Kenya

East African Tourist Visa – cross border travel in the region made easier

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Since 2014 the East African Tourist Visa (abbreviated here as EATV), has been available so tourists can enter Kenya, Uganda and/or Rwanda using a single visa. The visa will be valid for 90 days, is multiple-entry (but read my experiences below), and can be obtained on arrival at airports (not sure about border crossing points). The cheapest single entry visas to Uganda and Kenya cost 50 USD, and to Rwanda 30 USD. So if going to Kenya and Uganda, obtaining EATV makes sense, but if going to Rwanda and only either Kenya or Uganda and not re-entering any of these countries, then it will be cheaper to get single entry visas instead.

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Long-distance running in East Africa – potential for sports tourism?

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East Africa is known for its athletes who dominate long-distance running. The best talent come from specific areas such as Nandi Hills in Kenya or Arsi Zone in Ethiopia. Running is increasingly popular activity in western countries too, not so much as a competitive sport but as an exercise. Yet many of them take the hobby rather seriously, training for marathons and other tough races. The question is can these East African countries develop “running tourism”, would amateur runners come to train or even compete in the “home of long-distance running”? Read the rest of this entry »

Experiences on unlimited mobile data plans in East Africa

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Using mobile internet in Africa can be a frustrating experience. 3G networks are very limited, speeds often low, networks may get down, and lastly, data bundles can be expensive and tend to have small data caps. Unlimited plans are handy as one does not have to constantly worry about exceeding data limits, but hardly any operators dare to offer them. However, in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania some operators provide affordably priced prepaid unlimited data plans. These are are my experiences how they work, and whether are worth the money. Read the rest of this entry »

Nairobi streets get flooded

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Major floods in Nairobi have been in news this week (at least locally, global media does not pay much attention – just imagine the amount of coverage if this happened in the western world). Having floods in Nairobi is nothing new, but these are mostly restricted to slum areas on riverbanks receiving no government attention whatsoever. But flooding of this scale in the Kenyan capital is beyond people’s memory. Other than Nairobi, big floods have occurred this year in various parts of Kenya, notably in Narok town.

Flooded road in Kileleshwa, Nairobi 2015.
Flooded road in Kileleshwa, Nairobi 2015.

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Crossing Kilindini by a cable car

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News items by Daily Nation, Capital FM, Business Daily and others reported today on plans to construct a cable car over the Likoni Creek in Mombasa, complementing the Ferry currently connecting Mombasa Island to the South Coast. First time hearing about this project, it should be ready by January 2017 (only a fool believes it will). Read the rest of this entry »

JamboJet to Ukunda

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JamboJet, the low-cost arm of Kenya Airways recently announced three new coastal destinations: Lamu, Malindi and Ukunda. Given poor foreign tourist numbers recently in the Kenyan coast, I wonder how these routes will do.

JamboJet DASH8-400 at Ukunda Airport in April, 2015.
JamboJet DASH8-400 at Ukunda Airport in April, 2015.

Ukunda Airport, located right next to Diani Beach, is a small airport, not far away from Mombasa Airport, but since the South Coast has always been a bit isolated due to the ferry crossing, Ukunda as a flight destination should be welcomed by any visitors to South Coast. Ukunda has been to date served by other airlines like AirKenya and Fly 540, but only at steep prices. JamboJet flights to Ukunda start from around 5000 Ksh one way. Any checked luggage will add to the cost, but at 500 Ksh per 15 Kg bag a way, the price is not bad at all. Read the rest of this entry »