per night.

Mombasa

Say goodbye to Nanyuki and go to your final destination: Mombasa. The city can be reached by bus or by train for €14.

Mombasa is the country’s second most populated city, as well as Mombasa County’s capital, and is the most important port city, as it lies on the Indian Ocean.

The city’s beautiful beaches are the perfect spot to stop and relax. Have breakfast on the beach, read a book or get moving and go diving or kitesurfing!

Haller Park is on the north side of the city and is a great place to admire various tropical plants and animals, such as crocodiles, hippos, and giraffes. If you want to get a closer look at these impressive reptiles, there’s also a crocodile farm nearby.

Mombasa has a wide variety of restaurants and an exciting nightlife that have something to offer for everyone. This city will definitely be the highlight of your trip, so enjoy it to the fullest.

Spend the night in a hostel offering a six-bed dorm for €13 per night.

From Mombasa, drive back to Nairobi by train for €9. Spend a couple more days there before your flight back home.

Travel to Kenya and experience a vacation filled with amazing sights and breath-taking nature! What are you waiting for?


Nairobi

Nairobi

Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is a unique city and one of the most important in East Africa.

Check out the city’s various markets, offering everything from fruit and vegetables to souvenirs and endless amounts of inexpensive, second-hand clothing.

Nairobi’s modern shopping centres, supermarkets, and malls offer western cuisine and sell everything your heart desires. The streets are sprinkled with many cafés, restaurants, bars, and clubs, so you’ll always have somewhere new to try. Nairobi also has a great music scene where you can check out events all year round – there’s always plenty to do in this city!

For a small entrance fee, visit the KICC (Kenyatta International Conference Centre) and enjoy the breath-taking view over the capital’s business and city centres.

Nairobi’s National Museum is also worth a visit. Besides its regular collection, the museum hosts special exhibitions from time to time and has a lovely garden to stop for a coffee or snack.

Take time to explore some of Nairobi’s city parks. Uhuru Park, adjacent to the city’s business district, is definitely worth a visit, as is Nairobi National Park. Who wouldn’t want to experience a safari tour with a sky-scraper backdrop!?

If you want to take a day trip, the Kitengela Glass workshop, located just outside the city, is a great option and is easily reachable by matatus (minibus). See how glass is melted and shaped into colourful creations, admire the workshop’s various sculptures, and take a break in its cute café.

Stay in the city in a six-bed dorm for just €13 per night.

Naivasha

Naivasha

Take a bus for €3 per person and head to Naivasha.

Located northwest of Nairobi, in Nakuru County, the town offers several large, white greenhouses to explore and see the many herbs and flowers. The main event is definitely the roses which are grown and cut here for export. This green, beautiful, calm, and relaxing town stands in direct contrast to Nairobi, which is more vibrant and (admittedly) rather loud.

Lake Naivasha – an absolute must see – is also nearby. Take a boat tour to meet hippos and pelicans in their natural habitat or grab a bite at a local restaurant on the lakeside to sample some freshly caught fish and enjoy the view.

Naivasha’s two other highlights are Hell’s Gate National Park and Crescent Island. Rent a mountain bike and explore the park yourself to see different animals, such as giraffes and elephants, and enjoy nature in all its glory. The trails aren’t too long, but make sure you have enough food and water with you. There are also various rock formations to check out on foot.

Crescent Island is also home to various animals and is ideal to explore on foot, as it’s not very big. Take some snacks, have a picnic, and, if you’re lucky, a giraffe might pass by while you’re eating!

Stay in Naivasha in a four-bed dorm for €15 a night.

Kisumu

Kisumu

Your backpacking trip is far from over: take a bus (€15) from Naivasha to Kisumu, where even more attractions await you. Kisumu, the provincial capital of Nyanza, is the third largest city in Kenya and is located in the west of the country. Don’t miss this port city’s unique and incredibly beautiful views of Lake Victoria. Dunga Beach, bustling with local fisherman, is also worth checking out.

Kisumu offers several markets, such as the Masai Craft Market, where you can buy locally made handicrafts that make for great souvenirs. There are also loads of supermarkets, cafés, and restaurants featuring delicious dishes from Kenya and abroad – so be sure to come hungry.

Stay in the city centre where a single room could cost just €11 per night.

Nanyuki

Nanyuki

Hop on a bus for €14 and head to your next stop: Nanyuki.

Nanyuki is Laikipia County’s capital and has approximately 50,000 inhabitants. Located at an altitude of almost 2,000 meters at the foot of Mount Kenya, this city is a great place to start a hike up the mountain. There’s also a safari park where you can observe various wild animals from your car.

For a great night’s sleep, stay in one of Nanyuki’s hotels where a double room will cost you €40 per night.

Mombasa

Mombasa

Say goodbye to Nanyuki and go to your final destination: Mombasa. The city can be reached by bus or by train for €14.

Mombasa is the country’s second most populated city, as well as Mombasa County’s capital, and is the most important port city, as it lies on the Indian Ocean.

The city’s beautiful beaches are the perfect spot to stop and relax. Have breakfast on the beach, read a book or get moving and go diving or kitesurfing!

Haller Park is on the north side of the city and is a great place to admire various tropical plants and animals, such as crocodiles, hippos, and giraffes. If you want to get a closer look at these impressive reptiles, there’s also a crocodile farm nearby.

Mombasa has a wide variety of restaurants and an exciting nightlife that have something to offer for everyone. This city will definitely be the highlight of your trip, so enjoy it to the fullest.

Spend the night in a hostel offering a six-bed dorm for €13 per night.

From Mombasa, drive back to Nairobi by train for €9. Spend a couple more days there before your flight back home.

Travel to Kenya and experience a vacation filled with amazing sights and breath-taking nature! What are you waiting for?

Kenia Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home - Nairobi
Home - Nairobi
Flight
250
six-bed dorm
13
2. Nairobi
Nairobi
-
six-bed dorm
13
3. Nairobi
Nairobi
-
six-bed dorm
13
4. Nairobi - Naivasha
Nairobi - Naivasha
Bus
3
four-bed dorm
15
5. Naivasha
Naivasha
-
four-bed dorm
15
6. Naivasha
Naivasha
-
four-bed dorm
15
7. Naivasha - Kisumu
Naivasha - Kisumu
Bus
15
single room
11
8. Kisumu
Kisumu
-
single room
11
9. Kisumu
Kisumu
-
single room
11
10. Kisumu
Kisumu
-
single room
11
11. Kisumu - Nanyuki
Kisumu - Nanyuki
Bus
14
double room
40
12. Nanyuki
Nanyuki
-
double room
40
13. Nanyuki
Nanyuki
-
double room
40
14. Nanyuki
Nanyuki
-
double room
40
15. Nanyuki - Mombasa
Nanyuki - Mombasa
Bus and train
14
eight-bed dorm
9
16. Mombasa
Mombasa
-
eight-bed dorm
9
17. Mombasa
Mombasa
-
eight-bed dorm
9
18. Mombasa
Mombasa
-
eight-bed dorm
9
19. Mombasa - Nairobi
Mombasa - Nairobi
Train
9
six-bed dorm
13
20. Nairobi
Nairobi
-
six-bed dorm
13
21. Nairobi - Home
Nairobi - Home
Flight
250

Total price.

Flights 500,00
Transportation 45,00
Tours 0,00
Accommodations 350,00
Total895,00

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Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Chapati: This soft flatbread is often served with an omelette and black tea.

Soups

Egg curry: This soupy curry is prepared with boiled eggs and tons of spices. It’s not only super spicy, but also super delicious.

Lentil stew: This Kenyan stew consists of red and green lentils, potatoes, and tomato purée.

Main Courses

Ugali: This is a porridge made from maize or cassava flour, served with various side dishes. Kenyans like to eat this dish at lunchtime, as it gives them energy for the day.

Sukuma Wiki: This dish is basically Kenyan collard greens and is boiled in salted water before being cooked in delicious spices.

Mandazi: A dessert resembling donuts, filled with traditional jam or syrup, and served with a dash of cardamom.

Samosas: These crispy pastries are filled with meat and spiced vegetables and make for the perfect meal.

Nyama choma: This grilled meat (usually goat or beef) is Kenya’s unofficial national dish and is often paired with ugali and a local beer.

Drinks & Snacks

Tusker lager: Arguably one of the country’s best-known beers – this lager is also 100% backpacker-approved.

Dawa cocktail: This boozy concoction of honey, lime, white sugar, ice, and vodka is one of Kenya’s most beloved alcoholic beverages and is rivalled only by Tusker beer.

Kenia

The exchange rate for 100 Kenyan Shilling is around €0.91 (as of February 2020). See prices for certain products and the cost of living below:

Cost of Living 

Food

Free Time

Personal Hygiene

Dos

Go on safari: A safari is a must for every backpacker in Kenya!

Protect yourself against mosquitoes: They are a serious problem in Kenya, so take repellent with you to prevent annoying bites.

Leave space between you and the animals: Do not closely approach animals on a safari or on an independent exploration tour.

Don'ts

Never walk alone at night: Whether in the city or outdoors, stay safe and always travel in a group.

Do not feed the animals: This is not only dangerous for you and the animals, but it is also strictly prohibited!

Refrain from making unnecessary noise: Always be as quiet as possible when animals are nearby; loud noises can cause them to suddenly react.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

No

Temporary national ID

No

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

Yes

Vaccine

Yes

Additional Remarks.

At the time of entry, your travel documents must be valid for at least six months after the end of your stay. You will need to provide proof of a return or onward ticket to be granted admission at the border.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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