Getting to and around Kenya - airports, airlines...
Most visitors arriving in Kenya come by air.
There are several major airlines - including Kenya's very own, Kenya Airways - that offer flights to Kenya from the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and many other countries including African countries.
International airports in Kenya
There are two international airports in Kenya:
- Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi - It is the largest airport and the main arrival point for most visitors. A major gateway to Kenya, JKIA offers both domestic, African, regional and international connections. It is very easy to use and there are a lot of transportation options available to get from the airport into town.
- JKIA is 17 km (roughly 10 miles) from Nairobi's city center - a quick drive by hotel shuttle, car or taxi to your city destination. Banking services, automatic teller machines (ATMs) and 24hr foreign exchange (forex) bureaus are available at the terminal, should you require access to cash.
- The Mombasa International Airport (MBA) in Mombasa - It is Kenya's second largest international airport, mainly serving tourists and business people entering Kenya's coastal region.
Airlines that fly to Kenya
It's always a good idea to travel to Kenya during the low season if you want to enjoy the best fares. Major airlines have low season rates from January to June and then again from November to early December.
Flights from the United States and North America
Kenya Airways, British Airways, KLM, Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways. Currently there are no direct flights from the United States to Kenya. All flights from the United States to Nairobi go via Europe. This means you have to change planes and/or airlines while still in Europe.
Flights from the US to Kenya connect through London, Amsterdam, Zürich or Dubai depending on the airline. North West Airlines in the United States is affiliated with KLM and Kenya Airways and offers fast connections through London or Amsterdam to Kenya.
Return tickets to Nairobi from New York can cost as little as US$1100 in the low season. KLM and British Airways also offer flights from Toronto to Nairobi, although fares from Canada may be slightly higher.
Flights from Europe to Kenya
British Airways, Kenya Airways, Swiss Airlines, KLM, Emirates Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Qatar Airways. Most of the flights from Europe to Kenya are direct and non-stop, arriving at either the Nairobi or Mombasa International Airport.
Flights from Asia, the Far East and Australia
Kenya Airways, Air India, Emirates Airlines, and Qatar Airways are popular airlines that fly to Kenya. Some of these airlines also offer direct flights from the Middle East to Kenya.
Flights from Kenya to other African countries
Nairobi (JKIA) airport is a major African air hub with daily flight schedules serving West, Central and Southern Africa destinations. Although there are other African airlines that serve Kenya, the national carrier - Kenya Airways - is the pride of Africa. If you're on transit to other African destinations you can book a regional flight from Kenya to your country of choice.
Major airlines that fly in and out of JKIA and Mombasa International Airport
Airfares, booking and tickets
There are a variety of travel and booking agents who will promise you the lowest airfares and best packages. However, in most cases, the lowest fare will depend on when, where and how you book your ticket. One option is to book directly with the airline companies. Selecting any of the above listed airline will take you to the website of that particular airline where you will find the information you need about flying to Kenya. You can even book your flight from there.
The latest trend in easily finding cheap deals on flights to Kenya is to research and book the flight online over the Internet by using one of the travel search engines. Expedia, CheapTickets, Orbitz, Travelocity and other travel engines offer you a one-stop shop by aggregating and consistently bringing back the lowest prices from all major airlines, so that you don't have to jump around to different websites.
All you have to do is enter your departure city, destination city and the expected dates of travel and the booking engine will bring you back pages of results sorted from the cheapest to most expensive airline and airfare available at that time. Once you make your selection, you will be taken to the respective airline's website or travel site. With your credit/debit card, you can book and pay for your flight to Kenya. You will be given a choice of printing an eTicket or requesting a paper ticket be mailed to you.
Make sure you use airport code NBO as your arrival city if you're flying to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi or airport code MBA for Mombasa International Airport.
The greatest advantage of booking online is that you get many options to compare and choose from 100s of travel sites, all instantly with one click. Most of these sites will link you directly to the specific airline company, allowing you to book your flight right away. This saves you time and any extra fees you would incur if you booked through a travel agent.
No matter what method you use to book your ticket to Kenya, you will likely get the best deal if you book your ticket far in advance, preferably as early as four months before you plan to travel.
Tips for finding a really cheap flight to Kenya
- It pays to spend some time looking. Go through all of your possible departure and arrival dates, as far as you are willing to move them. On my last trip to Kenya, I saved $280 on a US/Kenya return flight by flying one week earlier. The prices are different for every day of the week, and airlines have all sorts of special deals.
- Experiment with different arrival and departure airports where possible. Since there are only two arrival airports in Kenya, you may find a deal by trying different departure airports from your country (if not Kenya).
Once you have your ticket, remember to confirm your ticket before you travel. Also, don't forget to check out the airline's rules on baggage weight and any other important travel information prior to departing to Kenya. All this information is provided on the airline's respective website.
How long does it take to get to Kenya?
It depends on where you are coming from and when you booked your flight. Flights from the United States are generally overnight; dinner, bed and breakfast and you are in Kenya. There are also direct, non-stop flights from most parts of Europe to Kenya. To get an idea of how long it will take to get to Kenya, take a look at the list below. It shows flight times from some of the world's major cities to Kenya. Please note that the duration of the flight will depend on when you booked the flight and how many stops you make.
|London||8 hr 30 min||Amsterdam||8 hr 30 min|
|Hong Kong||25 hr 45 min||Frankfurt||10 hr 55 min|
|Bangkok||9 hr 30 min||Paris||11 hr 45 min|
|Kuala Lumpur||17 hr 45 min||Zurich||11 hr 25 min|
|Singapore||16 hr 15 min||Athens||15 hr 35 min|
|Perth||18 hr 15 min||Sydney||27 hr 50 min|
|Tel Aviv||10 hr 00 min||Can Cun||24 hr 10 min|
|Dubai||05 hr 05 min||Rio De Janeiro||42 hr 20 min|
|New York||17 hr 05 min||Atlanta||19 hr 00 min|
|Miami||20 hr 30 min||Los Angeles||23 hr 15 min|
|South Africa||07 hr 40 min||Cairo||06 hr 20 min|
Getting around Kenya by air
You can find a flight and book local travel to and from these Kenyan destinations.
|Nairobi - Mombasa||Mombasa - Nairobi|
|Nairobi - Kisumu||Mombasa - Maasai Mara|
|Nairobi - Lamu||Mombasa - Kisumu|
|Nairobi - Nanyuki||Diani - Nairobi|
|Nairobi - Malindi||
|Nairobi - Maasai Mara||Malindi - Lamu|
|Nairobi - Amboseli||
|Nairobi - Samburu||Kitale - Nairobi|
|Nairobi - Kitale|
|Lamu - Nairobi||Kisumu - Nairobi|
|Lamu - Nairobi||Kisumu - Mombasa|
The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) operates Kenya's ten airports. Here you will find all the information you need with regard to the incoming and outgoing flight schedules of all of Kenya's major airports, links to cargo and immigration information, and comprehensive information about the airports themselves. Other domestic Kenyan airports served by the KAA include Eldoret, Wilson, Malindi, Kisumu, Wajir, Lokichoggio, Ukunda Airstrip and Manda Airstrip.
Ground Transfers from the Airport
There is plenty of transportation available 24 hours to take you to your preferred destination. Airport taxis, cabs, and vans are on standby and airport officials are available to make sure you get to your destination. Make sure you get an agreed upon fare and a receipt from the cab operator to close the deal. Also, watch out as there may be some unscrupulous cabbies and taxi drivers who may take advantage of you.
A better option is to make prior arrangements for your ground transportation or to have someone waiting for you at the airport to transport you to your destination.
Getting to Kenya by Land
If you live in the neighboring countries of Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia, all you have to do is cross the border. Border posts are open daily and immigration officials are present to process your entry paperwork.
Getting to Kenya by Sea
The Port of Mombasa is an international port of call, a favorite port for cruise liners and international ships on duty. If you arrive on a cruise or assignment, the immigration department at the port will be happy to process your entry documents to Kenya.
Getting to Kenya - Related Information
- Do you need a visa to enter Kenya? Find out.
- Your options for getting around Kenya including car hire, taxis, matatus and other forms of transportation.
- Rent your own car to drive around in Kenya.
- Where do you stay? book your hotel in Kenya, from 5-star luxury hotels to safari and game lodges - all accomodation to fit your budget.
- Book your domestic flight in Kenya for local travel or flights to and from other African destinations.
- Kenya safari tours, animal safaris, adventure holidays and beach safaris that you can customize and book.
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