Visitors arriving into Kenya will need to have an understanding of the country’s main airport, airlines and land borders providing visitors access to this east Africa gem and how much guests should expect to budget for this.
How to get to Kenya: Options available
Most visitors arrive into Kenya by plane. Kenya has many international flights including direct flights from the United States, UK, UAE, Qatar, South Africa and Europe.
Most international flights arrive via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) for visitors wondering how to get to Kenya. Tourists will typically have to obtain a Kenya visa including citizens of the U.S, U.K, EU, India and Canada.
Kenya has four main airports:
- Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi
- Moi International Airport (MBA) in Mombasa.
- Kisumu International Airport (KIS) which connects western Kenya
- Eldoret International Airport (local flights)
Kenya Airways (KQ) is the national airline. KQ has extensive regional flights including from Johannesburg in South Africa, Harare in Zimbabwe, Cairoin Egypt, Entebbe in Uganda, Accra in Ghana and more international connections (Dubai-UAE, London-UK with British Airways, Amsterdam-Netherlands, Mumbai-India).
Nairobi (NBO) airport is the primary arrival point for visitors flying into Kenya. There are excellent flight connections provided by KQ to major tourist destinations such as Mombasa, Kisumu and Malindi.
An increasing number of airlines are flying to Kenya and Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has become a hub for East and Central Africa. Visitors should also be aware of the best time to visit Kenya, as this can impact flight and accommodation prices.
In the interest of time, visitors often prefer to take domestic flights via chartered aircraft between the various national parks and African safari sanctuaries, covering this vast country from the island of Zanzibar in the east to the stunning Lake Tanganyika on the west.
The choice of airport for arrival and departure should be selected according to the particular safari destination and route which visitors will embark on, to avoid excessively long transfers.
Masai Mara flights
Flying to Masai Mara from Nairobi is a convenient option with a 1 hour flight from Wilson Airport in Nairobi to a variety of different airstrips in the Mara.
Visitors can also drive to Kenya, likely requiring a 4×4 vehicle when crossing some difficult road conditions. Nairobi is a 168 miles/5.5 hour drive from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
Kenya vehicle border entry requirements
Those planning to enter Kenya with their own vehicle or car hire will need to have the following in order to do so:
- Valid passport of the driver
- Certified copy of vehicle registration papers in the name of the driver
- Letter of authority from the registered owner if the vehicle is not owned by the driver
- If the vehicle is still being financed, carry a letter of authority from the bank (must include dates of travel) together with the vehicle licence papers.
- Third-Party Insurance: Compulsory – obtained at the border post
- Carnet de Passage: Compulsory. Application forms can be found online
- Foreign Vehicle Permit: Paid in USD. Fee from USD 25; valid for three months
- Licence for Foreign Private Vehicle: Valid for 30 days USD 40
- Toll Fees: To be paid at the Malaba Station
- Country of origin Sticker
- 80 / kph Sticker: Required on trailer if towing
- International Driving Permit: Recommended
Crossing into Kenya from Tanzania
The main route for entering Tanzania from Kenya is the road connecting Nairobi to Arusha via the Namanga border post.
Visitors can also read our article on the visa application process and how to apply for your Kenya visa.
Visitors can hire a Jeep and drive through Kenya, although drivers will need to be careful as there are few signs along the roads and visitors can easily get lost.
Visitors to Tanzania will also need to be aware of any travel restrictions depending on the latest Covid-19 travel information and requirements.
When and where to book a flight to Kenya
Scheduled flights to Kenya can be booked:
- Online, either directly on an airline website or via a price comparison site
- Travel agency booking
For Kenya safaris and the best Kenya beach holidays, visitors can travel to Kenya by flying into Nairobi (NBO), Mombasa (MBA), Kisumu (KIS) and Eldoret (EDL).
A low-cost, no-frills airline Fly540 also flies from Nairobi Airport and offers scheduled connections to Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, Kisumu and Masai Mara.
Another airline Air Kenya flies from Wilson Airport Nairobi to Mombasa, Malindi, Lamu, Amboseli, Maasai Mara, Meru, Nanyuki and Samburu. The lounge features a Dormans cafe.
Wilson Airport was once the busiest airport in Africa outside South Africa and still remains a major hub for local flights to the nature reserves in Kenya and to cities in neighbouring countries.
Most charter tourists fly directly to either of the coastal airports of Mombasa or Malindi.
Cost of getting to Kenya?
Many factors impact Kenya safari prices and costs can vary depending on origin, time of year, Kenya vaccine requirements, distance travelled, selected Kenya activities and country of origin. Visitors can expect flight prices from £550/$750 for a return flight from London. Prices can vary from season to season.
How to get to Kenya?
Nairobi (NBO) airport is the primary arrival point for visitors flying into Kenya. There are excellent flight connections provided by KQ to major cities and tourist destinations such as Mombasa, Kisumu and Malindi.
How to get to Masai Mara?
Flights from Eldoret and Nairobi are possible to Masai Mara with the flight from Nairobi taking one hour.
Can I drive from Tanzania to Kenya?
Visitors can also drive to Kenya. Nairobi is a relatively long distance drive of 168 miles/5.5 hour drive from the Serengeti National Park.